Life’s a Beach

20160331_123638.jpgWell, I certainly wish I was at the beach right now. There is no place in earth I love more. The sun on my skin, the sand in between my toes, the water to swim in! What could be better! I absolutely love the sound of the waves splashing against the shore and to watch the birds swoop down into the water.

Florida has my favorite shores or should I specify? My favorite is in Naples. The white sandy beaches, the sea gulls who I have been known to feed leftovers to and the dolphins that swim along side the boats. What’s not to love there?

I have such find memories too. I took 3 of my kids there a month ago which was great. I wasn’t able to enjoy it as I usually am, but I will again the next time. There will be a next time soon again but with my fabulous Hubs.

He deserves a holiday more than anyone I know. He works so hard to provide for all of us and hasn’t had a holiday for quite some time. Hopefully, we will get there this summer, but it seems like our time is filling in quickly as usual.

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There is nothing more romantic than a walk along the beach at sunset with the one you love. Hubs and I both adore the water and swimming so you can imagine how much it would mean for us to get away for our anniversary this summer. I just want to make it happen. It’s so important to keep the love alive in a marriage. Sometimes you just have to get away together to make things a little extra special. I’m the hopeless romantic so I try to occasionally do those special things. I like to show him how special he is to me. He shows me his love everyday.

My Sweet, Funny Boy

I am one lucky mom.  Not only do I have 3 wonderful, amazing daughters, I was blessed with this incredible little boy almost 9 years ago.  He dazzles me with his wit and adorable smile while driving me 20140817_203101absolutely crazy at the same time.  Boys are the strangest of creatures I have found.  They are not only the most loveable, cuddliest creatures, they also are rough and tumble sorts who will fight with their friends over the weirdest things.

My little man loves to play hockey, baseball, soccer and football.  He loves to play video games, especially Mine Craft, which I will never understand.  He is still afraid of the dark and doesn’t want to sleep alone.  He loves animals, loves music, refuses to learn the piano.  He’s headstrong and stubborn as a mule.  He’s soft hearted and kind to others, most of the time.  He sticks up for the underdogs.  Overall, he’s one great kid, but he has his issues too.

He suffers from ADHD which is enough to make any parent a little crazy and any teacher a saint in my book.  You see, a child with ADHD is a child who has a hard time focusing on anything that is not really interesting to him, AKA any subject in school with the exception of PE or recess or lunch.  Even those things he wants to do his way because he might have his own way that works for him, but he will follow the rules. Thank God my child is a rule follower. He has respect for his teachers!  Hallelujah!

For Liam, he’s good at school and he’s a smart kid.  He has meds and his meds help, but we are trying an experiment at the moment.  When we went on vacation, we didn’t take the meds with us.  I wanted to see my child without meds for the week.  Guess what!  He did alright!  I think he may be learning to control his focusing issues.  The reason I did this was because I wanted to see first, how he was during the day, and second, how he was without the nightly crashing caused by the meds wearing off.  It’s tough on him and I know that, not just as his mom but also as a nurse.

I love this little enigma of a child more than the world itself.  As long as he is active, and we keep his brain active and interested, he is alright.  Maybe not great yet, but alright.  It may not be time to take him off the meds just yet while he’s in school, but he’s getting there.  As his mom, I just want the best for him.  I try to focus on the positive things he does and not the negative things he does or the things he doesn’t do that I want him to do.  He’s learning to make choices and learning consequences for his actions.  Only he can do that.  I can’t do that for him.

I want so much for this child, just like I want so much for all my children.  Liam is my baby and he’s my only boy.  He is so very different from the girls and let me tell you, from all I’ve heard from other mothers of boys, he’s a very normal boy.  They are genetically programmed to do strange things.  They do things like run around the house stark naked, go outside with no shoes on all the time, believe clothing, shirts in particular, are optional, eat everything, especially boxes of cereal, and they are filthy all the time.  They also get over things much faster than we girls do.  If boys get upset with each other, they’ll settle it with a punch or just agree to disagree and it’s over and forgotten about just like that.  How does that work?  We don’t do that, ever.

For our holiday, I had the opportunity to observe what it would be like to have an 18 year old and an 8 year old as sons.  The two had a few spats, but just like that, it was over!  Liam thinks of Michael, my 18 year old daughter’s boyfriend, as his awesome big brother.  I have to say, taking Michael on our trip was amazing not just for Clare, but for all of us.  Liam was in heaven having him around, and so was my 14 year old daughter, Katie,  who also sees him as a big brother.  So much fun and bonding was done by my little troop.  I could never have dreamed or asked for more.  Yes, boys are from a different planet, but I’m so glad to have them around, especially my Liam and my husband, Jim.  Without my husband, I wouldn’t have my boy and my world wouldn’t be complete.
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Let’s be Clear

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As we headed out to the ocean in the shuttle boat, I was struck by the clear sky, the clean lines of the boats around me, the birds diving into the water for their lunch. Life out here was clearly defined. I was also aware that my own life lacked such clarity in it’s definition, or did it?

When you are on holiday and have the opportunity to let the wind sweep through your hair while the ocean breeze and sun pelt your senses, you have time to take note of things in your life that you normally don’t think about. Okay, well, that’s what I do while also trying to find the dolphins swimming along the boat. I did find the dolphins, by the way.

My life always seems to leave me wanting something else and I always feel less than this or that. I’ve tried to believe I’m just as good and just as worthy, but something always niggles at me and my inner diva deflates yet again.

When I’m on holiday, however, I get to pretend to be the person I try so hard to really be in everyday life. I even tell myself that when I get home I will be this person. Granted, this holiday was a bit bizarre with my trip to the ER and all, but I still long to be her!

I know exactly who she is. She’s really lovely and you’d love her. She’s a lot like me only she is more confident. She’s definitely cute and not as heavy as me. She knows what she wants and gets it once she puts her mind to it. Her kids listen to her and there is so much love in her house. No one ever yells.

Okay, okay. I realise this is my dream but the problem with me is clarity. It’s a clarity of vision sometimes. Other times it’s a clarity of instructions. I do know what I want, but sometimes I get in my own way. I think we all do that from time to time. We muck up our road, so to speak. Of we can keep our clarity of mind, our clarity of heart and our clarity of self and the goodness we all possess inside, that holiday person of our dreams can be a reality.

We have to be clear in our thinking and not muck it up with thoughts of “an I good enough” or “am I enough”. We pay too much attention to what the media tells us and really it’s pure and utter crap. Is your family happy? Well then, you are the person you are meant to be. Just be you and you’re enough.

Long Trip Home

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With the van stuffed to capacity, we finally began our long, arduous journey home yesterday afternoon.  Knowing you have 18 hours ahead of you on the road is never fun, especially with 3 teenagers and an 8 year old, but being prepared makes the world of difference.

The van was overstuffed with snacks, and I do mean overstuffed! Looking for any kind of snack food in particular? We were prepared. We even had the largest single rice krispie treat I’ve ever laid my baby blues on! If one person are the entire thing, they eat approximately 3600 calories! So, from that to wheat things to bananas, we were covered. My daughter even named the load of honey wheat bread, Greg, for no reason other than she could! We were prepared for a zombie apocalypse.

My hubby flew down the day before so he could drive us home since I was now on pain meds and loopy as heck! He is my hero! Nothing better than being stoned on Dilaudid and unable to drive )  husband drive. What a guy!

We stopped for one Cracker Barrel meal and several potty pit stops. We played Mad Libs, we chatted we slept. Jim drove on. He finally needed a break break after driving 14 hours so my daughter drove for a little while. Then my dear husband was back at it again and got us home.

All I had to to was sleep. Do you have any idea how difficult that is for me to do in a car, especially when it’s my van filled with the people I love and I’m not in control of driving? Thank you Dilaudid! Without pain meds, I would not only have terrible pain, I would also be fretting over everyone else’s driving! I am a superior driver in my own mind, don’t you know! I actually trust my husband implicitly but only him. It’s very hard for me to give up that control.

Did I tell you all of what happened on vacation? Of course not! Well, it’s Murphy’s law and Murphy and I are thick as thieves these days!

I was in the ER out second day there. Our van was hit in a parking lot and left without a note. Yes, there’s damage. The kids overflowed the Jacuzzi tub with mass quantities of bubbles, yes bubbles, more than once. My husband, in his tired state, locked the keys in the van while trying to fix taillights that were broken by the hit and run in the parking lot. And the topper-offer I left my full coffee cup on the counter of the condo and realized it 150 miles away! That was the Murphy’s law version of our week’s holiday to Florida!

The remainder was fun in the sun, sun burns, laughs, Harry Potter marathon, great food, swimming in the pool, alligator spotting, the ocean and more great times!

We take the good with the bad and the good always outweighs the bad. We remember all of the great moments. Holidays are bonding times a92nd this one was a great one. It just could have been longer! But I will say, oooh, my bed feels good!

While Buying Java at the Gas Station

This morning I couldn’t sleep. I was determined to get things accomplished before going on our boat shuttle to Keewaydin Island so I awakened early before 6AM. I found out that the greenskeepers are already working to mow the golf course at that hour with the headlights going on their riding mowers. Did you know that? I never knew!

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Once showered and dressed, I looked up the hours of my favorite market here in Naples, Florida so I could get some special goodies for our afternoon island adventure. You see, today is a very special day. Today is Michael’s 18th birthday. He is my daughter, Clare’s boyfriend and we took him along for our Springtime Easter holiday adventure. I wanted to maker his birthday a very special one.

Along the way, I stopped to get gas. I noticed as I was getting coffee that there was an elderly gentleman who was talking to a younger man. The younger man asked the older man if he had used the shaver yet. Then, the younger man said to the clerk that the older man was all hers.

I was struck by the fact that this man, who was clean shaven and well put together, probably was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. He and I chatted together for a little bit over the coffee pot. Granted, I will talk to just about anyone and can strike up a conversation with any store clerk and usually do.

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This gentleman was a gem. He was sweet, kind and definitely here because he had nothing better to do. He was a people person and maybe lost his wife. I will never know. All I know is that he touched my heart and so did the man who brought him into the store as well as the clerk. What kindhearted people to care for this aging gentleman.

If we could all take a moment and think about the importance of caring for our aging population. If we are lucky, we will one day reach that age. What a wonderful thing it would be to have the knowledge that we could rely on our youth to take care of us at that age.  This is something to teach our children about. No time like the present!

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This is a post written as part of FTSF which is awesome! Each week, we are given the beginning of a sentence, this week it is “The things I’ve seen this morning…” This is then written about and linked up with other amazing writers each week. Go check it out at http://www.FindingNinee.com! You won’t be sorry!

What not to trust your kids with

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I truly love being on holiday. When I’m not up to speed, it’s nice to know that I can trust the older kids with the care of the young one. There are a few things, however that one should certainly not trust them with.

Cooking is fine for my daughter, Clare. She’s a wiz in the kitchen. Her boyfriend, Michael, however, should not be trusted with peanut butter and mini chocolate  chips! The chocolate chips will scatter on the floor inevitably no matter how many times you tell him to be careful. I think this is part of his male teenage nature. My 8 year old is just as bad but isn’t as obsessed with the chocolate chips.

The Jacuzzi tub and bubble bath isn’t to be trusted with any of them! What the hell are they thinking? Well, the truth is, they think it’s great fun to make a complete and utter mess in there and think nothing of leaving the bubbly remnants behind as well as the wet rugs and wet tile floor. Did I mention this is in my bathroom? Oh yes, a seemingly regular occurrence after swimming or tennis. Tonight, they managed to outdo themselves and left the Jacuzzi on while they each got into the shower in their swimsuits to rinse off. Then, I walked in. Let’s just say, bubbles were so high you would expect to see them on a sitcom, not in your bathtub!

I’ve nipped that one in the bud though. They got to work and cleaned like fiends. I now have a spotlessly clean bathroom with a freshly mopped floor to boot! I know, kids will be kids! Seriously though, don’t leave any bubbles near your Jacuzzi tub or you may live to regret it. I only regret not taking a photo to share with you! It was a truly magnificent sight to behold, but don’t tell them I said that.

Towels. Towels. Towels. Did you know that children think that while on holiday the towel fairy, otherwise known as mom, will magically wash towels each day? Clothes are left in their bathroom as are dreadfully wet towels. God forbid they hang up towels or throw a load of wash in. The washer is right next to their bathroom, too! Great to always be a maid! Never trust these heathens with your towels. God only knows how many they will use once they figure out the location of clean ones.

I know this is a post of complaining, but really, for any mother who has any teenagers at home, or any mother of former teenagers, you completely understand and can laugh at the humour here. They will always make messes and eat you out of house and home. The boys begin early, like my nearly 9 year old son. He’s busy eating his weight everyday and obsessing over an 18 year old girl! Yes, he tells me how “hot” she is and today told me that she has a cute belly button. Lord save me!

I wouldn’t change these kids for anything. Just don’t give them bubble bath or mini chocolate chips and your world might be a slightly saner place. Keep only 6 towels in your linen closet so your laundry isn’t ridiculously immense and voila! Life is beautiful again! If you don’t love them, who will!

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Relaxing at the Beach

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Ah a day at the beach. Nothing better to lift your spirits than this activity. Even though I haven’t felt my best, it felt so good to spend a few hours at the beach with the kids yesterday. Not only did it satisfy their need to expend some energy, but it got me out into the fresh ocean air, cool breeze and sandy beach that I love. It soothed my soul.

I’m so grateful for my time here, even if a major part of it is spent inside this trip. I simply don’t mind. This is time spent healing for me in a different way. I’m surrounded by my mom’s things as well as dad’s, but everywhere I look, I’m reminded of just how much my mom loves this home.

Dad will be back here, I’m sure of it. I plan on bringing him back in the fall, God willing. His friends have been asking when he will be back. He loves it here and has many friends and activities here, a different life!
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But mom was happy and had friends where here she was. Everywhere I turn, I see her. The plaque she received when she got her hole in one, her photos, her clothes. I still miss her but it isn’t as raw now. Most of the time I can handle it better than I did before. I don’t cry every day. I don’t cry most days.

Going to the beach reminded me of the time when I was here when my girls were younger. We packed a picnic and went to the beach with mom and dad. It was the first time the girls had seen the beach and the ocean.
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Dad loves to take pictures. He took one that day that I still have of my mom when I posing with jazz hands while sitting at the picnic table. It was a beautiful, sunny day. A dolphin swam behind my oldest daughter that day. I tried to capture that moment on film but wasn’t fast enough. What a beautiful memory though!

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Each time we go to the beach we make new memories to add to our memory bank. These are all things to be grateful for because these are special, but sometimes we have to remember to add those little, everyday memories to the memory bank, too. Those are just as special and things we should be grateful for. Tonight, for instance, I’m very grateful for my 18 year old daughter. She made dinner again and it was delicious. She’s been taking over the mom role while I’ve not felt well and doing a super job!
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So, as you look back on your day, what are you grateful for? If we focus on the positives of life and less on the negatives, we will be much happier people, overall. Forgiveness is the key and the hardest thing to do, but for now, just focus on what you’re grateful for.