Living simply in the wild

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Juniors Musings

There’s a constant battle in our home of trying to keep boots and jackets on these boys. I’m always ringing through the house…”Boys, do you have boots on? Grab a jacket it’s chilly”. They almost always never have boots on, and i’m pretty sure they’ve forgotten what jackets are. Their rebuttals, however, are sometimes quite comical…

“Mom, it’s not like it’s zero degrees celsius or anything. So I could survive without a jacket today.”

 

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Teaching kindness: What’s in a name.

We are always teaching kindness to the Jr’s and as parents we never really know quite how we’re doing. This topic is always in the forefront of my mind, like it was here at the parade and here where they are so tender We can teach and teach until we are out of ways to teach then we must wait. Wait for the day when we start to see if we did something right or if we failed miserably.

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Today we got a little glimpse….
A conversation between the Jrs and another little boy (whom i’ve changed his name to retell this story):

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“You like President Business?” the little boy asked the Jrs who were were Lego movie t-shirts.

“oh ya, we like President Business.” the Jrs said in unison.

“Cool so do I. What’s your name?”

The boys quickly stated their names and then asked him what his was.

“Jackson. I don’t really like my name though.”

Jr fired back saying, “Oh, well I think that’s a cool name.”

No the boys aren’t winning any prizes or medals for this tiny gesture, but as a mom it was a proud moment. There was no one around, in fact they didn’t even know I was listening. I can only hope that they continue to make small gestures like this to everyone they meet. Spreading kindness and lifting others up. In this world, that’s a big deal.


Can You hear me now: 911

I lay there less then gently nudging dear Ranger trying my best to coax him into answering his blaring cell phone with any limb of mine I could sleepily swing about.

“Hello?” he finally mutters in the sleepy raspy voice everyone has when their awaken and are forced to answer the phone.

The other end of the line is a women. An incredibly chipper woman who without missing a beat or even a “Did I wake you?” starts rattling off what seems like 1,000 words a minute.  I quickly try to translate what she’s saying but I can’t get over the fact that 5:30am this woman sounds like she’s been up for hours and might even be on a caffein drip.

After a few minutes I realize that it’s a 911 operator and something has happened at the Park and she is explaining all the details to Ranger.

We’ve always had an issue in every home that we’ve been in this far. We don’t get very good cell phone reception indoors. We’re usually forced to head outside and talk on the phone otherwise the call will become a dropped call. Ranger has still yet to remember this little important detail.

As he’s responding to what this 911 operator is telling him she keeps saying, “Sir…you’re breaking up…sir…are you there?”. Ranger decided to take a little different approach on how to keep the call in service at this point. He leaps out of bed and proceeds to charge around the room. He darts from one wall to the next, “Can you hear me? Hello?”. Meanwhile I’m watching this unfold and trying to muffle the sounds of my laughing uncontrollably into my pillow. Ranger, still sprinting around the room in the dark. I finally motion for him to go over by the window where he finished the phone call  with his head pressed firmly against the glass window.

As much as I dislike being woke up before the sun, i am so thankful for the 911 operators who are up. Who are there to answer the phones for people in need and to get the information onto the appropriate authorities. Thank you for everything you do. I would like to apologize now for the half comatose state, the 1,000 “Hello’s” Rangers said and for me laughing in the background. We will try to do better next time.


Just Keep Pulling: On Shooting Firearms and Empaths

I did not grow up around guns. In fact Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles were outlawed in our home. Perhaps that plays into the fact that i’m sensitive. Most the time, extremely sensitive.

The first time shooting firearms it scared me. No, it terrified me and shook me at my core. It wasn’t a little BB gun or a 22, it was a 40 caliber hand gun.

We were out in no mans land back in Chelan Washington. Up in the evergreen covered hills with a giant dirt mound as our backstop. Not a soul around for days. I was both equally excited and nervous as this was my first time shooting a handgun. I’d seen photos of friends at shooting ranges smiling next to their paper cutout sprayed with holes they’d just shot. It looked like they had a blast. I was with my husband who I trust completely and who has been firing guns since he was probably younger then our kids are now.

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Ranger sat there carefully explaining the gun to me. He explained the parts of the gun, how it worked, how to hold it, how to stand, i’m pretty sure he covered it all. He was very thorough and precise with his instructions.

I only had 2 questions when he finally was done with his firearms lecture.

“How loud is it going to be?”

and

“Is it going to kick back at me?”

He answered with, “uh, It’ll be a loud pop, and it will only kick back a little”. I confirmed his answers as I wanted to know exactly what to expect. Looking back I shouldn’t have accepted such vague answers.

I took my stance. Legs apart, knees bent, elbows locked. I took a moment to feel my breath as I took aim at the piece of plastic that was about to meet its end. I held steady feeling my breath between my lips. 1….2….keep pulling….keep pulling….3….the gun fired.

Everything went silent. The world around me seemed to start a slow spin. I looked over at Ranger who had a huge smile on his face…until he saw mine. The world was muffled and ringing and for a moment I was completely lost. My heart was beating so hard I could feel each beat pounding in my ears. I stood there for a split second not knowing a thing. Not a voice, not a thought. The sound of the gun going off was enough to paralyze my hearing (and me) for those few moments. The power of the bullet flying out of the barrel was enough to make my palms sweat and go completely numb.

Ranger came rushing towards me and grabbed the gun out of my hands, I’m not even sure how I was still holding onto it. I wanted to drop it and bury it in the dirt right then and there. But my brain had not caught up to tell my hand to drop the gun just yet.

“No.” Is all I could get out of my mouth and I walked away quickly. Tears welled up in my eyes. I had no way to stop them, they just came. I was shaken to my core and needed time to breath. Breath….somehow my body remembered to breath, I think.

Truth is i had no idea I’d have that reaction. That wasn’t something you could predict. I can’t explain why it happened or why I reacted the way I did. I’m not the tough girl. I’m strong, but i’m not tough. There are things i’m incredibly sensitive to and sometimes those things surprise me.

With three boys in the house, one being in Law enforcement, I believe its incredibly important to know how to use a gun and to know the proper way to handle a gun. I did learn that. I also learned that shooting a gun is not something I enjoy. At all. Ranger took me out just the other week to go shooting again. I was prepared this time. I knew what to expect.

I gathered myself, I grounded myself, and breathed. I kept breathing and kept squeezing that trigger. I’d stop before it fired and breathed again. I relaxed my stance and said I couldn’t do it. I held my ground, aimed, and pulled the trigger some more. Yet each time i’d stop shy of it firing.

Keep pulling. Keep pulling. I had a great battle within myself that day. My brain was begging me, hounding me, to do something and I tried so hard to do it. But something within me stopped me every time. That day my brain was doing everything it could to keep me pulling that trigger tighter and tighter and something else inside was fighting right back just as fiercely.

It’s funny how that can be translated into life. There are things you know you should do. But no matter how hard you try to do them there is a force battling against you. Think of how hard it is sometimes to apologize, to say I love you, to say that the other person is right. It’s a downright battle at times!

I finally braced myself a little harder. Let out another breath slowly and kept pulling until it shot. It fired once and I just stood there breathing again. Tears welled up in my eyes, but not from terror this time. Well, maybe a little from terror. I’d done it, I had made myself do it. I had met resistance and I pushed through and I survived. It was scary. My hands were tingling and I handed the gun off as soon as I could. But i had done it.

I know this is a small feat for most. Crying and being emotional over shooting a gun may seem ridiculous. Trust me, Ranger completely agrees with that! I can’t predict when floods of emotion will find their way into my daily life and spill over. For some reason when that gun fired it shook me. It rattled something loose and it took over a year to even think about shooting firearms again.

Just know that in life this happens and it’s ok. Especially for those of us who are extra tender. Those of us who feel with everything that they are. The empaths out there. It’s ok to feel, it’s ok to be scared. Just keep standing there grounded, breathing. Just keep pulling that trigger. Eventually things will fire and the dust will settle and you’ll see that you are still standing. Your feet may even be planted further in the ground then before.

Just keep pulling.

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On Raising Boys: Don’t eat poop

In order to explain this title I must rewind to the beginning of the day.

7:15am I hear the creak of our bedroom door open and 2 tiny feet skurry in and rush over to my side of the bed. “Mom, hey mom. Are you awake?”. “Yes son, wide awake. This pillow over my face and warm blankets wrapped around me should show that I’m wide awake”. I dont think he comprehended my sarcasm. “Ok good, can we have breakfast?”.

7:32am A cold tongue swipes itself across my arm, over and over and over again. I’m praying in my dreams that this isn’t one of the children. I pry open my eye just enough to see a giant hairy beast staring straight at me telling me she’s ready for the day.

7:45am Coffee….dear coffee. Thank you.

9am We air up the tires to the bikes, throw them into the back of the truck and hit the road.

The weather was incredible. Nothing but blue sky’s as far as you could see. The sun was just hot enough to keep it comfortable with jackets. We rode 4 miles of the discovery trail today. It’s a beautiful paved trail that any bike tire would swoon over. We started out beneath the rocky cliffs of Beards Hallow and wound our way out to the Dunes. Dune grass surrounds you on both sides. It’s straw color is highlighted in the sun and it sways in the breeze. The ocean sits just on the other side of the Dunes and the crashing waves bellow at you to keep peddling. So we did.

Beach Ride

2:34pm Back home. Seafood stock is simmering on the stove. Laundry is folded. I’m sitting in a lawn chair in the back yard reading an amazing book while the boys try out their new Bow and Arrows with breaks in between for sword fighting. All seems right in the world

6:19pm “Mom, I think i’m so smart at math because i’m mixed with brown.”. Great, how did this kid learn what racial profiling is already! Make note to correct this train of thought.

7:46pm After asking the boys 12 times to GO BRUSH YOUR TEETH, they finally slithered to the bathroom. immediately I hear gagging and “EWWWW”s and “What is that?” I immediately knew this wasn’t going to be good. Our lovely pup had been in the bathroom unsupervised and had done her business in there and afterwards she thought she may get into trouble for it so decided to get rid of the evidence by eating it. Or so Ranger thought.

8pm Upon further investigation, or as I would like to call it…Me cleaning it up. I noticed that she had in fact NOT been the one who did her business in the bathroom. But one of the BOYS had done it and forgotten two very important steps. 1. Flushing & 2. Closing the lid. I’ll let you fill in the blanks from here on out.

8:32pm Dear dog is outside…for the night. Kids are in bed…for the night. And I’m officially done…for the night.

Ranger said this is a very valuable lesson to learn; Don’t Eat Poop!

I on the other hand have another lesson to be learned;

Do NOT skip step 1 & 2!

Always flush and always always put the seat down. I will be, from here on out, making sure those two steps are engrained in those tiny little heads.

Raising boys, you’ll never be able to predict what your day has in store for you.

 


Reasons, Seasons, or a Lifetime

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Two years into this journey and I’m starting to forget all the goodbyes. Not the people themselves, but the goodbyes. There are some goodbyes that weigh on the soul more than others but they all leave their imprint. 

In two short weeks we get to say Goodbye to our fellow Ranger family we’ve grown to know and love. I felt like I knew them before we even met them. We had lived in the same house they lived in at Lake Chelan, we had brought things with us to the new house that they had left behind at their old house. The enormous garden in Lake Chelan that I tried to tame, they had started. It’s like i’ve known this woman forever, yet its been less than a year. Parts of us are torn from the same cloth. We have the same struggles. But most importantly neither of us are good with the small talk. We dove straight into the hard stuff right off the bat. Which was both a relief and comforting.

Not only are we saying goodbye to friends but a dear Grandmother passed away this week back in the midwest. Such an amazing woman who made me feel so welcome and a part of the family right off the bat. The strange thing was that I knew her before. I worked with a woman at my first waistressing job down in Florida while attending college. I’ve never met anyones Doppelganger until her. They were exactly the same and to this day it makes me smile. Unable to make it back for the funeral we’re really having to find out how to deal with these things when they come up. My mind is still blank and fuzzy but hopefully someday I might have something to say on the matter of saying goodbye when you’re so far away. Right now, it’s just empty.

I’ve always hung on very closely to the quote “People come into your life for a Reason, A Season, or A Lifetime”. My lifetime list of people is incredibly short, my Seasons list is a handful, but my Reasons list goes on for days.

Goodbyes are never easy but that doesn’t mean they have to be incredibly hard or sad. Maybe I’m understanding the Buddhist more than I thought I was and their “The Root of suffering is attachment” theory.  Nothing is ours in this lifetime. These people we become attached to are not ours. So rejoicing with them on their new adventure is what I choose to do rather than be consumed with sadness that they are leaving.

The first Ranger Wife who took me under her wing displayed so many characteristics I hope to grow into someday. She was filled with compassion and love and she let her guard down and people into her heart and home. Countless times. Then inevitably they’d move on and she would celebrate with them and cheer them forward. I’m sure she was sad, but she showed love and joy instead.

It’d be easier to close off. To stop letting herself get close to people because chances are they will only be around for a season. Literally. She was obviously in my life for a reason. A very big reason. To be open, and inviting. To see the world on a smaller scale and know that we’re all in this together and just because we don’t speak and may never see each other again means very little. Because we touched each others lives and made an imprint on our hearts.

When you imprint on a heart is doesn’t wash away with the next tide. It doesn’t fade over time in the sun. It doesn’t wilt in the heat. It’s forever.

My heart will never be too full, it will always have room for one more. And one more after that.

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Pacific Northwest adventures: All You Need


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Pacific Northwest adventures here revolve around the tide. The ocean glides in and out twice a day bringing and taking away it’s own adventures.

A pair of rain boots, a rain jacket, and a hat is all you’ll need. Don’t skimp on the cheap rain boots, we’ve quickly learned that rain boots around here are worth their weight in gold. After throwing away the cheap ones we learned our lesson.

The wind whips around most days and will, most times, knock you on your tush. So a jacket helps keep the chill off your bones and the rain from soaking through.

If your hair is anything like mine you’ll need a hat to tame the frizz. If not, it just looks cute and doubles at keeping the rain out of your eyes. Unless it’s the time of day where it’s raining sideways. At that point your boots, jacket, and hat will do you no good. Just surrender to the fact that you will be soaked. I know that your soul will get a nice rinse today.
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