Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Caitlin the Younger

I was raised in a small town in California. It was a beautiful place, and probably had anything a child could ask for. We had a pond, a pool, a trampoline, a playground, a tree fort, a volleyball and basketball court, a hammock, lawns galore, rocks to climb, acres to explore. We had a barn and a house pasture, all sorts of animals, an orchard and a garden, I could just go on and on. Let me just say, it was a great place to grow up. I loved exploring the full 6+ acres that we lived on. I even enjoyed exploring the neighbors' yards, unknown to them. I wish everyone could have grown up in such a place.

We lived in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is a place covered in oak trees and granite boulders,the soil is a red-brown clay-like dirt. There are all sorts of wildlife and beauty in every direction you look. To the east, you can see the beautiful snow-capped mountains. To the west, the great Sacramento valley. To the north and south, you see endless hills. During the summer they turn a beautiful golden color. In fact, we lived very close to a town called El Dorado Hills, or the Hills of Gold. A very fitting name, since it was this very area that started the great gold rush back in 1849.

The more I think about where I grew up, the more I appreciate the opportunity to grow up in such a wonderful place. It was filled with great people and happy memories. I was given great opportunities to just be a kid and explore and learn and love life.

My parents are about as good as they come. Sure they had their imperfections, but they are respectable, hard-working individuals with strong morals. They were always a united front. The first time I remember hearing them fight was when I was 18 years old!!!! It was a little scary to hear them disagree. Now as an adult, I have heard them argue countless times, but as a child, they were always careful to show us they were a team and we could not divide them.

My dad has a boisterous attitude towards life, he often sing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" to start the day in the shower. My family calls him "The King of Clichés" because I think he knows just about every cliché that ever existed. He loves to tell jokes, make up songs, and wear blue shirts. He absolutely LOVES to work and I don't think he has ever felt sorry for himself. I have always had a strong desire to make my dad proud.

My mom I think might have created the standards for motherhood. Everything you could ever want in a mother is a quality she has. She is non-judgmental, a great listener, fun to be around, smart and nuturing. She probably has one of the biggest hearts that ever existed. She is selfless, caring, tender and wise. She loves to read and spend time taking care of those around her, especially her family. She is a great cook, seamstress and an excellent housewife. Our house was always kept tidy and neat. I don't think we ever had a junk drawer.

I grew up the youngest of seven. Five girls and two boys. There was always plenty of action in our home. I had lots of moms to help me find my way in life. I love each of my siblings very much. They are all so unique, but all such good people. They have always been good to me and have taught me so much. I wouldn't trade being raised in a big family for anything. It was AWESOME being the youngest of such a great family!!!

When I think about young Caitlin, I think of a shy little girl afraid of this big scary world. I was clueless, uncertain and unaware of almost everything, even the happenings inside my own home. Although I was timid and doubtful of my own capabilities, I had a huge heart. I loved people. I cannot think of someone from my childhood that I hate. I loved giving to others around me. People's feelings were very important to me and I think I had a good sense of knowing how others around me might feel. I had a great love and trust for all those around me.

I spent a good amount of my childhood in a make-believe world. I loved dolls, especially Barbies. I loved making mud pies, playing house or school. I loved playing in our orchard or in the tree house or out by the well. I remember spending hours riding my bike countless times around our circular driveway. I enjoyed spending time with our animals, really thinking that I knew what their inner thoughts were. I know I spent a lot of time with my family, but most of my memories come from times I spent alone in my make-believe world. I liked being there.

It's fun to remember what seems like yesterday. To think about who I was then and who I am today. I wouldn't consider myself shy or afraid anymore. But most of who I was then is still a big part of Caitlin of present day. I am grateful to have such a great upbringing in this world. Especially now, that I am a little more aware of what's going on around me. I have been greatly blessed and I hope that someday, in someway, I can somehow share that blessing with others in this big beautiful world.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What would you do with a time machine?

Jocelyn, my oldest, is an avid reader. She would read all day if I let her. In fact, sometimes when she is in trouble, I take her book away as a punishment. I never thought that could be a punishment until I had her. But it really works!!!

With all Jocelyn's reading, she is always bringing up interesting items for discusiion for our family. She has recently been reading a book about time travel and so at dinner one night this week she asked us . . .
"If you had a time machine and could only go one place, where would you go?"

I knew instantly what I would do. I would go find myself back in 7th grade and clue me in on some decisions I should make to better my life. If only I had the knowledge I have now back then, life would be so much better. Right???

Well, Jon immediately says he would figure out a way stop the 9-11 attacks from happening. Show off!!! Another prime example of how is he generally a better person than me. I, of coarse, think of myself and how I could make my life better. So I took his response as a challenge and responded that I would find the guy who pulled Hitler out of his depression while he was imprisoned and stop him from making contact which would have probably resulted in Hitler committing suicide and therefore Nazi Germany would have never existed.

HAHAHAHA, I beat him!!! Okay, I know, he still wins the better person award.

But all this history changing really got me thinking. Just think how different everything would be if we were able to do any of these things. Both of Jon's grandfathers fought in WWII. Jon's life would be incredibly different if there was no Nazi Germany. And to think of all the lives saved and families that wouldn't have been torn apart.

I know there have been many movies made with this concept in mind. How just changing one simple thing in history and how that minor change impacts all the world. I know if we were changing huge events, even in simple ways, it obviously would have a major impact on humanity. But what about my little discussion with 7th grader Caitlin?

The more I think about this, the more I realize that I like who I am, and I like where I am. Even if it has been a bumpy road and I have taken a couple wrong turns, ultimately I am happy. If I would have talked to 7th grader Caitlin and actually convinced her to listen to me and follow my advice, I probably would not be married to my husband, and I cannot imagine my life without him. And to think of my life without my children . . . well I just don't want to go there.

I am happy to say that this little dinner discussion has taught me something amazing. Something I would not have believed before. I don't have any regrets!! Those moments of suffering in my life have been great learning experiences for me, and make me who I am today. And although they were not my greatest moments, they give me a greater appreciation for the good things in life.

Jocelyn dear, you have been such a great teacher to your mother. Ever since the moment I knew you existed you have made me a better person. Thanks for teaching your mother another important lesson. I now know how happy I am with the road I haven taken in my life.

No regrets:)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lemons, Planning and Dreams

You know that good old saying . . .
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Well, I have been thinking about that a lot, and it has got me thinking. Lemons and lemonade I am very familiar with. If I was given a lemon, I would know just what to do with it, add some sugar, some water and tada . . . you got yourself some pretty dang good juice.

But what happens when you get something you are unfamiliar with and it just doesn't seem like anything good can come from it?
What if you just don't have the right stuff to make something great out of it?
What if you just don't have the stregthen to put in the extra effort to make it something worth while?

I am a dreamer. My mind often wonders to places of what it could be like, or what I'd do if. But even as a dreamer, I have a good sense of reality. I know that a dream can only be a dream unless you do something about it. You need to have a plan with set steps of how to make your dream become a reality, and then your dream is no longer a dream, but a goal. And since I am both a dreamer and a realist, I therefore am a planner.

I love to plan, organize and create spread sheets. I am a nicer person when there is order around me. Just tonight, Jon said to me, "Tomorrow you'll be a happy girl cause the house is clean and you'll have nothing to worry about." He is a funny guy, if only my worries laid within a clean house. I can always find a way to add more organization and planning to my life.

So, I bet at this point you are starting to wonder where I am going with all this. Lemons, planning and a choatic blogging. Well, let just get to the point already Caitlin!!

For the past several years or so, I have been trying to make my dream a goal, but I just don't know how. It is so frustrating because I love to goal set and plan. But life just has given me some sort of mind-bloggling ingredient to work with, and it seems that no matter how many times I sit down trying to finally figure it out, I come up with nothing. Zip. Nada. Zlich.

It seems that I really don't have the right tools or right ingredients to mix with what life has dealt me, or prehaps I just am looking at it all the wrong way. After making list, after list, after list of how to approach my dream, I just keep on coming up short on how to make it a goal. As a planner, this is the ULTIMATE FRUSTRATION!!!

So, instead, I just keep telling myself that it is what it is, and I'm just doing my best. Prehaps one day, my dreams will come true, just like Cinderella. Maybe I just need some friendly mice to help me along.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

give me FREEDOM

I was once given a book by a friend called Mitten Strings for God. I thought, how nice then put it down and forgot about it. Years later I finally decided to pick it up and read it because it look like an easy read and nothing else looked good. It has changed my life.
It is a book written by a mother with little tid-bits about parenting. One that really changed my perspective was about simplicity. The quote in her book is now my favorite quote.

"In simplicity there is freedom, freedom to enjoy more and do less."

When I read this I thought 'This is what I want.' For the past four years I have worked my butt off. In fact it is almost incomprehensible the amount of stuff I have accomplished. Not like anything is really that big of a milestone, but man sometimes I wonder how I have gotten by with so little sleep. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but seriously I'm a borderline work-aholic, and Jon might question the borderlineness of that statement.
In these years I have found out that I have become a slave to my work. I have this obnoxious habit of over doing everything. I always want everything to come out perfect, so everything thing I do I try to give 110%. Not that that is bad, but when you bite off more than you can chew and you want everything to be perfect that = little rest + lots of stress.
I have found that all these commitments I have made that once were so much fun just aren't fun anymore and I am now their slave. So I have been re-evaluating my life and trying to only committee to a handful of task so I have freedom. I have a lot more years ahead of me and a lot more work. I don't have to accomplish everything today, tomorrow is another day.
Since I have been down-sizing my workload I can finally get the enjoyment in the activities again. Ahhh . . . simplicity. If I only knew earlier the wisdom in it.
The moral of this story is;
If someone gives you a book, it is generally something they thought might benefit your life. Read it, it just might.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Turn your Blog into a Journal

Hey I found this link to turn your blog into a journal and had to save the info somewhere, what better place than my blog.


I have always had this goal to keep a electronic journal that could one day be printed, I guess I found my solution. Now to the part of actually keep the journal. That will be interesting.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Jocelyn the Super Suelth

I found this very funny, and thought I would share. Jocelyn has taken a keen interest into the Boxcar Children series. As most of you know, she is a true enterpreneur, and is always looking for ways to bring in some extra cash.

She has decided to open her own detective business, and has made a sign-up on her white board in our office. She has even posted hours that work with her schedule. Wednesday's are closed because that is the day we usually spend with her cousins, she cannot be distracted with work then.

Well, if any of you have a mystery, you know where to go, she is dying for something to solve. I have already given her two mysteries to solve, which have now been solved. She now has some experience in her belt.

If you have a case feel free to contact Jocelyn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nate's a Swimmer

May 16th was a milestone for our little two and a half water-child. Nate (as was I) were determined enough with the 100 degree weather to take on the task of swimming. Although it is a bit spastic, and uncoordinated, he is nonetheless SWIMMING!

It's funny to think that kids all learn different important life skills at all ranges of age, and why some learn one thing earlier, while another later. Is it determination, brain readiness, exposure, a matter of gender or a combination of all these factors and others? Jocelyn at 2 and a half was far more advance intellectually than her brother. But physically he has surpassed her by years.

My sister and I were talking about the range of age that is put in child development books and other literature that determines when is the appropriate ages for young children to master certain milestones by. She read recently that kids should be able to correctly identify something like 6 colors by age 5. Not sure who determined that, it seems a bit old, but that kid might be far more advance in other areas, at least one would hope.

Maybe one day I will have a better understanding of why Nate learned to swim at two years old, but it Jocelyn at five. But all that really matters is that Jon and I can sleep a little better now knowing that Nate is a little safer even with the pool ten steps from our back door. Aren't we all a bit relieved??