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Thank you library

The library has a new service for locals...FREE tickets to area events! As of yet, there is no restrictions or limits on how many times you can get them - just a first come first serve kind of thing. Every time I go there are always tons of ones left for the Children's Discovery Museum ...so that's mine and Alex's new escape!

I take a book and let him go wild, he spends 80% of the time in the sand pit digging for dinosaurs. It's a great day for both of us, he gets to burn off energy and I get to read in peace!

Libraries rock! :-p


No time to say "no"...

Today I decided to say "yes" instead.

"Mommy, mommy we can color the whole book? Not just one tiny page?" Alex whines. I always tell him "Ok but just one page and then I have to finish phone calls.". We color and color and color...and giggle and make faces and talk about snacks. I find out he likes snacks but not supper and thinks we should stop having supper instead and replace it with three snacks. He colors Elmo red and then looks at me coloring Oscar the Grouch pink and sighs and tells me that he's green and I'm wrong. I tell him there is no wrong and in my mind even Oscar can be pink and sometimes he even smiles. "Oh mommy, don't be silly. Oscar could never smile. He's a Grouch!" But he stops halfway through coloring in Cookie Monster, puts down his blue crayon, and reaches for the yellow.

"Will you watch a movie with me momma?" Jarod begs. He asks every night, when was the last time I said I would? If I can't remember it's been too long. I'm trying to get a stain out of three different shirts but I put them down, grab my tea, sit down next to him, and put my feet up. Ahhh, how nice it is to relax and sip my tea instead of gulp it. How wonderful to watch Jarod laugh at Steve Martin. I pretend I have no idea what's going on so he explains the plot to me, he's "wrong" but his version of the plot and characters are so much better. If they had consulted him about the script it would have been a block buster.

"Mom, can you talk to me while I finish my writing?" Rebecca asks? I look at the huge load of laundry on my bed and know that if I don't get to it right now I'll be up until the wee hours finishing it up. I start to say "Not tonight, I'm too busy." but I think about how fast she's growing and there won't be many more nights. I sit down and we chat about gross stuff, she loves all things icky. Tonight she says she wants to be a contestant on fear factor or Survivor because she would win and I agree. We talk about her birthday and she says she doesn't want a party she just wants to do something with her new best friend. We think about it and finally come up with the perfect day. She's happy and excited.

I didn't finish my phone calls.
The shirts are still stained.
The laundry still waits.

But three kids went to bed content tonight, with smiles on their faces.

My true "job" was accomplished.

I need to remember to say YES! more often.

A winter's hike

Jason's and the kids have been hiking in the woods and having loads of fun on their outings. I finally got over my cold today and was up for a try, so Jason and I went out for a lover's stroll. We hiked about 1 mile through the forest and it was beautiful. What a work out though! It's not easy to plow through deep snow, similar to walking in water or through sand. We saw lots of tracks; deer, wolf, rabbit, birds, and squirrel. We giggled and frolicked and connected. The solitude was amazing, no one but us in the big bad forest, and so quiet. Refreshing.

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Snow Queen

As of late, Jason and I have been trying to sneak away from some "us" time. We love our kids but it's nice to go out for a peaceful dinner, walk hand in hand through shops, and be able to hear each other when we talk. :-)

This day, we really should have stayed home because it was really icy and beyond cold...but we didn't!

Pretty snow

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Gaylord was asked to be a judge at the Chili Cookoff during the local Winterfest, so the kids and I tagged along. To be honest, it couldn't compare to a Belfast festival but at least it got us out of the house for a bit.

Face-painting, which presented a problem for Alex who was used to the amazing talent of the artists who painted his face at all the festivals in Belfast.

Alex: Can I be Spiderman?
Lady: I can do a snowflake.
Alex: Can I be Hulk?
Lady: I can do a star.
He sighed really big and said "Can I be a stupid snowman?"
Lady: Uh, ok.

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Jason even talked me into coming outside too, in my PJ's no less, and took me for a thrilling ride. ;-P

Click to enlarge.


Trying something new...

My creativity has slowly died away of late, frozen by the snow I like to think. So I'm going to go back to the basics in an attempt to jump start it.

Writing Prompts.

Heh, I feel like I'm in 6th grade again.

"Where do you go to get away from the pressures of life? Write about that place."

To be honest, I don't have a place here. In order to find such a solitude you have to first connect with your surroundings. I haven't been able to accomplish that here...the weather being the main obstacle, apathy for what I perceive my current dwelling place to be, a barren iceberg, being the second. (I've not made peace with the cold yet. I'm working on it)

In the past though, I had my spots.

As a child, in the middle of nowhere Arkansas, it was the woods.
I'd head out, always with a book and a notepad, and just wander. Climb a tree and lose myself in a novel, sit by a brook and write as the water poured over my feet, or climb a hill and scream insanities at my echo. I'd sit in the middle of the forest and will the animals to me, pretending I was a medicine woman of old lore. I'd find a dugout or cave and fix it up in my mind, daydream about living there alone for months and discovering great gifts inside of me.

As a girl, in Northwest Arkansas, it was a couple blocks up from my house where an old log cabin sat near the square. A tiny state park of sorts. You couldn't go inside, which always bothered me, but I would sit on the porch with my journal in my lap and turn my thoughts to ink. It was set back enough that I felt alone but close enough to the square that I could people watch. Saw a lot of interesting stories being played out from my hiding spot.

As a woman, in Belfast, Northern Ireland it was the streets of the city. I could walk for hours, soaking in the heartbeat of city life. Accents of dozens of languages surround you, smells of fresh fish and chips, clatter of heels on cobblestones, the vibration of the metro whizzing pass, beautiful music of the street performers, chimes of the church bells, smiles of the shop keepers...it all came together like a talented orchestra and made me want to dance forever. I'll never forget the last walk I took in Belfast, tears streaming down my face as I said goodbye while she whispered back to me "Not goodbye. Until next time."

Arkansas was my first love and as such the thought of her will always make me smile and long for the peace I felt while gazing into her eyes. But alas, first loves usually do not have enough foundation to hold up and you drift away - finding yourself somewhere new and exciting and calling it home. I doubt we'll ever live there again, we enjoyed our taste of the city too much but she'll draw us back now and again with her beauty and memories, for you never forget your first taste of love.

Belfast, ah Belfast, she was my mistress. She drew up her skirt, showed me her thigh, and I was never the same. It was a whirlwind relationship of love and hate and new discoveries. I laid in her bed and thought it heaven. Even over the holidays, when I had never felt so alone in my life and swore I couldn't go on... I couldn't leave her and dug deep and found out who I really was. She wined me and dined me and then kicked me out. But I didn't blame her, loved her all the more for it and made her a promise that I'd be back. Someday.

Minnesota is just a stop over. Though I'll be here the same amount of time I was in Belfast, if not more, I just can't love her. I've tried but she finds me too strange and complicated. I admire her for her moods and gifts but she has no hold on me, nothing to entice me with. I'll forever respect her for giving me a resting place, but doubt I'll ever call her home. Though it's possible I'm sure...some loves take awhile to grow and kind of sneak up on you. Minnesota might wear down my defenses with time.


Massive update

Snow and glow sticks and taco salad and sugar-free living

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We're Back!

The kids and I took a trip back "home" to Arkansas to visit family that we haven't seen since before we left for N. Ireland! We rode at night so we didn't have to stop, the kids slept the whole way, and were able to make the trip in 14 hours! (13 and a half hours on the way back.)

It was so nice to thaw out and see everyone! I was just looking over the pics and love how happy Jarod looks in them, he had so much fun being around my huge family again.

My mother, father, myself and my three kids!

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Merry Christmas!

In Photos! :-P

The night before Christmas and all through the house you could hear Alex screaming "There's only one more hand left!" lol

My mom had sent us a good deed advent craft, each day of the month of December you did a good deed, wrote it on a hand, and glued it to the frame. It really taught him a lot about good deeds and as he'll tell you now 'I'm a good deeder.' lol

We also got to see a bunch of my family on Skype video! They were all over at my moms so got on to say hi. And we got to see Melissa and the baby on Skype too!

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It's been snowing for 3 days and apparently it's not going to stop until sometime around March....Wee. Something else I didn't realize is that the snow never melts during this time! In Arkansas if it snowed....it was always gone by the next day or two. It was nice that way, never outstayed its welcome. Snow that will be here for a few more months is a shock to my system. Every time I have to go outside I whimper and chant "I don't like it, don't like." It's cold and wet and clingy, I might be staying indoors this winter.

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One day a year to count your blessing is not enough so I'm thankful everyday, always, for every single hint of goodness that blows our way.

So....Thanksgiving to me is ALL about the food! :-P

If you remember, last year we just ended up eating pizza because of the whole "living in another country with no access to turkey or pumpkin" fiasco.

This year we made up for it!!

We had a 20ish pound turkey, stuffed with dressing, cranberry sauce, corn, wild rice casserole,
sweet potato casserole, yeast rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, a relish tray, apple cider....and some other side I'm forgetting. And PIES! Lots and lots of pies! Pumpkin, pecan, apple, strawberry, blueberry, cherry....you get the idea!


I finally got the comfort food I had been needing for the past year. I felt full and satisfied and happy and sleepy and content. lol

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Homemade Pizza!









Pub Crawl

The Twelfth