Calling Wyoming Home

I am now HOME. Yes, it does feel like home to me when I view the beauty of the mountains from my front porch, see the blue skies and billions of stars stare back at me form the night sky. When I sleep in MY bedroom that has been mine since I was just a girl and cook dinner in the kitchen where I know the place of each utensil. Yes, this is home, the place I grew up and loved as a child and young adult, where I come back to with my own family and share with them the stories of my childhood. And yes, I love being home, where I can wake to the sound of my parents talking in the morning, the sound of my dad's truck entering the driveway at night...where I know I am loved and accepted without regards to anything else in the world. And yet, home is no longer home...I have my own home, my own family, my own bed and kitchen with a different layout than the one here, with views of a thousand year old church tower rather than the mountains. I love both of my homes, and I am caught between two lives, both of which bring me contentment in differing ways. I am no longer that childhood girl worrying about good gardes and parties, but a mother and wife with financial worries and children with their own worries to cope with. How did I get to this point in my life?

My parents are overworked and stressed to the max. Never in my life have I been so conscious of how hard they work. Never in my life have I been so worried about their choice of work ethics. Never in my life have I felt so relieved that I don't have to be them. As much as I love them both and appreciate all they do and have done to bring me to the point I am in my life today, I am scared that they are working too hard and will bury themselves in this day in day out battle to succeed. As far as I'm concerned they have achieved much more than they know, and now is their time to slow down and take time to enjoy some of their success. They work too hard, yet when I speak with them about it, I understand why they have to. Yet, I wish they didn't do it...I am too scared to lose them and being home I know just how very much I still need them.

I'm also in a bit of an uproar with regards to my brother. I don't understand where our relationship has gone wrong, yet there is such pain when I think about the point we have reached. I so much want a relationship with him and my niece, nephew, and sister in law, yet I feel so totally pushed away, so alienated from them, that I am scared when the phone rings, my hopes reaching an all-time high when I think it may be him, then falling when it isn't...yet scard to answer the phone because I just won't know what to say. I have left him messages telling him I'm in town, with no respoonse which tears at my heart. I have come thousands of miles to see him (and all of my othre family as well) yet he can't make the effort to give just that little bit. I just don't know where we will go from here, but at this moment, I ache. I ache for my parents even more than myself, what this relationship is doing to them, tearing at them, giving them more pain than they can bear. Where did our family go wrong? What can we do to make it right? How can I show my love without pushing too hard to push him even further away. I love you, little brother, and I care more than you can even imagine. Please give me a chance, let me show you that I am worthy of your love, your presence...

I am so happy to be here, in America, sharing all this space with my children. I have so many stories to share, and will when I have more time (and NO dial-up!!! hahaha). I took pictures of the Wyoming WIldlife on our 4 day camping trip to the woods...when you see those, you will know the peace that fills my heart and soul, and what being home means. What it means to my children and the stories they will share when they bring their own children back to these Wyoming plains. Take me home, country roads, to the place, where I belong....



We made it to WI...my birthplace and first ever home. We've been staying with my Uncle John, Aunt Judie, and my cousins Jaclynn and Zach. It's so great to spend time with them and get to know them all again. Last night we had a BBQ and Judie's mom came to dinner. She is originally Dutch...her grandparents immigarted to America...and was so interested in everything we could tell her and teach her about Holland. It was really fun and the kids entertained her with their Dutch language skills. She is such a sweet lady.

Jari asked to send Papa a card today. His first sentence said "Sweet Papa, I am sad because I don't get to see you." I got tears in my eyes. Am I doing right by keeping them apart for such a long period of time? Will it strengthen the bond between all of us after we reunite again? I can only hope that this is so.

We will be heading to visit with my grandparents this afternoon. Knowing that they are getting old and I may not have them around a lot longer, I am very happy to have this time with them. I want my children to know their great-grandparents. This is a luxury that many children never get to have and I feel blessed that mine have that extra bit of love in their lives. I can't wait to hear all the stories that I hold forever deep in my heart, times of the past and what has created this family I call mine. I may not care as much for the history of the world, but tell me the history of my family anytime and I will put on a listening ear. (This is a bit false as I am much more interested in all history since moving to Europe and having a husband so entirely interested in it...yet as often as I am told the stories, they seem to be immediately deleted from my mind...darn!)

We miss you, Papa...all of us. Can't wait til you are here with us and we can create our own family stories from a vacation in America to pass on to our children's children. Life, what a wonderful thing.


New York City

Yesterday we spent the day in NYC. It never fails to get my adrenaline running with all the people, sounds of tooting horns, smells of heat, and the lights, wow, all those lights. If you haven't been there, it really is a worthwhile trip. It's amazing. We had a slice of hot, fresh pizza after getting off the train and then we were straight out into the middle of this diverse excitement. Take my hand, guys....you don't want to get lost! And how easy that is to do. We walked to see Tarzan and passed all the fireman doing a Jerr'y Kids campaign. We saw policemen on bikes, motorbikes, horses, foot, and in cars. That of course gave the kids lots to talk about. They greeted some motorcycle police and got their picture taken in the heart of Times Square. Just imagine buildings piled ontop of buildings all with huge movie screens of every imaginable size and people galore running in and out of these, millions of cameras firing at once, sirens squeeling, homeless asking for money, and megaphones shouting out. And people preaching God. And people handing out pamphlets. And taxi's, oh so many taxi's. It makes my heart beat faster just thinking about it again.

Tarzan...oh wow! I just love live performances and this was no exception. Wow! Dancing and music and scenery...Tarzan coming right into the audience hanging from his tree swing. The huge ship traveling to Africa, and sound effects. My kids were TOTALLY entranced. Jari kept retelling every movement with an excited passion and clapped extra hard after each scene. Kaeden just watched and even when asking him a question was too mesmerized to speak. It was wonderful. I am so, so grateful to be given these opportunities, not only for my own enjoyment, but to open up the world to the boys. There is so much out there and Broadway is but a tiny little piece of culture. Even the building in which it is housed was beautiful. The ceilings and walls beautifully restored and painted. I just can't explain it. You've got to see it for yourself. And if you do, just be ready to be wow'ed. There is nothing like NYC anyplace else that I have been. I'd NEVER want to live there, but for a dazzling time, go for it!

Well, today we pack up and head to Wisconsin. I'm ready to see my family, enjoy hearing stories that have happened since we last met, ready for big hugs and that feeling that you get from noplace other than knowing these are your blood. And for creating stories that can be passed down through the generations to preserve this family that is ours.

Thank you SO much Taylors, for your love and care. Thank you for being such wonderful friends, another family I call mine. Thank you for opening up our world, giving us these experiences we would otherwise not have. I love you all.


A Few Notes About VACATION

Well, we are in America. It never fails to make me swell with excitement, coming back to my home, seeing people that I love, viewing Neon lights and open stores 24 hours/day...okay, not that I have been out at 4 am, but last night at 1:30 it was still quite "hopping". I went to see the premiere of Pirates of the Carribbean 2 with my friend Lisa. She is such a beautiful young lady. She loves Johnny Depp. And she wanted to share her love with me. I felt honored in a strong way. This beautiful "girl" whom I love so deeply, yet share very little of her life, but helped to raise from the time she was a newborn. I hope that I always remain a part of her life.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Robert Moses beach. From sea to shining sea...wow, it was magnificent. Perfect weather, not too crowded, waves just the right size for chasing you down. We collected some great shells and rocks, played in the sand and surf and enjoyed being with my family...yes, when I left their home after living with them for 2 1/2 years they gave me a plaque that said "Families Are Forever"...it still hangs in my home and reminds me the importance of family, whatever form they come in. They are a terrific family and I feel honored that I get to share in their life all these years later.

Yesterday their foreign exchange student, Jazmin, from Argentina went home. As tears flowed from her face at the prospect of saying goodbye to this place and home she has come to love, tears threatened to fall from my eyes as well...the world is such a big place and saying goodbye is NEVER easy. After her car was out of sight Kaeden said "I have some water in my eyes." What a concept, my son feels it too.

I spent a couple hours with Ted just talking and really enjoyed the time the two of us had. What a great man at 20 years old. It is very interesting seeing him as a partner now that he has a steady girlfriend. I keep resorting back to Teddy, his child name, and do it with so much love in my heart...he may or may not know how fondly I call him that. I hope he does. We watched the National Hot Dog Eating contest...I seriously had to turn my head to keep from gagging. 53 3/4 hotdogs in 12 m inutes. Yuck! I'd never want to see another one.

What else have we done since being in the US? Shopping...Kaeden picked out a present for everyone in his loving and giving way, helping to shrink his large US dollar accumulation. Went to the Crab Meadow Beach and played on the Long Island Sound. Went to see Superman Returns. Ate NY bagels. Ate NY pizza. Ate turkey dinner. Painted rocks we collected. Watched soccer. Watched Harry Potter. Played soccer. Played Monopoly. Played checkers. Woke up at the crack of dawn each morning (til today at 7, thank God!). Ate LTU airline food...yuck...not a good airline food source...even Kaeden wouldn't eat the sandwich, and he eats anything!

Finally, I want to tlak about Jari and his language skills. OH MY GOSH! The child speaks English. I mean, he speaks it at a strong level, not just one or two words. He keeps amazing me with things he says that I would never have guessed he even knew. I am so proud. I feel so much relief that I am doing my job as an American mama. I just really can't believe it. Everyone here keeps bursting out in laughter when he talks cuz it's so darn cute how far he has come in 3 days time. And his accent is just as cute as him. Anyway, he is bilingual...he just hides it well! :-)

Okay, we're heading for NYC to have lunch and see Tarzan on Broadway today. Should be another fun day in the life. I'm just happy to be "home" even though I already miss my husband...



I keep learning as I age. Sometimes it's a whole lot of fun and other times it simply sucks. What I never learned as a child was how to voice my feelings in a positive manner, and that has led to many faults throughout my road of life. When something is bothering you, the very best manner of making it better is to talk about it. I'm not good at this as I hate the conflict and confrontation that follow. I'd rather put on a happy face and pretend there is no pain, but eventually it all catches up with you and turns into a full-blown argument. Not good. But, I am learning and I am doing better with this problem, though I am far from being that person I hope to one day become. I look up to those people that have the power to face conflict. They create an atmosphere for themselves and those around them that may be uncomfortable for the moment, but clear and free of those troubles nagging the back of our minds, causing us more stress than necessary in our already stress-filled lives.

This week I confronted two situations that were bothering me. The first I did on my own, discussing with a very good friend the problems that her being late is causing in our friendship. I wish I had done it sooner as she wasn't even aware of the strain it was causing in our relationship. But now she has the chance to change and our friendship can go forth in a much more healthy manner. In this discussion there were a few shed tears, but nothing was out of control and it was in a very loving manner that this confrontation ensued and ended. We'll both be much stronger for it.

The second scenario was much heftier and more difficult. There were more people involved and I lost my temper in an explosive manner that always makes me feel so little and alone. Still, it was definitely necessary as much conversation followed bringing about issues that have been held deep in my heart for a long time. It is not fair to the person with whom I have a problem to not let them know my feelings...then they have no room to consider my point of view and change. However, once they know my feelings, they are empowered to make changes in strengthening the relationship. And, it gives them a chance to voice their own worries and opinions and give me a chance to consider their point of view. Once you confront the situation, the ball is in their court and they already know your expectations, and it's up to them to decide what to do, no longer laying the leaded feeling on your shoulders.

Anyway, I come home tonight with a heavy heart. Though the confrontation has been long in the works, it was done without the loving and respectful manner every person deserves. Because anger also played a part in this conflict, there was not a positive resolution, though I do feel that one will come eventually with time. People mean too much to hold it all inside. The pain and anger that you let go comes upon them too suddenly and there is nothing for them to do other than react negatively back towards you, protect themselves, with issues of their own. Even through all of this, the confrontation was positive in that it released all that built-up negativity and gave me a chance to sit back and look at the part I play in the problem. I only hope that we can resolve this further by reaching out to each other and remembering the good we each possess. Even if our relationship never comes full circle, we can still live in harmony, still pay each other the respect we deserve, and understand each other a bit more completely.

Conflict and confrontation is not something I enjoy. What I am learning is that it is a necessary part of life and something I need to improve within myself. One confrontation can lead to change while bottling it all up just accumulates more and more problems. And who needs more of those with all that life already throws our way?


Just About Time

You know how sometimes when an important event is coming, you can't believe it when the day finally arrives...your every nerve is zinging and your head is just full to the max with anticipation, excitement, and fear? Well, today that is me. I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to organize all I need to do before our two month journey into what I hope will be bliss. Yesterday I got ALL (and we're talking about 20) my husband's shirts ironed (my LEAST fave job in the world) and ALL the grocery shopping for him done. Yes, he's capable, but I want him to feel free to enjoy his vacation at home without all the extras (meaning us) that cause him stress. He can come home to a clean house every night (maybe his dirty socks will still find a place on the floor, and dishes undone except for once a week), turn on his favorite computer game or channel on the tv, enjoy dinner when he likes (I've got all premade meals in the freezer for him to heat up) and probably fall asleep on the couch every night until the sun wakes him for work the next morning...gosh, I'm going to miss my husband. When I look at him the past few days, I get tears in my eyes thinking about how long it will be until I see him again, making me remember back to when we first met and the pain of saying goodbye. I'm reasuured about how much I love him and how right we are together when I think about all of this. That's the good part.

I've got little piles of stuff everywhere...and a FULL suitcase with just treats and presents...what am I gonna do with our clothes? hahaha And I want to pack light, but always get fearful at the last minute that I won't have what I need and cram it all in. But, I'm going to America....land of 24 hour shopping and looking forward to doing so, so I'm going light. Trust me....

The boys both packed a suitcase of their own to take...yep, filled with toy soldiers and stuffed animals, cars and coloring books, hats and all that fun little boy stuff. Wait til they see that I have "repacked" for them...the screams that will ensue when I tell them 1 animal, 3 cars, and a coloring book for the plane...oh boy, I can't wait! :-) I do have a few treats in store though...a new game and book, a couple of their fave cookies, yogurt in a tube...and they will be fine. Kaeden found all his game boy stuff, we've got the DVD's ready to go, my mind is flowing with excitement about seeing my family and friends. I'm getting to that stage of "I'm going home!!!!"

And come Tuesday morning, bright and early, with everything as ready as it can be, we'll be off...off to the land of the free, the home of the brave, on the biggest day of the year, HER birthday! Here we come, America! Are you ready for us?