Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trouble in Paradise


Lest you think my life all sunshine, baby ducks, and perfect pie crusts, I wanted to share what's on my heart with you today.

I've been mulling over sharing this, and I feel that I need to. Not everything in life is for the blog, but I do think this is.

To warn you, perhaps, if you were ignorant about this.

To get your advice and encouragement....

...and to just be real.

It's hard for me to talk about happy things when my heart is heavy.

It's quite easy to 'create' a life online, to only photograph the 'good parts' of the house, to only talk about the 'good parts' of life, and to only show the recipes that turn out great. I could just show you the cute baby ducks, and not talk about or post pictures of the incredible poopy mess they are, or the food paste that they've splattered all over my kitchen walls that I scrubbed off today.

I always thought I could be that type of a blogger. I'm finding out that I can't be.

I have to share my heart.

I'm sure you all remember my sweet nephew Aaron.
In fact, several of you have mentioned how you've not seen him around on the blog lately, and that you've missed him.

There's a bit of a reason he's not been here.

We are having some troubles with him.

He's acting like a stinking brat.
A lot.

I'm not sure how much detail to go into here, and I don't want to just go on and on, so I'm just going to do headlines.

Aaron is fatherless.
He's never known his father.
It was my sister's decision at the time of his birth.

Aaron is bi-racial (but I'm sure you knew that).
We live in a very white community.

My sister is a single mom.

I think that's a lot for a kid to deal with, and overcome emotionally.

Aaron switched schools four times in the five years he went to public school while my sister made her way through life, finally getting a good job and finding a permanent place to live.

Aaron is sharp as a tack, has a great vocabulary and is an all around great kid, but struggled in school tremendously. Every teacher he had wanted him on medication for focus problems. Since I've been homeschooling him, I definitely see their point. We tried medication in third grade, but it changed his personality so, that we stopped it. We decided that we'd rather have an average student with a personality, than a medicated robot with good grades. That was our experience, and I do hope that I haven't offended anyone, or stepped on toes....

Aaron has always been spoiled.
Always.
Only child, one of two grandkids....
I lived out my fantasies of being a mother with him, and spoiled him as well.

My sister, being a single, hard working mother, oft times compensated not being there by giving him material things.

She oft times gave in to him and didn't address bad behavior out of tiredness, stress and wanting to have peace.

I was always afraid of the day that would come when we would reap what we've sown.

I touched on it here.

That day seems to have come, my friends.

Aaron has always, and I do mean just about always been great with me.
No trouble whatsoever.
When I sees something I don't like, I try to nip it in the bud.
I treat him with respect, and he in turn has treated me with respect.
By no means do I think I've done everything right, but I try to be consistent.

With his mom....he's horrible.

He's the most disrespectful thing I've ever seen.
It makes my stomach hurt.
It breaks my heart.

He's taken to swearing like a sailor.
At home.
Not here.
He's making up elaborate stories that aren't true.
He's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I feel frightened that I don't really know him.

We had a situation a few weeks ago.
Let me preface this by saying that Aaron doesn't get unlimited computer time here, and doesn't have a computer at home.
I've always been glad that Aaron hasn't shown a lot of interest in spending hours on the computer, or video games.
If he's on my computer, it's for school, it's closely monitored, and I have Parental Controls on everything to the best of my knowledge.

I bought Aaron an iPod Touch for Christmas.
I disabled the Safari app, so he couldn't freely access the internet wirelessly.

I thought I had it all covered.
I didn't know about 'apps'.
Parents, be warned.

Long story short....something quickened in my heart to check his email.
Oh it wasn't good.
Apparently he was on some adult dating 'app' claiming he was 18 years old, and accessing things that no one should see, let alone 14 year old boys.

I felt that as a family, we handled the situation correctly, and mercy did triumph over judgment. There was a lot of love in the room.

He no longer has the iPod Touch.

I know in my heart he was truly repentant.

But something has changed.
I can't put my finger on it.

I feel like I'm losing him.
He's different.
He's defiant.
His attitude is horrendous.
I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my sweet nephew who's face lit up to see me.
I've lost my buddy.

As his Aunt, I'm trying to find my place in all of this.
I'm committed to him 100%.
I will do anything I can for him.
My sister is a wonderful mother.
She has provided a beautiful home for him.
He has a great support of family and friends.
I'm a control freak, and I just want to fix it.

I don't have children of my own, but I do think I know what it is like to be a mother.
All I can think of right now, is the heartache I probably brought to my very own mother, and didn't even realize it.

I wish I could apologize.

Any words of wisdom, prayers or advice are welcome!
The sun is shining outside, clothes are blowing on the line.
The ducks have doubled in size and mess.
I feel stuck though, until I can wrap my head around how to think and feel about all of this going on.

Please tell me there is hope!

New Cooking Blog Up!

Stop on over to In The Kitchen with the Coop Keeper and see what I'm up to in the kitchen!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Greetings from Missouri



Greetings from southwest Missouri!

Just wanted to check in with you all.

I'm completely relaxed, rested, and recharged.


I've slept so much since I've been here.

I've relaxed so much since I've been here.


I could get used to this.


We visited Branson the first full day I was here.

I hadn't been there in a couple of years, I couldn't get over the growth.


Branson is all fine and dandy, and we ate at a great Mexican restaurant right here by the fountains called 'Cantina Laredo'.

If you go to Branson, I'd highly recommend it.

But these are the scenes that grab my heart.


Old dilapidated houses.



Winding roads to more old dilapidated houses.


I haven't even visited the cemetery, or my sister yet.

I don't think I'd realized how tired I was.

But, I think I'm well rested now, because I asked my cousin if we could tear apart a room in the house and re-do it today.

He said 'no'.

So I planted a little herb garden for him.

I'm itching to do something.

Glenco calls me daily with egg reports, and who is the rooster's 'favorite' at the moment.

Fifi is proving to be quite a floozy.

He puts the phone by the ducks so I can talk to them, and I have to remind him to play with the ducks daily, and hold them, and talk to them.

They need that, you know.

It has been a fruitful trip, though, and I've realized many a thing since my arrival.


Including, but not limited to:


I need to rest a little more when I'm home.

Afternoon coffee is a good, a very good thing.

A good bra is worth it's weight in gold.

Long walks in the woods should be a common occurrence.

Love conquers all, and I do mean all, even when it doesn't seem like it is, it is.

I appreciate all of my friends and family so much.

Material things don't impress me at all. AT. ALL.

Kindness does.


I miss my blog buddies.

I'll be rolling back northeast on Tuesday morning.

Thanks for your comments and emails!

I'm looking forward to reconnecting next week.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Crippling Continues






She lives!

So sorry for the unintended blog break.
Thanks to the few that sent emails checking on me.
I so appreciate being missed!

Everything is well, just incredibly busy.

This has been the busiest week in my recent memory.
I've not had a smidge of computer time.

The weather was so nice, and I put in a fence, tore out a fence and dug seven fence post holes by hand before my dear neighbor came to the rescue with a power auger. I'm still feeling crippled and sore from the yard work, and it hasn't even officially begun.

We've had company.

We helped my sister move.

Today was Cooking Club, and have I gotta a baked bean recipe for you!

The ducks are getting so big!




I want more ducks. even though they are incredibly messy.

I got a rooster.

Yes, you read that right.

I got a rooster on Thursday night.
Haven't taken one pic of the poor guy yet!

We jokingly named him Mohammad, since he woke up to ten virgins on Friday morning.
Toying with the names Cletus, Joe or Steve.
He's a beauty.

I have a LOT to say about the situation.

I'm not liking my girls being deflowered.

I witnessed Fifi's deflowering, and I've not been the same since.

The rabbit escaped, and was missing for three days.
Glen rescued her yesterday out by the garage.

I leave for Missouri in five hours!
I want to take the ducks with me. I'm seriously going to miss them.
There's a turkey hatchery on the way, and I may or may not stop and get some baby turkeys.
I'm not sure what is going on with me.
Perhaps the Camper B & B needs a Petting Zoo.

I have a million blog posts in my head, and I've started a new blog

'In the Kitchen with the Coop Keeper'

and plan on transferring all my recipes to that one, and posting recipes often.

I'm going to take this week off of blogging, since I'm going to be out of town.
I want to re-vamp the blog abit.
There are so many of your blogs that I want to get on my sidebar.

I just need to get caught up a bit.

Thanks for your patience with me.

I absolutely will be back, full of piss and vinegar very soon!

PS...have you noticed how the top picture has nothing to do with this blog post?
I just like it.
I want to read that book.
:-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Crippled at Hillbilly Haven

I thought this picture was a good representation of how I'm feeling at the moment.
Old.
Crippled.
A hillbilly.

Please don't get me wrong. I do love hillbillies.
I'm from a long line of fine southern people.
Wouldn't change that heritage for anything.


There's just something about this time of year that makes me feel like
a hillbilly on an episode of 'American Pickers'.
I walk around wondering who brought all of this junk onto my property.
Things just seem dirty and messy during the month of March.

The weather has been fantastic the last few days, and today promises the same.
I've been working in the yard non-stop.
Cleaning out sheds, the back of the garage, etc.
It's madness.
I'm crippled.
It all seems overwhelming at this time of the year.
The work that lay ahead.
Almost seems impossible at times, and I start looking at moving to a condo.
Last May I actually called a few places!
In June I come to my senses and love my home again, until August hits and the garden is weed filled and burnt by the hot August sun.

I'm so glad that you all enjoyed the Vintage Camper post!
Remember my idea to make a Bed & Breakfast out of campers?

This is what I've come up with:

Knowing I'm going to be much too busy with the garden to run
the B & B, I hired this
gal to take care of that for me.

Selma Jenkins.

It's all good.
When you call for reservations, please ask for her by name.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vintage Camper Museum Road Trip




I can't believe it's already been two weeks since we took our little road trip.
Look at all that snow.
Today out my window is gloomy, but greener.

We got up and just decided to head out.
I've been wanting to go to this Vintage Camper Museum in Elkhart, IN for quite some time.
It was about a two hour drive.

Gosh, it was a pretty drive.
Even with all the snow we've had this winter, it still stops me in my tracks, so beautiful.

'Thar she blows...the RV Hall of Fame

I started getting really excited at this point.
I adore old campers.
I look for them all the time abandoned in fields.
I dream of ways to fix them up.
Just knowing what was in that building could bring on an anxiety attack.
I'm high strung, what can I say?
I get that way at flea markets, farm stands, garden centers and garage sales.
It's too exciting.
My central nervous system can't handle it.

Breathe Jayme, breathe.

Once inside the museum, a very friendly and knowledgeable volunteer took our admission fee, and began to tell us about the layout of the museum.
Blah, blah, blah...that's all I heard.
I could smell the campers.
Let me go, for the love of God.

In the lobby, there were display cases with camping memorabilia, posters, toys etc.
I need this.
Need, not want.
I need it as much as I need air.
Thank the Lord for eBay.

Glenco decided we'd start with the brand spanking new 2010 campers, just to ease into the whole experience.
They had a nice assortment of pop ups and all the different class campers.
They smelled good too.
The good new smell.
I tend to like the good old smell much better.

I almost had an anxiety attack in this one.
Not in a good way.
I kept thinking of this thing actually rolling down the road with me in it.
I swear, right now, my chest is tightening just looking at this picture.
It's so massive.
To me, it's a rolling death trap.
How can you control such a beast!?

I really, really, really, like camping.
I love going and seeing the countryside, exploring.
I love the food.
I love camping gadgets.
I love the nights at the campgrounds.
I usually only camp at State Parks, and I haven't been disappointed yet.
Although, The Great Mosquito Attack at the Tippecanoe River State Park was rather unpleasant.

Ok...it begins.
We are in the old section.
Let me just preface this by saying, this museum did a great job.
I worried at times it would be worth the drive.
It was so worth the drive.
They actually had bird sounds piped in.
The campers were in order by age.
1913 was the oldest one!
The pictures I'm posting are just a small portion of what we saw.

Adult diapers would have come in really handy.
I'm much too old and high strung for this kind of fun.
I started out running around like a kid with ADHD.
It took me a minute to compose myself and look at them in order.









Love this one.
That color green with the silver...love it!


Oh dear Lord. Just when I thought this was a mannequin free museum, I turn a corner, and I see this.

If you aren't familiar with my mannequin phobia, read this.






An entire blog post could be written about the picture below alone.
I'm not going there.
Suffice it to say, I've named these people, and I have made up a story about them.
It's a tragic love story.



When I see this picture, I hear "ok, all you need to do to get to the campgrounds is make a left on State Road 42, it'll be on your left hand side. Look for the giant carved bear at the entrance"
The eerie thing is, he's not holding a cell phone...so what the heck IS he doing!?






I hope you enjoyed our little trip to the RV Hall of Fame.
If you are in North or Central Indiana, and like this kind of thing, it's really worth the trip.
They have NO food in this museum at all. It takes a good four hours to see it. So, plan accordingly. The museum isn't too far from the town of Shipshewana, IN, which has a large Amish population, and an even larger population of shops and restaurants.

If'n you're a new reader, and you want to see my little vintage camper, affectionately called 'The Happy Squirrel', take a look at this.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So Many Things -



My goodness gracious, where has this week gone?
I have so many things to blog about, I don't know where to begin.

I was sick all of Monday.
Glenco likes taking pictures of me sleeping. I have no idea why.
He doesn't know how to use the camera, sorry.
I was only sick one day, isn't that weird? I slept from 2pm until bedtime in the chair, and then went to bed.

Ya'll probably think Aaron's up and run away, I haven't mentioned him much lately.
He's still as charming and frustrating as ever. More charming to me, more frustrating to his mother. I'll have to feature him again soon!

I really wanted to tell you about these awesome gifts that my dear reader friend Sharon sent to me. Can you believe it!? I'm still in awe over her kindness. There is a clothespin holder, two washcloths, a quilt and an afghan for my dollhouse! There were two scrubbies too, but I employed them the moment I got them, so I didn't get them in the photo.
Seriously, so kind.

Thanks Sharon!



I wanted to share this incredible roast recipe I found.
Slap a stick of butter in a dutch oven.
Cut up an onion and green pepper.
Nestle a roast in (I used a sirloin tip roast)
Salt and Pepper it's hiney.
Cover it and cook it on a very low flame for three hours without peeking.
If it's not fork tender, cook it a little more til it is.
Melt up in your mouth.



I still have yet to tell you all about the Vintage Camper Museum!




I have a new frugal laundry soap recipe to share!




I made this Jamaican Spinach soup, and it was incredible!
It'd be great for summer.
I'll get it up soon.

I also have fun loom things to talk about. This is my first rug. I messed up on the left hand side, but I still like it. Not bad for my first rug.


But you see, it's really hard to talk about all those things when there's this up in the house:



Help me.



I have duck therapy everyday at 1pm.
They get their little bath time.
It's unbearable.


They are baby Mallard ducks.
I got them at Tractor Supply (you were right Dawn!)
I don't know too much about them right now, other than I adore them.
Will they stay in the yard with the chickens?
I can't imagine what would keep them from flying away.
I don't know if they are boys or girls.

Maude and ClauDanne are their names.
You knew I was going to have to name SOMETHING Maude didn't you?

They like to snuggle in a blanket with me and watch American Idol.
I'm not kidding.
Maude pooped in my hair last night.
I'm not holding it against her.

Here's a little Duck Cam for you.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

video