New and Scary Part Two

One of the joys of blogging is the “discovery” process. Let me explain. In my most recent blog post I shared my adventures on the ski slope. As I wrote I must reflect, pulling out what was memorable and weaving words together to make it at least somewhat interesting for the world to read. So in the writing process I am able to relive the moment, examining the details. As I immerse myself in the memory I can almost feel the cold air on my face and feel the slippery skis on my feet. It is in my opinion an unexpected joy that writing has given me.

Today’s memory is of our second day of adventure. All of our children(well the 5 who live on the east coast) have now arrived at the cabin. As a funny aside everyone arrived separately each having been provided directions to our weekend retreat via email. Well as it turned out as each person arrived there was never another car in the driveway. So each of them, including my daughter who arrived in the middle of the night, had to go on faith that it was the right house. We all got a laugh out of this when it was discovered!

Anyway, I digress. It’s Saturday, the sun is shining for the first time in days and we have reservations for a Zip-lining adventure. The resort can accommodate 8 people at a time so our entire group cannot play but those who aren’t able have great alternatives. So after a hearty home-cooked breakfast we all head out.

We have been told that it will be cold so we all have tons of winter gear on…I now understand why little kids don’t enjoy going outdoors in the cold…it is a lot of extra clothing which makes it hard to move and weighs quite a bit too. As we near the resort I begin to feel quite anxious about this adventure. What on earth was I thinking? These zip lines are high up and I am not always a fan of heights. But I am committed so I squash those butterflies with some self-talk.

Once in the lodge we meet our guides for the afternoon. We all get into our harnesses, helmets, and gloves and head out onto the lift. I am telling myself this is going to be fun. I have all my children with me, the sun is shining, and I am doing something new and scary!

December 2014 Brettonwoods New Hampshire Zip-lining Adventure

There we all are about to begin our adventure.

Our first step is a brief run that includes the basics of zip-lining: sitting, holding on and the all important braking, oh and let’s not forget how to pull yourself in if you brake too soon and end up a distance from the landing point! My combat to fear is to go first, so off I go. But keep in mind that I can touch the ground and the run is only about 10 feet…but still I do it.

This mastered we are off, trekking through some beautiful terrain to our first zip. The day is truly glorious. The sun is bright and the air crisp. Fresh snow is everywhere. Truly picture perfect. I thank God as I amble through the knee deep snow for such a beautiful day with my family.

We arrive at our first Zip. Clip on and off I go!

Exhilarating!

The runs get progressively longer and higher over the next couple of hours zipping above the tree line, skiers and snowboarders below our suspended selves. We walk over some high in the tree rope bridges(this I can do without) and even rappel a few times(this I really like…I can see some rock climbing in my future). Our time passes all too fast and before you know it we are headed back to the lodge to turn in our harness.

What fun we all had. Hopefully one day soon I will have some of the video feed that Emily’s boyfriend got from his little video camera thing(not sure what this is called, maybe a go pro).

Great day, great adventure, fun memories.

Me(back left) Emily(back right) and Jessica(front and center)

Me(back left) Emily(back right) and Jessica(front and center)

 

December again…

time_for_champagne-party_invitations-tokketok-whiteSo here we are, December once again. And as it does every year at this time in addition to the usual hubbub of merry celebrations and all other things jubilant, I celebrate a birthday.

All of my life I always felt somewhat cheated by having a birthday a mere 10 days before Christmas. Between commitments and illness, few friends attended my parties as  child. Once I got older I preferred to just skip over the whole thing entirely. Not because I disliked getting older…I know some have a real hang up about that but I don’t. I just got tired of being disappointed by those who could not celebrate; it’s hard to compete with the hoopla of the Christmas season. When my favorite guy and I got hitched this became a bit of a sticking point because he is a major birthday celebrator.

But this year I will be 50. Anyhow the discussions about birthday celebrations began early this year and were all over the place. I could easily rule out doing something at our home because we all know who would be doing most of the work for that kind of party. So I considered having a party out somewhere. Wow, can that get pricey! Then I thought I would rent a house up north for a few days and have all our kids there and spend time playing and hanging around together. Whoa—do you know how much that costs?!

I decided to speak with a friend from work who heads north to New Hampshire regularly about a place to stay and do you know what? She is letting us stay in their home for the time for free! Yep, no cost at all! I am so blessed. She has a perfect little log cabin in the woods. Sleeps just enough for all the gang. Even has a hot tub under the stars. Today she came in to show me the photo’s of the Christmas tree that they put up this past weekend.

So we will be heading north for a few days. With the exception of our daughter on the west coastm all the kids, spouses, significant others and grandson is coming. We will be playing in the great outdoors for sure! Hopefully there will be plenty of photo’s, laughs, food, and memories to share.

For today it brings me Joy and Thanks just thinking about it.

Share Your World

Thanks Cee for the clever prompts that bring about some thought provoking answers.

What is your favorite time of day?

This is somewhat dependent on what day of the week it is. The early morning hours are my favorite time on Saturday and Sunday but during the work week my favorite time of day is when I climb into my most comfortable bed at the end of a long day!

What’s your favorite charitable cause and why?

I am challenged by this question as I have never thought of a “favorite” charity—I contribute to quite a few on a regular basis; The American Cancer Society, Dress for Success, World Vision, Public Radio, just to name a few. I suppose my favorite is my local church. It is here that I sow not just my tithe but I give of my time most consistently always with an eye toward expanding God’s kingdom.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

A rainy day is a perfect excuse to waste the entire afternoon reading magazines.

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

Oh a pen for sure. I am actually quite pen picky, it needs write in black ink and needs to be a certain kind of pen, smooth roller, dark ink.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful to have returned home after a wonderful time away with family and look forward to a new week of learning new things and teaching others.

Our daughter and 2 little lovely granddaughters we were visiting.

Our daughter and 2 little lovely granddaughters we were visiting.

Street Art

 

My husband and I recently traveled to the beautiful state of Washington to visit our daughter and granddaughters who moved there last April. They live about an hour outside of Seattle so a day trip to Pike Place was in order. Just as we were arriving I read a FB post from a photographer friend of mine who recently challenged her students to shoot some snaps portraying street art, I thought this venue would offer some great snaps—I wasn’t disappointed.

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It’s Been A While

It has been a little over 3 months since I have written a post. In some respect 3 months seems like such a short amount of time however as I reflect on my life over these past months I would say it is not.

When last we met it was May and I was telling you just how busy a month it would be for me/us as a family. So let me catch you up on my life.

In June we celebrated the birth of our first grandson, Ethan John. He was followed soon thereafter by a cousin, our second granddaughter and sister to Piper…Lucy. All absolute joys and if I can ever get my Photoshop squared away I will have plenty of pictures to share with you.

I rather suddenly felt called to return to my pursuit of completing my degree. For several years I was actively working on completing my BS(I have a 3 year diploma in nursing) however in 2010 I put my studies on hold as I was a bit overwhelmed in life. So I took a course in the beginning of the summer…got an A! and find myself once again in a holding pattern. You see when I began this pursuit in 2005 or so my intention was to finish the BS and enroll in an APRN program. Since that time however the entry level for APRN’s has changed and I find myself re-thinking the entire process. So I have sent my transcripts off to another program and await news of acceptance.

Yoga. A new found pleasure since our last meeting has been discovered in my life. Plenty of stretching past the comfort zone here! I have also found the secret to tolerating the monotony of the treadmill…a great audiobook! You can only listen while working out, it is like the great reward.

I wrote on several occasions this past spring of my  plans to volunteer at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for a week. This experience is worthy of a post on its own…photo’s too! Definitely worth repeating.

What else past the months? A trip to Boston, business mixed with pleasure. A wedding, plenty of swimming during the hottest July on record in the Northeast, a few sailboat excursion with our friends Doug and Joanne, a couple of fun foodie groups, hiking, BBQing, entertaining, birding, gardening, enjoying…lots of “ing”ing! Oh and quite a bit of reading- again probably worthy of a couple of blog posts.

Steven and I leave next Wednesday for a trip out west. We fly into Vegas and will rent a convertible to drive to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and back to Nevada. I cannot wait. 7 whole days with nothing but my guy, the great outdoors and God. I am expecting great things!

I look forward to reconnecting with my blogging friend. Until then…

Be authentic and enjoy life! Three months seems short but as I reflect back upon it much living has been compressed into those 90 days.

~Paige

 

What May Brings

May

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
–  Robert Frost

I feel this poem reflects how quickly time passes. It seems as though it was just last week that we were talking about New Year’s goals. Each month I have spent time reviewing my goals, updating and adding new ones. I have found this to keep me on task and even challenge me to new heights. I want to thank you dear readers for encouraging and reading along.

As I peek into May I get a glimpse of a busy and diverse month. In our family May has more birthday’s than any other. We will celebrate the births of my son, brother, niece, nephew and our granddaughter. I expect this will bring a few photo opportunities as we take Piper to the circus and for her first carousel ride.

Piper Jean

My husband has picked up the planks to build two raised beds that I intend to grow some vegetables in. More photo opportunities here.

We will be honoring the mother’s of our two soon to be born grandchildren at a baby shower. Yet more photo’s.

I plan to honor my chosen profession of nursing this month as we celebrate Nurse’s week from May 6-12th. I hope to bring a couple of guest posts as well as a few posts of my own.

The Foodies also have tentative plans for a late May gathering to kick-off summer. You can check out our other adventures on the newly created Foodie page. I think I will begin to add recipes our favorite prepared dishes.

Finally, at least for now are our plans to travel to the Delaware Water Gap next weekend to take part in a digital photography course. I have high expectations for this weekend. I am sure I will have marvelous things to share when I return.

Landscape in April

Above is a photo in our backyard last weekend. The colors are popping out all over the place.

What plans do you have for the month of May?

Be My Guest~ He’s “Spectrum-y” but He’s All Mine

autismawareness

It is hard to believe that the month of April is pushing into May already. Part of my plan for my blog this month is to raise my own and my readers awareness of the often misunderstood diagnosis of autism. Earlier this month a friend shared his family’s personal story. Today’s post is written by my cousin Beth. My invitation to her to share her story on my blog has caused her words to bubble out onto the page. I have learned quite a bit about the trials and joys both of these family’s have faced over the years by reading their hearts story. It is my prayer that you, my reader, have as well.

Yes, He’s “Spectrum-y” but He’s All Mine!

“Spectrum-y”….. it’s a word those of us affected by Autism have come to know oh-so-well. Loving someone who is on the “Autism Spectrum” has it’s challenges, but with each challenge comes a bounty of blessings. One learns not to take the little things in life for granted. All the typical milestones, we as parents count on, become less and less important when one of our children has Autism. Getting through a shopping trip without a tantrum becomes the best day ever. The first day you don’t get woken up by the security alarm going off because your child wants to go outside at 4 AM… it doesn’t get any better! How about the first time you can go out for dinner and not have to leave inside of twenty minutes because after that the screaming begins…all these become milestones of an Autistic parent. A mother learns that the “competitiveness” we feel with other Mother’s is so insignificant- we start to appreciate how much a laugh, smile, reaction, kiss or a hug means more than a winning Lotto ticket could ever mean. Only a parent who lives with Autism gets how important it is to have a moment of peace and a full night’s sleep without having someone erupt into a tantrum. The tantrums can be fleeting and usually tolerable, but when it happens in a grocery store and you have to leave a cart full of groceries just to get the tantrum to stop… it’s always exciting. It’s certainly never dull….

My son was born September 5,1998… I’ll never forget that day. Not just because he was born then, but because it was the same day Mark McGuire tied Babe Ruth’s homerun record. All anyone could hear all afternoon was screaming and yelling- and it wasn’t from laboring women, it was from their significant others cheering the ball game! Interesting to say the least. I thought then, Corey would have have such an exciting life, simply because of the day he was born. How those words somehow “haunt” me, but not really in a bad way. Simply because if I knew then what I know now, I would have shut the doors and turned on a movie- maybe I could have had a little “less” drama. More of a sit-com kind of life? Maybe “Seinfeld” or “Friends” or something to “lighten the mood”. But I went with the moment. Sports were great that year, and I don’t even like sports. But, if you have to watch sports, that’s how you watch them. oh, well. C’est la vie…Corey was always a pretty easy going baby-he went to bed great… no fuss, slept through the night at 7 weeks, ate GREAT- I couldn’t get enough food into him! I never knew babies could eat so much. He was twenty pounds at 6 months old! He was chubby and did exactly what he was “supposed” to do as a baby and life was good… or so I thought. It couldn’t get much better, right? Until about the age of one…then it all changed.

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His easiness and contentedness would be sharply contrasted by how angry and annoyed he would get, for what seemed like no real reason. Loud noises bothered him, especially music, drastic changes in the weather like wind and rainstorms affected him and not in a good way! And foods became a huge issue- toddlers learn what they like and don’t like, but Corey was obsessed with macaroni and cheese- ALL THE TIME! Morning, noon, night… and if I ran out… believe me, I was at the store no matter what time of day, buying more. The extremes of his tantrums were getting worse. I was told repeatedly that I “spoiled” him or he needed a “beating” to put him in line. My heart knew better. My heart knew there was something else. Corey may have been what I thought was “stubborn” but he was perfect in my eyes and he LOVED his Mom! He never left my side unless it was for close family and he was only happy when I was in view. He didn’t play with kids, he didn’t even a want to look at them and that was ok with me, for a while. But, eventually, it was more and more like he was in a whole other world not a part of ours… and a part of me wished I could be there with him. I knew in the deepest part of my heart, something wasn’t right.

` After months of hearing, “there’s nothing wrong with him”, “he’s a typical boy”, ” all boys are slow” ( between you and me, I never quite understood what that meant?) and “you’re being paranoid” I FINALLY got someone to “hear” me- she asked me if he was ever diagnosed “On the Spectrum”? Nope. No idea what that even means? So, being the “neurotic” person I am… I Googled it…Oh My Gosh!!! Finally! It wasn’t me! He was everything Google said and more! Fast forward about 3 months when I could finally get to see a doctor and yes… he was officially diagnosed with PDD-NOS- a form of Autism diagnosed in children under the age of 6. Now I could get help from school for him- he qualified for services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language. Yay. What I didn’t realize in the midst of my happy dance, that while Corey would “qualify” for Special Education, I wasn’t prepared for what home was going to be like… here it comes. I still had a daughter to care for, too. Most of my family didn’t believe me or want to know about it- it was embarrassing. The friends that cared to even know what I was going through asked and the ones who didn’t care, couldn’t tolerate his tantrums and they stopped calling. Going out to the grocery store, mall or a restaurant became the most difficult trips- it almost wasn’t worth it. But I needed to get out and be around other people. Strange noises made him scream, smells made him freak out and unfamiliar places put the fear of God into him like nothing I had ever known. What I didn’t know then, that I do know now, was if I educated myself “enough”, I would have known all those things, right? Being a parent to an autistic child is a learning process. It’s also one where a lot of tolerance is learned, too. I’ve had many people stare at me and him, people have told me I’ m a bad Mother- that one came not only from strangers, but from family, too- if I knew how to be a decent parent, he would never act the way he does. One learns to ignore it. But it makes everything just a little more difficult. Other parents brag about how smart their kid is, how talented their kid is, how many friends their kid has- I had a “party” when Corey wrote his name without assistance for the first time… in first grade!!!! The first book he read by himself… in second grade… was cause for celebration! Mardi Gras paled in comparison to how many people I called and celebrated the news with! With his success came struggles- his OCD. He became infatuated with things that got in the way of his day, sometimes. Sea animals was and still is a big one for him- Star Wars, video games, cartoons, Titanic The Movie- but the biggest was penguins. He talked about them day and night, all the different kinds, he had videos, books… we even went to the penguin exhibit in Mystic- to this day years later, he still remembers everything about that one penguin. That one seemed to take over his life, but we all listened and in a weird way, became educated by him. Truthfully, I’m glad he took it down a notch…but no obsession he has now EVER compared to “The Penguins”… that one was tough. We did it, though.

Corey is 13 1/2 now and in middle school. He likes girls, video games, different types of foods for lunch -pizza and cheeseburgers are his favorites, though- he likes to cook, he likes math. I could never understand that one but it makes sense why… it’s predictable, just like he likes it. Predictable. That’s our life. Our whole family life. Predictable. Sometimes boring, but we do it because it works for him- the peace through the process is something my whole family and those closest to me have had to learn. I know, God doesn’t give me what I can’t handle, but I guess what I’ve learned? He can bring it on! I can handle anything! Sometimes, life doesn’t always go the way we want it to and Corey learns that everyday with great difficulty. I see it in his eyes when he’s faced with a sudden change. It seems so minute for some of us, but for him, he works so hard to just get through the day and when he does, there’s a certain gratification he gets from doing a good job… and so do I. Partly because I know how hard it was for him to do it…but mostly… because I’m his Mom and I get to love every single second of watching him.

Thanks to both of my guest bloggers this month for sharing such courageous stories.

Autism Flower

March Madness

 

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I had a great weekend. My honey arrived home from his week in Guatemala in the wee hours of the night, tired and not feeling completely well, but home. Good to have him home. Saturday had a high potential of being a long day of waiting so I was so happy for the distractions I had lined up.

After a morning that was both productive and reflective I headed out the door to meet my sister for lunch that would be followed by a walk. It was a cloud covered morning but I prayed that the clouds would break so that we could enjoy some sun and warm spring air.

We started at this Thai restaurant. The food was beautifully prepared and served. IMG_0316IMG_0317

As we enjoyed our meals the clouds cleared and the sun came out. We proceeded to our destination down the road a ways called Stony Creek. I asked my sister about the history of the trail but she could not recall any of the facts she had been told.

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The water level was very low at this time of day and made for some interesting pictures.

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Dave was sitting on a bench on the marsh. He is an obvious birder and filled us in on the migratory birding patterns for this area. The Osprey nest awaits the return of the birds which according to Dave will be this week sometime.

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The day was quite warm and perfect for enjoying the shore. I snapped a few more pics before we moved on for the day. That is for the next post.

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