Best Made Plans

We make plans for holidays, celebrations and just being together with family and friends. The past months I have been doing things to get ready to be a grandmother to triplets. I have these plans of getting certain jobs done, before I am needed to assist my daughter.

Labor Day weekend I planned on getting all the maintenance tasks done on my sheep. I was going to deworm all the sheep and trim their hooves, a job that takes two days with the number of sheep I currently own. There are two young rams I need to dehorn as well.

Friday arrived, and I had my equipment ready to start the task of deworming and hoof trimming one set of sheep, when a phone call came. My daughter was on her way to the hospital and could I come and get my granddaughter and keep her for the weekend. NO PROBLEM, this grandma is always willing to drop everything to have a grandchild for the weekend.

My best made plans for Labor Day weekend took a mighty shift. There are times we make the plans, but God has a different plan. I do not think my plans were bad or out of time, it was just time for something different.

My granddaughter and I enjoyed the weekend together. We fed the sheep and horses in the morning. Painted and made things in the afternoon. I mowed the front yard so she could play on the trees and swing, without the worry of snakes. Mowing the yard was not in my plans for the weekend, but with her arrival, I mowed the yard. She helped PawPaw with the evening chores of feeding the dogs. On Sunday, my granddaughter and I went to her house.

I did not get the sheep dewormed as I did not want my young granddaughter around the deworming medication for the sheep. I do not take risks with my grandchildren. The sheep hooves did not get trimmed. I will reschedule those tasks for another weekend. Are the sheep going to be hurt by the delay, no they will be fine.

Currently, I am on a “holding pattern” as I call it. I am waiting for the next step or plan to start. My daughter is still in the hospital and will stay until the triplets are born. The date they will be born, sometime between today and September 14. I am taking care of my granddaughter at her house. My granddaughter has school to attend. She will have her meals and daily schedule unchanged, at least until the triplets come home. Then everyone’s schedules and plans are going to change.

Making plans are good, as they give us direction and goals. When those plans have to change, does not mean we made a mistake in our planning. Maybe there was more to the plan, than we included. The extra time to be with my granddaughter taking care of her daily needs at this time allows us to make memories together. None of us can see into the future or down the road a few years. Spending time with her, might be a very important time period in her life.

amtolle

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day was started to recognize the working people who keep things going for our everyday needs, mostly unions and labor organization would celebrate this day as honoring the working class. In 1893 New York City had the first Labor Day parade. States began recognizing Labor Day as a day of celebration for the working class. In 1994 Labor Day became a federal holiday.

The Bar BQ, picnics, and family get togethers are another common tradition of Labor Day. The last time of gathering for some summer fun and family connection before the school year started. Many still participate sharing Labor Day this way with family.

While the working people may not be recognized by government or the media, they are the gears that keep our economy and life going. Working to provide the products we need, as well as supporting their families. To have a federal holiday for this celebration is a small reward.

I had my first job at age 15, although I helped my father in his business before this. I have worked everyday since then to support myself and my family, almost 50 years. Since I do not have a huge nest egg for retirement, I will continue to work for the rest of my life. I can celebrate Labor Day as my holiday, a day for the common worker.

There are many traditions associated with Labor Day. One well known tradition is not wearing white after Labor Day. This custom was started by the wealthy elite to distinguish themselves from “new money” and the working class. Wearing white while vacationing was a way of showing their wealth off to others. Personally, I wear white as I look good in white, regardless of the time of year.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy celebration this Labor Day weekend.

amtolle

National Son and Daughter Day

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An unofficial day celebrated in the United States. The National Son and Daughter Day was first recorded in 1936, in Missouri. J Henry Dusenberry came up with the idea after overhearing a young boy asking why there was days to celebrate moms and dads, but not children. Soon Missouri was celebrating National Son and Daughter Day.

In August 1944 the St. Joseph News-Press/Gazette printed an article about J Henry Dusenberry and National Son and Daughter Day. Several clubs and organizations promoted the celebration. In 1972, a Florida congressman presented a bill to congress to create a National Son and Daughter Day as an official holiday, but the bill was not voted on.

People continue to celebrate a day for children. Children are believed to be life’s greatest gift, and the future in many cultures. Some places of employment allow employees to bring their children to work as a celebration of the holiday.

For some parents, it is a day to separate from everything else, and spend time with their children, focusing on them only and creating memories. I think it is important to celebrate a day for sons and daughters. Today, both parents usually work, children are in daycare, school and after school programs, leaving very little time for just family. Having a day that celebrates children, helps parents keep in focus on what family is. Children are with us a short time, then they are adults living a life of their own.

As parents we should slow down, take the time to keep in touch with our children, young or grown. Let our children know they are loved, create or remember memories and events. To connect.

amtolle

Triplet Update

This week I was honored with the invitation to attend an ultrasound appointment with my daughter who is pregnant with spontaneous triplets. Spontaneous triplets are conceived without any assistance from fertility drugs or treatments. They were wanting another baby, and was blessed with three.

According to the CDC, triplets happen in 1 out of 10,000 pregnancies. Majority of triplets are conceived with the aid of fertility treatments. Becoming pregnant with triplets without the assistant of fertility treatments is more rare.

They are 28 weeks in gestation, the beginning of the third trimester. Being able to view the ultrasound and see my grandchildren was thrilling. They are crowded inside, moving a lot. They are doing very well. Each baby weighs a little over 2 pounds, total is over 7 pounds. I was able to hear the heart beats of each baby. We were also able to see and hear them practice breathing.

As a mother in the 80’s and 90’s, I only had two ultrasounds during my four pregnancies. Being able to see my grandchildren during this visit was a blessing beyond measure. These three grandchildren bring the number to fifteen grandchildren. I am blessed.

Babies and mom are doing well. We are looking forward to their delivery in September. Prayers and positive thinking are appreciated.

amtolle

“The Mommy Switch”

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I am a happy and proud mother of four children. One of the happiest moments in my life was when I became a mother. Upon becoming a mother, a switch turned on, the “mommy switch”. Life became centered around providing for, teaching, and protecting my children.

Time marches on, they grow up and become their own person. Each child starts their own lives, finding spouses and having their own children. In the process of each child growing up, and establishing their independence, I have learned to control my instincts and impulses as a mother to tell my children what they need to do, choices they should make and direct their lives. I want to protect them from making the mistakes I made, feeling the pain of those mistakes. As a mother, I still desire for my children to be happy with no pain or disappointments. My words at times is considered “unwanted advice”.

This “unwanted advice” or meddling can cause problems in the relationship with my children and their spouses. But I have not learned how to turn off the “mommy switch”. I keep my words to myself, but how do I deal with the desire to speak? I voice my concerns in prayer.

When things happen in my children’s lives, things I can not speak to them about, I pray. I take the energy of concern and put the words I desire to speak and focus them in prayer for my children.

My children are now parents. They have experience with the “parent switch”. They are starting to feel the desire to speak to their teenage children about concerns, yet also realize they have to make some decisions on their own as they are becoming adults. My children are learning the challenges of the “parent switch”.

My children learning the “parent switch”, they now understand my difficulties of when I said something they considered meddling at the time, to be the voice of a concerned loving parent.

Recently I was asked by one of my children of how to speak to their teenager about a situation. My grandchild thinks they have been bullied at school. When all the facts were brought forth, they and another student was competing and verbally “fighting” to be best friends with one student. We had a discussion on defining bullying. Then the discussion turned to what makes a friend. A person who chooses to be friends with one person at a time, does not know what friends truly are. There was no reason both of you could not be friends with the student at the same time.

Granny talking to the teenager, although it was the same words used by their mother, had a different effect. A useful verbal communication because of the “mommy switch”.

Living with the “mommy switch” is not easy. Being a parent is not easy. Being a grandparent is a little easier than being a parent, but still has challenges. The “mommy switch” is an important part of our make up in becoming a mother, carries over in being a grandmother. Learning to control the tongue with the “mommy switch” is the challenge.

Still, I love being a mother. I thoroughly enjoy being a Granny. And I look forward, although I hope not too soon to the adventures of being a great-grandmother.

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amtolle

On Mark, Set,….

I have shared my daughter is pregnant with triplets, spontaneous triplets. Most triplets are the results of infertility treatments. My daughter is not on any type of fertility treatments. Hence, spontaneous triplets. A triplet pregnancy is considered very high risk.

This morning I received a call that she was seeing the doctor. An unplanned doctor visit. I may have to pick my granddaughter up from pre-K. I assured her I would be there.

I live two hours away. Then I realized we are approaching the time when unplanned doctor visit are going to occur. In a few weeks she will have to stop working and get lots of rest, eventually bedrest.

With the call, I needed the booster seat in my truck. I needed clothes for staying overnight if that was needed.

We have been planning and doing to help their family be ready for triplets. But, I was not ready. No overnight bag, no prep for my husband if I am not home.

Today, I packed the overnight bag. I have some meals in the freezer. I will be making and freezing more meals. I did an inventory of the sheep feed and supplies. I made a food list of items to stock in the pantry for when I will not be home.

We, they and the whole family are truly excited about welcoming triplets into our family. I have spoken with the children, we have come up with a plan to assist with diapers and wipes (triplets use 18-20 a day). There are baby showers being planned. I will be staying with them once she is sent home, through the delivery and afterwards to help out with whatever needs done and for support.

As a family we realize it will take the whole family to raise the triplets and their sibling.

In our current times, I notice families not as close together as they once were. As a child I went to school with my cousins. Weekends were spent at someone’s home where each individual family gathered to eat and play games.

People have moved miles away from family, like ours, family is scattered to several states. Most of the moving away is for work or job positions as in my scenario of moving due to a job transfer for my husband. Children grow up, go to college, find jobs or serve in the military and move away from the area they called home. Away from parents, grandparents and relatives.

How can “scattered families” stay close and connected. Thanks to technology, there are video chats, and phone calls. Cell phones allow us to talk with the high expense of long distance calling that was standard when I was a child. I am thankful for unlimited minutes and data. I know I use my share in keeping in touch with the grandchildren and children.

Video chats have allowed us to share weddings with those who could not attend. A few birthday parties as well. I can watch my grandson learning to play the piano, see my granddaughter’s solo performance.

All of these tools are great. The key is to remember to use these tools available. I have learned how to do a screenshot of an item I wanted to purchase for my granddaughter’s birthday, wanting parent approval before purchasing. I have learned how to video chat and multiple person conversations. I have to keep learning so I can use the tools to stay connected.

Is it comfortable to ask a twelve year old how to do something with the cell phone? Not really. But is it worth it? Absolutely.

To stay connected I have to get out of my comfort zone. I have to learn to do more with my cell phone besides answer “Hello”. Learning to use technology to stay connected with my family has been a challenge. I have hung up on family trying to connect another person to the conversation. I struggled with connecting to the live video at a birthday party. Learning can be a struggle.

An unexpected reward is hearing my grandchildren tell me “you got it”.

Is our family ready for triplets? I do not know about the others, but the parents are. I am. I did not need to go today. But when I do, I am ready to be there.

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amtolle

Easter

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I love spring, the beginning of the year for me. When everything comes out of the winter hibernation and shows their bright new colors, flowers, trees, grass, and the animals. The animals get a winter coat, when they shed off the winter hair, their color is brighter, cleaner.

Before Easter, there is spring cleaning. The house looks and smells great after a week of deep cleaning. Removing the old to let the new in.

All these things cause a renewing of my inner being, soul and spirit, much as it was intended by our Creator. Easter the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Resurrection of what was dead to new life displayed each spring and celebrated.

I always dream of having all the children, their spouses and the grandchildren in one place for Easter. As yet, the dream has not happened. Each child has their lives and their children to celebrate. Not to mention the hundreds of miles that separate all of us.

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This year my husband has to work. I will go to church alone, which happens a lot since he works most weekends, a crazy schedule 7 on 2 off 8 on and 3 off. Crazy schedule. For some strange reason I have yet to learn the basis of, I still spring clean the house, decorate two weeks before the celebration. A day or two before Easter, I will dye or color eggs, I enjoy the colored eggs that become deviled eggs or potato salad later. I will prepare a meal for Easter, even if the meal is only for two.

I will not let the fact my children and grandchildren will not be present to celebrate, keep me from celebrating and having joy for the Easter. A friend decided not to decorate any longer for Christmas or fix a special meal, it was too much work, there was no one but the two of them. Their children grown with families, and distance prevented them from being with my friend and her husband. They stopped celebrating Christmas, and Christmas became a depressing time of the year for them. I refuse to let that happen to me.

Time changes the way we celebrate occasions as children grow up, have families, people move. Change does not mean to stop celebrating, only to celebrate differently. My children call, I talk with the grandchildren. I am sent videos of the funny or cute things that happen that day. I am always sent pictures of the egg hunts and activities.

We may not be in the same location, but in our hearts we are celebrating together.

Happy Easter. Happy Resurrection Day.

amtolle

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Toxic

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The past week has been emotional for me. Mostly depression and anger have ruled the days. I do not like depression or anger to occupy my thoughts and especially my days. I thought I learned ample skills to stop or at least not let the depression get so bad. I had not had an episode of depression for three years, why now? But, there are triggers to this depression I do not know.

A phone call this past week set the gears in motion for depression. During these depression times I do not feel I am worthy of anyone’s love, there is shame, no self-worth.

The nightmares returned. Dreams in one night included snakes. I really do not like snakes. I was trying to get them out of my house. There were several dreams as I would wake up, then finally go back to sleep to dream about snakes in the house and me trying to get them out. The last dream my husband was trying to get them out with me.

That morning, during prayers, I was really wanting to know why the bad dreams, how to get rid of my depression episode and what had triggered everything. The thought that popped in my mind was “Spark of Joy”.

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Two years ago I watched on Netflix Marie Kondo demonstrating “Spark of Joy”. I went through my house using her methods and cleaned a lot of things out. The biggest change was photos. If a picture of someone or something did not bring me joy, that photo went in a box. I did not destroy any, only stored them in a box for other family members to take if they choose.

The next was to only surround myself with people who brought me joy. But how can you not be around people who are family? One family member treats me with extreme disrespect as well is not truthful with us. My husband made a decision. My husband does not make many decisions, he trusts me to make most of the decisions. He is not in the dark, as I am a verbal thinker, so he knows all the information before I make a decision. But when he does make a decision, as he puts it “his vote is the only one that counts”. He made the decision if this family member does not change the way they treat me and others, they are not allowed on our place and into our home. His reasoning is we work hard to have and keep joy in our home, and for others to experience the joy and harmony of our home when they visit. No one deserves to be treated in the fashion this particular family member treats everyone.

“Spark of Joy”, the dreams were trying to tell me to get rid of the snakes stealing my “spark of joy” in my life. It is very clear the phone call stole my joy. Today, my loving husband decided to vote. He loves his wife and does not like to see her in the state she has been in for almost a week. His vote, do not answer the phone calls or text messages anymore.

There are some relationships with people that are toxic to our self being. They take away our joy and replace that joy with shame, self worthlessness, feelings of stupidity and other negative feelings. The exposure to toxic people should be short. For my health, it is not good to be around toxic people, even if they are family.

I have found another trigger. Hopefully the next time I have an episode, I will recognize the trigger sooner, and remove the snakes from the house.

amtolle

Birthdays

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Today is my husband’s birthday.

Another year older, and I hope a lot wiser.

For years, actually most of my life, I did not give much thought to my own birthday. It was another day, I received gifts, but no big celebration or fan fare. I began to believe that my birth nor my being was of much importance in the universe. My self worth was very low, I was unimportant and there was no need to celebrate me becoming older. Age is just a number, no need to acknowledge or celebrate one more year.

Then I joined the “Birthday Club” at a church I was attending. Each month we would celebrate not the birthday, but the fact a woman was born. When we signed up, we were to put our birthdate on the form so the organizer would make sure we were not acknowledging the fact we were born in the same month of our birth. I realized that my birth was important and a reason to celebrate.

Now I celebrate the birthdays of those I know. Those I can be with get a card and gift. I like to send flowers to my daughters. I mail cards and sometimes small gifts to my grandchildren. I want them to know I think they are important to me and I love them.

The day of our birth is special and unique as that is the very first day we greeted our parents, became a family, and said “Hello world, here I have arrived!” We should celebrate each year we have shared our lives with others, as others did not have some many years to share with others.

When I celebrate my birthday, I celebrate that I have survived as long as I have. Acknowledging all the health warnings for activities I did as a child, it is a miracle I am alive.

Yes, I drank from a garden hose, rode in the back of a pickup truck traveling the speed limit or more down the highway. As a child, the vehicles were not made with seatbelts. It is a wonder the baby boom generation even survived at all.

But I had a life of roaming anywhere I wanted, only had to be home for supper. I remember riding my bicycle down the gravel hill near home barefoot. We would go to the top of the hill and pedal as fast as we could, then let go of the handle bars plus put our feet up on the back fender of the rear wheel. On one run, I missed the back fender and my bare toes went into the rapidly spinning spokes. WIPE OUT! Nearly took my toe off in the spokes. Blood all over my toe and foot. Removed my toe nail off my big toe. My reaction, go into the house for a pair of shoes, and out the door to see if I could go faster. Have I gotten wiser as I have gotten older. I would love to try that stunt again, only I will keep my shoes on.

Birthdays celebrate the number of years you have shared your life with family, friends and others.

How to you feel about birthdays? I hope you feel they are worth celebrating. You being alive is worth celebrating.

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amtolle

Update to “Decisions Are Made”

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We make decisions daily, most are not major and have no major consequences or actions following the decision.

Late last night, actually at 2 AM today my time, I made a decision and posted “Decisions Are Made”, not realizing the events that would follow. I was expressing a decision concerning my adoption and the reasons for choosing not to pursue finding my biological family. There would be events from me posting my thoughts and decision on my adoption that I could not even dream up.

I appreciate all the comments and words I have received on the post “Decisions Are Made”. I appreciate those who follow my blog, and those I do not know who read my postings. A surprise greeted me this morning at approximately 9:30 AM with a phone call from one of my followers I was unaware of, the sister I was raised with.

When my sister called me, which is very rare, mostly we communicate through text messages, which is great as we are both busy people. I thought her call was to bring me bad news, the kind of news about family no one wants to hear. Instead, she wanted to talk about my blog post. She follows my blog, a happy surprise for me.

God does work in mysterious ways. We both knew one of us two girls had to be adopted. Sisters can not be 19 weeks apart in age, and both be born from the same biological mother. She had heard whispered rumors I was adopted, not a big deal. Last week, she ran into an person who our dad worked for and some how in the conversation came up about our dad adopting two children. My sister figured I was adopted, but the person insisted there were two children adopted. Then she reads my blog post “Decisions Are Made” at 4 AM in the morning of posting. She could not sleep, so she read my blog.

In the phone conversation she wanted to know what I knew about our adoptions. Who told me what. What was said. How I obtained my adoptions records. Where I had researched to learn of my biological parents.

I told her she was adopted first as a premature infant. Our mother’s mom, a nurse, was at her birth. I was adopted later at thirteen months of age. Our mom and dad fought over my adoption, my dad insisted, my mom did not want to adopt me. Raising two young children only 19 weeks apart in age with one being a preemie, would be a lot of work. Being the mother of four, with two girls 17 months apart, I can understand the reluctance of my mother concerning my adoption. Plus, I was not an infant.

I let her know our brothers who are natural children, both know of our adoptions. Our brothers had told my husband of my children I was adopted. She might want to start there since one of our brothers still lives in the same town.

I also told her of when I knew I was adopted and tried to get our mom to tell me. Mom was not going to ever tell me I was adopted, even though I let her know I was. Letting her know there may be some reluctance from our brothers to discuss the subject.

Many followers wonder why we were not told of our adoptions by family members or our parents. Talking to several family members, the younger ones were swore to secrecy with “beating until death” if they ever mentioned to us about being adopted. It was a very strict rule of silence within both sides of the family to never, ever under any circumstances reveal to either one of us about being adopted. Do not judge our family as these rules were held in place.

Every family has secrets, things that are spoken in whispers or not spoken of at all. This rule of silence was enforced so strongly, my cousin M who was the first family member to tell me, still feels badly about breaking this rule of silence even today.

My sister, 19 weeks younger than myself, for the first time learned she was adopted as well. My sister is wanting to find her biological parents and family. I wish her all the best. I know she will meet roadblocks trying to find information. I know there will be emotions on meeting the biological family. I am excited for her.

I am glad the light has finally shined on a this deeply hidden truth in our family. That was not the intent of my writing the post “Decisions Are Made”. I knew in the 1990’s I was adopted from the words of my husband at the time sharing that my brothers told him I was adopted. I put the information on a shelf. The information collected dust for many years. Then at the age of 48, I decided to dust off the information and see what I could find. On and off I have done research to find my biological parents. The recent research I have decide to end the searching. I was bringing a closure to the my search for biological parents. I am still writing a novel about the unwed homes and adoptions with a hint of my biological parents.

Yes, a white rose bush is so fitting for the remembrance of my adoption and biological parents.

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amtolle