Friday, April 27, 2012

Are YOU Listening? Seriously, are YOU?

I am participating in the 5 for 5 writing series at Momalom where bloggers write a post a day for five days about a given topic.  Today's topic is LISTEN.

The twist on today's 5 for 5 post is that it is also Six Word Friday over at Melissa Camera Wilkins' Blog!  

Listen, hear, feel, understand and write.
The voices, stories in your head,
Let them out.  Set them free.
Share your stories with the world.
Write them, Blog them, Journal them.
Share your creativity with the world.
Don't just keep it to yourself.
This is me, trying to share,
Some of the voices, stories memories,
that bounce around in my head.
Read, enjoy, comment, come back again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Rambling Thoughts On Age

I am participating in the 5 for 5 writing series at Momalom where bloggers write a post a day for five days about a given topic.  Today's topic is AGE.

We all know what age is.  Simply put, it is the number of years we have been alive.  

We all know that there are certain rights of passage that come with certain ages.  

Four year olds get to start school.  
Sixteen year olds get to learn to drive.  
Eighteen year olds get to vote.  
Nineteen year olds get to drink. 

As child there are always things that you want to do but can't until you are older.  
How many times did you tell your parents that you couldn't wait to be an adult and move out on your own?

As an adult, there are so many things that you could only do when you were younger.
How often do you wish you could be a carefree child again?

I think back 20 years, to when I was 15 and thought that my parents were old and my grandparents were really old.  Now that I am the age that my mother was then, it really doesn't seem that old.  And then I realize that my parents are around the age that my grandparents were at that same time and I wonder why I ever thought that classified as REALLY old.  Time really does change ones perception of age and what is old.

A few years ago, I was at a Brownie Meeting, my first year as a leader, and had this conversation with three of the girls:

Keira: "Nicki, how old are you?"
Me: "How old do you think I am?"
Katrina: "You are old enough to have a husband and a house."
Keitha: "You must be really old then!"
Keira: "But not as old as our moms because you aren't old enough to have kids yet."
They all huddled together and whispered for a moment and looked at me again.
Katrina: "We think you are 19."
Me:  "Good guess girls!"
Keitha: "Are we right?"
Me: "Nope, but let's just pretend that you are!"
(The 30 year old me was very happy to pretend that I was 19 again!)

And there you have it, my migraine induced random thoughts about AGE!  (By the way, right about now,  on day two of this monthly migraine, I would love to go back to an age before I started getting these lovely headaches!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Photo That . . .

I am participating in the 5 for 5 writing series at Momalom where bloggers write a post a day for five days about a given topic.  Today's topic is PICTURES.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do for today's 5 for 5, with the topic of Pictures, I had a few ideas bouncing around in my head, but hadn't settled on a direction when Pam at writewrds posted her Hostel Bookers 7 Super Shots post and nominated me to participate as well.  So, I gave into the peer pressure (just kidding, I thought it was a neat idea) and decided to do two challenges as one!  So, here goes, I am taking part in Hostel Bookers 7 Super Shots AND Momalom's 5 for 5 with this post! 

First, I needed to pick seven photos, that shouldn't have been difficult as I take hundreds of photos every month, but in my typically obsessive nature, it took me half and hour of searching for the "perfect" photos for each category.  But, here they are!

A photo that . . . takes my breath away.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to happen upon these two butterflies who were too busy . . . "enjoying each other's company" to notice me and my camera.  I got a number of gorgeous photos of these two "friendly" creatures.  And it still amazes me that I was able to get pictures of such a beautiful, natural event.  And it makes me giggle that I witnessed this event at Upper Canada Village!

A photo that . . . makes me laugh or smile.
This is Liam and I in September 2009 at the New York State Fair.  It always makes me smile because there aren't a whole lot of photos of Liam and I (I'm always the one with the camera) and most of the ones we do have are posed.  This is natural.  We are happy.  We are having fun.  We are on holidays.  We are waiting for Liam's first ever concert to start, Sara Evans.  Since then, he has been to many concerts and loves country music as much as his Daddy and I do!

A photo that . . . makes me dream.
Seeing my little boy trying to do grown up things that he sees his daddy do makes me dream about his future.  I wonder who he will be.  What he will become.  Where will the future take this little person with the huge personality.

A photo that . . . makes me think.
My messy flower beds, at the beginning of spring makes me think of what is to come.  Sunny summer days, filled with beautiful flowers and a vegetable garden overflowing with home grown produce.  I hope that is what life has in store for me . . . happy times with good friends, loving family and enough of everything we need to stay healthy and happy.

A photo that . . . makes my mouth water.
Homemade hamburger patties, cooked on an open fire . . . really, does it get much better than that?  Well, maybe if they were accompanied by a bottle of red wine.  Now I am hungry . . . who wants a burger?

A photo that . . . tells a story.
We were camping, we needed fire wood, Liam found us fire wood.  My sometimes serious, always helpful little man, doing his part to get the fire started so we could cook supper!

A photo that . . . I am am most proud of (aka my National Geographic Worth Shot).
I grew up with my mother and papa being avid bird watches.  Although I am no expert and can only identify the most basic of birds (this is a chickadee!) I do love feeding the bird in the winter and when it's not too cold, trying to get some pictures of the fluttery little creatures!  And every so often I get what I think is a pretty good shot!  

And there you have it, by 7 Super Shots.  I could keep going with dozens of other photos but that might just get to be too much!  Hope you enjoyed my pictures!

Finally, to challenge five other bloggers to jump on the Hostel Bookers 7 Super Shots Challenge . . . 

Allison at Ali's Adventures
Krista at Life In The Hutch

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why? Why? Why?

I am participating in the 5 for 5 writing series at Momalom where bloggers write a post a day for five days about a given topic.  Today's topic is WORDS.

Babies make such cute little sounds when they are brand new.  I remember Liam making little grunting noises that reminded me a little baby piglet.  But then there are the times when they scream and scream and scream, when nothing you do can soothe them.  Haven't we all in desperation said to our little babies, "I just wish you could tell me what's wrong!"

Before you know it, that little baby isn't a baby anymore.  Suddenly, you have a walking, talking toddler, who amazes you everyday with the new words they are learning to say and use.  They are finally able to start putting words to their needs, making things a little easier for you when they want something.  There are still lots of moments where they are just babbling and making no sense whatsoever to anyone but themselves, but it doesn't matter.  They are finally using the words that you were so desperate to hear.

In our house, we have moved past the toddler talk phase and into the three year question phase.  Liam has words for just about everything.  Sure, there are lots of words that he still needs to learn to say, like amphibian, which he heard on a Dinosaur documentary last night, but for the most part he can articulate his wants and needs.  His biggest need is to know EVERYTHING!

The questions are constant.  "Who is that?" "What are you doing?" "Where is my car?"  And the most frequent of all questions, a single word, "WHY?"  Everything from the simplest task to the most complicated device in the house needs to be explained, repeatedly!  

I know that why is a very important word when you are three years old and learn about the world and everything in it.  But sometimes it is just plain exhausting having to explain everything.  I know that repetition is how three year olds learn and remember things but do I really have to answer the same question 10 times in a row?  And I know that it is very important for you to know the exact answer to every question that pops into your head, but I really don't know all the answers, all the time.  I wish I did.  I wish I had the words and knowledge to answer every question that my little man asks but it just doesn't work that way!  

So, even though 3 years ago, I was wishing that my little baby boy had the words to tell me what he wanted and needed, there are now times when I wish he would, just for a little while, stop using those words and give Mommy a few minutes of peace from the questions.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Depression Changes Things

I am participating in the 5 for 5 writing series at Momalom where bloggers write a post a day for five days about a given topic.  The first topic is CHANGE.

Many people think of depression as just feeling sad all the time.  Unfortunately for those of us who suffer from depression, we know that there is a whole lot more to it than that.  Depression effects just about every aspect of your life, not always at the same time or in the same way but it touches everything in someway. 

Everything changes when you become depressed.  The way you look at life, the way you interact with people, the way you do your job, your thoughts, your choices, your hopes and desires.

Some of these changes are easy enough to get back on track once you learn how to control your depression.  But some of them are not.  Sometimes it seems as though depression has changed certain aspects of your existence for good.

Before I developed depression, I was full of energy and motivation, always ready to try new things and make decisions, although I was a little bit shy, I wasn't afraid of meeting new people and I was no super model, but for the most part, I was happy with my appearance.  Now, even though my depression is under control, I have changed.  

I don't have the energy and motivation that I once had.  Even when I want to do something, it can be a struggle to motivate myself to get up off the couch or move away from the computer.  I miss the enthusiasm that I once had for many things.  I hate having to push myself to do the things I love. 

I look in the mirror and I don't like what I see.  I need to get healthier, not only for me, but for my family.  I need to eat better and eat less.  I need to exercise more.  I need to stop just saying these things and actually doing them.

I am tired of worrying about what people think of me.  I am tired of seeing things so negatively.  I am tired of not being able to make a decision.  I am tired of the way depression has changed me.  I am tired of depression being in control.  It is time I learn to control my depression.

It is time to CHANGE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Can I Wrap My Boy In Bubble Wrap?

Liam has been an accident waiting to happen these last few days.

It started with a splinter in his hand at Home Depot on Friday.  It was quickly removed, but apparently I didn't get all of it as on Saturday is was red, swollen and puss filled.  Fortunately, it was quickly taken care of and by Sunday, you could hardly even see the mark!

Saturday morning, he had a run in with the cat.  I hear "Mommy, come quick, Tickles picked me two times and I can see my bone!"  Needless to say, he was being a little overly dramatic about this.  He actually only had three little scratches on his hands.  There were no exposed bones! Perhaps this will teach him not to follow the cat under the bed!  And to go away when she hisses at him!  

Supper time on Saturday came the first big one.  I really don't know how he did it, but he fell, hitting his forehead on the edge of the dining room table.  At the time, it was just red and a little bump.  It looks a lot worse now than at the time!

Sunday, when he was napping, he fell out of bed.  Luckily there were no injuries from this!  And he even went back to sleep!

On Monday morning, he was spinning in circles in the playground at daycare when he got dizzy and fell (funny how that happens when you spin in circles!).  He hit his eye on  the slide and now has a cut, swollen and bruised eye.

I am thankful that none of these have been serious injuries and we haven't had to make any trips to the hospital or anything!  But if this doesn't stop soon, I am seriously going to think about wrapping Liam in bubble wrap to keep him from hurting himself!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Homemade Hot Cross Bun

When it comes to food at Easter, one of the first things I think of is Hot Cross Buns.  But not the ones you can buy in the store, for me, only homemade ones will do!  

When you grow having something homemade your entire childhood, it's just gotta stay that way!  Thankfully, not only did my mother teach me to enjoy and appreciate homemade baked goods, she also taught me to bake them!

So this morning, Liam and I hit the kitchen together with my Mom's recipe to make Hot Cross Buns.  As always, he was eager to help bake but rather disappointed that we would not be putting smarties in the hot cross buns!  (I guess smartie cookies are on next weekend's baking agenda!)

Come on Mom, Let's get baking!

Here is the recipe, complete with instructions and photos!

Hot Cross Buns 

1 cup warm water
2 tsps sugar
2 tbsp yeast
2 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs, beaten
10 cups flour
1 1/2 cups currants (I use raisins because I like them better.)

Mix dissolve 2 tsp of sugar in the warm water.  Sprinkle in yeast.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  (Note: do this in a bowl where it has space to rise, I use a 2 cup glass measuring cup.)

Melt margarine.  In a large bowl, mix milk, margarine, 2/3 cup sugar, salt and cinnamon.  After yeast mixture has sat for 10 minutes, stir and add to milk mixture.  Add eggs, beat well. 

Stir in currants and 3 cups of flour.  Add remaining flour 2 or 3 cups at a time, stirring to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, place in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size, usually about an hour.

Punch dough down.  Divide into 36 even pieces form into smooth balls.  Cut cross on top with a sharp knife.  (I usually make mine a little smaller, so that I get 48 buns.)

Allow to rise, again, about an hour.

Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes.

Glaze with sugar water.  Ice crosses when cool.

Watching the yeast rise was interesting and provoked a lot of "whys?" but for the most part, Liam was too excited and eager to do stuff that he didn't care about the answers!  

Stirring and tasting are the best parts of the job!

Adding the flour in small amounts (2-3 cups at a time) makes it much easier to mix.

Reading for kneading!

"You really want me to use my hands?  Are you sure?"

Kneaded and ready to rise.


Every little person's favorite part . . . punching down the dough!

Shaping the buns.

Ready to rise again!

Ready to bake!

Baked and cooling!

Finished and waiting to eaten!