Thursday, December 20, 2012

Look out... I'm back :)

Yes, it’s true. After a rather lengthy hiatus, I am back. Once it was no longer a necessity to write the articles, I figured I didn't need to go on with this blog. But after a few request that i continue, I decided to keep writing. Even if I am my only reader. That being said, I had hoped my first post would be some feel good piece regaling tales from Christmas past. But in light of recent events, I don’t think that is mood any of us are in right now.

I am not going to go on some long political rant on gun control. Looking at our gun laws is not where we will find our answers, because guns are not the problem. Yes, many times they are the preferred means to an end, but they are not the catalyst. We are. If you want an explanation, look no further.Our society today is the issue we need to be examining. We may have made huge advances in technology in the last 50 years or so, but we have back peddled in our principles and integrity. Where are our morals? Why is compassion to our fellow man considered newsworthy and not commonplace? Don’t get me wrong, I believe that good deeds should be acknowledged, but what we now consider a good deed, earlier generations simply called good upbringing.

I understand that this is not the lone issue in the recent shootings, but I do feel it is a part of it  and needs to be addressed. With each generation we are losing compassion and empathy for one another. We are becoming a greedy and covetous culture who glorifies the excess lifestyles we see on T.V. Proper manners and etiquette, which used to be commonplace, are not being taught anymore. What kind of examples are we setting? Is this the future we want for our children? For their children?

Do I think that returning to a stricter set of morals and values is the answer? I do, but just a small part of it. There is so much more involved that I can’t get into right now, but I truly feel that if we gave more and took less, if we helped one another, and showed courtesy and kindness, our country would be a better place. So I will continue to try to set the example I want my children to follow, and I hope for the sake of generations to come, that others will too. I’m just sayin’.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Puppy Love

We have a new addition to our family. His name is Oscar and he is our 9 week old Basset Hound puppy. I’m not sure what kind of crazy got in my head and convinced me that getting a puppy while I am recovering from surgery and we are still getting settled into our new home was the thing to do. But whatever it was, I’m glad it did... I think.

Don’t get me wrong, Oscar is the cutest little guy. With his big long ears and short little legs, it’s enough to make your heart melt. When he nuzzles up in your lap and falls into a deep puppy slumber, he is so adorable you just want to eat him up. Just when you think he can’t get any sweeter, he goes and chases after a ball. Watching him hop across the room on those little legs with ears a flopping, well that’s just my undoing. But all that cuteness is necessary. It’s the only thing keeping him around.

Underneath that adorable exterior is pure destruction. He gets into everything. No sock is safe in this house. Clean, dirty, still being worn... he doesn’t care. They all must be chewed. And it doesn’t stop with the socks. He eats shoes, furniture, hermit crab food. You name it, he has tried to eat it. He even tries to eat the other pets in the house. They do not like this one bit. I believe they are secretly plotting his demise. They are unaffected by his adorableness.

Fancy, the bird, seems to be his biggest hater. I have caught him twice now climbing down from his cage to bite the sleeping pup’s tail. Fancy is also my snitch. He loves to screech when he sees Oscar getting into something. Luie, our cat seems to be the least affected by him. When Oscar gets too annoying, he just gives him a bat on the snout and walks off to find a window to sit in.

It’s the two pugs that I think are most out of sorts over the puppy. They are older dogs (16 and 12) and don’t play much anymore. Of course that doesn’t deter Oscar from chasing them around the house and yard, nipping at their heels. Then they just sit there, enduring his play time looking at me like they want to take me out for bringing this disruption into their lives. They are not impressed at all.

All in all, Oscar is a good little guy. He’s feisty and rambunctious, but weren’t we all when we were young? If he makes it through the puppy phase, I know he will make a great addition to our family. If the bird doesn’t take him out first... I’m just sayin’.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumn Fun

Summer is quickly coming to an end. The days are growing shorter and the nights longer. The temperatures are returning to a tolerable level, while the evenings are getting chilly. And let us not forget the obvious sign of the season change, Halloween decor in all the stores. After all, it’s never too early to get a jump on things, right? We are quickly approaching the autumn equinox. The day of the year that officially marks the start of fall.

Traditionally, our ancestors celebrated this time as the final harvest. A time to gather as a community and make preparations for the coming winter. Though this may no longer be a necessity for survival, we can still do things to honor this beautiful time of year.

Try following the examples of those who came before us and gather. Start a food drive. Did your garden provide you with more than enough? Pass it on. Invite friends over for a feast and ask everyone to bring a non perishable donation. It’s a wonderful and fulfilling way to appreciate the abundance in your life.

Get back in touch with nature. The changing seasons are beautiful. Enjoy the weather and take a hike. Pry your children away from whatever electrical device they are connected to and delight in the artistry of Mother Nature.

Adore the apple. Find an orchard and go apple picking. It’s a fun way to spend the day with your family. Bob for apples, candy them, bake them, preserve them. Delight in the deliciousness of a crisp apple you picked yourself.

Count your blessings. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and though that’s the traditional time of year to give thanks, why wait? Life is a gift and it’s too precious to just be grateful for once a year at a designated time. Take a moment to reflect on the past year. I’m sure will will think of a few things you are appreciative of.

No matter how you chose to commemorate the coming season, remember to take some time for yourself. Soon the holidays will be here, and if your life is anywhere near as hectic as mine, that’s more than enough fodder for a whole different article. I’m just sayin’.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, step right up and catch a peek of the Amazing Juggling Jennifer! Watch as she balances all the issues in the daily life of a stay at home mom. She will astonish you as she piles more and more on. Husband, kids, health, home... You name it , she’s juggling it. Just when you think she is maxed out, she will shock you with how much more she tosses into the mix, and always with a smile on her face. I tell you what folks, this little lady has more on her plate than a hungry man at an all you can eat buffet, yet she never misses a beat! How does she do it?

Yes, this is me. I am the one who takes everything on. I spend my life stretched too thin, but somehow, I always seem to manage. To most normal people I’m sure this sounds like total chaos or  complete madness. It’s probably both, but that’s my life, and that is how I like it. I know no other way to be. That is until now. If you read last week’s article written by my dear friend Jessica, then you know I have been forcibly slowed down due to medical issues. To say I have slowed down isn’t quite accurate. I have come to a dead halt. Completely. I recently underwent surgery, and though recovery is going well, for an on the go person like me, this is torture! Not only has my daily activities stopped, but as I mentioned before, we are moving. So as I sat on my behind, I watched as everyone around me worked like mad to move our household having no hand in it at all. I wasn’t allowed to lift a finger. Some might think that is bliss, but for a control freak like me who has to be actively involved in everything, it has surely been one of Dante’s levels of Hell. A crueler fate I cannot imagine.

The move is mostly completed. I must say it went well, even without my help. Though the recovery is not going as quickly as I want, it is going as it should. It’s hard, but I realise that I need to temporarily hang up my title of Amazing Juggling Jennifer. I’m not doing much of anything right now, let alone juggling daily activities. But I know that it’s only temporary. I will be back, and I’ll be better than ever. So keep your eyes open for my next performance. My comeback is sure to be a showstopper. Just sayin’.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Teenager

My baby girl is growing up. Today was her first day of middle school. As I watched my youngest child walk through the doors of that big school, I knew it was a whole new world from here on out. Last year she was still a child still in elementary school. Now she preteen girl starting her journey into young womanhood. Where has the time gone? Where did my chubby little toddler with the sweet brown curls go? Well she is certainly no little toddler now. And the curls have long since been dyed, straightened and highlighted. And that’s just the start. If this last year is any indication of what her teen years hold, then this is going to be one wild ride.

Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is a doll. But I’ve noticed a change lately. Almost like a split personality. I believe I’ve been catching glimpses of the Teenager. One minute we will be strolling through the store, not a care in the world. Next thing you know, Baby Girl is gone and in her place is the Teenager. A moody, sullen creature best known for it’s emotional outbursts and lack of motivation. I knew this day would come. The day the Teenager in her would start to surface. Baby Girl is already showing signs of Drama, an unfortunate affliction that Teenagers can’t seem to shake. And it’s contagious, so when you find yourself in the presence of a Drama inflicted Teenager, wear a mask and wash your hands.

Lucky for us, Baby Girl is still in the early stages. The Teenager is not yet strong enough to show itself often. I realize though that it is only a matter of time. Typically, the Teenager manages to break through after a couple years in middle school. That’s when things can get real fun. There is no known cure or prevention of the Teenager. It just stops as quickly as it came on.. But the good news is that it doesn’t last forever. I’m just sayin’.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School Scramble

People are shoulder to shoulder everywhere you look. There is barely room to breathe, let alone to maneuver around. The air is thick with heat, humidity and the various smells of the surrounding bodies. It’s hard to hear over the yelling. Everybody is frantically shouting to one another. We all know that it’s almost too late. We have waited too long and will now suffer because of it. So I accept my consequences and take a deep breath. I’m going in. No, this is not a scene from some sci-fi end-of-the-world disaster movie. Not even close. This particular scenario is being played out all over the country in local Walmarts everywhere. It’s the dreaded last minute back to school scramble.

The back to school scramble is a competition in which procrastinating parents across the nation compete against all odds to gather the required school supplies on each of their children’s lists. The goal is to meet all of the needs of all school going kids in your household without substitutions or delays, and all the purchases must be done at one location. That itself is a nearly impossible feat. But add to that the fact that you have waited until literally the last day, and the pickings are slim.

Though I hadn’t planned on it, I found myself competing again this year. Maybe it was some residual olympic spirit, or maybe I just wanted a challenge, but with me being an old pro at the scramble, I decided to go for the gold and wait until the last day. I was feeling good about this year. Though it was a harder skill level, I was well prepared and confident in my abilities. I am pleased to say, that after battling shelf stocking clerks, going head  to head with other postponing progenitors and ravaging already devastated aisles, I made it through. Not only did I survive the scramble, but I got all the items on my list but one. It may not get me the gold, but I’m sure it’s at least worth a solid silver. Next year I’m going all the way. And I’m not leaving without the colored pencils. I’m just sayin’.