Monday, August 29, 2011

On Mothering...

Isn't it true that we really never know what something is like until we have been there? Today, I am especially referring to having and raising children. Everyone told me what it would be like to have kids, but I never really understood until I HAD kids. People told me that my kids would misbehave, but I never really believed them until...THEY DID. When I taught Kindergarten, I couldn't believe the things other people's kids would do.  I would train my kids to be MUCH better.  And guess what...they did those same things.  People told me to "just wait until I had teenagers" when I complained about my toddlers. How hard could teenagers really be anyway? I get it now! :)  But no matter what stages my kids have gone through, there are two things that I now understand, 1)Never say never ,(and I'm not referring to Justin Beiber), and  2) No matter what happens, the love that I felt for them when I first held them in my arms will never change.  I will always love them unconditionally.

Today I want to step out of my normal "kid posts" and talk about my sister.  A blog entry that she posted a few days ago was very touching for me.  Amidst the tears shed while reading it, it really rang true in my own life on so many levels, so I wanted to share it with you.  It was beautifully written, and I hope she doesn't mind that I do...

But first, a little background...My sister, Melanie, is about 4 years younger than me. She married around 20 years old and was married to the same man for about 10 years. Her first husband was a musician and that was his passion. He played in local gigs around the country hoping to make it big, but things never really materialized. Unfortunatley, this left her home alone a lot. She was often lonely.

Before her marriage, she had started out small working for a well-known company and progressed with each promotion moving locations each time into higher and better positions. Because she spent so much time at work and was always moving, she often didn't have a close friend network.  Once again, this made her long for closer relationships. 

So, of course, the question often came up about children.  She had never really liked kids or babies, and early on, she said she didn't want to have any children. As time passed, she decided that she would like to have a child or two, but she didn't want a baby.  I think she felt that if she had a baby, she and her husband wouldn't have the time necessary to give a baby all that they needed.  In addition, she just didn't feel comfortable around babies.  She looked into adopting a child possibly 3 or older. They began taking the steps to make that happen.  They were almost able to adopt two kids at one point, and things fell through.  Then, a little later, they had the option of adopting a baby, but she was looking for an older child.  I even offered to care for the baby the first year or two for her until the baby was old enough that she could care for it.  On second thought though, I talked with Eric and he wasn't in agreement with this situation.  Eric said, "We will not want to give the baby up after the allotted time".  I know that he would have been exactly right.  Nevertheless, this option didn't work out either.

Anyway, less than 2 years ago, she and her first husband divorced.  Not long after, she meant a wonderful man and they decided to get married.  They married last July, and she recently gave birth to twin girls.  Her girls are about 7 week old now, and this post she wrote is just SO beautiful:

Alex in the Newspaper

A woman at church asked if she could write an article about Alex's eagle project and submit it to the local newspaper.  Of course, he was excited to have an article published on his project.  Here is the link for the article that was published, and below are the interview questions Alex answered for the article.

Alex Bass Interview

Hello, Alex. My name is Mitzie Thompson and I’ve been asked to interview you for an article about your recent food drive. Please answer the following questions and I will be able to compile a story.

1. What is your full name? How long have you been participating in Scouts?

My full name is Alex Corey Bass and I’ve been in scouts for around 8 years

2. What are both of your parents’ names?

My Mom’s name is Rozanne Bass and my dad’s is Eric Bass

3. Does your food drive project have a name? If so, please tell me what it is.

I decided to choose a name awhile back that was simple and to the point. I’ve called my Project Alex’s Community Food Drive.

4. Why did you decide to do a food drive for your Eagle Scout project?

My eagle project hours first started was when I was trying to research what would be the eagle project best for me. I have always have had a special compassion for the hungry and homeless and after meeting the loaves and fishes supervisor I knew it was the right one for me. Their past food drive had fallen substantially short from what they usually receive. I found this a Major reason in my decision.

As soon as I first came across the idea I knew it was the right one for me.

5. What were the requirements for your Eagle Scout project? What kind of criteria did you have to meet when deciding on a project?

The eagle scout criteria was fairly open; although, there were several limitations. The basic requirement is: while a life scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service requirement to your community. A few of the limitations
were the project may not be performed for a business or an individual, routine labor should not be considered, and project may not be of commercial nature.

6. How did you organize the food drive? (Flyers, sign-up sheets, networking with church members, etc.) If you had assistance, who helped you with these types of things?

First of all, I made a list of all the things that I needed to organize and complete in order for my project to run smoothly. Then, I would set a side a few hours each day to write out papers on the paper or to contemplate on my tasks. All my
supplies and materials were donated from various stores such as Walmart, Food Lion, Kroger, and Copies in a Flash. I set a date and slowly worked towards it. I began early by informing different groups by sending out information and sign-up sheets. After I had gotten everything organized, It was just a matter of learning from the project set before me.

7. How many volunteers were you able to recruit from the beginning to the end of the project?

There were over 40 people who helped at some point during the project. 15 people were there from beginning to end of both days. I am very grateful for their service and sacrifice for me and my project.

8. How many project hours did you and volunteers log?

I am still trying to calculate all the hours but I would say its around 250 hours

9. How much food were you able to collect?

We were able to collect about 3000 items of food so in other words nearly $6000 worth of food. This was a great reward of my hard work put into the project. It helped me feel a sense of accomplishment that I had made this world a better

10. What organization(s) was the recipient of your collected food? How did they respond to your donation? (Were they overwhelmed, appreciative, etc.?)

All the food collected was delivered to the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank/Soup Kitchen. The lady I met at the food bank seemed hassled and overwhelmed by the food I brought which confused me at first. They weren't expecting nearly as much and didn't have help to organize and shelve it.  However, the supervisor of the food bank was greatly appreciative of all the food.

11. Was it hard work? Was it rewarding work? Explain.

When I first knew I was going to do a food drive, I had no idea of what I was in for. I tried the best I could to accomplish my project as much as possible which meant exerting a significant amount of my time effort and will power. When I turned in the food and watched their kitchen and warehouse fill up, I thought of all the people I had provided a meal for which was a great accomplishment in my eyes. I saw this project as very rewarding for me and those benefitting from it.

12. If you had it to do all over again, would you still choose a food drive as your eagle project?

Absolutely, The food drive has taught me so much about everyday skills people need. It has helped me build a brighter future and I would never trade it for any other project.

13. What was the strangest experience you had when interacting with the public?

I did have an experience when I knocked on someone’s door and he told me how inconsiderate I was for going door to door and told how I needed to "rethink my life". This bothered me for a bit but I got over it soon enough. There is always
some people who don’t agree with whatever your doing whether it is a good or not.

14. What was the most rewarding part of the project for you personally?

As I went throughout the project, I strongly believe that my character developed immensely. It helped me set reasonable goals for my future and it opened my eyes to a lot of things I hadn’t realized before.

15. Do you feel as though the project changed you in any way? If so, what changed– for instance, do you have a different opinion, or outlook, about feeding the less fortunate in our area? Did you know there was such a demand for food by those less fortunate before your food drive? Do you feel as though your experience changed you?

When I first started my project I just wanted to just get it done to get my eagle.The food drive sounded like a good project and I knew it was the right one, but I didn’t really care about anything else except my project and my eagle scout
rank. As I went throughout the project, I realized it isn’t just about me. I realized the more important part was the people I had helped by doing this to survive. By the end of the project I wasn’t doing it for me anymore I was doing it for the people in need of my help. This was a great eye opener to me. When I get older, I definitely don’t want to become a self-centered person. I want to always have charity and service within so that I might be able to help whoever is in need. This
project has helped me realized just that.

I would like thank all those who helped in anyway possible whether it was donating their time and service for this cause or helping donate food. Both I and the homeless community of Clarksville owe you great appreciation. Thank you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to School

The kids are back in school now.  Friday, August 5 was their first half day, and then they officially went back for full days starting Tuesday, August 9th.

Below is a picture of Jarem and Tessa on August 9th.  I think everyone is settled in now.  I am happy with the teachers that Jarem and Tessa got.  Tessa got the best teacher in 5th grade (in my opinion) and Jarem got two of the best.  He is in a combined class with two teachers.  It seems to be going well so far. 

As for Jesikah, I only know 2 of her teachers.  One is the horrible woman Alex had for math in 7th grade and the other was Alex's favorite Geography teacher in 7th.  I wish Jesikah would have gotten some of his other teachers as they were a really great team.  I think the math teacher likes girls, and Jesikah seems to be doing ok with her so far.  However, open house was awkward because obviously we all remembered...(Eric too).  Hopefully it works out.  If not, I wouldn't hesitate to get her out of that class.  The way she treated Alex is all too fresh in my memory to even hesitate at the first sign of problems.

Alex seems content with his classes.  He says they are kind of boring, but does have friends in his classes.

Jarem and our neighbor, Connor, always compete for "last on the bus"
I finally got some pictures of Jesikah last week.  She is wearing her peach blouse that she got for her birthday.  The first time she wore this shirt, every person she saw told her how pretty she looked and that it was such a pretty "blouse".  It was so funny, because literally EVERYONE she saw said something.  She said that she never knew she looked good in that color and that I never told her that her shirt was a "blouse".  I told her that I would call it a peasant top, but I guess "blouse" is more a southern word for it.  The color does look good with her skin tone.

I will add a picture of Alex later. My brain just isn't working well that early. Alex leaves at 5:50am. I do wish I would have gotten their first day pictures though because they always try to look their best.

Cake Decorating

Jesikah has this dear young woman leader (actually several).  Her name is Clarisse Warren, and she is a professional cake decorator.  Jesikah really wanted to learn cake decorating for one of her projects for young women, so she asked Sister Warren (as she goes by at church) if she could come and help her sometime when she was making a cake or just watch and learn. 

Sister Warren has had Jesikah over multiple times to help her with cakes, teach her things, and Jesikah always comes home with her own personal cake too.  Jesikah has learned a lot and has gotten really good.  Below are some of the cakes she has made as part of this project (she has done WAY over 10 hours):

Flip-flop made of fondant

Clarisse Warren with one of the cakes Jesikah helped with

Shoes made of fondant

More shoes

And more...

There was another cake that we made for St Patrick's Day that was a color gradient cake, but for some reason only half of the picture will come up on Blogger.  There were 3 segments of cake that got progressively darker, but you can't really see it.

Cake Jesikah made for Anne (her friend that was moving)

Jesikah taught us the smoothing technique for these cakes

This is one of the cakes she helped Sister Warren with

And she was with Sister Warren she made these angry bird cakes too.
Jesikah has spent a lot of time with Sister Warren while learning to make these cakes, and has learned a lot.  I am so grateful for all the time Sister Warren has spent with her!

Spiral Shrub

In April, you may remember that we planted these two spiral shrubs.  I love them, but they are proving to be very tempermental!  This picture was taken at the end of July and as you can see, the one on the left is completely DEAD!  I thought it may have been possible that I hit it with some Round-Up while spraying, but I really didn't think that I would kill it even if it did get a little mist that blew that way.  I called the nursery to see if they would replace it, and they said that they wouldn't unless they planted it, but that they would give me 30% off a replacement.  Since there is no other place in town that carries these, I went ahead and bought the replacement but even with the discount, it still cost $70, and Eric and I planted it!  

Now, I am not so sure it was Round-Up because the green one in the picture is not so green anymore.  I added more fertilizer and have been watering it daily, but it is not looking very good.  I haven't completely given up on it yet.  I am still holding onto the hope that it might come around, but I am not sure.  It is an Alberta Spruce, and I am wondering if this is just not the climate for these.  It is SO hot, it looks to me like it is getting sunburned.  Anyone know anything that might help?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Big 4-0

 On August 23rd, Eric turned the big 4-0!  It was a very busy day.  In fact, we didn't even see him until about 8pm.  Jesikah helped me decorate the kitchen.

He finally made it home! He has been helping a friend of his coach his son's football team.  It has taken up a lot of time.  He practices Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5:30-7:30.  He went straight from work and didn't even get home until around 8.  That same day Alex had piano lessons and a soccer game.

Sign made by Jesikah

From Jesikah

From Tessa and Jarem

Also from Jesikah (pens and dark chocolate peanut M&M's). Eric's favorite!

From Alex

I got him a new electric razer that comes with an eyebrow, nose, and ear hair trimmer.  That is the part he is pointing to.  He said that now he is over 40, that nose and ear trimmer should come in handy! :)

Lemon Meringue pie for dessert

It's funny that the kids all got him junk food for their gifts.  I think the reason was because they were all short on cash having just bought school clothes and having Jesikah's birthday also this month.  The snacks were things they knew he would like and within their budget.

We also went and used out credit at Dick's Sporting Goods to get him soccer cleats and shin guards so he can practice soccer with Alex and the other kids.

Eric and I went out for a late dinner at Longhorn to celebrate!  Then, I threw a little 40 party for him on the following weekend...more to come later.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And another turns 13...

Jesikah turned 13 on August 13th, and that means another child in the Bass Family has earned the rank of "teenager".  I am not sure how many more we can handle...  (lol)

We let our kids have friend parties on the even years, so this year was her family birthday year.  She wanted to go to a movie with Eric and I, so we went to see "The Smurfs" which was the only decent thing playing.  It was pretty cute.  We made her favorite meal for her birthday.  Eric cooked yummy ribs and we had mashed potatoes, grren beans, and sweet carrots.  It was good.

Her birthday was on a Saturday, so we let her open her big present in the morning so she would have something fun to do.  It was the Diagon Alley Lego set.  That was exactly what she wanted, and she was very happy!

Jarem and Tessa were excited too
 Before her family party, she had already built part of it:

Birthday Dinner
 It turned out to be a little funny because Alex had been helping out at another boy's eagle project all morning, and he called to see if 2 of his friends could come home with him.  I was not keen on the idea since it was Jesikah's birthday, but he finally convinced me that if it was ok with Jesikah I would let them come over.  He easily talked Jesikah into it.  She has a soft heart and just a few kind words and she was in agreement.  So, strangely, Alex had two friends at Jesikah's party.  She did ask her best friend to come over for just dinner and presents, but she already had other plans.

 Jarem and Tessa put their money together and bought the knight bus Lego set as well as some candy and a card.  Jesikah really liked it.  In the picture. Jarem is saying, "No it isn't" when Alex said that it was from him too.

I bought this peasant top for Jesikah after we went school shopping because she loved it, but couldn't afford it.  Because I am writing this later, I can tell you that it looks beautiful on her. She also got several other tops, a sweatshirt, and a skirt.

She is still looking at the Legos.  Beside her you can see that she got the whole Percy Jackson and the Olympians book set because Alex doesn't like to share his and she loves to read books over and over.  She also got a poster.

About the cake, she had planned to have a mint chocolate cake with brownie pieces on top and pillars.  She sketched the whole thing out in full color.  But, the day before was Eric and I's anniversary and we had bought this Cheesecake Factory cheesecake at Sam's Club.  We planned to share it with the kids on the evening of our anniversary after spending the day together.  Well, we got home a little late, and we really didn't want to eat a heavy cheesecake so late, so we told Jesikah that if she wanted it for a birthday cake, she could have it.  Surprisingly, she decided that she did!  She does LOVE cheesecake, but the real reason why was because "her" cake would take a lot of time to make on her birthday and she wouldn't have as much time to enjoy.  I told her I would make it and she didn't need to help, but she wanted time with me doing other things.

She got several Burt's Bees for her birthday.  Here is her full collection now.

We love having Jesikah in our family.  13 things about her:
1) Loving
2) Helpful
3) Enjoys doing many of the same things that I do
4) Pretty
5) Takes time to make herself look nice
6) Responsible
7) Has a soft heart for others
8) Very good with kids
9) Smart
10) A good cook
11) Is not afraid to stand up for what is right
12) Has high standards for herself
13) Is a friend to everyone