Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Block

I'm not sure what is causing it but I am having the toughest time trying to crank out a blog lately.  Each morning I wake up and I'm all pumped to get something written down. But there is pottying and diaper changing, dressing, teeth brushing, breakfast making, breakfast eating, hair styling, breast feeding, and if I'm feeling super productive, add laundry folding and dish washing to a.m. routine. By 7:30 my girls and I head out for our stroller walk. There is fresh air all around, birds singing, Naomi babbling, and the smell of Gain detergent and citrus blossoms drifting on the cool morning breezes. In those rare quiet moments my mind soaks in the much needed oxygen and starts to race. 10,000 blog ideas that popped into my head during the past week play in fast forward super speed to the tune of my 3 year old's rendition of Queens' Somebody to Love.

But the rush of genius never lasts long enough for me to find a computer. By the time I get home and have a moment to myself my ideas have gone poof or the subjects that seemed so kaleidoscopically colorful that morning has faded into something mushy and gray near the far back corner of my mind. The most I've been able to write this past week are three titles and  half a paragraph.  I was talking to my husband this evening about my lack of inspiration, or perhaps motivation, and I came to the conclusion that the one thing that is different now than when I was writing 4+ entries a month is that Naomi is mobile. In fact if you look back through my blog archive you can almost date the month in which she started crawling and note the steady decline in blog entries leading to her walking.

Now I can hear some of you clicking your tongues at me.  What else could I expect when I was insane enough to have two children less than 2 1/2 years apart.  If I'm not chasing after the one to keep her from giving the dog a haircut "like the girls do on Parent Trap," I'm rescuing the other from standing up and splitting her head open on the underside of the dinning room table.  By the time I get both kids in bed I'm too tired to send an email let alone blog.

The biggest question I get from people who find out I'm a stay at home mom is always, "Don't you get bored?" To this highly amusing statement I respond.... "Never!" There is no time for boredom. Sometimes I wish I had the time to set aside just so I could have the privilege to be bored. After all who could be bored when you were 5 minutes late 10 minutes ago and you're struggling to help your three year old find her missing shoe that you are pretty sure the dog has hidden in revenge for the for-mentioned attempted haircut, only to find that the 10 month old has found it and is using it as a teething ring to break in  her newest bottom tooth. Yet something seems strange when you sweep her into your arms and realize she is wet but it doesn't register why until the three year old (rushing to retrieve her shoe from the death grip clasped hands of her screaming sister) slips in the puddle of dog pee (Mindy's real revenge), and thumps her head on the tile with an unnervingly loud thud.

*Sigh*....Such are my days.  Filled with chaos and joy, nonstop motion, and very few moments to write. So please bear with me, my dear readers.  Jenna starts preschool soon and I'm hoping the three half days a week will afford enough "Me" time that I can get over this writers block.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Advice From My Editor

Humans.  We're imperfect.
For the past couple weeks I have been making mistakes left and right. Messing up my words, confusing my homophones like your and you're, forgetting stuff I paid for at the store only to have to drive back and retrieve it at customer service.

I suppose my last blog entry, Unclaimed Treasures, was no different.  Only I didn't realize there was a problem until my dad told me so.  You see my father, Curt Oxford, graphic artistic by day ( and weekend song writer by all hours of the night (type Curt Oxford in Youtube), also serves as my editor.  He's been rather occupied lately and seeing as I didn't want to wait a whole month to pass before I uploaded a blog post, I published my post in the beginning of March without his critique.  March is almost over.  He read it today.  Apparently there were multiple problems that were brought to my attention.

In light of this new found discovery I would like to appologize to any of you 11 people who happen to follow my blog.  My goal had been to try and celebrate our stages in life, especially our last and perhaps most beautiful one.  I had wanted to try and encourage people that there are more important things in life than trying to be thin, large breasted and wrinkle free and that it is the legacy that we give to the world that has true value.  I hope that although I am in my 30ties this did not offend anyone.  I am not trying to say that I know everything or think I have all the answers- I know very well that I don't.  So please excuse me if I came off seeming that way.  

There are clarifications that need to be made about my grandmother as well. You see my grandma is very special to me.  She inspires me in so many ways, especially in the strength  she  has shown throughout her life.   My grandmother's mom was killed in an accident before she entered the 1st grade. Things were already difficult for them financially before that happened. They were so  poor they couldn't afford milk so my grandmother was raised on black coffee instead.  They had no heat and during winter it was so cold that if you left a glass of water by the bed stand it would be frozen solid by morning.  My grandma has seen difficult times and overcame them.  So when I said in my last blog that my grandmother  "is my encourager through the tight times," I meant that she offers me words of encouragement that although money may be tight now this is only for a time and that a hope for a better life is on the horizon (I in no way meant to insinuate that she gives me cash just in case that is how it sounded)

Anyway the last blog entry was swept up a bit and hopefully is now free from offending.
 But in case it is not please feel free to email any complaints to and I'm sure my editor will be happy to relay the information ;)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Unclaimed Treasures

I remember watching The Waltons reruns on television as a kid. It always seemed interesting to me that the entire family: husband, wife, 7 kids, and grandma and grandpa all lived in the same house.  John and Grandpa ran the saw mill together and with the help of the boys, and the assistance from hard working Grandma and Olivia, they managed to clothe each of the kids and put food on the table. Three generations, equally useful & important, working as one unit to keep the family going. Out of all the characters I loved Grandma and Grandpa Walton the best.  They were so full of strength in spirit, advice, insight, spunk, humor, and most especially wisdom. They reminded me of my own grandparents in many ways.

My grandmother turned 80 this month and she is a treasure trove of all sorts of wonderful information from child rearing advice to cooking tips. She is my encourager through the tight times and the tough times, the bridge to my heritage and one of my very best girl friends.  I eagerly look forward to my daughters and my biweekly visits at G G's (short for Great Grandma so my grandma isn't confused with my daughter's grandma-my mother). 

My grandma works in her yard every day for hours, she reads two and three best selling books a week, experiments with the latest recipes in each magazine, and God help the robber that makes the mistake of trying to steal anything from her house because Grandma is going to TAKE YOU OUT! When I asked my grandma how it feels to have lived 80 years she said, "It feels like another day to eat cake!" I had to laugh out loud-Jenna loves cake too, just like her GG.

In September I had a little life milestone of my own when I turned 30.  Like my grandmother's 80th birthday, my thirtieth felt like just another day.  I didn't really think twice about it until my father in law showed me a pretty picture of my brother in law's 20 year old girlfriend and said, "Remember when you were young and beautiful?"  I nearly fell off my chair and spilled my cup of tea. What the heck is that supposed to mean? Remember when I was young in beautiful, as in I'm NOT anymore? From his tone it appeared my value had decreased in his eyes because my age had increased. This incident left me feeling just a touch indignant.

As I paged through magazines in the waiting room at my daughter's doctor check up a couple weeks later, I became increasingly aware of the multiple adds featuring anti-aging creams, plastic surgery, and other ways to "turn back the clock." I thought of people I know, so desperate to look younger that they photo shop themselves to the point that they almost look younger than their children in family photos. Others who don't want to be called Grandma and Grandpa because it sounds "too old".  I had to wonder why our society is so focused on staying young anyway?

Our culture has a warped value system based on youth and beauty.  It has done a great disservice in stereotyping old people as chronically ill, unable to work, behind the times, slow-thinking, useless financial burdens on society. But the truth is that Americans over the age of fifty own 75 percent of all American assets and spend half the money. A full 70 percent of these people own their own homes. (Yes I researched this-I may be a nerd but I'm an informed one!)  They vote and are active in the community to a greater extent than young people. You can find them out there doing sports and outdoor activities, or working out at the gym. In reality a lot of how we live the later part of our lives depends on our attitude and lifestyle. People who think that aging brings infirmity and illness may unconsciously let that happen where others with positive views of aging may take better care of themselves thus remaining active, vital, and healthy members of society .

In stead of trying to look young our society should be focusing on keeping healthy in both mind and body.  We must never cease in improving what we know, learning new skills, eating right, exercising, and continuing to explore the world around us.  We are never too old to learn something new and experience the joys life has to offer.  Each stage and each age of our life is beautiful in it's own way and has it's own purpose: a stage of discovery and growing, a time for bearing and raising children, and perhaps the most important is our last season for teaching what we have learned along the way. Our elderly are the unclaimed treasures of this world.  We NEED the wisdom of older people and our aging population needs to realize that they have that wisdom to share.

I came across a story by Dr. Annemarie Colbin on a website that really helped to sum things up for me.  (This is my paraphrased version )

One day a woman was walking through the woods and came across an old gnarled tree. It's branches were wide with plenty of room for birds to play and build their nests.  It gave shade to cool weary travelers from the summer heat, protection from the wind, and provided life-giving oxygen to the air. The tree was useful but old.  It's branches were twisted, its bark full of nicks and wrinkles.  Then the woman noticed some young and beautiful trees growing nearby.  Their bark was smooth and pretty but they weren't good for much right now...not enough room yet in their branches for the birds, and they barely made any shade.  It was then that the woman realized what truly counts is what you are doing for others not what you look like. 

This is so true. I've got some smile lines developing around my eyes and a small patch of gray hairs peaking out of my bangs but as far as I'm concerned these are just signs that I've been growing some life experience. In no way do I wish to be 20 again.  It took many plateaus and an even larger number of valleys to make me the person I am today. Even still I have so much more to learn.  I certainly have a lot of life to live and knowledge to give before I've fulfilled my purpose on this Earth.  I look forward to that enthusiastically.  After-all the alternative to getting old is an early death.  I think I'll take growing old and growing useful instead.    

Grandma & Grandpa Walton
89 Year old Yoga Teacher Gladys Morris
Old women by Brooks Reynolds 

Some of the most beautiful women I've ever seen were 70s+ years old, silver haired, wrinkles and all.  Their eyes still shone like those of a 20 year old and behind them were the memories of a lifetime and the wealth of wisdom that only life's experiences can bring. 
85 Year old Catches 700 pound marlin 
Vietnamese woman by Dan Heller

95 Year old Woman Sets Running Record 
 Very Old Womenin Kalash 

 Four Generations: Me, Jenna as a baby, My Grandma, My mother.