Category: Lloyd (Page 1 of 2)

Folding and unfolding, the universe is origami

“Origami is a metamorphic art form. You got that piece of paper. You don’t add to it – you don’t take away from it, you CHANGE it”- Micheal Lafosse

While I was on blog ‘hiatus’ our family grew. Her name is Origami.

I had last seen her in 2004 – I took her to the beach and she was just learning to walk. 1932249_10152259835199767_201427886_nNannygoat and Lloyd had brought her to California for a visit. They were living in Utah, working out the details to move out here to us. Nannygoat adored Origami and was quickly learning the ins and outs of motherhood, despite the fact that she was not Origami’s biological mother. Bio-mom had agreed to Lloyd having sole custody and actually hadn’t seen Origami in months, when on Mother’s Day of 2004 she asked Nannygoat if she could please have a little visit she would sign the custody papers and it would be finished. Nannygoat and Lloyd were young and trusting, they had no reason not to let bio-mom have a visit, despite the fact that she hadn’t seemed to care for months.

And then she was gone. Disappeared.

For 10 years we hunted, searched, and scoured the earth. But we could not locate our little lost Origami. All we could do was hope and pray that she was happy and healthy.  Unfortunately, that was not her truth.

By a stroke of luck (and public arrest records) in early 2014, we located bio-mom. The excitement for Nannygoat and Lloyd was almost unbearable. Eventually, they were able to find out where Origami was and following the proper channels/laws and began the process of bringing her home.

The little toddler was so grown! But she didn’t know we existed. Didn’t know that we had cared and searched and mourned her loss. She didn’t know she was going to live with a Dad she didn’t know was alive and three half-sisters she’d never dreamed11037222_10153262685489767_4164099669592052339_n of. Her life while away from us was what I consider quite harsh. We had no idea what she would be like, after living that way for 10 years. In fact, until the day Nannygoat and Lloyd showed up, she didn’t even know her real name.

Now, we know. She is unique, creative and beautiful. She is one of the best big sisters I have ever met. Her soul is pure, unadulterated love. She loves magic tricks and anything art. Her hugs make my world. Her laughter is a gift.

The quote says origami is a metamorphic art form that you don’t add to or take away from – you just change it. Our family was missing our paper folder, our Origami, and now that she is here we are changed into something even more wonderful.

Welcome, Baby Banana

Baby Banana

Born 9/20/11

8 lb 3 oz, 18 3/4L

4:28pm

Another beautiful granddaughter

Time Consumption

Nothing is more exciting and bonding in relationships than creating together

Nannygoat and Lloyd needed a chance to go visit Presto at the NICU and some time to be adults without kids around. So I had Ladybug and Butterball (now also known as the DIVA) over for an evening of fun. As usual, the lords of the universe were smiling upon me because Twittermoms had just sent me a sample of Glue Dots and I was excited to have the girls try them! I didn’t have a big plan for it, so we just grabbed some construction paper and started creating! The girls really liked the Glue Dot applicators, so easy for their little fingers to use (and easy to switch from left to right hand, which is important when you are crafting with a lefty AND a righty at the same time).

First you make it:

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Then you show them off:

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The you add a bunch more Glue Dots on the back and hang them on Grandma’s fridge!

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What great fun we had. I love these Glue Dots, seriously in love. No mess, easy to use, easy to store. I had actually already used some back on Father’s Day for little craft project myself: I did a scrapbook page for MacD for his 1st Father’s Day with RolyPoly and the frame required the picture be sandwiched between glass. The picture kept slipping when Glue Dots came to the rescue:

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I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Glue Dots blogging contest to possibly receive a gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Getting Back To The Great Outdoors

Growing up, my parents took me camping all the time. Nearly every special memory I have from my youth was at a campground or the cabin (which was camping, but with a bed!). The first 14 years of my married life were spent in Utah where camping is plentiful and my kids were indoctrinated at a very early age. After moving here in 1998, we camped a lot less. Life got busier and then the kids became teens and next thing I knew, they were all grown up and trying to live their own lives. But I miss camping a lot and I felt sad that Ladybug and Butterball weren’t growing up with the camping experience. So, for Nannygoat’s birthday I bought her and her family a giant tent! Then on Mother’s Day I bought her a camp stove. To top it all off, I made reservations for two sites at a local campground for this past weekend. Super close to home in case we needed to go back and just for one night–sort of a practice run.

Of course our newest addition to the family, RolyPoly, wasn’t about to be left out. So MacDougal, Funsize and the new babe pitched their tent too! Sparkles brought Floozy on her first camping trip with us and Lightening Boy came too. My cousin brought her two girls for the day so she (an they) could finally meet RolyPoly and her kids could play with Ladybug and Butterball. Although Bear and Fishboy couldn’t stay with us due to work on Sunday, they still came up Saturday evening for s’mores and a a visit.

My fun loving grand-girls had the time of their lives! Dirt, dirt and more dirt is the newest and most fun toy they’ve ever played with! The adults had a very nice time also. RolyPoly has been having some issues sleeping at night since he was born. Apparently the camping gene runs very strong in him, as his night at the campground was the best night he’s slept since he was born! All in all, it was a great time. Check out the pictures here on my flickr, the one here of RolyPoly is one of my faves!

I have so much going on I need to get around to sharing with you. Working on a big, special, fancy, blog redesign! And maybe then I will be inspired and blog some more (ha ha ha).  Registered for college….I have no idea what I am doing, but apparently I need to decide soon. Ladybug had her IEP for KINDERGARDEN!?!?! (not sure how that is possible, since she was just born right?). More to share about the babes, life in general, and stuff (like this new laptop I am typing on right now).

Health-wise, I am doing great. The meds kicked right in and I am right back on track. Now I just need to get back on track here. Thanks to all of you for hanging around during my ‘distracted by new baby’ time. I won’t say it’s over yet, but I hope for the blog’s sake I can get some writing done!

WW~2009 Had Beer Goggles, Car Bombs and Step Dancing

I am sure 2010 will be very similar and just as fun. Gotta run, I have A LOT of cooking to do. Enjoy!

Fad saol agat.

(Long life to you.)



St. Paddy Collage

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.

Vay-cay-shun

We are out and about in the big scary world. We drove up half the length of California in the heat with no AC, two toddlers and a trailer full over motorcycles. It is a melancholy trip, slightly dampened by the goings on with Funsize and MacD.

We left home at the unseemly hour of 3:46am. The next 11.5 hours (yes, what should have been 7 hours 47 mins took us 11.5 hours) were spent mostly doing stuff like this:

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It was long and it was hot and we had to stop a million and one times. (Note to self: buy a motorhome with a toilet in it).

We got to my dad’s and just laid around trying to get over the trauma.

Yesterday, we went down to visit the lovely, wonderful, sweet and extremely loveable Julia. The kids saw the horses, the chickens and played on the toys. And I got to meet a wonderful friend in the flesh. I also met the infamous rooster, Mr. D; but he didn’t attack me, so I was a bit disappointed.

IMG_3010 IMG_3011 Today the some of the kids are heading up to the city by the bay to visit the Wharf and Alcatraz. One of the parentals of my grandchildren (Lloyd) is spending some quality time in the dentist’s chair (it wouldn’t be my family vacation if someone didn’t need some kind of emergency care, right?). Mr. Vixen and I are going to spend the day with Ladybug and Butterball right here in/around this:

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My dad has the sweetest pool, hot tub and waterfall combo in the world. So life is good today.

Tomorrow we’ll all head on up to Great Grama’s cabin. She has internet, so I may update you all some!

Hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend. Many, many thanks to those of you who purchased aprons. This trip would not have been possible without your support. God bless you.

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.

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