What do you want for your birthday?

That list changes over the years.

One year I wanted to keep my chocolate Barbie Cake that my Aunt Lydia made for me, but every one ate it and I got a color tracing book instead!

One year what I wanted for my birthday was to celebrate it during the school year (July) with all my friends and have cupcakes and get to wear that birthday crown, but that never happened. My mom suggested I could go to summer school to get that wish but that was never an option for me.

My parents always made my birthday feel special because it lingers around July 4.  According to my parents all that hoopla was partly for me AND America. My brother, Randy’s birthday was close to mine and we often shared the celebration. I LOVED this! He and I were buds…

 

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But the best thing of all was that I always spent my birthday with gobs of cousins, Aunts and Uncles, brothers and sisters, and extra family or friends, usually watching fireworks, playing games, licking Popsicles, watching parades, and feeling connected to all of it.

I don’t really remember any specific gifts that stand out for my birthday. But what I do remember is the people I shared it with, and the place I celebrated all of the years I have lived.

My birthday is coming up.

I have already been asked, “What do you want for your birthday?”

I have given it some thought and this is what I want:

  • I want shoes of all sizes left by our front door with the people-matches inside.
  • I want a full cart at the grocery store with lots of yummy foods to share with those I love every time I shop.
  • I want to hear sounds of playing of those I love, running in and out, laughing and chatting and lots and lots of noise.
  • I want to hear the basement drums or violin playing, even from the farthest corner of the house.
  • I want to smell food cooking, preferable dinner, with the table set for a crowd and a salad ready.
  • I want to trip on little toys left all around the floor and leave them there to play.
  • I want the laundry to be in heaps and the sound of the dryer humming– because laundry is life lived.
  • I want wet towels hanging on the banister outside or behind bathroom doors or over closet doorknobs.
  • I want to listen to the soft sounds of night time with a house full of loved ones sleeping everywhere–while I lie awake lulled by that melody.
  • I want to share chocolate Barbie birthday cake every year with everyone all around me and sing for all the birthdays including mine and not pout when they cut into it.
  • I want to share my birthday with Randy.
  • I want none of this to ever ever go away.

You get what you wish for on your birthday, and this is my wish…

This quote explains in a nut shell what I want from now on.

“I have learned

that being with those I love

is enough.”

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Make your own fun

Summer usually gives breaks to a family’s hectic schedules and is a time for a bit more freedom and relaxation; that is if you want it to happen that way.

It is also a great time to create your very own fun or silly family rituals or traditions all your own.

Here’s a few ideas to help you get started:

  1. “Sdrawde” Day! It is your very own family holiday that you chose the date to celebrate. My last name is Edwards so it is my last name backwards. There you go…the theme for the day. Do everything backwards, including your clothes. Eat dinner for breakfast, eat dessert before the meal, walk backwards to get into your car and go on an outing  your family chooses. Make it a blast…or a tsalb!
  2. A night picnic. If you don’t want to get out the tent, make a fort in your backyard or a safe area. Bring candles (and bug spray) and eat after dark. Be sure to bring a story or two and make it a tradition to do a night picnic every Friday night all summer long. Don’t forget to notice the night sky while your out…
  3. Kindness Camp: If you want kind kids help them do nice things for other people. Set a day a week for Kindness Camp and what you will do that week to chose to be kind. For example: Buy a box of Popsicles which are only for people who are out in the heat that you notice. If you see someone hot, run get one and offer them something cool. Bake special treats each week and find someone to give them to. I know the fire station loves treats, the police station, the trash collector, the postage worker, your neighbors, etc. Keep a trash bag in your car and when you find trash at the part have your children pick it up to make their part clean. Look on the Random Acts of Kindness website for ideas for children. You can implement kindness every week and be sure to keep track what  you do with a kindness chain or chart so your kids will feel proud and enjoy being KIND. Cheer for KIND!
  4. Play games outside; especially in the evening while you can. Teach your children your old outdoor games you played when you were a child. Make an evening when you plan to do this once a week with your whole family. Even if it just involves sitting and making mud pies together with a bucket, some dirt, and a hose. Enjoy being OUT, especially when the season calls you to come out and play.
  5. Crazy dinner. Instead of setting your dinner table with regular plates, cups, and utensils use a variety of other items in your kitchen to eat your food from. Give daddy a baby bottle as his beverage cup, eat from cupcake tins, a top of a lid, a pie plate, a ice cube tray. Everyone has something different. The utensils can be egg beater, a spatula, a giant spoon, etc. and laugh while you struggle eating dinner together. Even more fun, invite friends to come over and do it with them.
  6. The Pillow Case Journal. Instead of keeping a summer journal for your children write all the fun things you did on a pillow case. Pick a night before bed where your child can dictate or write on their own the fun things they want to remember. Those pillow cases can be used all summer long and cherished for years. Don’t forget to write the year and age of your child. (Use permanent marker and place a paper towel on the inside to protect if the ink bleeds as you write.)

Remember summer is all about fun. Do more of that!

It’s all about making memories together!

Set yourself free…

Have fun with it!

 

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wonder-full firsts

Isn’t it great that no matter how old you become

you never get too old to experience

a first time for something.

I just returned from a trip to British Columbia, Canada.

  • It was my first time being in a place where cars and even big trucks slam on their breaks for a pedestrian at a crosswalk.
  • It was my first time walking across a wriggly ropes bridge with a gorge and rushing river below.
  • It was my first time meeting people who actually lived off the land and heated their homes with a wood burning stove in -40 C.; wood they chopped from their land.
  • It was my first time watching the sunset on Vancouver Island looking out at many tufts of smaller evergreen Islands dotting the Pacific ocean.
  • It was my first time near skies where bald eagles flew freely and salmon runs brought BIG animals to feast upon. (Like Grizzly Bears)
  • It was my first time to go on a relaxing bike ride and see carved Totem Poles, the ocean, and Vancouver’s skyline.
  • It was my first time to see timber rafts from logged trees floating down a river to be prepared for use.
  • It was my first time to hug my youngest son after not seeing him for two long years while he lived in different areas in Canada from Terrace to Nanaimo, to Burnaby, to Vanderhoof…

Trips remind us that there are so many “firsts-times” just waiting for us to discover. I guess we really don’t even need to travel to have them. They happen every single day.

Wonder-full firsts!

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Home

When you think of home what do you taste?

When you think of home what do you hear?

When you think of home what do you smell?

When you think of home what do you see?

When you think of home what do you touch?

When you think of your childhood home what comes to your mind?

 Is it with mom? Is it on a porch? Is it with dad? Is it grandmas house? Is it an actual address? Who is there with you? What are you doing? How old are you? Is it a happy time?

What feelings are evoked in your heart when you think of the word home?

Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played the witch on the Wizard of Oz recounts in a commentary: “We never lose it. [that feeling of wanting to go home] We go back to it in our minds. It is a special thing and we often ask ourselves why does it touch me so deeply. Because it is eternal. Home is the people who live there, a place we are striving for. We reach inside for home. Every time someone watches this film it touches them every time… A great lesson in humanity that this picture can give to the world…”There’s no place like home.” That is why the Wizard of Oz has lasted over the generations.”

I believe this.

Do you believe that our inward compass toward home is spiritual?

Home is where our stories begin and I believe where they will end. The in-between part to cultivate “home” inside our souls and with the people we love is really up to us.

But home sure can makes the in-between part; the journey way more fun.

There is no place like home.

 

 

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Poetry Anyone?

Have a go for April poetry month by answering a Questionnaire.

It takes the fear out and puts fun in…

Here are my answers to the Questionnaire:

Father: Salt

Mother: Embers

Birthplace: Cherry Orchards

Date: After the Sky Fire

Schools: marvel-us

Address: Oasis

Profession: Heart guard

Religion: Son-light

Hobbies: Littles at play

Identifying Features: A circle with everyone inside

Your turn now

It’s fun!

 

Found in The Aspiring Poet’s Journal by Bernard Friot

 

 

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The plastic box and a 9 volt battery

Late into the night we dragged our stiff bodies out of the car after an eleven hour drive home from a trip. We hesitated because the last time we walked in late, a bird flew in our house that had nested in the door wreath. That bird got lucky…

We walked in through the garage this time. No bird, but our house had a permeating oil smell. My husband could barely smell it but he knew by experience my hound-dog nose did not lie and there was no way I was going to stay in a house that smelled like the residual of a steel mill oil sludge leeching through our house cracks hovering oily air pollution over our bed. I could feel my lips swelling and I already had a head ache.

I believe every human is born with a “super power.” My husband’s is he is a natural salesman and can talk anyone into just about anything to get “a deal”; mostly me. We could go to a hotel, but did “we” really want to? Look our bed was waiting for us after that long trip.

I began googling poisonous oil smells to find out how long we had to live, sitting next to the open window with 39 degree air. My husband knew he could convince me to stay. He went for the best idea he could come up with; trying to locate the $14.99 carbon monoxide alarm in the plastic box that was plugged into the hall electric outlet about three years prior. It has been a sensitive subject along with smoke alarms for three reasons.

#1: the boxes never chirp at a convenient hour.

#2: when the boxes chirp and you remove the battery they continue to chirp like they are possessed.

#3: If the boxes are not screwed to the ceiling we take them down do the depths of the basement and cover them up with what ever is the closest thing and then…go back to bed. In the morning we hit them with brooms.

My husband’s plan was fading even though he was “selling” we would be fine as long as we had that box…as he kept looking for it in drawers and backs of closets to keep us from getting back in the car and going to a hotel in that late hour. I knew exactly where it was but I let him look for awhile to make him want to leave. True salesmen do not budge. I ran down in the basement and grabbed where we stashed it three years ago under old National Geographics to muffle the chirps way back then.

The 9 volt battery space was empty and so was our battery drawer that carried extras. My husband was getting more frustrated so began searching for items which held 9 volt batteries in the house. I had my jacket on waiting for him to give in. I tried to break the tension by mentioning this isn’t as bad as the bird, right? He grabs his keys and goes out into the night to find a 9 volt battery to plug in that  d#^@&+ carbon monoxide alarm so that I would get in bed and go to sleep! (It would have been easier to get in the car and find a hotel.)

He came home 30 minutes later. That new battery went in and the plastic box was plugged in the wall and we were supposedly saved. It was not blasting an alarm so obviously we were not being poisoned by that non odorous carbon monoxide smell chemically reacting with oil and so now we could go to sleep. He crawled into bed “selling” that the smell had really subsided and we would be fine, then nodded off. I stayed awake using a blanket as a filter imagining us sleeping in Chernobyl and  wondering how we possibly could have faith in a plastic box with a 9 volt battery.

The next day the furnace people found a substantial leak in our system. I asked if the oil smell was harmful. They hesitated which did not make me feel relief. But our home now emits the olfactic aroma of oil from a galvanized steel barrel mixed with a floral scent of Febreze.

I know we were negligent. Actually I wanted to have that box plugged back in the wall three years ago for safety…so I am happy.  Thanks hubby.

Are we all loony-tunes?

 

 

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Dear PAAS Egg Dying Kit

I have failed you and I am sorry.

Your 135 year history I promised to carry forth down through my traditional ages as a parent,  as a seasonal-atmosphere-happifier, as a creative mess-maker, I fear, is becoming yet another victim to the “new millennia’s virtual sensory cleanliness and efficiency.”

“Hard boiled eggs smell weird.”

“What a waste of food.”

“I buy my organic grass fed eggs and they are not white, they are naturally colored.”

“What a big mess all over my fine counter.”

“I don’t have time for this mess.”

 “I can buy chocolate, it’s easier.”

“Do you know how long it takes for food coloring to come off your fingers–Ah, no way?”

“Do you know what lost hard boiled eggs smell like in August?”

“Has anyone ever eaten these eggs anyway?”

I have heard every excuse from so many people, so many friends, so many child advocates.

Yes, I know children can go on the decorating egg APP and do egg decorating virtually in a quiet corner without any help or mess and it will look PERFECT. That is convenient.

But, me and PAAS know that is not the point.

Oh…You all miss the point so badly.

It is about the smell of hard boiled eggs cooling in the water, warm in your hands; a perfect oval container. It is about the imperfect world wishing 2 didn’t crack, but they always do…and still use the oops ones.

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It is about putting the fizzy PAAS capsule in and listening to the bubbles pop exploding into magnificent colors when the vinegar is dropped over them. It is about making your own simple paint out of clear water and coloring that won’t kill you.

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It is about the magic white crayon that makes secret smiles, words or lines appear… with enchantment. Struggling with that weird metal holder, toss it aside– then revert to spoons..

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Then dip.

Dip and dip.

Partial dip, dip with two in one, dip over colors, and leave some in the dye to see how dark they get.

Dip and dip until the very last egg goes in…

It is about sitting up on the counter all together, talking and laughing and sharing colors. It is about drip drying the eggs dying the napkins by accident and deciding what to dip next.

It is about viewing the colorful egg bouquet and feeling proud of those beautiful eggs you  just dyed realizing how much making something colorful together makes a piece of happy.

IMG_0982And then it is about leaving them for the Easter bunny–waking up Easter morning to discover them gone–that trickster bunny hid them around the house…

And it is about looking for them together no matter how old you are…

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My own five children who grew up with PAAS, I fear are going the way of the virtually clean, sensory deprived, perfection oriented generation of the future. I know it is easier.

But PAAS, I somehow failed to show how fun you can be.

I promise you I will always dye eggs. Even when I am too old to notice if the egg is hard-boiled or not, too senile to mistake one of those PAAS food-color capsules as medicine and chew up the pink one, or too feeble to clean up my own mess as I drool in fuchsia. I promise you I will carry on your legacy of family togetherness, holiday-happifying and of course, creating wonderful, playful sensory-filled messes of color with a simple ordinary egg.

Because, it does matter. And we both know it…

 

 

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