Gardening Gurus

One of the advantages to having a Father-in-law who is an avid gardener is that I get his left over flowers when he plants in the spring. On Saturday afternoon he brought me 2 and a half flats of various flowers that needed homes. On Sunday the boys and I happily gave those flowers a home in our gardens.

The kids were really excited about planting them. I was a little surprised they even wanted to help in the first place. They were both so worked up about it that I could barely get things organized so we could get started. Liam helped me dig and plant while Jamie helped us both fertilize and water each plant.

Liam kept saying “This is FUN!” and Jamie was just too excited for words. I managed to dragoon Scot into playing photographer so we have pictures.

Rabbits Ears!

Rabbits Ears!

Poor long suffering spaniel

Poor long suffering spaniel

Digging in the dirt

Digging in the dirt

Helping Mommy with the fertilizer

Helping Mommy with the fertilizer

And brother, too

And brother, too

Watering!

Watering!

A photo of the elusive blogger in the wild.

A photo of the elusive blogger in the wild.

Even outside Ellie demands a lap to lounge in.

Even outside Ellie demands a lap to lounge in.

We planted some shade plants in the back yard and then out in the front we planted some more sun loving plants. I’ll take some more pictures when they’ve had time to establish themselves and spread out a bit.

As always, there’s more work to be done but I’ve gotten more done in the gardens outside than I have in any other year we’ve lived here except for one. In fact, I’ve probably done more this spring than all last year combined.  Now that I know the kids like to help with some things, I can put them to work!

Black Belt

Three years.

Hundreds of hours of class.

Belt test after belt test.

Liam is now a junior black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

On Saturday Scot, Jamie, and I along with all four of Liam’s grandparents attended the ceremony where he received his belt. It was so much more than just handing him a new belt to wear. Grandmaster Kong had a lot to say to them about what it means to be a black belt and how they never have to feel lesser than anyone else because they have shown they know how to work hard and excel. He told them that they can do and be whatever they want in life if they work like they worked to be granted their black belt.

Before the ceremony, I took Liam to Grandmaster Kong to have Liam’s name written in Korean on his new do bak. Grandmaster Kong gave Liam a big smile and told him how proud he was of him. He doesn’t say those things lightly and it was a huge compliment.

For the ceremony, each new black belt was called up by name. Grandmaster Kong took their belt, wrapped it around his own waist first, and then personally tied the new belt onto each student. By wrapping the belt around his own waist, he was giving each student his own spirit. Also, each belt has (written in Korean) “Presented by Kwan Jang Nim” (Grandmaster) on one end and then “Young Brothers” and the student’s name on the other end.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a belt test post with out pictures so, here we go.

Black belts ready for presentation

Black belts ready for presentation

Liam waiting his turn.

Liam waiting his turn.

Getting his belt tied on

Getting his belt tied on

Newly promoted!

Newly promoted!

Our new black belt

Our new black belt

IMG_5293

And here’s a short video of Liam getting his belt.

I’m not sure I quite have to words to express how proud we are of Liam. There were times he wanted to give up. There have been times he didn’t want to do what was necessary. But he has shown amazing perseverance and dedication. He has learned about respect and self-control. He has learned that HE CAN, no matter the difficulty. HE CAN. For the rest of his life he will be a Young Brothers Black Belt.

Anxiously Fretting

In my last post I mentioned that Scot was laid off. It was a blow but we felt like we could handle it because we’d gotten through it before. Last year, both of us handled things much differently and it was a Very Difficult Time. This time, thanks to the wonders of modern psychiatry, we are both still functioning fairly well.

But the anxiety is creeping in on me lately. It’s getting hard to ignore.

It’s not that Scot isn’t doing all the things he should be. He is. Aggressively. But there does come a point where you just have to wait it out and see what happens. That part is hard.

Then there’s the part of me (BIG part of me) that was used to worrying about EVERYTHING on a constant, never ending basis. Zoloft fixed that for me and I’m beyond glad for it. But I almost don’t know what to do right now because, basically, I’m fretting and worrying because I’m NOT constantly fretting and worrying.

This was my go-to coping mechanism. Something goes wrong? Worry about it. Worrying will make it better in the end. Worrying means you care and are trying to fix whatever is wrong.

So now that Zoloft has taken that away I’m worried that I’m not worried. What if things don’t get better because I’m not fretting enough? What if worry and anxiety were my brain’s way of kicking me in the ass to take care of my life?

If you can believe it, I’m having anxiety because I don’t have anxiety. But then hey! Guess what! That means I’m anxious! Wheeee! Such fun. Except totally not.

I’ve been channeling all of this into cleaning the house and doing yard work (HOURS and HOURS of yardwork). It helps but I’m still doing my best not to be irritable with small things. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t.

I’m doing my best to work through it and keep going and so far, I’m ok. Physical activity helps. Time to myself also helps. So for now I’ll keep on chugging while I fret anxiously.

Controlled Chaos

There is so much going on in our house that I’m not even sure where to begin. I’ve been composing snippets of blog posts in my head all week but not finding the time to sit down and type them out. So I think I’m just going to roll them all into one.

Liam took his black belt test one week ago. Scot and I spent most of last Saturday sitting on gym bleachers watching our kid amaze us. I was so proud of him. He was fantastic. All his patterns were correct, his sparring went well, he broke his boards like a boss, and knew his terminology (the student oath and tenets, counting 1-10 in Korean, a handful of Korean phrases). The results will be posted on May 7th and we’ll know then whether we have a black belt in our house. I’m going to go out on limb and say he passed. He was amazing.

There is just too much to share it all in a blog post – even a separate one – but if you click here you’ll be linked to a playlist on my you tube channel that contains video of every pattern he did in order. I also want to share just a couple of pictures.

Bleachers full of red belts testing for black.

Bleachers full of red belts testing for black.

Liam patiently waiting his turn.

Liam patiently waiting his turn.

Breaking a board

Breaking a board

Last week Jamie came down with pink eye. We haven’t had kids prone to getting it so while I was reasonably certain that’s what he had, I wasn’t sure. I took him to the doc, they confirmed it, and gave us eye drops to treat him. He cleared up in a couple of days. In the middle of the night on Monday (my birthday, no less), I woke up with a weeping eye and disgusting eye boogers. I caught Jamie’s pink eye. So, I grabbed his drops and started treating it right away thinking it would clear up quickly.

Oh no. Oh no no no. I’ve never had pink eye before and it got SO. MUCH. WORSE.

On Wednesday I woke up like this:

I was in a bar fight; you should see the other guy.

I was in a bar fight; you should see the other guy.

Notice how much I’m lifting my forehead and yet my right eye still won’t open any further.  What you can’t see because of the swelling is that the entire sclera, right up to the iris, was blood red. Behold, my goddess-like state.

So I went to my doctor and said ‘fix me.’  I’d also been fighting a cold which had by then turned into a sinus infection. I got strong antibiotics and an ointment for my eyes. Today – Saturday – is the first day that my eyes have felt relatively normal.  I’m still a little bloodshot but Jamie is no longer running and screaming when I look directly at him. (Yes. The little stinker who gave it to me ran away screaming.)

My 37th birthday was Monday. Several people I know wished me a happy anniversary of my 29th but I gotta say, I own my age. I’m 37 and I EARNED those years.  My birthday was low-key but lovely. My mother-in-law made dinner and a cake so we got to celebrate with them. The cake, by the way, was AMAZING. I got very nice gifts from everyone all of which I loved and will use. Liam even used his own saved up allowance to pick out a necklace for me. Scot said he was very meticulous about picking which one and I have to say, the kid has taste. I love it.

IMG_2868

 

The only dark spot in all of this is that Scot was laid off last week. We didn’t see it coming and, well, frankly it sucks to be back in the same position we were last summer. However, we are both dealing with it much better than we did the last time and I believe he *will* find a job. We will be OK but in the meantime we would really like this particular roller coaster to finish up and let us off the ride. Permanently.

I’ll end this post with a touch of whimsey. I caught a fantastically hilarious picture of Ellie the other day. How could I not share?

elliememe2