Weight …

I don’t usually step on the scale.

As long as I feel good.  My clothes fit and I’m eating right and exercising, I’m pretty content.  I don’t talk, or try not to anyway, about feeling overweight (for me).  Especially around my daughter.

But I stepped on the scale the other morning.  Because, well, lets just say my clothes don’t fit me as well as they used to.  As well as say, even a month ago.  I was pretty sure even before stepping on, that I had about 5 pounds I might want to lose.

You didn't think I'd actually step on it, did you ...

The scale confirmed my suspicions.

……..

People will say ‘you look great’ or ‘you don’t need to lose weight.’  I’m not looking for gratuitous compliments here.  Sincerely.  Overall, I’m happy with myself, my life and my appearance.

But if I could just fit my thighs into that favorite pair of jeans to fit again….

At $200/pair it seems anymore for something cute I’d rather lose weight than buy another pair to fit expanding body parts.

The Cowboy says, ‘Go buy a bigger pair of jeans.  You look good.’

………

We all know when we’re about to fall off that cliff.. a cliff that will be tough if not impossible to climb back up.  We feel it.  I’m pretty sure, actually, that I’ve felt it about every spring now since turning 35.

What’s so special about 35 you might ask?

Ah, you youngster.

It’s like hitting a wall where metabolism is concerned.  Not just my own experience.  But that of many, many a girlfriend.  No one ever told me ..or maybe they did but I didn’t hear.  So I was relatively ill prepared.  Let this be a heads up, my dear daughter.  And anyone else that might be looking at this still young and blissfully eating whatever you want and drinking triple vanilla lattes along with cheese curds or pizza and beer a few late nights each week.  Ahem.  Not that I know anything about that.  (All the health/fitness experts say that’s one of the first things that needs to be moderated in any diet.  Alcohol.  For the record.)  This is not knowledge my mother passed along to me.  And she is no longer around to share what may lie ahead.  It all would have been helpful.

So ..

With 40 around the corner…I’m concerned another wall may be waiting.

I have some work to do.

(Cowboy says, laughing hysterically today as I’m thinking about what pics to post with this.. ‘Want me to take a picture of your gut?’  Um, no.)

……..

My biggest challenge has always been, short of high school, making time for workouts that will do more than maintain where I’m at.  Especially since meeting the Cowboy.  When he is here visiting, the time is precious.  And, the last thing I feel like I should be doing is spending an hour at the gym.

I run my dogs most days of the week anywhere between a mile or three.  I do lunges down the middle of the street.  I’m not afraid to look like a goofball, which I’m sure I do on occasion.  Like, when one of my dogs tripped me while we were running yesterday.  The multiple steps I faltered, tried to regain my footing and ultimately tumbled onto the pavement, had to have been a spectacular sight.  The guy walking down the sidewalk with his dog (the reason one of my dogs decided it was a great idea to lunge in front of me) just stood back and asked, ‘Are you ok?’  I mumbled something along the lines ‘I am fine.  Please, keep walking.’  Then got up, brushed myself off, gave my dog a dirty look – she knew she did me wrong.  And we went on our merry way.  I do pushups on whatever works, the curb or park benches and sit ups at home.  So it’s not like I’m totally slacking.

But the older a woman gets (probably men too but believe men are generally blessed with higher metabolism), I’ve always heard, the tougher it is to take weight off.

……..

I ask the Cowboy this morning .. “What are your fitness goals?  Do you have any?”

He laughs.  He’s in relatively great shape.. he’s hot, actually, I think ..  but he also has a relatively physical job.

He goes back to playing guitar.

My daughter says, “I want to be just like you.  All slim.  And have a waist just like you.”  She’s serious.

Now I’m laughing.

“Seriously,” I say.  “Do you have any fitness goals?  Aren’t we going to run a race together this summer?”

She thinks for a moment.

“I want to learn how to really become a good hip hop dancer.  And, get the dogs to be sled dogs.”

We’re all laughing.  The Cowboy chimes in.

“I would like to be on a running schedule says the Cowboy, 3 times a week at least 1 to 2 miles.”

……….

It’s a good goal.

But if I’m taking off the five and toning up the arms…. (also important.  My daughter last fall pointed out they were a bit, um, not toned) I need to do more.

I’ve got a fall marathon in mind.  Without bigger goals the 5 pounds will become 10, I’m  sure.

While I’m off to a relatively good start.. I hit the gym the other morning for weights and have run the past two days, we missed our run this morning.  Thanks to laundry, getting ready for school and returning phone calls before I had to head off to work.

Perhaps we’ll fit one in before fish fry and a Lake Louie Porter this evening.   Mmmmm.  (Just one though anymore.  Yes.  I have officially become a lightweight.)


Or.. a Winter Skal.

If not, I definitely won’t be stepping back on the scale.  Anytime soon.

Let her cook?

I finally decided we were close enough to trash day yesterday .. to go ahead and dump out some old food.  Which, I hate ever doing.  Wasting food.  And throwing food out.

But when you’re living alone part of the time and still have to shop for others to be with you the other part of the time, it somehow seems inevitable.  Which is why, over the years, I’ve taken to eating out more than I should.

In trying to get back to spending less, eating healthier and being home more .. something I want for myself and that the Cowboy is encouraging me to do as well… I’m trying to get back into this cooking thing.

……

I’ve always loved to cook.  Love looking at recipes.  Love having family and friends over for meals.  I have an extensive collection of favorite cookbooks.  But at the moment, in our last move and in severely trying to downsize, I’ve pulled out only a few from the boxes.

Image

The rest, for now .. sit in storage.

I’m not sure when exactly .. I got so far away from that.  But fairly certain it was as I adjusted to a new life, during my divorce.

Six years later …

My daughter is wanting desperately to learn to cook.   So I’m trying to find the time between getting home late each evening during the week when I have her, homework, taking the dogs out, picking up and getting her to bed.  Which doesn’t leave us much time.  To cook.  Anything but buttered noodles (any pasta), rotisserie chicken and a salad.  (Yes, I know I can throw something in the crock pot.  That would require more advance planning and it just never seems to work out that we actually eat what goes in there.  A lot still gets thrown away.)  We eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Again, really no cooking involved.  And on weekends between traveling back and forth to South Dakota, visiting family or friends here, it seems someone else is always the one at the stove.

SO… when I’m not looking:

Image

(Sorry for the close-up.)

She ‘cooks.’

Grapes.  Bananas.  Swedish Fish.  Apples.  Some sort of sugary sauce.  Pretty sure that’s what I ended up throwing out yesterday after it sat in the refrigerator for a couple days.  (No garbage disposal or it would’ve gone out much sooner.)

At 10 years old .. she whips up whatever concoction she can, whenever I turn my back or give her a few minutes alone now, while I run errands or walk the dogs.

No stove though.  One of the rules.

So she gets creative.

And she loves it.  She will also usually try and stomach eating whatever it is she’s ‘cooked’ just to prove a point.  That she’s ready to learn.

……

In writing this – I’ve learned its not only a rite of passage by doing a little research, it’s healthy in so many ways for a child to learn to cook.  Especially now that she’s learning fractions in math, cooking might be a great way to give her practical application.  Hadn’t thought about that until this moment.  And perhaps I should have done more to bring her into the kitchen years ago.

From eHow Family:

What Children Learn from Cooking

Teaching children to cook is not only a valuable life skill, but it incorporates other important skills as well. When children cook, they have a chance to practice math skills, work on following directions, learn to work with an adult and get a sense of accomplishment. Children as young as 3 can begin learning to cook.

  1. Skills for Younger Cooks (under 5)

    Reading Aged Children (5-7)

    School Aged (7 and up)

    Significance

    Fun Fact

    Warning

I waffle back and forth between wanting to fuss at her for wasting so much food (and money in the process) that would have been part of her school lunch or our dinner.  And, allowing her the space to be creative.  To cook. And I know it’s in her best interest to teach her.

So while I look for the time, I send her to look for the dish soap.  Because if she’s going to learn to cook ..

Picking up good vibrations …

Bet some of you will never hear that tune the same way again..

OK.

So this isn’t a topic the Cowboy and I have discussed much.  I’m not sure we will .. either.  You never know.  But at the very least, we got a good laugh out of what is prompting this post.

(I’ve come to realize in writing about our conversations, that we laugh a lot.  Which is just a really good thing in life.)

*This would be the other half of the text message I got the other night from a girlfriend.. the one I referenced at the top of my last post about Cowboy Church.  You know the second part of the two hilarious things happened this week that I feel I simply must share with you, especially in light of your blog topics this past week’ she wrote.

Three things to keep in mind here:

1.)  I didn’t include this in yesterday’s post because .. well, it just didn’t feel quite right to put this one in the same conversation as church.

2.)  She sent this the same night I shared a girlfriends recap of a conversation she had with her son, after learning he had apparently at one point, walked in on her and her husband having sex.  So this is relevant.

3.)  This whole project.. writing something or at the very least trying, each day for a year as a gift I hope someday to my daughter .. one might think I shouldn’t include this.  But no one ever had this talk with me.  Not until I was like, way old.  About the topic at all.  And it’s probably not good to be totally ignorant.  Like I was about far too many things coming from a small town where you just didn’t talk about anything even remotely risqué.  Or parents that went there either.  I vividly remember the first time a girlfriend started talking about her ‘rabbit’.  I had no clue what she was talking about.  We got the best laugh.  After I came out of shock.  Being blissfully ignorant has its perks, too.  I think.  But, a lot of my girlfriends and even my guy friends are stunned at how non-versed in the following, I am.  Should I admit this?  I don’t know.  But it is what it is.

Oh, and I should probably add this …

4.)  Disclaimer:  going on is not for the faint of heart.  Or anyone that might consider themselves a prude.  And don’t judge me on this.  I’m just relaying the text and trying to do what I always do for my friends.. either be a sounding board, or help them find some answers.  By the way, this is a $15 billion industry and apparently growing.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43839344/Sex_Toy_Sales_Surge

So someone’s talking (ahem, using) about all of this.  Whether you admit it or not.

5.)  I usually love to add photos.  I think it makes any writing that much more rich and vivid.  But .. there will be none today.

……..

The text stated:

“Secondly, no sex going on here unfortunately for my kids to walk in on.”  She is a couple years out now from her divorce.

“But,” she adds …

“Does anyone want to offer up suggestions on how I should explain the special item that my 11 year old found in my bed that I forgot to put away?!  I said we would discuss the ‘pink thing’ in the near future!  I am still giggling about the confused look on her face!”

She’s wondering what advice I/we might have for her on that one.

Surprisingly, there seems more advice on the world wide web for this topic than the child walking in on sex discussion.

I personally got nothing for ya, my dear friend.  Other than maybe don’t forget to put it away next time.  And find a good bedside table with a drawer that locks.

One resource I love to turn to for insight every now and then .. is Your Tango.  If you’ve never checked out their brutal honesty on all things relationship:

http://www.yourtango.com/200928406/my-son-found-my-vibrator

Here’s another person’s blog on the topic that almost had me on the floor .. laughing, here a few seconds ago.  I’m not sure how good it is, but there is specific language offered to help a parent and child through the situation:

http://notafraidtoask.blogspot.com/2008/02/vibrator-vibrator-whos-found-vibrator.html

Otherwise, I was just with an old classmate last weekend who now essentially works in that whole arena.  She has built a career out of doing direct sales for a company called Pure Romance.  So no holds barred.  When I mentioned your text to her on Saturday, it quickly became a very open conversation with about 8 people standing around us.  SHE is apparently very comfortable having this conversation and has suggestions.  So let me connect you.

In the meantime, I feel like I need to go to church.  Or something along those lines.

I’ve learned since the last post on Cowboy Church, there are apparently plenty of options nearby.  It seems you don’t need a rodeo.  To be on the road.  Or sitting in the stands somewhere.  Cowboy Church can be also found, close to home.  I’ve learned quickly, many feel we have great options nearby.

Proclaiming proudly …

I’m not sure if I feel like celebrating .. or breaking down crying over the fact my baby girl is not at all a baby anymore.

“I got my first zit,” she excitedly tells the Cowboy over the phone last night.

I’m not even sure we’ve shared that yet with her dad.

I hope so, though.  Because in a very weird way, it feels like that is a major milestone.  And I know she’s been on the phone with him at least a couple times in the past 24 hours.  I tell her we’ll get her some things so that she can start taking better care of her skin and face.

……

This discovery comes not long before we head out the door.  And because we had some time to kill before going to a movie .. we stopped at the mall.  I haven’t gone for myself in a very long time, so I was curious to stop in a few stores that I used to like to frequent.  See what might be new for spring.  And while I didn’t see anything that appealed to me, my daughter did.

Not little girls shoes ..

“Is it okay if I try on this pair of shoes?” she asks of an adorable pair of red kitten heels.

I laugh and say, “I’m sure it is.”

I didn’t think they would actually fit her.  Last I knew she was maybe a size 4 shoe at best.  And measuring below my shoulders.  What happened in the past week?

“C’mon.. let’s go,” I say.  A bit flustered at how much she’s grown.

“Mom….” she says as she sees a coat on the way out she really likes.  She asks me to hold her jacket while she takes off her ski coat and tries on a misses black leather jacket with a fur collar.

“I LOVE this jacket, mom,” she says.

Great, I’m thinking to myself.

“Okay.. well, when you can save up, we’ll look at getting it for you.”

…….

It’s all part of a wonderful series of changes happening right now.  Changes she is celebrating and wanting to talk a lot about.  Very different from what I remember wanting to do when I was growing up.  I dreaded any changes.  Rarely were those things talked about when I was a child.  Not at home.  And not amongst friends.  Or relaying to the world.  Especially a zit.

But she’s pretty happy about it.  So I guess I’m sharing it too …

A day late because my girl who is growing up .. crawled into my lap late the other night as I sat on the couch catching up on the video phone with the Cowboy.  After sharing the big news about her zit, and hanging up to go put her back to bed.. I decided, it wasn’t much longer she’d want to curl up on my lap, or that I could hold her.

We both fell asleep there …

When a child walks in on….

One of my best girlfriends..

We have known each other for .. pretty much 15 years.

At times we’ve kept in touch daily, other times.. not much at all.  But we always pick right back up where we left off.  And like so many good friends who are busy with family, life and career, I always wish there were more time..

So when I see a text come in from her .. it catches my eye.

One text the other day however, REALLY stopped me in my tracks.

Verbatim:

“Convo between me and child yesterday..Me: just knock and come in.  Child: I did that once and saw something so horrifying.  Something I never imagined I would see and now I can’t un-see it.  I never want to risk seeing that again.”

I’m laughing.  Because I can just hear her child saying this in the very wry – I’m embarrassed by my mother – but I’m cool with it – manner he often speaks.   Probably not a laughing matter.  But I’m laughing.  I text her back.

“Oh no,”  I say.  “Not that.”

Then I start racking my brain to remember if I ever saw my parents in an uncompromising position as a child.  Pretty sure never really saw.  But did ‘hear’ on at least one occasion.  Hard not to, they had a waterbed.  And it did scar me as a child.  For a long time.

I cringe as I send another text, thinking no way is this true, but I’m going to try and make her feel better ..

“I bet in a couple years he forgets when his own hormones kick in,” I say, along with a few other thoughts.

And I wrap it up with, “Oh my God.”

Then I think, oh that’s a good story.  Because there’s NO WAY they’re the only ones this has happened to.  But who talks about that???  So I ask her what she thinks.  If she’d be willing to write something up for the blog.

“Sure use it,” she says.  “I laugh everytime I think of it.  It’s hilarious.”

She’s a writer herself.  A great writer, in fact.  Below is her account.

……

I overslept last week on a school day. My eyes sprung open at the exact minute I needed to get (child) out the door, into the car and to school on time.

Me: “Child! Are you ready to go???!!!”

Child: “Yes mom, I’ve been sitting here waiting for you.”

I’m still wearing pajamas as we get into the car and start the drive.

Once we’re on the road he says, “How could you oversleep? I have safety patrol today and if I’m late no one will be there to patrol the hallway near the janitor’s closet.”

Me: “Sorry bud. You know you can knock on the door and come in if it ever happens again.”

Child: “No. I’m not doing that.”

Me: “Why not?  (Step-brother) does it all the time.”

Child: “Because I did it once and saw something so horrifying. Something I never imagined I would see and now I can’t unsee it. I never want to risk seeing that again.”

There’s a long pause as I digest what he just explained. I’m a newlywed so things can get a bit amorous.

Me: “So we were having sex?”

Child: “Yes. And I don’t want to talk about it.”

Since I have no idea when the incident occurred, I spent the next several moments wondering what, exactly, did he walk in on? Everything I came up with led to the same conclusion: a child should never, never EVER have to see his parents having shall we say, a private moment.

He hasn’t wanted to talk about it since so I haven’t pressed him. I remember that I was that young once, and horrified when I accidentally walked in on my mom and her new husband. Yuck.

I respect and understand his reaction. But maybe because I witnessed something similar when I was a kid and was still somehow able to move on and function in society, I laugh every time I think of it.

*The irony.  His dad came out of the closet seven years ago, and has lived with men ever since.  I can’t help but wonder, is catching me in the act is any more horrific than catching his dad?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

……
If you have kids.  A house.  And sex.  Chances are, there is a chance at some point this may happen.  Apparently, browsing the web on this topic, there’s even a term for it.  “Primal scene”?  But that whole message seemed a bit much so I left it off the links below.
Anyway, some food for thought, should you ever be caught…. in the meantime, I’m just happy to know my gf and her new hubby are enjoying everything life and marriage have to offer .. especially the sex.  This time around.  Because walking in on anything wasn’t an issue in her marriage to the child’s father.  For reasons, if you caught it above, are self explanatory.

I won’t lie…

I was supposed to get together with a girlfriend tonight .. she asked to reschedule.  She hasn’t been feeling well.

I gladly obliged.  Everyone around me lately has been sick.

SO…

I’m hanging out at one of my fav coffee /wine shops in town.  And I’m strangely, really good with that.  (Although I keep running into people I know here and writing this is taking forever)

The Cowboy just called.  It’s late to start a drive from South Dakota to WI.  But, he’s on his way.

Sigh.  Of relief.

I won’t lie…

I wasn’t sure he was going to come, quite honestly.  It’s been a rough past 48 hours ..

He’s been pretty bummed, I think, since the House Bill passed as is.

He’s not sure what it will mean.  If anything.  To improve his time with the kids.  And if it doesn’t, where does that leave them all.  Any of the parents in his shoes.  If it’s not ‘a better place’ so to speak, if there are no guarantee spending thousands more on taking this all back to court so that there is a more equal split of time with the kids between homes, what will happen?  What can he possibly do then to change things?  Anything?  Does he stay?  Keep taking it on the chin?  Make the most of his 4 days a month?  Is there a chance visitation guidelines are next to change.  Or, does he step back.  Is it better for them to not be stuck between the conflict of their parents?  Does he go about his life and hope his kids will be ok?   Hope above everything else, they know he loves them?

Where does this leave them?  Any better than they were before?  Was it worth sticking his neck out?  Day to day that answer varies as of late.  One day he feels it was.  The next .. he’s not so sure.

So he’s been in a funk.

And he’s needed a good couple of days to hang out in that space.

My challenge, rather, our challenge;  I’m not good with funk.  I can handle it, for a bit.  But I’m not good at allowing myself – or someone else, especially someone I love so dearly, to stay there for long.  Bummed.  Feeling sorry for themselves.  Frustrated.  I want to help.  But sometimes you just can’t.  SO..  we’ve had a bit of a rough patch.

He feels there’s no way I can understand.  And that its ok for someone to be down.  Not for long, but for longer than I was giving him.  I don’t know that I can ever fully understand.  I can’t imagine being totally in his shoes where I don’t have time with my daughter and the leverage of equal time and placement.  But my instinct is to say, let’s roll.  Let’s fix it.  Let’s get you all to wherever that better place is.  All, including, the ex and her entourage.  Write down what your hopes are.  Let’s figure out how to achieve.  Let’s go….

Because I can always think of a situation worse .. to be in.

I’m a glass half full girl.  If we’re healthy and we’re alive, God has a plan.  And, it’s going to be okay.

He’s probably right though.  I am impatient.  And I should have given him a bit more time to swallow a very bitter pill.  Grieve, quite honestly, that the best chance he had at healing some of the wounds divorce has caused he and his kids, wasn’t going to happen.  Not this time, anyway.

With a little experience and some time post my own divorce, under my belt, I have hope.

….

He’s on his way.  Almost here ..actually, by the time I actually post this.

I can’t wait to see him.  We are thankfully past any frustrations.  Neither of us likes being in that place, either.  Upset that is, with each other or in life.  I debated whether or not to write about this tonight, but I felt it important both to give this follow up to the events earlier this week.  And to be realistic about the fact not everything between he and I or any couple for that fact, can always feel or be perfect.

Was it worth sticking his neck out there?  Will some of the terrible events of the past couple weeks somehow mean a better future for the Cowboy and his kids (and his ex)?  While that remains to be seen there were two things that helped snap him out of his funk today.

First, that we will see each other again here shortly.

But far bigger and better than that:

The ex allowed him a few hours tonight that ‘weren’t his’ (no one’s asking why there was this astonishing turn of events or heart, everyone is just reveling in it – giddy, really at the gift of extra time together) .. with his daughter.

It was a daddy/daughter dance at church.

Something he’s looked forward to since mom, earlier this week, said they could go together.  He bought her a wrist corsage.  Mom got her beautifully dressed up.  And the two danced the night away.  Before the clock struck 9.  And he had to take her back home.

“We had the best time,” he said when he called after dropping her off.  “She said she felt like a princess .. we danced the entire night.  At least until they pulled out the roping dummies at the very end, and I had to help everyone learn how to rope.”

I almost spit my wine out as I laughed…

Only in South Dakota I think to myself.  Then I realize, probably not.  I’m learning how many more places would do this.  Anyway..

As I sat at my little table earlier tonight with my glass of wine and started to type.. I said a little toast, to them all.  Congratulations for a beautiful night.  May this be the start of only good things to come.

Small victories.

It has been a long past several weeks of watching someone I love really go out of his comfort zone .. sticking his neck out to do the right thing.

It hasn’t been easy.

And that is an understatement.

But the goal has always been, a healthier situation for the three children he and his ex-wife brought into this world together.  And for them all as a family, even in divorce.  So he’s stuck it out.  And stuck to the issue.  And shut out the noise of others working against him/others walking in his same shoes.

‎”Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world right in the eye.”

– Helen Keller

The South Dakota Senate today passed House Bill 1055, a bill that aims to do what is in the best interest of children by working toward 50/50 placement whenever and wherever  possible.  It may not be the bill the Cowboy and others had hoped for.  Because it still only encourages a judge to give both parents equal placement when its in the best interest of a child.  But there were concerns the companion Senate bill went a bit too far.

HB 1055 is a small victory.

Or..

Maybe it is big.  Maybe even this small change will ripple further than anyone realizes.  Who can tell what the impact will be for children to spend more equal time with both parents and their families.. families who love and want to help raise them, parents who are encouraged through this legislation to better get along, to co-parent in a manner currently not fostered in the state of South Dakota.  Who can at this moment, fully appreciate what that will mean and the impact it will have on a child?

HB 1055 now heads to the Governor’s desk.

It is both sad yet wonderful everything involved with this discussion, *every letter written, every piece of testimony, will remain a matter of public record.  Because someday, the Cowboys children will understand just how hard their dad fought for them..  how much of a stand he had to take, to simply do what one might think would come natural – and that’s be their dad.

I don’t know that anyone reading this blog is among those I feel compelled to say something to, but:

On behalf of the Cowboy, a sincere thank you to all who worked hard for this, from the other dads, moms and grandparents who testified, to those who wrote in, to the legislators who took a stand, who came back at this year after year, who held meetings and who have been studying the issue to try and get it right this time.  Is it right?  We will see.  But still, thank you.  Thank you to the other dads who for years, have done their best to pave the way toward change.  Thank you especially .. to the legislators who fought hard to be the voice for so many children and families in your state, who otherwise might feel like no none cares that they are hurting.  And, for making sure dirty politics weren’t played today as best you could, for thoroughly understanding both sides of an issue because you had today, information from both sides.  Thank you for what may be seen as only a small victory by some.

I’m hoping in one little corner of South Dakota, that small victory will someday soon .. grow into a big fat wonderful opportunity for a good man to have more time, less stress, less conflict and all the space possible to love his kids.

The South Shore …

We had planned this weekend for months.

Had it not been on the calendar, I would have still needed a getaway.  My dad’s .. quiet, calm and as far away from the chaos of my everyday.. at least as far as I could get in the state of Wisconsin, was the perfect getaway.

“Wish we could be there,” said the Cowboy, several times as we talked on the phone.

He had the kids this weekend and the hope was we’d all meet there.  But, the drive is just too much for the short time they all have together on any given weekend.   Some other time, we agreed … soon.

……

The temperatures on Sunday had warmed up to a balmy 20 degrees..

So before leaving to head back home… we decided it might be fun to hit the beach.

Explaining chaos of the ice

With half of Chequamegon Bay near Bayfield still open, the ice where it was frozen, was spectacular.

Even more precious, to me anyway..

As I grabbed a few things from the car, to look up and already see my dad, explaining to my daughter, why the ice was all chunked up along the shoreline versus what she might be used to seeing on the lakes at home.

Sandy Shores of Lake Superior

We spend time on this shore as often as we can during the summer, this was our first trip during the cold months of winter.  (The water during the summer, doesn’t seem like it is much warmer than it would be to take a swim at the moment, either.)

With the open water from the rest of the bay, seeping where it can under the the ice..  there is this low, eery but beautiful, constant growl.

“Can you hear that, mom?” shouted my 10 year old.  “Did you hear that?!  What is that?” she asks from a distance as she pokes at the shoreline with a stick she’s found.  Dogs in tow.

Who needs a tennis ball. New game of fetch ..

Looking at this photo, I think its time my dog had her nails trimmed.

Sorry, sidetracked ..

Wish we could have stayed longer.  At the beach.  And at my dads.  I know my daughter felt the same, because she made that very comment, as we began the drive back home.

Had the dogs had a vote, I’m pretty sure they would have agreed.  At least before crashing in the back seat, exhausted from a weekend of running around.

I, on the other hand, enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing other than spending total down time with two of the people I love most (only wish a few others, including the Cowboy and his little people could have joined us).  And am refreshed, ready to face the beautiful chaos of a new week.

At my dads..

It was a late night of driving up into the northwoods of northern Wisconsin..

The two lane highway last night once we were north of Minocqua was pretty quiet.  There was an occasional car.  Otherwise, only the wind was howling..

We pulled onto the dirt road heading to my dads at about 2:30 this morning.

February, unfortunatley is a month I can not take any time off of work unless death is knocking on the door.  Sincerely.  I work in news.  Ad rates are based off of ratings four months out of the year.  Which means no time off.  So we didn’t leave town for the 6 hour drive until about 8 o’clock last night. 

I’m usually up late nights, so that part wasn’t a big deal.  But I’m not always a fan of driving in rural areas at that hour. 

We were dodging deer.  Random snowdrifts across the road.  People leaving the bars in their vehicles and on snowmobile.  And, worst of all, try finding somewhere in northern Wisconsin open to use the bathroom in subzero temps just after midnight.  Not an easy task.

But my dad wants more time with us.  And us with him. 

And its been too long since we made the trip north.  SO.. we packed up the the car, all of our winter weather gear, skiis, skates, snacks and the dogs and .. arrived in the wee hours of the morning.

….

We slept in.

It’s below zero. 

Still….

We might go skiing.

We brought our ice skates.

We fed the birds.

We’ve watched our two labs run around like this is the time of their life.  NO leash, lots of animal scents to check out and no one else as far as the eye can see is like heaven for a dog.

Its almost 2pm and we’re just eating breakfast.

I feel like I’m in heaven.

While there are a ton of things we COULD be doing, running from one thing to the next, which often is my norm, we are doing much of nothing today.  Except spend time together.

Quality time.

In fact I just spent the past two hours on the computer with my dad.  Teaching him how to use something most of us use everyday and take for granted that it’s easy.  It isn’t for him. I have never understood why. I’ve been frustated he wouldn’t use it more to keep in touch with us.  And, I never would have understood why.  Had I not taken the opportunity today to just be still, and spend time with him this morning.

I’m going to write about why that was cathartic later tonight, perhaps.

But for now.. I’m going to eat the delicious breakfast he just made that reminds me of all the weekend mornings he used to cook for us when we were kids.

Nothing like cheese smothered eggs

(I’ll post pictures later, have some fun ones of today but can’t figure out on his computer where to download the pics off my camera!)

The Cowboy’s mom wrote about the importance of time in her plea this week to South Dakota state legislators in regard to passage of bills that give children in divorce, equal time wherever and whenever in their best interest, with both parents.  I won’t dwell on that.  What struck me as I was thinking about what I wanted to write today.. was the theme of time.

And how when we have it, or the opportunity to have it especially with family, it is a gift.

My mom isn’t around anymore.  She’s been gone now, almost 11 years.  I miss her more than anything.  And the last thing I did before leaving our house for the drive here last night, was touch the photo I have of her on my dresser.  I have many others who are like a mom to me – for so many reasons.  I love them all dearly.  So does my daughter and I want for her to know how each of them has played a role in who I am today.  At some point this year, you’ll meet them too, if you stick around long enough. 

But my mom, is gone.  And I would give anything for more time with her..

I know my dad would too. 

We’ll ony be here a day and a half, and have to head home.

Down time ...

But I know the time with him is precious.  We need to make more late night drives.

Can’t sleep …

People always worry its a man that’s abusive in a relationship.

People often don’t believe there’s no abuse taking place if a hand isn’t risen.  Or that it hasn’t been documented.

I’m worried tonight .. ahem, this morning, about the Cowboy.

I may have no just cause.

But I am.

Because when certain people feel attacked and like they are losing control over a situation, they lash out.  Words and actions become even more irrational than they may normally be.  Things go awry.

The Cowboy is finally taking a stand against behaviors and a situation that if done to a woman, no one would hesitate to cry foul.

He doesn’t really care at this point, to address any of what’s happened to him .. and the kids in the past.  Or to her.  He hopes the fact the final paperwork has finally arrived and the divorce is final will allow everyone to move on.  But the one thing that does need to be addressed, is time with his kids.  The three things .. the three little people that mean the most to him in his life, he now sees four whole days a month.  He has to be creative to get any more time with than that.  And at every turn, he is often deliberately shut out.  Every turn.

A man who is a good and loving dad, and wants to be a part of raising his children, should not have to fight for what should be his to begin with, and that is time to love and raise his kids.

Somehow, according to the ex, that is just wrong.  And there is every effort being made on her part at this point to silence him.

Hell hath no fury like a woman who’s been scorned.

The Cowboys effort has never been to take their children away from their mother.  Has never been to smear her name.  Has never been to raise awareness that abuse comes in many forms and perhaps reveal testimony, facts and a judges findings to the public so both sides can be presented here.  None of us wants to drag anyones name through the mud like its somehow acceptable for others to do right now when it comes to the Cowboy.

While he has stayed the course and kept his message, along with every other person that testified yesterday before God and South Dakota state legislators about the need for both parents to have equal time with their children wherever and whenever possible, only two felt the need to bring in personal attacks.  And they were both women who will do anything to get their way.

One, seems willing to go to just about any length to ensure no one gets time with her kids, but her.

The other, a South Dakota State Senator, should be ashamed of the tactics deployed today.  But we expected nothing less.

We pray.  We hope someday things for everyone get better in this scenario.  And we, along with so many others who respect and stand alongside the Cowboy, are trying like crazy to stay about it all.

But in the quiet .. still night .. out in the Plains of South Dakota, there is a man, a woman feels very threatened by.  Not because he will raise a hand to her.

But because he is good.  And strong.  And fighting fair, unlike what either of them .. or many others for that fact, may have ever done in their marriage.  And deep down she has to know the mission he is on, is right.

I’m worried about the Cowboy.