Category Archives: holiday

Half generation

With the two big holidays just around the corner, consider this a public service announcement for families like ours.

My nephews and my husband’s brothers are around the same age. (it’s a cool combo of me being the youngest in my family, him being the oldest, with a gap of 8 years between him and his brother)  Waiting to have Madigan later in life has been great for us.  Deciding we were only having 1 kid was also a perfect decision for us, we can afford to raise and care for one other person. The problem, no kids Madigan’s age.

We have a sort of half generation kid.   Madigan’s generation so far is Justin (30) , Mikey (25), Madigan (12). The boys have already started the next generation with Emma, who is 3, Ava turns 1 next month and the new baby (who I shall call Nacho Jazz Butcher).  Boomer’s brothers haven’t started their families yet.  Madigan has no cousins her age. And she never will.

If that’s not sad enough, she ends up being the only kid at family functions.  She will never know what it’s like to eat at the kids table. Being the only kids can’t be easy for her.  Always with adults, having to listen to conversations about who is sick, who just got married, who is going to have a baby or who just died.  She has heard stories about people she never met, and people she will never meet.  Grown up talk is very boring.

Kids are adorable when they are 10 and under, imaginative, playing with little toys, telling stories, saying cute things (when Madigan was small and I asked her if frog friend was a boy or girl, she said “He just a fwog fwend”).  Being cute was all you needed to engage or connect.  It’s tougher the older kids get. There is more of an attitude, more self consciousness, hormones messing with moods all comes with the teen territory.   She would rather I tell a story about what happened to her than her tell it herself.  Her interests are far from mainstream and require effort to learn about and understand.  I know more about her fandoms than should be allowed for an adult.  But if it’s important to her, it’s important to me.

If you find yourself at a family dinner with a teen who has her arms crossed, rolling eyes and seem irritated, please don’t assume they have an attitude or are sullen.  (She might have her arms crossed cause she is not terribly comfortable with her body changing.  Eye rolling is a way of communication, she just might not have the words to explain what she is feeling.  And she is absolutely irritated cause she can’t do what she wants to do right this moment.   Getting together with family means nothing to her now, she has YEARS to do it.  It’s the rest of us who know life is short and one day we all won’t be here.)   It is hard being a kid, and the only kid ever, at family functions.  She didn’t ask for that.  She didn’t ask to be born a half generation.

Oh and lets just say you do ask her about this…

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or this

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she might make a sound where she exhales very loudly and rolls her eyes, but please don’t stop trying to connect with her.  It’s important that we stay connected to the teens in the not so easy times so when they come out on the other side they realize we have been with them the whole time.  It will make it easier for them to apologize.

 

What better living means to me

I hope everyone knows that I have no opinion or judgement about what you do, how you live your life, what food or entertainment you consume…Free To Be You and Me, with that said…

I was at a party last night and made a comment about how I eat what ever I want from Halloween to our Anniversary on the 3rd of January.  It’s like free space in Monopoloy.  I said it for a couple reasons, the first being, I make jokes.  And second, I think people get all freaked out about AMAZINGLY GOOD FOOD, limiting themselves to just “just a sliver of pie” and a “smidge of eggnog”. I hate putting limits and restricting myself.  To forbid is to encourage!  At this party a friend said “what about better living by choice?”

It’s the second time I went to a party with this person and the second time he commented on food.  It might be his thing.  Last time, as I ate perfect little circles of salami he commented on how processed and fatty salami is, and I said “I know and so delicious!”  I do not kid myself into thinking something is good for me, or healthy.  If it tastes good I am eating it.  Not all of it, but I am not going to deny myself good tasting food because it goes over some made up guideline.

Better living for me isn’t just about food.  It’s about choices, read a book or watch TV,  make dinner or go out to eat,  play a game with my kid or get on facebook.  We all make choices daily.  Some choices bigger than others. Job, kids, investments, but most choices are little.  In the case of bad food choices, I allow myself something I really really want even if that means I am going to suffer the consequences.  French fries, PERFECT example, I know fried food is a trigger for my rosacea, 4 days after eating fries my nose would turn red and swell, eventually in my 60s I would look like W.C. Fields. But you know what, sometimes I just want some damn fries.  99% of the time I make the right choice, I pick what is going to be best for me overall, 1% of giving in allows me the strength it all the other times to say no.  This leads to more time between the 1% mistakes.  Because I have to REALLY want fries to deal with my nose for 2 weeks.

There are a million choices and you can drive yourself CRAZY trying to do them all, you can buy local produce, but most local farmers can’t afford to be certified organic. In that battle local beats organic.  We buy all our chicken and pork from a farm that uses non gmo feed, but we still eat store bought food made with GMO, but only grow from non gmo seeds.  Fast food, slow food, organic,low spray, no spray, gmo, non gmo, factory farm, home grown; it is up each person to decide what is of value, what is important to you.  And my attitude is do what you can, when you can.  And if today is a day where you eat dirty food* cause you can’t swing making dinner or would rather spend your energy doing something else, that’s okay too.   Little changes might snowball into something bigger.  We didn’t start on this journey thinking we were going to own chickens for eggs one day, or have our end goal be local/self-sufficiency with our food.

What is Better Living for one, doesn’t dictate what it is for another.  We are all on our own path.  I am here to encourage, support and share what we do, hopefully it helps someone feel like the little change they make today could lead to bigger things!

*I refer to fast food/pizza as my dirty food.  I am not proud of it, but still like it occasionally.

If you need me, you can find me here

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Not sure if this is a Halloween costume or just a Cosplay costume, either way it’s a costume for Madigan.  I am thankful that I was given this sewing machine (Thanks again Granny Lou!) and my mother taught me how to use it.

Thanksgiving

From the moment I put the first stitch in Madigan’s halloween costume to the dessert on our Anniversary, the holiday season goes by in the blink of an eye. It’s a fun, treat filled, to-do-list filled, stressful at times time of year. Our tradition of have everything purchased for christmas by thanksgiving will continue. We start this weekend. I have an aversion to crowds with credit cards. I will avoid the mall (except if Madigan is willing to do 1 more santa picture) and toy stores.

In the middle of all this holiday cheer, I have to plan a birthday party. I need to get all the decorations and party favors done. Learn to decorate a cake fit for public view. My cakes taste great, it’s the elaborate “Mario themed two tier, mama can you make sure there are pipes, and goombas and power ups” that worry won’t stack up. We will do what we can do. In between doing everything else.

So back to thanksgiving. I need to come up with a side dish to take to the family dinner. I have a long way to go before thanksgiving is a Jodie production, and everyone has been doing certain things for so long, it’s hard to find room at the table. What I want to do is make the classic candied yams/sweet potatoes, made from the potatoes Boomer, Madigan and I dug up a couple months ago.

I can make so many things, and yet none of them see right. I doubt anyone wants turnips, rutabaga or beets which are in season now. I will probably do what I do more years, bring nothing except my family knowing that the generations before me have the dinner covered.