Highlighted Blog #25 – Amber Colored Glasses

I even love the tagline of this blog. Amber Colored Glasses – Fumbling through parenthood with my rosiest outlook. Isn’t that great? The author shares life stories in a relatable way. The post highlighted below is a perfect example of capturing parenthood on paper/screen.

Traveling alone with children is a feat in and of itself. When it’s over, you’re ready for a real “vacation”. On our latest adventure, so many unexpected things took place…

via Bon Voyage! The Adventures of Traveling Solo With My Kids — Amber Colored Glasses

Hudi Turns 19

It can be argued that his birth seemed like yesterday. And at the risk of sounding boring, that statement cannot be dismissed. But interestingly, it feels as if we’ve been together forever. I cannot fathom life without our kiddos — Hudson and Zebulon and CJ. What joy and inspiration they bring!

Many parents worry about the teen years, but Hudi took them in stride. When he was in tenth grade he insisted on being in charge of his own virtual homeschool education, pacing himself in his coursework. At 16 he decided to go to college, and now, at 19, has his degree, his own apartment and a great job and a wonderful young woman in his life. It’s enough to make any parent proud.

It does take me a bit aback to realize this will be the last year I will have with a child in their teens. Remember the excitement of hitting double digits? Then teen years? Good times. Good times, indeed.

Still, it’s fun to look back to the past. Here’s a video I found of his 9th birthday party. And another of his college graduation. He’s changed a bit over the years 😉

Hudi’s 9th Birthday
Hudi’s College Graduation

I’m not saddened by the path of continual growth. And no parent could be more proud of their progeny.

Hudi, you are rockin’ life. Being real with it and taking on its edges with determination and class. Your dad and I are so proud of you!

It’s kind of fun having you live so close to where you were born now. Who would have thought that 19 years ago?

I asked Mollie for some current pics of the birthday boy, and I love this celebration of life I received in return:

I see he is still somewhat of a goofball. This is good.

We love you, Hudi, and wish all the blessings of the world on you and your future. God did an amazing thing creating you! You are a true gift to the world.

Back to College

It was so wonderful having Hudi home these past 2.5 weeks. Lots of great conversations, catching up on paperwork, walks and relaxing together. Definitely a treat.

I’m loving the fact that he is so excited about going back. That makes it much easier to say goodbye. Finger Lakes Community College has been a great place for our family. I’m so thankful for the teachers and staff there. They provide a fun, safe place where our young adults can get a high-quality, affordable education.

Visiting our Kids at Camp Sandy Cove

Late night picnic

Remember going to camp when you were younger? Warm days spent learning fun things, getting dirty, singing silly ditties and playing pranks. Good times, indeed. Zeb, Hudi, Bri and Mollie still get to experience this annually as they work at Camp Sandy Cove in West Virginia (Mollie grew up attending the camp, which is super-fun). In my opinion, their camp is even cooler than most. Not only do you get to do the normal cabin/hiking/swimming sort of activity, but you also get to learn to shoot rifles, cook outdoors, do some high-flying on a trapeze, mountainboard and skateboard (among other activities).

The kids have been asking us to visit for a few years, and we really wanted to go, but it just didn’t fit in our schedules. We had planned to finally get there on the way back from Utah, but that all fell apart. Then we discovered an unexpected window of opportunity.

On July 3, the kids asked if we were coming the next day. Since we were moving a load of beds from our old house to our new house, and we had plans with friends on July 4 (plans we made last February) I told them we wouldn’t make it. Then the load moved super well, and our friends had to cancel. We realized we could make it. At midnight the kids confirmed it would still work for them, and by 5 am, we were on the road in our reliable new-to-us car.

Wahoo! Since we left at 5 am, and I worked on the road, I was able to put in a full work day by the time we reached the camp so I could immerse myself in enjoying time with the kiddos. We got there right in time for lunch. Sons and dad caught up (it was Hudi’s day off, and he was tired. I didn’t notice he was yawning in the image below until much later, and I didn’t get any other shots with just the three, so this will have to do. It’s real, anyway). We also got to officially meet Oliver, Bri’s hedgehog.

My guys (minus CJ). It was Hudi's day off, and he was tired.
My guys (minus CJ). It was Hudi’s day off, and he was tired.

After lunch, Zeb had some time before his next session so he did some skateboarding with Chris.

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I somehow didn’t get images of Zeb’s rifle-ry session that he taught, although it was fun to watch. After that, we attended Bri’s outdoor living session and made waffle smores and learned to tie different knots.

Mollie, Hudi, Chris and I went into town and perused through a few shops that were open on the holiday while Zeb and Bri finished their sessions for the day. We met up for dinner, and the campers put Zeb on the spot to serenade us all. This was a highlight of my day. They started off with a verse of “Sing us a song, Chief Zeb,” which I did not get on film because it was unexpected. Apparently when this happens, if the person called on does not sing the song, they pay a forfeit. Later Zeb said that he was thinking of not singing until they started in with “for your Mother, Chief Zeb, for your mother.” He said at that point he knew he had to do it. What a guy 🙂

Bri still had activities to cover after dinner so we hung out a bit as we waited for her. Zeb had designed this mountain board course, creating elements out of beds that were getting thrown away. He is so creative with scrap. Just like his dad. Some little children helped with the painting to make it look good. This was Chris’ first time on a mountain board, and he is now addicted.

Finally we were all together, and we decided it was too late for a movie. Instead we went out for ice cream, stopping for gas. As I wrote in a previous post, the kids had persuaded us that the Honda Fit was a great car. This is the first official pic of the Blueberry (as we call Bri’s car) next to our Blackberry.

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Sadly, due to the holiday, our ice cream place was closed, but that did not deter us. We each grabbed some treats from the gas station and had an impromptu night-time picnic that lasted until past midnight. So much fun being with those kiddos. It really cracked me up when they mimicked the person in the ad behind them as I took their pic. And guess what? I found Ring Dings! (which are sadly no longer available in our local store).

We spent the night at the camp instead of the hotel we planned on staying in because it was offered to us, and that allowed us to spend more time with the kids. Before we left, we got to see Hudi in action, doing his job.

Hudi in his element - the kitchen
Hudi in his element – the kitchen

That impromptu visit was a treat that is already a highlight of my summer. Love those young men and women!

Here’s a summary of the day thanks to Google Photos:

Fortune Cookie

fortune-cookie

It’s impossible to be perfect. And this fortune cookie note I got reminded me that it’s okay. How reassuring is that message? My immediate reaction was “Hey, this is how I want to be for others” in my role as a Happiness Engineer. Then I remembered that since it was my fortune cookie, this was about me. And I realized that the statement is plain old true. It has been true in the past, is true in my present, and odds are high that it will be true in my future. This makes me feel really fortunate. And it makes me think about the importance of helping people in general.

My job, my marriage and my family are all arenas in which I feel particularly blessed. And this fortune philosophy is a main contributor to why my life is so awesome.

Work? WordPress is a seriously powerful program. Every day I help people with networking issues, SEO, site building, writing-sharing, advertising, account changes, etc. I know a lot and do not feel as if I’m not qualified for my job. That said, I sometimes find myself facing situations in which I don’t have an answer. Every day I’m learning more. But I never feel isolated or backed into a corner where I can’t be helpful thanks to my co-workers.

We all have experience in different arenas. If I have a question about analytics or MX records, then a ping to a co-worker will bring someone with experience in those fields to help me (and I help them where I am strong). No judgement from anyone. Just helpful attitudes (and I’m over two years into this job, so I’m not being idealistic. That’s just the beautiful reality of my work environment). Together, we provide answers to those who come to us for help.

I can help because I am helped.

Family? Again, every family member has a strength, and we work together to create good as a unit. I think back especially to the years I was bed-ridden (rough pregnancies and a few surgeries that laid me flat for long periods of time). My in-laws moved in to help us with parenting and household maintenance (as did my friends and members of our church, who provided meals and childcare until my in-laws arrived). We ran a daycare back then, and my husband became licensed so he could cover for me when I was down. My children were young, but they pitched in to help where they could. This made my healing happen faster, and when I was back on my feet, life was manageable, and I didn’t have to deal with the chaos of backlogged tasks.

Again, I could help others (eventually, after I healed) because others helped me.

Marriage? If anyone knows every single weakness I have, it’s my man. But I am very fortunate in the fact that instead of using those weaknesses to knock me down, Chris takes his own strengths to help me grow in those areas if I’m capable. Or to cover for me if I’m not capable. I try to do the same for him.

So there it is. My fortune reminding me of how fortunate I am. I hope I always remember that and reciprocate.

Thankful for Medical Professionals Who Care

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Photo by Alex Proimos via Flickr, under Creative Commons License

This week I was reminded once again of one of the tougher sides of parenting. It seems that just because a son is grown up and out in the world on their own, it doesn’t mean that you lose the instinct to nurture them when they fall ill. And this week we had two sons feeling quite miserable.

Fortunately, there were wonderful humans in the medical field who helped us out.

The one in Utah was definitely out of this mama’s reach, but he needed medication from our former home pharmacy, and I couldn’t easily get it. I called the pharmacy to discuss options, and they offered to mail the meds to our son without my even having to go in to get them (we just paid shipping). As a side note, while he’s not a medical professional, I also am thankful to our son’s boss who sent him home from work early so he could rest.

Our other ill son went to the college health clinic, and he was referred to intermediary care. He was only 90 minutes from home so I drove over to take him to a clinic where they informed us that they suspected mono.

(Notes: If you want to see what kind of sore throat he was dealing with, check out this site, but be warned, the image is pretty gross. Also, just so you know, Hudi okayed my telling his story, but he wants me to make it very clear that he did not get this from kissing someone with mono. 🙂 )

The clinic sent him back to the dorm with a script for some pain-relievers and a warning to rest and avoid sports, which could damage his spleen.

I had to leave him there, knowing he was exhausted, could barely eat, and was in a ton of pain. About broke my heart. But once again medical professional stepped in. His primary care physician’s office counseled me over the phone, working things out so we could assess his situation from afar, but being on call if anything went amiss.

This morning I received a call from the college nurse, who had called him a few times, but he didn’t answer (he was probably sleeping). So she called me to follow up and make sure he was doing better. How amazing is that?

So that’s my thankful note for today. I am VERY thankful for medical professionals who show some tender loving care to my ducklings while they are far from my nest.