Thursday, December 29, 2016

To Dog Or Not To Dog?

To dog or not to dog?  That is the question.  Or really I think the question is when to dog.  Everyone in our family loves the idea of a dog.  A companion, a playmate, someone who will finally clean up the food that falls on the floor...
But is now really the time?  Probably not.  Dogs are a lot of responsibility and we are already a bit nuts and overwhelmed in this family.  But is that going to change anytime soon? Probably not.  And from a therapeutic perspective, a dog would be awesome for Katie. And Mary has so much love to give that she would snuggle that furry friend at a level 10.  And Ryan would play and play and play with a dog. But I just don't know if I really want another being to take care of...

But then I wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something.  2 days ago Ryan was playing and singing and he stopped and looked up at me and said "Oh!  I really want a dog!"  and then went back to playing.  Last night I had a dream that we adopted an abandoned dog.  Then today when I was out with Mary, my sister texted me saying she found a dog for us on a rescue site... I didn't ask her to.  I told Mary the picture of the dog she sent was really cute but maybe I would like a dog like a golden doodle because I heard they are gentler and would be a good therapy type dog.  Then, when we got home we were talking to Katie and mentioned something about a dog and she said "I had a dream last night that I went geocaching with dad and we found a lost dog and we adopted it. But if we got a dog I think I would like a golden doodle..."   

Am I crazy or are we supposed to get a dog?! 

Ok, enough Dog talk - Let's see what went right in the world:

Firefighters and Cake!
Monroe WI firefighters responded to a call at a house where they discovered the source of a burning electrical smell was coming from an oven.  While a fire luckily did not break out, they learned that the malfunctioning oven was supposed to be cooking a birthday cake for a 4 year old girl.  So, after making sure all were safe, the firefighters took the extra step of delivering a new cake to the little girl so she could still celebrate!

Taylor Swift Surpirses 96 Year Old Swifty!
Taylor Swift recently surprised a 96 year old WWII veteran at his family holiday celebration this week.  This self proclaimed "Swifty" has been to two of her concerts and is a huge fan.  Swift  shocked everyone when she just suddenly showed up at the party, sang "Shake it Off" and hung out with the man and his family, including 20 grandchildren! No one knew she was coming.  Can you imagine??  The video is awesome to watch.

Friday, December 23, 2016

No Exploding Rolls!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!  As of last posting we were struggling a bit in the Young house but we are having happier days now.  Katie is back up on her feet which relieves us all.  We are glad to be back to the normal we no longer take for granted.  No time was wasted taking advantage of having the team back to full strength.  We turbo cleaned the house today in anticipation of the party tomorrow and then tonight we messed it back up again making gluten free cinnamon rolls! 
This baking was an experiment since in the past we've just baked those kind of rolls that come from the hella-scary tubes that make that freaky popping sound as you slowly peel the paper from the tube. Man, do I hate that. I always behave like a complete freak sort of bending my ear down to my shoulder to cover it, plugging my other ear with my free hand, squinting my eyes and gingerly tugging the paper away from that cruel tube, at arms length, as if it's a live grenade, ready to blow.  Am I the only one with an unnatural fear of rolls from exploding tubes?
Due to their gluten-mania, those dastardly rolls are no longer an option.  So, Katie and I decided that we must continue our cinnamon roll on Christmas morning tradition by making them from scratch this year.  Mary lucked out by accepting a last minute sleep over invitation at a friend's house and missed what I can only describe as Thing 1 and Thing 2 take a cooking lesson in the kitchen. The first batch was a total disaster!  Instead of rolls, they were more like weird little cinnamon blobs without enough sweet stuff mixed into where there were supposed to be folds.  Maybe Ryan will like them....  The second batch was much more successful and came out looking and tasting like sweet, gooey, cinnamon goodness.  Phew! There is something to be said for learning as you go.  Cooking and every day life have that in common: you have to be willing to try something new, learn from your mistakes and keep going.  Turns out that if you don't give up, you might end up with something sweet! Wishing you the best this holiday weekend.  

Oh, and here's what went right in the world today! 

Little Dude Busts a Move!
7 year old Tristan recently had successful surgery at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, WI.  He was feeling so good that he shook his groove thing for the camera to celebrate.  His facial expressions are priceless.  He's hoping to go viral and be "internet famous" by Christmas.  Please watch and click share to help Tristan keep his spirits up!

Delivering The Mail...ON FIRE?!!
Take a look outside of the window and you will see that delivering the mail can be fierce.  Despite snow storms, pounding rain, intense heat, frigid snow, and the extremes of the weather, the mail always gets delivered.  But what about fire?!  In this story you will read about how a mail carrier rescued almost all of the Christmas packages in her truck despite the growing fire that was engulfing the vehicle.  She remained calm and with the additional help of a good Samaritan nearly every package was spared the flames.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Seeing the Best When You See the Worst

It’s been a hard few days in the Young house.  Katie has had so much pain arising from her Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).  EDS is so frustrating and cruel because while she unfortunately has pain every day, sometimes it just “attacks” and she is so severely affected.  She had a weekend with so much pain that walking was not an option, nor was moving anything on her body in general.  So, we did a lot of carrying her and using the wheelchair.  It’s hard on everyone who loves her to watch her suffer.  She missed out on a girl scout event, dinner with grandparents and school yesterday.  But you know what?  She still smiles and finds ways to be happy despite pain and loss of function.  She has really gotten into coding and developing games lately.  And she has a crazy fun sense of humor and a wicked smart mind.  And she is surrounded by love. Big sister Mary watches out for her like a warrior protector and steps up to help her and fills in on Katie’s chores during these frequent pain spells.  Mary is an amazingly kind person with a quiet confidence and wisdom that serves her and others well.

I wish more than anything in the world I could take the EDS away but I can’t.  And while I hate it and spend so much energy on worry and anger and anxiety over it, this stupid condition has also shown me the best sides of my children.  Katie is a tireless fighter who overcomes monumental challenges daily with a ninja spirit and a grin. She has figured out how to live around EDS, how to be in charge.  Mary’s kindness and selflessness has been displayed not just occasionally, or even daily, but multiple times every single day. It’s a lot to put on a big sister and she handles it with grace.  And Ryan has become a cheerleader for both of his sisters but is especially attuned to and proud and encouraging of Katie when he sees her back up and walking after days in a wheelchair.  They all amaze me every day.   So on those days when I feel like giving up and just sinking into anger over my child’s condition, I see them and I see so much more than just the struggle.

I’m skipping the news links today and reporting on my kids because that’s what went right in the world today!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Slaying the Dining Room Dragon

Snowy Saturday salutations!  Today it snowed and then snowed some more and the Young 5 gratefully stayed inside all day long.  There was plenty of playing and goofing to go around but also a major project!  As some of you who have seen our house (oh messy house) know, our "dining room" has come to resemble a small Amazon distribution center. Perhaps more appropriately referenced to as a box jungle,a cardboard kingdom, the storage platform formally known as a table! Amazon Prime, along with their subscribe and save program present fantastic savings opportunities as well as super convenience but there is one teensey weensey, complicating factor.  It turns out that when you get a giant box (or 3) of your monthly goods, you have to actually put them somewhere. Who knew?  And slowly, over about the last year, that somewhere became the dining room table.  From cereal, to crackers and gluten free oatmeal to an overabundance of paper towels, we've had an ever growing warehouse of dry goods.  Like a walk in closet of our formal dining room! Today we conquered Mount Saint Amazon (A.K.A Fort Box Land and The Great Wall of Snacks) and returned the room to a place where people can actually sit and eat!  Ryan was so amazed.  He honestly didn't realize there was a table there. Oy! He was genuinely giddy to discover a table and announced it was a super beautiful table.  He then realized that the chairs were there for a reason and sat down, just taking it all in. He returned many times just to sit.   I sat there too for a while.  We washed, dried and placed the red Christmas table cloth on the table along with green candles in anticipation of next week's party.  I'm thinking a cribbage game at the recently rediscovered table is due later tonight  - look out Tom, I'm coming for you!  Perhaps a family game of Tripoly at the party next week?  Not that the news of our defeat over disarray, our conquest to clear clutter, our mastery over miscellany isn't great news in and of itself but here is some of what else went right in the world today:

Waiting 80 Years for "Mr. Right"
Get an ice pack because this will make your heart melt!
Maria, age 80, had never been married and assumed she never would be... until the dashing 96 year old Carlos came into her the man in the room down the hall in the nursing home!  As soon as Carlos moved in and saw Maria he was hot on her trail and they quickly fell in love.  The nursing home soon hosted a wedding at which all of the residence rejoiced at and Maria and Carlos danced and toasted with non-alcoholic cider.  No longer neighbors, they now share a room as a married couple. Maria said while it took a long time to find her soul mate, Carlos was worth the wait!

Scrooge the Ticket!
A town in Ontario Canada is turning parking tickets into an opportunity to give to charity.  During the month of December, folks are allowed to "pay" their parking tickets with donations to others in need.  In lieu of paying cash, tickets can be payed in the form of donated toys, food, or gift cards.  You have to admit that if you're going to get a ticket, this would be a nice way to "pay" for it. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Snow, snuggles, time

Well the snow is falling at an ever-increasing rate as we prepare to tuck in for another Wisconsin winter weekend.  Due to the winter storm, we have not made any weekend plans which is an unusual gift for our family.  As I let my mind drift (not like that annoying snow drift gathering across my sidewalk) I stop to think what we might be able to do this weekend!  A living room covered in blankets draped haphazardly over furniture with books weighing down corners suddenly is conjured to mind with the sounds of Ryan and his sisters embarking on a sneaky mission in their "castle."  The smells of popcorn and cocoa meander through my psyche as I picture the family snuggled onto the couch to watch The Polar Express.  Oooh! Maybe a glass of wine for me instead of cocoa ;)  Hopes of cleaning the place up ahead of next week's party for my nephew (how can he be 16???) on Christmas Eve makes a significant exclamation in my mind.  Most of all I suddenly realize that time is a real gift. Time is an opportunity to explore the unknown and create adventures and experiences that you never expected but will be grateful to recall years down the line.  Time is that chance to love and breathe.  Time is moments that we sometimes have the unique opportunity to build into something greater. I can't wait to tell you what moments developed and what cherished memories occurred between now and the next entry.  May your weekend be full of warmth, safety, and memorable moments!  Here's your good news to give you a lift :

I'll Have My Burger With A Side Of Life Saving!
In Clemmons,  North Carolina a firefighter decided to have dinner at a local restaurant. What started out as dinner turned into a life saving mission!  The firefighter quickly began to notice that the patrons around him were exhibiting symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  He was right in his assessment and called ambulances to take care of 32 people before they succumbed to the gas leak.

Grandpa is a Knitting Maniac

A grandpa in Georgia found out that people at his assisted living community were knitting tiny hats for premature babies at the local hospital.  He was inspired to join in.  This 86 year old had never knitted in his life but he was so moved to help these little babies and their families that he took on the challenge of learning.  Once he got going he just couldn't stop and inspired even more people to join i the efforts.  So many cute hats...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Six years, Six apple slices

I was thinking the other day.  I mean I was actually quietly sitting, hot tea in hand, thinking.   And let me say that I don't feel like I spend a whole lot of time dedicated to just thinking these days. I'm in reactive mode the great majority of the time. Considering what to do next, what has to get done now, where who needs to be when...etc.  It seems my mind is sort of like that apple I just cut for Katie's lunch. You see, we have this cool tool that is round, has 6 segmented parts, like a pie, and a hollow ring in the center so when you place it directly over the apple with the stem sticking through the hollow ring and then press down: Voila! 6 lovely apple slices are created and the core with the seeds is sectioned out in a nice cylindrical shape to discard.  And that's pretty much how I feel my brain is these days. Segmented.  Segmented into what 3 kiddos need at any given moment for school, hobbies, doctors... and then there is professional slices of my brain always looking for the next cool opportunity, and slices dealing with home and projects and obligations and...Anyway, you feel me, right?  So many things to do and not enough slices to get through.  So, I was actually thinking for a few minutes about hobbies - what would I want to do if I were able to dedicate some time to what I want to do versus the line up of what I have to or should do.  Then I remembered how much I love writing. Just letting words flow from my brain, into my fingers and out of the pen/keyboard.  I love it.  And I don't do it anymore.  Then, yesterday, someone mentioned their blog.  And suddenly it was like a small lightning bolt zapped my brain!  I had a blog somewhere...and  I remember I liked it!  I went on a hunt to find it.  And six years later, here it is :)  Welcome back my dear blog.  I have missed you more than I knew I would! Who knows how often I'll get to it but I feel charged up just writing at this moment.  It's funny how you can get so caught up in the daily demands of life that you can forget what it is you really love to do.  So!  Here's to writing and smiling.  If my mind is an apple, I'm not tossing away the core anymore.  That's where my seeds of thought are :)
I will be honoring my original purpose of this blog which is to take a bit of time to really search and see the good in the world around us from simple gestures to monumental successes.  In this time, more than ever, we need to remember that while we hear so much about the bad things, there really are more good things out there and I will be honored to find and share those things with you.    Stand by and look out...because I'm back!

Ring Ring! Lucky Lotto Ticket In The Bucket!
I love the stories of the awesome donations that show up in the Salvation Army buckets this time of year.  In Pennsylvania, someone wrapped a winning $1000 lottery ticket up in dollars and slyly slipped it into the bucket.  Can you imagine the delight that must have ensued when it was discovered? Also, imagine how many people that generous, anonymous gift will help :)  My favorite "bucket list" is the list of all the generous donations found in the red kettles.  Merry Christmas!

Kids Are Naturally Generous and Love to Help!
Last weekend when we were all inundated with never ending snow most of us were not having our best days.  But that day brought out the best in two young boys in Wisconsin.  As they were riding down the road, their father reported that his sons, ages 10 and 6, spotted a man in his wheelchair shoveling his sidewalks.  The boys asked their dad to stop so they could help shovel.  The picture really show these boys digging in to snow and working hard to help a stranger.  I hope all of us can find time and ways to tap into our simply kind inner child more often!