Friday, November 30, 2012

"In my long and colorful career, one thing stands out: I have been misunderstood." 

~ Mae West

Thursday, November 29, 2012

15 Day Blogger Challenge ~ Getting to Know the Blogger ~ Day 1

15 Day blogger Challenge

15 Day Blogger Challenge - Getting to Know the Blogger

This challenge is open to any and everyone who wants to get to know each other a little better in the blogosphere. I encourage you all to make this challenge your own. There is no special format to follow or rules on posting. Do your challenge in 1 day by answering all the questions at once or do it in 90 days. Just have fun!

Challenge Questions:
1. Introduction to this Challenge and tell us a little about yourself!
2. Where did you grow up? Small town or Big City?
3. What's some of your favorite memories from childhood?
4. What type of student were you in school?
5. Who was your closest friends as a teenager?
6. Where have you worked?
7. Has your life gone the way you expected it?
8. Tell us a bit about your family!
9. What are your goals? What are your hobbies?
10. Why did you start blogging and what is your blog about?
11. What are a couple of your favorite blog tools that you use?
12. Your top 5 posts and why you think they were successful.
13. 3 blogs you visit and read enthusiastically.
14. Social Networks/Blog Communities you want others to know you're a part of.
15. Closing and any upcoming posts or raffles you would like to share with us.

Who Am I?

I am Damien and Dylan's mom. I am their buddy, their pal, their confidant, their disciplinarian. I am the person who bathed them, fed them, and powdered their bottoms. I am the person that they depended on for survival. I am the person that taught them how to walk, talk, and use the toilet. I am their advocate, and I helped them learn to stand up for themselves in times when backing down would be much, much easier. I am the person who has prepared them to leap from the nest every now and again before the day that will come when they leap just once more down their own paths and adventures. And, then, I will still be their mom, but lacking in their company and the endless responsibilities that consume my every day.

I am Darren's wife. I am his best friend, his balance, his equal, his intimate. I am committed to my life with him and bathe him in ceaseless doting. I am his lover, and together we reach the heights of passion and ecstasy and delve to the depths of the abyss in which to drown our sorrows. Together we share our thoughts, ideals, minds, values. I am the person that taught him not to fear love and how to trust. I am honest in my opinions and share with him even though we may not agree. I am his steadfast, loyal, devoted companion. I give him space when needed and join with him in our conquests of the obstacles in our lives. Together we are one power, but in his absence, I am still whole.

I am a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a granddaughter, and a friend. I confide, disclose, declare, confess. I am the person that will listen when an ear is needed. I use my words when advice is warranted. I am vigilant in my assertions and gentle in my opinions. I am a shoulder on which to cry and in need of a shoulder every now and again. I love, hold, cry, and remember. I am a caretaker, a friend, a master chef, and the life of the party. I am a wallflower drawn down in a corner and the nut hiding deep within its shell. I am just like the others and not like anyone else.

I am part of the people that permeate my innermost circles, and they a part of me. I carry them with me as I traverse my rocky path. At times they are the rocks on which I stub my toe, and others I am the sharp burr that penetrates their skin, but together concessions are made, and we smooth to tranquil pebbles, cool against the skin. I am a pocket of pebbles smoothed throughout the years. I learn and grow because of them and despite of them. I change, for I am malleable, complaisant, rebellious, consistent, erratic. I am common and conventional, embellished in my liberal eccentricities. I am a walking contradiction, a conformed antithesis to myself.

But, who am I?

The things that define me are the things that constrain me, as well as the things that allow me to run free. I am spiritual, one with nature, one against nature. I am a thinker, a student, a teacher, a philosopher.  I am rambunctious. I am meek. I am alone, surrounded by those who love me. I want only peace, harmony, love. I want love. I want love. I want love. I am at odds with myself.

But, who am I?

I am an entity filling space amongst atoms sitting upon atoms bound by a tiny charge. I am protons and electrons floating through air. I am flesh and blood with a heart that beats spreading the life-force throughout my limbs. I am the breath that rides upon the wind, without which I will cease. I am a stockpile of minerals that consume Earth, and to minerals, I will return. I am millions of cells held together by tissue bonds. I am a DNA code unique to myself. I am a collection of electrical impulses jumping from synapse to receptor. I am ideas, notions, impressions, feelings, judgments dangling from each dendrite in hopes of being noticed before lost forever. I am the neuron that charges every movement.

I am the frontal lobe, emotional, unpredictable, convergent. I am upper management and a disheveled mess. I am a wordsmith, a scribe, a pencil pusher. I am the parietal lobe, clumsy, awkward, graceful, elegant, steady, strong. I am the assemblage of all I see, perceive, catch from the corner of my eye. I am all that I hear and all that I am deaf to, the low hum of the world around me that I have long forgotten. I consist of every song, every word, every thought, every smell, every touch that has invaded my every sense. I am a multitude of memories, hopes, dreams, fantasies, realities. I am every award, every achievement, every goal conquered. I am every mistake I ever made.

But, who am I?

I honestly do not believe I can tell you, for I cannot even tell myself. The best I can say is that I am me.
"I want the freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own Gods from my entrails." ~ Gloria Anzualdua

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The pain of leaving those you love is only a prelude to understanding yourself." 

~ Shirley MacLaine

Monday, November 26, 2012

Native American Code of Ethics

  1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak. 
  2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance. 
  3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. 
  4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor. 
  5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community,the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours. 
  6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant. 
  7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression. 
  8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you. 
  9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven. 
  10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism. 
  11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family. 
  12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow. 
  13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you. 
  14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of one's will within this universe. 
  15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails. 
  16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions. 
  17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden. 
  18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first. 
  19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others. 
  20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"What I wanted to be when I grew up was in charge." ~ Wilma Vaught

Friday, November 23, 2012

It is time to stop denying the inner bitch in ourselves. Stop apologizing for her. Set her free. 

~ Elizabeth Hilts

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm Thankful for You

People have been asking what I am thankful for, and I could have done the daily thankful thing for the month, but I did not want to undersell what I am thankful the most, Damien and Dylan. 17 years ago I was blessed with the one thing that I was told I would never have. That was you, Damien. All I ever wanted was to be a mom, and I was devastated to think I would never have that. I am so glad, now, that those doctors were wrong. I believe, now, that my body was waiting for the right person to have children with.

Damien, I know that you have heard the story a hundred times, but I will say it again. When I became your mom, a ray of sunshine filled my world. That's why you have the nickname you do. A year later, another ray of sunshine filled my world. Dyl, that is when I was blessed with you. You two are a couple of the most wonderful young men in the world. Lord, it hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been bad either. Life with you boys has been absolutely wonderful.

I can't imagine a world without you or remember a time without you, and I don't want to. You two are the most precious gifts I could have ever gotten in my life. I love you boys!

I remember the day, almost 17 years ago, that we brought you home from the hospital. Damien, I don't think I have ever seen your father so proud as he was when he held you in his arms. I know that my entire world had changed because you brought sunshine into my life. That's why you have the nickname you do. You will always be MY Sunshine. 
1 wk

A year after Damien was born, DJ and I were blessed once more. Dylan, you have always been the most loving child in the world. Damien was so happy that we brought his baby brother home in time for his birthday party. Dylan, you were just a day old when we got to bring you home, and that was the best thing in the world. 
1 yr & 1 day

Fresh diapers, and all. Damien, look how much littler Dyl was than you.
1 yr & 4 days

Dyl's first Santa picture. Can you see him? He was so tiny. Damien, you didn't like Santa.
1 yr & 2 wks

Dylan's first Christmas. Yes, boys, you did sleep together all of the time. Damien was extra protective of you, Dyl, on this day. It was Christmas Eve at Tim's house in Battlecreek, Michigan. Dyl, had gotten out of the hospital the day before for his stomach surgery. Damien hadn't been allowed to come up to see his brother, and I had to sneak home in the middle of the night to shower and see Damien for more than a week. Damien was so glad to get his baby back home, and laid down to sleep with him when he got tired. 
13 mos & 4 1/2 weeks

It never mattered to you where you slept, Damien, as long as it was near your brother. I always found it funny that you both slept exactly the same for years, with your butts in the air. 
14 mos & 2 mos

I used to always buy you Winnie the Pooh clothes, they were similar but seldom identical. Dyl, you had been sleeping, and Damien crawled on the couch to soothe you. He could always get you to calm down when you would cry. 
15 mos & 3 months

Damien, you did not want to see the Easter Bunny, and you did not like that Easter Bunny. I could not get you to smile for anything. Dyl just was clueless except he knew where Mommy was, and he wasn't attached to her. 
16 mos & 4 mos

Yes, boys, I had to. You guys used to bathe together all of the time. It was just so much easier for me. 16 mos & 4 mos

Okay, now, I did dress you exactly alike here, but your dad got you these outfits. He's always been a big Tigger fan. 
18 mos & 6 mos

Damien, did you know that Dyl and you have been partners in crime pretty early. You guys knew I just baked cookies, and Dyl was trying to get you to get him some. He always did that. He would fuss, and you would get stuff until he quit fussing. You did try to climb the fence, but I stopped you first. Yes, you got the cookies, but I got them for you. 
19 mos & 7 mos

Partners in crime ~ The baby was supposed to be sleeping but brother got the bag of chocolate, climbed on the bed, and fed the baby the chocolate. I couldn't be mad about it though, because you two were just too cute with those 'busted' looks on your faces and covered in chocolate. I had to take a picture instead. 
20 mos & 8 mos

Poor, Dyl, Damien crawled in your playpen, woke you, and stole your binky. You were so upset with him. I did get your binky back, by the way, I just had to snap the picture first. 
23 mos & 11 mos

Dylly, Dylly, Dylly, you sure new how to make Mommy laugh! You always talked on that silly phone with it upside down and backwards, "Hewhoah." This is my favorite picture of the two of you. Damien had just discovered that he could stick out his tongue. You had just gotten home from the hospital from pneumonia the day I took this. 
2 & 1

Damien, you were so upset that Dyl jumped in your basket. You kept grunting at me to try to get me to get him out. Dyl, what a stinker. You weren't the least bit bothered that you made your brother cry.... and the rivalry has begun. Dyl, did you know you called him, Su-shy. You were trying to say Sunshine. 
2 & 1

Dyl, you always and forever had some kind of bandage on your head. I think this is from when the dog bit your ear because your ear is covered up in this one. There are some where your head is wrapped because of stitches in the back of your head. You fell while you were learning to walk and busted the back of your head on the hinge of the closet door. You have always been so clumsy. I remember the time that you were jumping off of the bed feet first into the laundry basket, and I told you, "Alex (we called you that back then), don't you jump off that bed feet first into that laundry basket."

"O'tay, Momma," and you went face first and ripped out your tooth. You were 16 months old then. Then we had the Disney On Ice/head busted on the toilet experience at 4, cut side from jumping off of the shed roof at 6, dislocated elbow at 7, broken foot on your birthday at 12, and most recently the boxer's blow from face planting at the Y from trying to jump down after hanging on the basketball goal at 14. 
2 & 1

Happy Birthday 15 years ago.... OMG!!! I cannot believe it's been that long. Dyl was upset because you got to blow out the candles first. But technically, you do become a year older two hours before he does. Don't worry, Dyl, you had a cake too. 
3 & 2

I have always been unconventional when getting your pictures made. The woman was a little worried that I wouldn't like them because of how I had you dressed. She was wrong because I absolutely love them. We took these pictures for Father's Day, and your dad was so surprised to get them. Damien, this is around the time that you first started speaking. I was so proud of you. Before then, you only spoke in grunts and sign language. 
3 & 2

I love this picture of you guys. I was a little perturbed with the photographer because he switched the Cookie Monster and Elmo to match your Halloween costumes. I was so excited for you to wear your costumes. You even had Sesame Street shoes on, but you didn't get to wear the costumes. This was the year that Damien tried to flush the costumes down the toilet. I ended up dressing Damien like a hobo and Dyl like a clown. Yes, Dylan, a clown.
3 & 2

I caught you two sneaking in the kitchen when I took this.... Like I say, partners in crime. I think this is around the time I started calling you Dr. Destructo and His Evil Sidekick. You guys were after the eggs.
4 & 3

I doubt you boys remember when we took you to the children's museum in Fort Worth, but you were both enthralled with the dinosaur displays. Damien wanted to touch that one, and that's why you two were climbing the fence. You two knew that you were in everything together. I cannot believe that you are 17 & 16 , because it seems as if it were just a little ways away when we took these, and you were 4 & 3 then.

This wagon was always your favorite. You had your father to tie it to his bike and cart you around the neighborhood. You rode in it on Lake Michigan because it floated like a boat. You had Grandpa tote you, Ginger, and Allyssa all over the back yard. And, you had Zach tie it to his bike and tote you around. 
4 & 3

Damien was so excited that he "gets to sit on the dinosaur," but he did get upset because the dino wasn't real and couldn't eat Dylan. 
5 & 4

Damien, I am not sure why you had that look on your face, but I get the feeling something pretty funny must have happened. See, Dyl thought it was funny anyway. 
5 & 4

Dylan, you were so excited that Damien was graduating Headstart in this picture, "because it means I get to go to school now." You did get a little upset to learn that you had to wait three more months "because that's forever." 
5 & 4

Your cousins, Zach & Lyssa, were always like siblings to you, and trust me, you all fought like you were too. I don't, however, think I've ever seen four cousins closer.
5 & 4

Photo removed per request of my mother.

These must be Christmas hugs, as I spy a stocking on the chair in the corner. Damien, this was during your dinosaur days, and Dyl would tell you, "You got such a flat head, flat head." I still know the words to "Friends for Dinner," but I am glad that Chomper has grown up into a nice young man. Dyl, this was right before your ear surgery. I guess I should have known that you were deaf at the time, and I'm really sorry that I didn't. I just thought you mispronounced everything. The doctor said that it is a good thing that you gradually went deaf, so you did have fairly good language acquisition before you lost your hearing all together. I remember the day you told your teacher that your daddy was a trucker with an f instead of a tr. You figured it out pretty fast, though, after the surgery. 
6 & 5

You guys used to always hug each other when I would photograph you. You were 6 & 5 here. Do you remember that year when we went to Galveston to see Nana & PawPaw? If you look really close, they're in the background.

Photo removed per request of my mother.

Awww... I'm choked up over this one. Do you remember all of the trips we made to Grandma's house. Damien, I never saw a child bring such a smile to Walter's face the way you could. You are an absolutely amazing boy. Dyl, Grandma is who we get our sense of humor from. She always loved having you guys around. 
7 & 6

Photo removed per request of my mother.

Again, in Galveston, and still loving brothers. You guys have always been there for each other. Dyl, it was so funny because Damien did not let go of you for this picture. Those big waves behind you rolled in, and you ended up under the water. You put mud in Damien's shorts for getting you "all dunk-ed." 
7 & 6

Goofy as usual. Every time I tried to get a good picture, you guys always make goofy faces. We were getting ready to go to Dylan's soccer game this day. Go Geckos! 
8 & 7

Sweet brothers on Christmas. I think the only reason why you were being sweet is because you knew that Santa was coming to bring more presents, and candy. Heaven forbid there be no candy. Do you remember this year, Dylan? You collected rocks, and Santa gave you rock candy, and chocolates that looked like gravel and pebbles, as well as a bag of real stones. You were upset to start with until you realized that the rock candy and chocolates were actually candy. 
8 & 7

This is the year that we bought Grandma Krackers the tiara for her birthday. You two were so excited to get to dote on her for the day. She let you wear the hat she was sent for her birthday. It was always so much fun to spend our St. Patty's day with Grandma and you two. 
9 & 8

Gosh, it does not seem that long ago since we took these pictures at the park. I'm not even sure that you guys would fit on that slide anymore. 
9 & 8

You guys are a couple of little nuts at times... well most of the time....
10 & 9

I don't think this one is a brotherly hug.
11 & 10

Dylan is giving the big hug this time. Damien, you just would not look up. I think, though, that Dyl was actually trying to pull you down. 
12 & 11

Faces, faces, faces ~ Damien, this was the day you learned to cross your eyes. You made me laugh so hard that day. Needless to say, Dyl's always has some funny look on his face when I tried to photograph him. 
13 & 12

Killer had so much fun going to the park with you guys. You both insisted taking him down the slide or sending him down where the other one was waiting. 
13 & 12

Dylan, you know, you have always been the biggest supporter and advocate for Damien. That's why he loves you. And, I am truly blessed to have such wonderful children. 
~ Autism Walk ~ 13 & 12

You guys are really sweet, you know, when you want to be.
13 & 12

You two have always stuck together through thick and thin, and all of those awful allergy shots. I don't think you look very enthused. 
13 & 12

Do you guys remember the "Brown Family Curse" on this Christmas Eve? Uggghhh... bad, day, but now I look back in laugh. I laugh because I know how blessed we are that none of us were hurt when the car went in the ditch; and we all made it home safely. 
14 & 13

Dyl, your just the best.... This picture really shows how you guys really were at the time.
14 & 13

Spring Break in Galveston... whoo-hoo.... Allyssa would kill me if she saw this one.
14 & 13

Photo removed per request of my mother.

Dyl, you finally started outgrowing your brother. Damien, I told you he would. We had a really good time during that Spring Break trip with Gator Country. 
14 & 13

I laugh every time that I see this picture. Dyl, you were pushing your brother's nose so hard, and I could barely to get him to touch yours. I had so much fun making this video with you guys for school, and you were such good sports. 
14 & 13

I am truly honored that I got to celebrate this day with you. I could never made it through school without your patience and cooperation. You are the best young men that a mom could have. I truly love you. 
14 & 13

It's good to know that you guys never feel too old to play with bubbles. Yeah, you take after your mom. 
15 & 14

This is the day that we took lots of pictures in Santa Anna, and it's also the day that we realized that the GPS put us in Lake Brownwood when we were eating at Wendy's. I love you boys. 
15 & 14

I know that this day was just as hard for me as it was for me. It was the last time that we were at Grandma's house before David and she moved. I know you miss them both terribly, but you have been wonderful grandchildren and nephews to them. They always look forward to you calling them. 
15 & 14

Too sweet. My boys really love their great-grandma.
15 & 14

Photo removed per request of my mother.

What a day we had this day. You guys had to go to the orthodontist in Brownwood. You guys were trying on all of those goofy Halloween costumes, and Damien ate a huge pile of pizza at CiCi's. I had asked you guys to smile for me, but neither one of you would show me your braces. 
15 & 14

Genuine and Dylan on the ferry in Galveston ~ Poor Dylan, you were so sick.
16 & 15

Dyl, you still get very excited around Christmas time. Damien, your hair! ... just saying...
16 & 15

My gentlemen are all dressed up in their 'suits.' Damien was really excited to get his suit from Goodwill. He said, "Momma, my teacher told me to check Goodwill for good suits because lawyers die all the time." 
16 & 15

I would say that I am sorry that I made you take the picture with the creepy zombie guy, but I'm not.
16 & 15

I think this trip was the best one that we all have had thus far. It was nice to see everyone so happy and getting along. You guys are my world, and I would be lost without you. 
16 & 15

I absolutely love the fact that neither of you are afraid to act goofy in public. You guys always can make me smile even when I get really sad. Just being around you makes me so happy. 
16 & 15

Overall, I can say that I think you would be really sad, Dyl, if your brother wasn't around.

Damien, I know you would be sad too.

So, keep close with one another no matter what.
16 & 15

I still cannot believe that you two are 17 & 16 today. It just seems like it was yesterday when you were brought into our lives.