Category: Bear (Page 2 of 3)

There aren’t enough days in the weekend

Good morning, world. Or evening. Or whatever time it is when you read this. Today I am off on a super, special, surprise trip to a very fun place with Ladybug, Butterball, NannyGoat and Bear. Lots of pics and stories to share when we are done! Don’t forget you have until midnight tonight to comment and possible win free cinnamon buns and a photo album here. Winner to be announced Monday morning!

Meanwhile, I am hope you all enjoyed your midweek and St. Patrick’s Day. Ours was a slightly quieter celebration than last year as we were unable to locate the beer goggles :( However, the addition of a new Irish Soda Bread recipe-big thanks to @irishsamom-brought the feeding frenzy to even new heights. There was, of course, still a few Irish Car Bombs dropped and there was still some Irish step dancing

And RolyPoly stayed tucked inside momma (as he should for for the next 4 weeks).

I am hoping for a peaceful and beautiful weekend for myself and all of you. Back soon.

A Tale Of Two

When Chelsea King went missing, we (as I am sure all area residents did) felt dismay and concern. Bear and I (as well as MacD, Nannygoat and Mr. Vixen) were hit especially close to home. That is our field. That is our place. Yes it’s a community field, but it was our community field. My children grew up there. Learned to fly kites there, played softball there, hiked the trails with our dogs there, Gram and Gramps took Ladybug to the park there every Saturday morning for years, we celebrated birthday parties there. My first time trying roller blades was there, as was my first big fall off roller blades. The boys had epic paint ball competitions there. Lloyd proposed marriage to Nannygoat on the trails near the waterfall. This was a place of many years of joy and activities for us.

Between Bear and I, Bear was absolutely convinced Chelsea had fallen on the trails and was hurt. We know the trails and it can be rough terrain in areas. Falling into a culvert, being unable to get out seemed like the obvious and only scenario to Bear. Being young, healthy, full of faith and innocence; she was so sure. I was hopeful this was the case, but not certain. A sick feeling in my stomach, mother’s intuition maybe, or just a sense of foreboding.

When they called for volunteers on Saturday morning, despite the pouring rain, Bear and I suited up in our best hiking gear, purchased two rain ponchos and headed off. By this time, my brain was entertaining the thought that she hadn’t fallen. That she wasn’t lying somewhere hurt and waiting to be found. Bear’s faith, however, remained untouched by the length of time and the fact that 100s of deputies had been searching for days and not found her. As we fought the traffic jam near the search HQ for nearly an hour, we noticed volunteers beginning to walk away from the area instead of towards the check in point. We asked several of them what was going on. It turned out too many people had shown up for the search. All volunteers were being turned away for now. We were asked to come back the next day.

Then someone was arrested in connection to her disappearance. Details were sketchy, but for certain they had found an article of her clothing and DNA linking to convicted sex offender. My heart sank, as reality set in. Bear would not give up hope that Chelsea was out there somewhere still. Possibly hurt by this man, but fighting on and just waiting to be found. She had to work the next two days, so we were unable to join the search. But during those two days, our lives were rocked by more revelations.

That Saturday night, they released some details about the man being held in connection with the case. His picture was all over the TV. As was the address at which he was living. This wasn’t just our park, this was our neighborhood. That home was just two blocks from our home of ten years. Fishboy’s mother lives a scant few houses away, as does his aunt’s family. Nannygoat walked past there on a daily basis during the years surrounding his first conviction and she was 14 years old at the time; the same age as his victims. Less than a block from Bear’s elementary school, where she walked to and from 2nd-6th grade. On Sunday morning, Sparkles came by to help with a shed Mr. Vixen is building. He also had news. Apparently when his pregnant girlfriend had watched the news the night before, she had recognized the man being held. Her sister called her and confirmed it. She allowed me to read some of her court papers. You see, she was one of the girls who testified at his preliminary hearing 10 years ago. She was one of his victims. Thank God, not one of the victims who were so badly beaten that resulted in the crimes he was actually charged with. She was one of the “lucky” victims, if there is such a thing, who got away. Still, she was wounded emotionally and the fear of testifying during that time still haunts her to this day. So haunted, that she had never shared with anyone but her family. You see, we know her because she lived in our neighborhood. These are our kids who were hurt. It could have been my daughter, they are nearly the same age. Sadly, during those two days, one last revelation was revealed: that the suspect had lived not far from the high school where Amber Dubois had disappeared during the time she went missing nearly 13 months ago. I felt this was too much coincidence. We had just moved into this city when Amber had gone missing and I had tried to join in that search also.

The day of our search efforts dawned chilly, but clear. Bear was now certain we were looking for a body. Certain of this myself, I wondered what they would have us do? Certainly they didn’t want a bunch of volunteers tromping through possible crime scenes? We were assigned to a group, given a leader and our leader was handed a grid map of the area we were assigned to. It wasn’t any where near the park or the trails. It was actually near where Amber Dubois had disappeared some 13 months ago. Turns out we were not searching for a missing 17-year-old girl on this assignment, but for the possible remains of a 13-year-old girl who had been missing for over a year. We were instructed on what to look for (bones, clothing, shallow graves and such) and what to do when we found something. I listened with stunned disbelief. What am I doing? Can I do this? What if we find bones or a grave? Could I handle it? Could Bear handle it? Our group gathered. Leaving no stone unturned, no holes uninvestigated, and tromping down every inch of vegetation on the overgrown hillside; we searched. Fingertip to fingertip, lined in neat rows, step by slow step for three hours. At times calling to the police officer who was our leader when we found something suspicious. The officer would check what we found. If it warranted further investigation, we tied an orange flag at the area. Bear and I had used up all six of our flags. And then someone’s phone rang. And then another. They had found Chelsea’s body. It was unconfirmed, but we were headed back to search HQ. As hundreds of volunteers milled around, drinking donated water and eating donated food, we waited for word. After a time, quietly, a lead volunteer went from small group to small group. He laid his hands lightly on our backs and stated it was confirmed. We held each other and wept. For her parents, for Chelsea and for our community. We were interviewed by the news. Bear was asked if she knew Chelsea and said no. And then she told him why we had come: That we had to come and that if she was missing she knew her parents would need help. Later that evening, when we saw our snippets played out on the news about how close-knit our community is (me) and Bear’s statements about being there for a stranger’s family who needed help, we cried again.

During the week we watched as our community reeled from the discovery. As news crews filmed in front of our old neighbor’s homes and in front of trail heads where we walked daily. One particularly enraged neighbor was filmed angrily screaming at two boys who painted over some graffiti that was painted on the suspect’s parent’s home. Although I understood his rage (fueled by fear for his children, I am sure); I commended those boys for what they did. No child in the area needed to see that kind of stuff. Parent’s were probably having a hard enough time explaining what was going on to their children. When they replayed that newscast later when everyone was home from work, I found out that the angry, screaming man is Fishboy’s uncle. The threads of this community are inexorably tied into my family.

This past Sunday, as we were decorating for RolyPoly’s baby shower breaking news came on. As we switched to the news channel they announced the remains of Amber Dubois had been found. Bear and I sat on the couch, arms around each other praying out loud that we honestly hoped it wasn’t in the area we had searched. Where we had hung our orange flags. Neither of us thought we could handle that. It wasn’t, but we held each other again. Bear whispered in my ear as I cried for the parents, that she was still here. And I thanked God for that, but as I looked in her eyes I saw it. The loss of her innocence. Gone was that youthful naivete, replaced with a dawning knowledge that her world was not the place she had believed it was.

I am not, in any way, trying to take attention away from the actual victims here: those girls who were abused and beaten; the two girls who’s young lives were taken from them too soon; those families whose lives are forever altered by the loss of a loved one in such a horrific and tragic way. But whoever did this, didn’t just victimize them. They victimized an entire community. They victimized my family too. Our hearts were abused and beaten by the death of these girls. Our memories of a place we considered safe and filled with joy, are now tarnished forever with the stains of the blood of innocence. Our grief and pain is not as great as theirs, but it exists just the same. And after the rage subsides, we will find a way to change things. Change something or anything. Some how, some way we will find a way to help those leading us to make a change that might save lives some day. That is our promise to Chelsea and Amber. And to our community.

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”

Tomorrow begins the end of a decade. It seems to me, upon reflection, this has been one of my most amazing decades. Both good and bad, it has been a decade of change.

We rang in this decade at Great’s cabin. All the family together as we hadn’t been in years and haven’t been since. Aunts uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, greats altogether just in case the world came crashing down (Y2K) gathered in that tiny cabin in the woods. The world didn’t end, but we had a great party and a wonderful time visiting.

This decade has seen all three of my children age into adulthood; three graduations, three 18th birthdays and three beautiful, successful children become adults. This decade two of them started their own families, separate lives with their special someone. Two beautiful weddings; each unique and perfect for their own participants. And now at the end of this decade, I am the mother of all adults. No longer children, beginning to count their own decades.

This decade brought an end to our time in our home on Honey Water, the home never occupied by anyone but our family since 1998 and burned in the great fires of October 2007. Nothing left but a bit of shell, visited by us and mourned by us. A decade in which, Mr. Vixen underwent a life changing (and yet still undiagnosed) illness and the beginning of my learning to live my life with another person with depressive bi-polar disorder. The beginning of panic attacks and knee surguries and loss of jobs. A once productive and hard working soul, stuck in a body denying him what he wanted to do (support his family) and thus creating a demon in his head he cannot shake.

A decade in which we celebrated our landmark 25th wedding anniversary. And a decade in which we went from making the most money we had ever made in our lives together to the lowest position we have ever found ourselves. From helping our kids, to begging for help for ourselves. Losing our home, being evicted, and learning the ins and outs of the social welfare system. A time of many wonderful pool parties and hot tub get togethers and a time of food stamps and no health care. During this decade I have gone from working two full time jobs at the same time, to being unemployed or disabled.

This past decade has brought me the joys of grandchildren and the sorrows of loss. Joy and blessings in the births of  Ladybug and Butterball. Grief and heartache attending the funeral of my grandson and after Ladybugs strokes and subsequent seizures. From healthy kids and miracle recoveries; to necrotizing fasciitis and begging a child to keep fighting and live. Ten years of wonderful work with some terrific people and the end of that era with a financial catastrophe across our nation.

With this decade, I have finally let go of toxic relationships that dragged me down for years; but found a new community which has lifted me up in its arms with support, love and compassion of a depth I haven’t known since childhood.

Alas, this decade has also brought the ages of time for me and just as my body doesn’t respond as quickly as it used to, my mind may not be as keen as it was (although I will not admit that again). So I am sure my children will have much to add in this reminiscence and chide me for some important event forgotten. That is okay, I like it that way!

It is my wish that each and every one of you celebrate safely and happily; that 2010 brings you more joy and happiness; and that the next decade be kind to all of us.

2010 will bring about a new twist for ApronFrenzy, thanks to the help of a friend, and the expectation of another addition (RolyPoly) in the grandchild column in April. Both pretty exciting if you ask me!

I hope you will continue to share my journey with me, as I chase life down the rabbit hole.

WW~A Season Of Giving

This Wordless Wednesday is not so wordless. I wanted to share with you how wonderful my family is by showing you my tree, but without words, it wouldn’t make any sense. This year things are so tight, I wasn’t going to have a tree. Not even a cheapo from the local hardware store. Last weekend, my kids and my mother all got together and conspired to get me a tree. It is all over decorated now with my Great Grandmother’s glass ornaments and the ones we have collected throughout our 27 years of the holidays together. I think it’s beautiful.

I also wanted to remind you all that the Blog • Bid • Hope auction benefiting The Liz Logelin Foundation and Anissa Mayhew. Begins today at the following sites. Adventures in Babywearing, Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, Scary Mommy, 7 Clown Circus, The Extraordinary Ordinary, & Mama’s Losin’ It. Each has a variety of different goodies to auction. Bids start at $10 and bidding ends Friday. If you want to bid on the item I donated from ApronFrenzy, it is listed here at Holiday Baker’s Delight. I gave what I have to give and it circled back to me in the form of this lovely tree. Check out the auctions and see what you can give, if you win an auction the rewards are great.

Christmas 2009


Our Princess (0-18 in 2.2 seconds)

I awoke to bright sunlight and birds singing their early morning song. Everyone still sleeping, I started the dishes Bear10002when it occurred to me. My baby is 18 today. I am no longer legally responsible for any children. Some might consider me a free woman, I am unsure how I feel.

How these feelings snuck up on me I don’t know. It isn’t like Bear hasn’t mentioned to me onBear10001ce a day for the last six months about how she was going to graduate this year and then 16 days later turn 18. But when I heard her all I could think about was planning a graduation and birthday party that was special on such a limited budget. About how I really needed a job. About the million other life things that distracted me the last six months. So I was shocked this morning when it all hit me. I don’t have an empty nest yet, but I could. How surreal it all seems.

I had a perfect plan for my motherhood. I would have three children, all about 2 years apart. That was the timing of me and my siblings and it seemed just right. We were close enough in age to get along well, but far apart enough that we could be unique individuals. Nannygoat and MacD arrived at their pre-approved times. My third child, however, did not. An early term miscarriage ruined my precise plan. After that it took some time before I conceived again. By the time Bear was born, my oldest was 7 and the (now) middle child was 2 months shy of 5.

My pregnancy with Bear was unlike both of my previous pregnancies. With Nannygoat my expeBear10003rience of morning sickness was I once threw up after breakfast. No warning, no nausea and afterward I was fine. With both my first two pregnancies I glowed, felt healthier than ever and I adored being pregnant. From the moment Bear was conceived I was nauseated. Not just in the morning, but 24/7. I couldn’t eat. I gagged at the smell of food. And my stomach burned like the surface of the sun constantly. I lost weight. I was exhaustedBear10004 all the time. This lasted the entire pregnancy. At around 30 weeks I went into preterm labor and was put on bed rest. I loved my baby-to-be, but I despised that pregnancy.

My two older kids adored their baby sister from the moment she was born. Unlike between the two of them, there was no sibling rivalry with her. They would fight over who could have her sleep in their room when she had night terrors. I would make it a contest. Whoever cleaned their room first, got her for the night. She was their reward. They waited on her hand and foot. The only jealousy during her childhood was mine. I often mussed that I never got to see my baby, because they wouldn’t share her with me.

She had that effect on eBear10006veryone. She is simply captivating. I have heard it said that it impossible not to like Bear. When she enters a room, everyone lights up. Always full of energy, she crossed every room with a series of cartwheels and round offs. She traveled on her hands nearly as much as her feet. People were drawn to her. Watching her at a Brownie or school event was like watching a seasoned politician. She knew everyone’s name, greeted them all  and never played favorites. She could work a room (at 6 or 7 years old!!), shaking hands, reminding me of parents names and introducing me to “Mr. This or Mrs. That” when I didn’t know them. She was popular, but would go a grab a kid that didn’t appear to fit into whatever click she was standing with at that moment and draw them into it. And it worked.

Bear1Everyone calls her a “princess” and she is. Our princess. She didn’t talk much until she was nearly 2 or 3. She had a series of noises and points that even I couldn’t decipher, but which Nanny and MacD knew immediately what she meant. She probably could have talked, but why bother? I, however, have always referred to her as my little pixie. It seems to me she has magic dust that surrounds her. In spite of nearly drying from a misdiagnosed appendix rupture at 3, being badly mauled by a dog at 18 months , being run over by a car, and being sick with undiagnosed reflux for 5 years; she doesn’t remember those events as traumatic. While some kids can list a litany of things their parents did to wrong Bear10005them in their life; Bear only remembers all the good times and the wonderful things her parents and siblings did for her. And talk about forgiving? Whenever I see a malamute I have flashbacks of seeing her head in one’s mouth while it shook her like a rag doll, I could never own one. But Bear? It’s her life long dream to own a malamute (after she moves out, so I don’t die of PTSD).

While there was always some degree of protectiveness for Nanny with MacD and vice versa, it was nothing compared to the fierceness of the protection they felt for her. She belongs to them, and no one should ever dare to harm her: physically or emotionally. Those who tried are probably still smarting from the retribution those two could deliver. For this reason, Bear is a bit more naive than my other two kids. Having such a gentle and loving soul, I worry about her sometimes. But she is also strong and has an amazing ability to overcome adversity.Bear10009

Now it’s not always easy living with a princess. While she can be nurturing, empathic, sweet, loving and oh so joyous; our princess can also sometimes be impatient, stubborn,  and demanding. The magic is this: when she is like that her aura of light and goodness still shines so bright, that we can never hold it against her. Her soul glows with an ancient spirit that knows all and loves all. Her compassion for all things is daunting and she is so passionate about life, you can’t help but be drawn in. She knits our little family together and is often, without knowing it, the backbone that holds us all together. She is powerful but sweet, strong but soft, naive but wise; a calming presence that inspires me to be a better person every day.

prom 362I was blessed withJune 2009 069 a third child, my pixie, and my children were blessed with their very own real life princess that they got to keep. And it just doesn’t get any better than that. No matter what age she is.

Happy Birthday Bear. You are a wonderful gift from God and I thank him everyday for your presence in our lives.

Beware World, Bear is Unleashed

When my oldest graduated, I bawled like a baby. Her years of hard work all coalesced into a perfect moment of achievement the moment they called her name. Or the name close to hers. Yes, they messed up her name. But we were able to laugh about it.

MacDougal was going to graduate without much effort on my part. I mean, Lord knows, he worked hard all those years; but I never had to do much to help him. I was just a cheerleader on the side of his school career. But just before he graduated he got very sick. He nearly died. He had surgery upon surgery. And in the middle of it all was graduation. In a last minute reprieve, the doctor sprung him out of the hospital in the morning so he could attend. He ‘walked’ in a wheelchair. I was once again moved to tears.

I figured by the time I got to the third, I would be an old pro. She kept asking if I would cry, she actually seemed obsessed with my reaction to ‘my baby’ graduating and my emotional reaction. I worried. I didn’t feel like I was going to cry. I mean, yes I was proud and filled with joy, but it seemed inevitable and I didn’t think I would cry.

I was slightly mistaken. I didn’t even make it past the procession. Pomp and Circumstance boomed out of the speaker, Bear was sixth in line and I lost it. I simply couldn’t stop the flow of tears. Then some lovely young girl with a beautiful voice and some serious guitar skills performed and the waterworks began again. At that point, I figured the grandkids on either side of me might drown. I managed to curb the flood eventually. Until they started calling the names of all the graduates. Since we moved here only ten years ago, I didn’t know many of the kids in my other two’s graduating class. Except for their friends, they were virtually unknown to me. Bear’s class was full of names I knew. The would announce one and I would scream to Mr. Vixen, “Oh, I taught her in 2nd grade CCD.” “He was in my 5th grade class.” “His mom helped me when Bear was in 6th grade.” “She was in my girl scout troop.” And on and on. It was like being surrogate mother to 779 kids! I attended that high school, as a parent, for 12 years! I felt more at a loss than I am sure any of my kids ever did.

So another chapter in my life closes. High school is done. I will miss the football games, shadow a student day, the proms, and even the drama.

Maybe I should adopt.

Congratulations Bear. We are so proud and lucky to have you as our daughter!

June 2009 077a

To My Family: You Might Need A Tissue

Mah baybeeeeee she went and got all grown up! How did this happen?

Untitled from Vixen A on Vimeo.

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  ~Ann Frank

I have a new home, but I am losing my job. I have a wonderful family, but wonder what will happen next. There are so many unknowns in life. Everyday I wonder what will greet me in the day. Life has been a roller coaster of amazing times lately. Today was the first time I manged to gather all the kids together at the same time. A bbq in the new place, even though they will be here for Thanksgiving. And for once the timing came together. Nanny, Lloyd, Ladybug and Butterball; MacDougal and Funsize; Bear and Fishboy, and even Sparkles altogether in one place at one time. Laughter and love, fun and games. Sparkles and Lloyd had to leave early though, to go to work. As they went to leave, Funsize and MacDougal asked if they could wait a moment…..

I am going to be a grandma again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so blessed and amazed. I know it will be wonderful and beautiful and amazing. I just know it will be, whatever it is. I feel Collin’s presense so strongly, I know he has had a hand in things.

Contest Over. Thanks for playing~if you didn’t win, you can always buy one!

As I have hinted, I got a little something going on the side. After I received such wonderful feedback regarding my Peanuts Fall apron, I decided to make some more. And share them with the world. At first I was a bit overwhelmed. Then Bear, who had been watching me work, walked in and said, “I want to learn to sew.” I could hardly control my joy! From then on it was a frenzy of sewing, pressing, picture taking and pride. She is a natural all the way. And we are having a blast each night working together on our new partnership:

Apron Frenzy, our new little shop for selling THE most fun, functional and frenzied aprons available. I am working hard on adding more aprons, but first I need your help and I need to have my first contest.

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Just How Did 22 Years Pass So Quickly?

This week’s theme/prompt is: HEADSRecipe
For more participants in Heads or Tails click HERE.

My son has always loved camping. See:

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Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to go in several years. So when he told me all he wanted for his birthday present was to go camping, I knew I better get cooking! So today I share my Recipe for a MacDougal Birthday (his birthday is TODAY!)

(be sure to click on the pictures to embiggen so you can truly appreciate mine and Bear’s photographic talent):

Take some tents (poles ARE required, if you forget them you must go back home and fetch them)

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Add a large dollop of family

Stir well with horseshoes

Sparingly sprinkle in some mountain climbing (careful-don’t overdo)Photobucket

Slowly add ice cold liquid until you get your desired consistency

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Top with some relaxing and fireside comradery

This recipe has been tested and approved by the Birthday Boy MacDougal and his mother

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