Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nature Walk

I don't think I have ever seen anything in nature quite as beautiful as New Jersey in the fall.

I walk out my back door and down the little gravel road to a temple of colors that pulls my soul out of the hard place it's been hiding and it beats with wonder and delight as Autumn sings to me, like a chorus of crimson and orange trumpeting angels.

What will I do when winter comes and covers it all with gray and cold?
Can I stop winter from arriving this year? 
What if I tell it that I'm just not ready or explain to it that I've found joy in Autumn and I'd prefer it not change?
Can my security in this season hold back the inevitable frost?

I expect that winter will respond in it's natural way, with silence and a shiver through my bones.

Sometimes, I spend a lot of time trying to find a way to convince winter to stay away.
While I do that, I don't go outside and absorb the season I am in. 
Winter comes anyway, and often, as I look out my window and watch the snow fall or cuddle with my kids on the couch with cookies and hot chocolate I remind myself that I love winter, too.

Each season comes exactly when it should.

And even though I KNOW this, it is hard to remember.

Why is it that the things we know are often the things that we can't quite seem to remember when we are scared of what comes next.?

I know that you can take plants, put them in an artificial environment and trick them into blooming before it is their proper season. 
I think the world does this to us, too.
Sometimes we find ourselves in an environment where we get our needs met artificially and we start stretching our roots and try to grow right away, right there-- without making sure it is the correct time for it.

When the right season is there, we've already lost our petals and our bodies are moving on to a new cycle as our souls freak out, knowing it's on a different timeline than our body now.

The soul knows when to grow, when to change, when to bloom.
The world usually tells us something else, and we let it trick us.
We do things that we are not to do in that season and it weakens us and hurts us.
We feel removed from everything natural, everything that is growing as it should. 
 We separate ourselves from the people who are growing properly, we don't fit anymore.
We know something is not right within our hearts, but we do not know how to fix it. We opened ourselves up and gave our best to artificial light and an environment that promised to be an easier way to 'good enough'.

I think we all have this struggle.
But it is a different thing when you have a child, struggling with how exposed and confused they are when they lived a season too many in the climate controlled, but worthless environment the world offered them. A child who is convinced that they cannot grow with sunlight wind and having to reach beyond the walls of where the world planted them. 
As a parent, I look at my own mistakes as the cause.
Maybe in finding the flaws in my work, I can undo all the damage that the world has done. 
 I want to fix everything, to get it all going and growing as it should be.

And I can control that about as much as I can control the changing  seasons. 

Just as winter will bring some chilly mornings and my joints will ache, winter comes next to New Jersey.

My child will do what comes next and I must not try to love him so much that I stop the natural changing of the seasons of the heart. I must not build a greenhouse that tricks him, even if a greenhouse seems awfully safe from where Mommy sits.
I know better.
And I forget until I look outside, catch a glimpse of the orange and scarlet leaves piling up beneath the trees and I remember that life is best lived by the experience of seasons and each of the seasons, even the cold ones, are beautiful.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins

My kids have been going a little crazy in the mornings and they've been really overdoing it on the cold cereal.  I don't usually have cereal in the house unless I found a great sale or we have company because the kids will go through it so fast. They will also have cereal as an after school snack, late night snack and eat it any chance they get if we have it.
They went through 8 jumbo sized boxes last week and drank 11 gallons of milk .
Look, we go through an obscene amount of milk in this family, but that was too much, even for our family of Calcium addicts.
 Cereal just doesn't work for our family. 

Today, I made a  big batch of Pumpkin muffins that can be frozen and thawed out the night before so the kids can grab a couple of them and head out in the morning.
They don't look fancy, but they taste really good.

They are probably even better with a nice tall glass of milk, so I may still need to look into purchasing a cow.

Pumpkin Muffins
3 C. flour
1 TB pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
3 C. sugar
1 15 oz can pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 C. veg oil
1/2 C. water

Mix dry ingredients together, then add pumpkin, eggs, oil and water. Mix well. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 way full and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Because I'm not Enough of a Geek Already

Last weekend we went to Comicon in the city.

 We had wanted to go last year, but I waited to buy tickets until a month before the event, because it never dawned on me that -duh- they would sell out. So, when I say I waited to buy tickets, I should really say "I didn't get tickets."
I didn't make that mistake this year, I bought our tickets within a few hours of them being available.  I even got them early enough to get a discount child's ticket for Romy, so she was only 5 bucks. 
We have been looking forward to this event for months, when Parker came home, it worked out just fine because we realized there were going to be a billion people there and Grey was going to flip out. No way could he handle crowds that size and he happily spent the day with his dad and we gave Parker his ticket.

There really were a bajillion people there, but it was so much fun.

Leave the action figure IN THE BOX or else.

Matt and I wore shirts that I made that featured something from our favorite nerd book series, The Dresden Files. I have seen pictures from other cons where there were always at least a couple of people dressed up as characters from the books. We were bound to run into a fan or two.
We didn't.
I think we were the only people there with that flavor of nerd going on. 
But there were so many other flavors, it was okay.

We walked through the Artist's Alley where the vibe was hard core comic book art fandom and since we are not hard core comic collectors, it wasn't the place for us. We also walked through the areas where the famous people were signing autographs, but we knew before we went that we were not going to wait in line for hours just to pay some celeb 40-100 bucks for a photo and their John Hancock.
Not even John Barrowman. 

We spent the majority of our time just looking at the booths with the different geek collectibles and crap.  I picked up a lot of free posters and buttons. 

There was so much to see, but Romy had her heart set on ONE thing- she wanted to win a T shirt from Geico that said "hump day." 
There was a long line. 
John Barrowman was NOT at the end of the Geico Insurance line. 
I said no, but when she looked over at Matt with those big blue eyes, he took her by the hand and they got in line to try and win a Geico Hump Day t shirt.

He's such a good Dad.
To win, you had to score 3000 points on a virtual pin ball game.
Romy only scored 1600.

She was bummed and they were strict about not giving a shirt to anyone who didn't make the score. I think that was kind of severe since it's something that makes anyone who has one a walking advertisement, but whatever, Geico.
Matt scored over 3000.
Romy was so happy, she jumped up and down cheering and he was the hero of the day. 

It was really fun and we saw some amazing costumes and met some super friendly people there.

If you are local and thinking about going next year, my advice is to bring your lunch- the food was crappy, expensive and the lines were insane. I would also warn parents that while 90% of the exhibits and costumes were PG rated, there are a TON of people there and it's not as fun for a kid as about 600 other things you can do with your kids. I felt bad for the crying kids being dragged from booth to booth all day who really only wanted to see Iron Man and then take a nap. 

And seriously, your four year old does not want to see this guy....
 or this guy.....

Buy your tickets early, because they sell out a month before the event. 
Bring a bag to tote your crap in, most vendors did not have a bag to schlepp the cool stuff you bought in.
Wear comfy shoes and know that the people who came in costume WANT you to ask for a picture. Tell them they are the best Doctor you have seen at the Con and make their day, too.

Not a fan of men in tights.

  Wonder Woman,  just textin'  her Justice League peeps.

It was an experience we will never forget and I'm thankful that I got to experience it with my wonderfully nerdy family- even if we didn't see John Barrowman.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Walmart Score

My first trip to Walmart in New Jersey was a rough one.

I walked through the sliding doors and was hit with a store that was packed, filthy and the first rack of clothing I saw contained cheetah print MC Hammer pants.
The prices were outrageous, the employees were rude and I was honestly shocked by how different the environment was from even the worst Walmart I'd been to in Utah.

It was not a good experience and I  vowed not to go back.

Of course, I went back. 
The prices were not any worse than anywhere else, everything costs more in New Jersey. I adapted to the grouchy employees and it was convenient. That convenience is why we all put up with Walmart.

Today, Walmart was good to me.
I was looking for bags to put leaves in. You have to use paper bags, otherwise you are not allowed to get rd of your green waste. Now that we have a truck, we can actually go to the dump and have a decent yard as long as we don't get any more tree- toppling hurricanes. 
Walmart didn't have any bags, I was annoyed.
 I went to look at yarn to ease my irritation.
They were making space for the Christmas craft items, so they had a bunch of fabric on clearance in the tiny back corner of the store where they have a small selection of sewing and knitting stuff.

1 yard cuts, packs of 4X4 squares and jelly rolls  for a buck. 

2 yard coordinating prints for three bucks and a pack of larger squares that matched the jelly rolls for four bucks.  

I nearly cleared the shelf. 

This almost makes up for the TWO times I have come home with rotten milk from that store. 


Monday, October 7, 2013

After the Conference Apocalypse

It was a wonderful Conference Weekend!
We watched as a family and for the most part, everyone payed attention until that last hour.

Today, I have the post-Conference Cleaning to do.
We did NO housework all weekend. 
We didn't even rinse our cereal bowls.

 (The dining room table right now-- cookies, mail, duct tape, my sewing box and Zane's hat from Trek. Why?)

I made conference cupcakes and didn't clean up afterwards.
Laundry that I planned to fold during the Saturday session just sat there. 

(at least 200 pairs of socks that have no mate)

We ate pancakes and sandwiches for our meals and left the dishes in the kitchen.

(Perhaps this is a bit TMI)

When we got home last night from celebrating Ethan M's 10th  birthday, I was completely grossed out by the house, but too tired to deal with it.

(my closet, now too dirty for monsters to hide in)

I battle- my filthy house.
I will take no prisoners.
I will leave no musty sock unwashed, no shelf uncluttered.

(Nail polish, air freshener, a half empty can of Diet Dr. Pepper, gummy bears and a half a dose of Dayquil...because that's how normal people live.)

I just need to get off the internet now....

Oh look, my crops are  ready to Harvest on Farmville!