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Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm 1000 Weeks Pregnant, Hugely Uncomfortable, and I Have a Weapon. Any Questions?

This is a b***h post, be prepared. It's time to clear my mind.

I'm in the midst of week 36 of preggo world. The beauty of pregnancy thing never quite caught on this time. I've been waiting for that glow, for that magical moment when I'd smile serenely and affectionately rub my burgeoning belly while daydreaming about what the little one looks like.

I did have those beautiful moments with the other 4, although they admittedly came later and later in the game each time.

Instead, this time has been filled with stabbing round ligament pain, painful walking because the baby's head is pressing so hard on my pelvis, hemorrhoids the size of my head, one trip to the hospital for dehydration, 2 blown veins, 1 IV, 3 litres of fluid, countless needle sticks for blood work, a rhogam shot that burned like the dickens, little, tiny feet jammed in my ribs, acid reflux that wakes me up at night, snoring that sounds like a FREIGHT TRAIN (no joke, it wakes Joe and myself up), acne that doesn't seem to ever go away, and more weight gain than in ANY other pregnancy. I'm somewhat of a mess. I believe this is officially the swan song of my baby-making career.

Our 3rd was our only winter baby (so far) and she was born exactly a week before Christmas. My husband worked at a different job and was able to take the time off to be with us the first week. This time, I went through Christmas, still pregnant, and he works in the hospitality industry, so he's practically lived at the restaurant watching everyone else in the free world celebrate and have a marvelous time while the kids and I wait for him at home. Christmas Eve was no exception. He worked a 9-9 shift and got to spend an entire hour with us at his parents' house for their annual Christmas Eve gathering. Christmas day was a blur of watching the kids unwrap, heading to his sister's house for the annual Christmas day gathering and then going home to put our over-sugared, over-stimulated, over-tired kids in bed. The next day, naturally he pulled another 9-9'er since it is the biggest return day of the year, and who doesn't like to eat out while they're out shopping??

Here's where many may tune out or get all indignant about me complaining. So, to head you off, YES, we are thankful, beyond words that we are employed. We're thankful we can pay the bills, have a roof over our heads, food in the cupboards, and gas in the car. BUT...but it seems like there should be SOME kind of happy medium between living one's entire life for one's job and spending quality and quantity time with family. It's always a choice. Every day. And it seems like the family side always loses. That's not a knock on Joe. That's a knock on society and the industry who makes it nearly impossible to have any kind of quality of life with a family.

It wouldn't be so bad if there was some kind of sincere "thank you" involved. A heartfelt "Thank you for leaving your family daily, missing your kids' bedtime every night, missing school programs and soccer games, leaving your very pregnant wife at home every day to care for the children by herself..." You get the idea.

Instead, we got a box of chocolates. I guess I'd call that even.

So all that to say, I am foul at the moment. Forgive me. I apologize for including you in this rant, but it's the best I have short of actually emailing this to the owner of the company. The only reason I have NOT done that is because I don't want to embarrass Joe. It's been a tremendous struggle to hold back since all my pregnancy hormones are raging and urging me to let loose.

For now...I'll refrain.

Anyway, in closing...I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of family time. Here's hoping 2011 is full of pleasant surprises and changes for us and for you!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shameless Self-Serving Post

I am only the tiniest embarrassed to say that this post is solely so that I can win a prize. BUT...it's a prize for my kids, so I think that makes it okay (right?!)

Let me tell you about this adorable site called Macraoni Kid North Pole. Mrs. Claus has been going crazy ransacking Santa's bag and giving away a different present every day. Today's prioze? A VTech Mobigo!

I want it.

I want it bad.

I mean...my kids want it! =)

So...click HERE to be taken to her site. You can enter too. All you have to do is comment. No purchase necessary. It's THAT easy, I promise.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

DIY Wannabe

One of my absolute favorite things to do is watch HGTV. I LOVE decorating shows, house hunting shows, DIY shows, etc etc...I've tackled a few of my own DIY projects too...er, with less than stellar results. Let's see...there was the kitchen floor, the dining room paint job, the kitchen wall tile (which involved me, a pry bar, and a hammer. Scary ingredients), the faux kitchen countertop paint job...okay, you get the idea.

I have the heart of a warrior, but the skill of a rock. I mean well, but I don't posess the know-how to do the job right. I thought painting would be so easy if I used painter's tape and meticulously taped off the area. Wrong again. It seems no matter how careful I thought I was, when I peeled the tape off after painting, it looked like I sneezed my way through taping. Not a "clean" line in sight, as the professionals would say.

I stumbled across an awesome website about a year or so ago. It's called Young House Love. John & Sherry Petersik bought and renovated their 1950's ranch. They did so smartly, slowly, and cost effectively. And they took before and after pics all along the way. I love stalking reading about their DIY triumphs. For every DIY tragedy I've had, they've had about 10 triumphs. Part of me wants to hate them out of sheer jealousy (did I mention they're both beautiful?), but I'm too impressed. They're pretty terrific. And funny to boot.

Instead, I'm going to make a little fun of myself and post some pictures of my screw ups. Maybe it will give someone who fancies themselves a DIY failure (like moi) some peace of mind knowing that they are not alone in their Do-it-yourself-er shortcomings.

Ready? Here we go...


Here's the kitchen. It used to have cupboard doors when we moved in. It was also painted white. We got a wild hair up our you-know-whats and decided it would look better this pukey brown color. Every. single. square. inch. We also thought we needed to refinish the cupboard doors. So, off came the doors. We "carefully" stored them in plastic under our deck as we got distracted by other things and had to postpone the refinishing. Come next spring, guess what?


We unearthed the cupboard doors from under the deck to find that the plastic had come undone and  the cupboard doors were ruined. Done.



We priced getting them refaced professionally at someplace like Lowe's or Home Depot but had to be revived when the sticker shock took hold. Turns out our kitchen was "custom made" back in 1950-whatever and would require more custom made cupboards. No off the shelf for us.

By the way...check out that sweet, fake butcher block countertop. That's some "top of the line," laminate sheeting you're feasting your eyes on.
 

This was a wonderful feature with small kids running around-lots of poisonous cleaners with no doors. That big gray thing in the front is the garbage disposal, God rest its soul. Yes, it IS supposed to be connected to a pipe. Joe slammed some frozen chicken on the counter one day, and the disposal broke off. We had no clue how to fix it (and I was terrified Joe would electrocute himself) so we just did what anyone else would do. We left it like that. For weeks. And it smelled.

Notice the tiny strip of scotch tape I threw across the disposal on/off switch. Great deterrent. Surely, a toddler would never dare to mess with it with SCOTCH TAPE over it...


Here's the aftermath of my tile prying fury and subsequent re-plastering. You should have seen it before I replastered it. Believe it or not, it actually looked worse. And, yes, that is an outlet incredibly close by. Talk about being afraid someone was going to electrocute themselves. Had I taken off that tile at the top left or right hand corner of the outlet, it may have been Mandy flambe for dinner.

So there's one part of our miserable do-it-yourself-kitchen project. Now for the countertop.


Nasty original countertop

I hated that faux butcher block. It wasn't even solid laminate...it was laminate sheeting. So, I Googled myself up a way to make the countertop look like Granite. I found a great tutorial, printed out the directions, and marched off to my local home improvement store to match paint colors to real granite. The people at the paint counter looked at me like I was crazy (they apparently knew something I didn't) as they matched my paint to the colors in an actual piece of granite. No matter, I was undeterred. I drove home with gusto and marched into the house with all my new toys; primer, sand paper, denatured alcohol, paint, glaze, and my fave...a blow torch.

That's right. You read that correctly.

I followed the directions to a 'T.' I was soooo impressed with how it turned out. It really DID look like granite. At least I thought it did. What do you think? (Also...notice we started repainting the drawers white--the ones that we still had.)




What you DON'T see is the other corner of the kitchen where I screwed up MAJORLY and somehow the primer didn't completely soak into the counter, thus creating a barrier between the particle board and the paint. Therefore, the glaze DID soak into the particle board. No matter what I did--even reglazing--that part of the counter never fully glazed over. It got so that everything stained it and it became a gross brown sponge that was this disgusting yellow-ish brown shade--somewhat reminiscent of the old paint color.

We lived with it like that for quite some time. Mostly because we weren't sure what the heck to do with it. Replacing the counter seemed like an expense we weren't ready for, but it was embarassing. You can keep a towel over that section of counter only so long before a guest is going to see it.

How about the floor? Funny you should ask. The flooring was peel and stick parquet tiles when we moved in. Not bad, but I was trying to get away from the fake wood look, so we decided to lift up the old flooring and reveal what we thought would be spectacular orginal hardwood underneath. Perfect.

My poor husband worked for days to lift up all the layers of flooring. There was the peel and sticks first, then some linoleum that was not only glued but nailed to the floor, some sweet old fashioned, green and off-white "school tile" (which was also glued AND stapled to the floor) and then, finally, the hardwood. Well, we're pretty sure it was the hardwood. What we could see through all the asbestos and tar-like glue looked like hardwood.

We tried everything: chemicals, renting a professional sander, getting price quotes for professional removal...everything we could think of to restore the original flooring. Finally, we realized it was not worth the time, energy, expense, or elbow grease to try to restore them. Plus, every professional we asked for an estimate gave us the "you are CRAZY if you think I'm going to get that stuff off" look when we asked them if they would consider removing the glue.

Here are some shots of Joe working dilligently on getting the old flooring up.



My honey, hard at work. Poor guy.


Doesn't that remind you of the cafeteria or the nurse's office when you were in elementary school??


Millions of nails and miles of glue...


Hello, asbestos.
Naturally, we had NO idea that was probably asbestos until long AFTER we finished the floor!
 Fine, So, we decide our only recourse was to put down new flooring.

Once again, we resolved that if the people on HGTV could do it, so could we. Off we marched to Lowes with our checkbook and a bus load of determination and misplaced bravado. Our sails were only slightly de-winded when we saw the pricing of  laminate hardwood that would match the rest of the house. No worries. We merely skipped all the way to the end of the aisle, where the "bargain" laminate flooring was and calculated out how much it would be to buy the 120 square feet we'd need for the kitchen. Only about $200 you say? We'll take it!

So, with the new flooring, a borrowed table saw and his own mediocre hand-held saw, Joe began the project. I tried to block out the sound of the table saw every time I heard it. I also did my best to not envision him cutting his hand off EVERY TIME he used it. Meanwhile, he banged and cut and cursed his way through measuring, sizing, and resizing the flooring until he finally finished. I can't even remember how long it took all told, but I know it was a mini-series of sorts. It took a few groupings of his days off until we had the entire floor covered. Here it is at a glance.


The wood grain goes the same direction as all the others in the house, so that was a plus. It's a smidge lighter than the rest of the house, but it was such a steal, we couldn't pass it up. And it was about 1/5 of the price of the stuff that would have matched.
 Now, if you take a closer look, you'll see the reality of the situation.


See how closely it lines up with the wall/door frame? No? Neither did we. Unfortunately, it was like this all around the kitchen. One crucial piece of equipment we were missing was a mitre saw. Turns out you CANNOT make flooring fit corners without one.

It's been a long road, but we have made some progress. We scored some great countertops at Ikea for...get this...$130. Total. Yes, they're laminate, but who cares?! They look like stone and they were installed professionally, so they actually fit and were cut correctly. There isn't even one section that we have to try to hide because we botched it up somehow.
The cabinet doors? My brother-in-law came to our rescue and designed and created all of the cabinet doors in our kitchen as well as added drawer fronts to the drawers that were broken. He also took a cupboard and made it into 4 drawers. This is amazing to me! Did I mention he is NOT a carpenter by trade? He drove 2 hours here, took pictures, listened to me yap on about what I wanted, measured, and then went home. A few months later, he drove back to our house (another 2 hours), and proceeded to unload the most beautiful cabinet doors, drawers, and even a NEW cabinet that he made specially for us--and installed them.

I think Joe and I stood in the kitchen with stupid permasmiles plastered on our faces for the rest of the evening. We'd forgotten what it was like to have a real, functioning kitchen. It was magnificent.

And while it isn't completed yet, we feel SO much better about having people over. We don't feel the need to say, "We're in the middle of renovating" quite as often (although we still do). We still have BIG plans to remove half a wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room and add a breakfast bar with stools, and also retiling the floor. With real ceramic tile. And when I say "we" I mean will have a professional do it. I think we've learned our lesson. =)

More to follow, including an updated shot of what our kitchen looks like today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I've Been Pregnant For 15 1/2 Months

I sat down and did the math last night. R was born at 38 weeks, L at 39, E at 39, M at 38 and I am currently in week 32 with this baby, so-- to date-- of the last 288 weeks, I have been pregnant for 186 of them.

Wow.

That is a wake up call, huh?

 No wonder my stomach muscles feel like they've been fileted.

Also no wonder Victoria's Secret is not beating down my door.

That also explains why I can't hiccup, sneeze, cough, or breathe too deeply without piddling myself.

It's all becoming painfully clear now...


Preggo with R (2005)
Preggo with L (2006)

Preggo with E (2007)


Preggo with M (2009)

Preggo (now) with H (2010)
  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Food For Thought For Those Considering A Big Family

I've been pondering some ideas for blog posts lately. I think a recurring one is the things I think about when I think of our decision to have a large family and having all the kids so close in age. While I (obviously) wouldn't change a thing, I do have some "nuggets" I would pass on to parents contemplating having kids so close together. Food for thought that I didn't realize before we started our family.

*While it's GREAT having kids who are interested in the same things and at similar stages of development, it's also nearly impossible to enjoy events (like storytime at the library) with one when you have others who are just young enough that they can't enjoy it, wreak havoc the entire time, or are not allowed to participate because they are too young. Because I publish a newsletter for my community that lists great kid-friendly events in the area, I get to see how much there is to do with kids. So much great stuff...but I have to live vicariously through the readers who DO participate because I can't realistically take L (who's 4) and have E & M (who are 3 & 1, respectively) along because it isn't age appropriate for everyone. Getting a sitter for a 45 minute-1 hr event seems silly to me (and not exactly practical.)

I wish I had more of an opportunity to experience those "mommy & me" types of things with each.

*I confuse details of when things happened to each child because they are all so close together. Here's the breakdown of ages:

R-born 5/3/2005
L-born 5/17/2006
E-born 12/18/2007
M-born 6/20/2009 and
H -due 1/22/2011.

R is a little easier to remember since he was our first, but then after that, it all kind of gets smooshed together. I would love to say I can just refer to each child's baby book, but, well, then I would be lying. I made a valiant attempt to record everything in R's baby book. I think I got up through year 2. By that time L was already turning 1. L's ends somewhere around 11 months. E doesn't even have one, although I looked many times for one. M? I didn't even bother. Isn't that horrible?

*Because our 2 oldest are SO close, they were in essence raised as twins. Not because we deliberately did that, but because they're both boys, they share a room, they wear roughly the same size of clothing, they are very close developmentally and participate in most of the same activities and on the same teams, etc. So, imagine L's chagrin when R started kindergarten and L didn't. It was a little ugly, Because they had [almost] always done the same things at the same times, L couldn't understand. Also, he was too young to realize that R was around for a whole year before L was even born. To him, they have always been together. It's fine now. Espcially since L started preschool and has his own "thing" but it was rough for him at first.

*People feel entitled and even compelled to make comments about the size of your family, the closeness of ages of the children, the fact that you and your partner didn't prevent so many pregnancies, etc. It can get personal. Even when it's said in jest and by people you know, it still gets old. Every person who makes a comment must think he or she is the first. If you never tire of hearing, "So, have you figured out what causes this yet? or "Are they all YOURS?!" or "Are you "done" yet?" or "One of you needs to see a doctor about this," then you will have no worries. Otherwise, decide now if you will paste on your best permasmile and shrug it off or if you will throw out a zippy comeback.

*If you are someone who does not welcome touching, prepare yourself now. Nothing seemingly screams "Touch me!" more than a pregnant woman's belly. I consider myself a touchy/feely individual, but I draw the line with someone touching my "bathing suit areas." My belly is in that holy, sacred, not for public use areas of my body. I would never DREAM of violating anyone else by touching them there, so it always surprises me when others cross that line. Family is different (at least for me.) It's strangers or acquaintances who floor me when they reach out and rub, pat, grope, or squeeze my belly. I found a GREAT shirt at Burlington/Baby Depot that says what I may be too shy to say, "Touch the Belly, Lose a Hand." Isn't that awesome??? 'Nuff said.

*Unless you are independently wealthy, you may need to give up the idea of using name brand everything for your kids. Huggies were my favorite with R. I turned up my nose at those who used Wal Mart brand. And then L came along...and then E. They were ALL In diapers at the same time. No longer could we afford the $25+/box diapers. Especially when we were buying 3 different sizes. We discovered Target (Up & Up brand) and it was love at first sight. Same with formula. We used soy for R & L. Then E came along and we realized we could save $5 a can on the milk-based. Imagine the happy dance we did when we found out we could save another $10 per can if we used Target brand--which as all the same stuff in it as the name brand???

We have also gotten much better at shopping at stores like Gabriel Bros, Marshalls, Once Upon a Child, Target (of course. We love Target so much we have them listed as our emergency contact should anything happen to one of us!) consignment sales, and--our favorite--hand-me-downs from wonderful friends and family. Gone are the days when we would buy 4-5 outfits at Gymboree--full price-- because we thought they were adorable. Now, we realize that we could buy 20-25 outfits somewhere else for that same amount of $$.

*Driving/vehicle usage may be a challenge. Expect to have at least 5 car seats at once if you have 5 or more kids in 5 years. We have 2 boosters, 2 forward facing and soon we are adding a rear facing for the newest addition. We drive a standard minivan, so we are hoping for the best as far as everyone fitting inside the van while we travel. Otherwise, we hate to break it to R, but he may be our new hood ornament. HAHA. Joking, obviously. Put down the phone. No need to call CYS.

If we decide to have even 1 more...we will be investing in the John & Kate style full size van. I'm not ready to be compared to them in any way.

*Your body may revolt. I was never in danger of having a 6-pack, but now I can almost hear my abs sobbing, wheezing and gasping to hold it together. They are dangling by a precarious little thread and at any moment the dam could burst. I picture them with their fingers laced, eyes squeezed shut, and smoke pouring out of their ears, struggling to keep it all together. If I get up too quickly, I am immediately doubled over in pain. The books call it "round ligament pain." I call it "did anyone see who just stabbed me in the gut?!"

I used to say my favorite time of pregnancy was at about 6 months. That's when you get that little bump that looks like more than a beer belly but is still adorable and fun to dress up in maternity tops. Then, during the third pregnancy, that changed to about the 5th month. This time? I hadn't stopped looking pregnant from the previous baby, so my belly "popped" to looking about 7 months from week 3, I swear. I seem to have surpassed that "cute" phase altogether.

Also, kindly pardon the delicate subject, but let's talk about hemorrhoids. We've all seen the Preparation-H or the Tucks commercials where a pad is used to extinguish a match--the match, of course, representing the hemorrhoid. Um, no. That doesn't even begin to detail what a hemorrhoid is like during pregnancy or after delivery. I was scared to death to have my first #2 after having R. Little did I know that they come back during pregnancy (and sometimes even when you're NOT pregnant.) It's like giving birth. There may or may not be blood, yelling or white-knuckling involved. It can really dampen a perfectly good magazine reading session in the ol' library, I tell you.

You may get acne reminiscent of your teen years. I have been blessed enough to get it on my face, my neck, my shoulders AND my back with this pregnancy. Since I didn't have it as a teen or for any other pregnancy, I guess Mother Nature was feeling frisky and decided to give it to me all at once this time.

As far as all the other typical aches and pains and the sheer discomfort that feels endless, save up your pennies or ask for gift cards for cleaning services, babysitters, or massages. The shine and excitement of others pampering you has surely worn off (for others) after about baby #3. Gone are the days when people rush to carry things for you, rub your aching [insert body part here], call often just to see how you're feeling, or take the kids for a few hours so you can get some much-needed rest. I've been told many times that it's now a non-event when I'm pregnant because it happens so often. I've also been told that I'm such a trooper when I'm pregnant that people forget until they see me. I appreciate those kind words. I really do. I just get so tired. It's draining. Yes, it's also my choice and my life, but...ya' know? A little pampering and fuss wouldn't be out of the question, would it??

*But, most of all, try to prepare yourself for the most overwhelming...engulfing... all consuming love you will ever experience. It's been said that being a mom is to have your heart walking around on the outside...or something like that...well, being a mom of many is like that times 1,000,000. Even if you fear there won't be enough love to go around, believe me, there is! And who knew you could function with so may pieces of your heart roaming around. It's truly the best, hardest, most stressful, draining, rewarding job there is. I strongly recommend it, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Keepin' On

Finally. Feels like we're turning a corner. And at the risk of sounding all junior high'ish, I hope I don't jinx myself by saying that.

My classes FINALLY start on the 23rd. This is so exciting. I just transferred out of the MBA program into the Masters of Elem Ed program--not until I had "wasted" two classes (12 weeks) and $4000, of course, but whatever. It's almost here. And I can't wait.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a teacher. And, since I seemingly have an elementary school/preschool in my house with my own children, I figure...why not make it official?

In other news, my blood pressure seems to be dropping. I've addressed some issues that needed addressing and that has helped to alleviate some of that nonsense. I've started some spring cleaning in my personal life and it feels good to be setting some boundaries and definitions for myself and my family. Good stuff.

Third trimester nesting has been in full force. Love that. Although it isn't always consistent, overall, our house has stayed in pretty good condition. The laundry is a whole other ball game, but at least we have clean things to wear. And besides, the mountain of clothes in the basement makes for a cheap play activity for the kids.

I actually took a look at my library of blogs the other night-the ones that I follow. Boy was I...disappointed? I know I've been out of it, blogwise, for a bit, but I was so surprised to see how many personal blogs have become (what seems like) strictly review/giveaway blogs now. I was sad. I got all settled in with a hot cup of tea, and was so excited to read what's been going on in some of my bloggy friends' lives...only to find a slew of product reviews and giveaways. Maybe with the turning economy and the holidays approaching more bloggers are turning to these types of things to make money. I totally understand that. I just wish I didn't have to scroll through so many blogs that used to bring me so much entertainment until I found one that actually talked about someone's personal life. That's what I get for being MIA for so long.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I would love the opportunity to work in a soup kitchen this year like my husband and I have done before, but I think the kids are a little too young for that yet. In good time we will have everyone there serving. LOVE that.

I hope you are all spending Thanksgiving with family and friends. This year, we are celebrating on Tuesday since Joe has to work all day Thanksgiving. If you are eating out for the holiday, PLEASE be kind to your restaurant staff. They have families waiting for and missing them at home. And, contrary to what I used to think when I was young and single and ate out for Thanksgiving, it isn't always a case of , "Well, they probably chose to work it because they get such good tips." No. Sometimes missing family to be at work and watch everyone else's families have a wonderful day isn't a choice, but rather mandatory for one's job.

So, be safe, relax, and enjoy the day!

xoxo
Mandy

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Ways to Be Super Annoying and Self Involved

I just updated my Facebook status to read: "Today may be the day my head actually blows off my shoulders."

And I mean that.

Yes, I know pregnancy hormones are a bi-otch, but this is ridiculous. I have been in a self-imposed cave for the better part of a week now because I am sick to death of stress and those who cause it. Those things that I can usually just let roll off my back with minimal aggravation are recently making my blood pressure rise, my face get hot, and my belly to "squeeze." In the interest of my unborn child (who is swimming around in all that anxiety induced gastric acid) and myself (who has been awakened each night with toxic acid reflux that sends me to the bathroom afraid I'm going to toss my cookies), and my children (who could probably sympathize with little Chritsina Crawford during Mommy Dearest's wire hanger tirade) I am trying to avoid the world at large in hopes of avoiding--or at least alleviating-- the stressses.

So far it's not really working.

The stresses find me. Aggravating people who think they don't have to play by the rules we all play by are popping out of the wood work. I've been thinking of these people and I've come up with some things they all seem to have in common. Below is my non-exhaustive list:

Ways to Be Super Annoying and self-involved

1. Believe (and let it be known that you believe) that your time is far more valuable than everyone else's, That means, stand in the middle of the doorway, hallway or sidewalk when you see others coming--especially a pregnant woman pushing a double stroller with 2 children tagging along. or Chat it up with someone who is in their car, in the middle of the parking lot, while someone else waits to pull in or park.

2. Ignore messages/emails asking questions, but continue to post status updates and comment on others' posts. When the person messaging you asks if you've gotten their messages, say "yep" and leave it at that.

3. Feel free to jump down others' throats when YOU misunderstand what the other person said--and then excuse yourself for doing so because you have a lot of "stuff" going on in your life. Because, clearly, you're the only one who has "stuff" happening...

4. Lick your fingers before touching every donut in the case at the bakery/supermarket. And then choose the 17th one you've touched. This one may lose you a hand.

5. Tell a pregnant woman that she is "so much bigger than so-and-so who is due at the same exact time..." This one may also lose you a hand OR another important extremity.

6. Totally take advantage of a friend who has bent over backwards for you over the past 9 years and do your best to work your voodoo (you know, that crap you peddle as motivation) so that they actually believe you were right for taking advantage of them. In fact, make them believe that they OWED it to you to let you take advantage of them. (That's right, there are people out there who think this way...)

7. Complain about something nice someone did for you UNASKED and for FREE.

8. Tell people you "don't have time" to check your email/voicemails, etc when you KNOW they have been trying desperately to get ahold of you for something important.

9. Tell a pregnant woman that she is too crabby and should stop complaining.

10. Post status updates about your life that are either 1) "nobody loves me and everybody hates me" or 2) "My life is perfect, my house is spotless, my kids are angels, and I just made lasagna from scratch, 3 apple pies, and ran 12 miles."

I realize writing a blog post about being annoyed could also fall on this list, but, well, it's my blog, so whatev.

Sorry for being Debbie Downer today. Please forgive me. I will try my best to be back to a jovial mood soon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm Cleaning House

...and I don't mean the one I live in.

I mean the one in my head. The one where I store all the people in my life, how I feel about them and all the stresses of being in any kind of relationship; romantic or otherwise.

I have always fancied myself to be someone who is supportive and patient (maybe not all the time with my kids, or old people...or slow traffic...) but with the people I care about, concerning the BIG things.

If I'm wronged I will usually sweep it under the carpet because the idea of calling someone out about it or hashing it out is so uncomfortable--almost more uncomfortable than the original wrong.

I've really tried to be more open-minded with others over the past few years, and [try to] see things from their perspective, because I realize mine can sometimes be a very narrow point of view.

There are certain people in my life who I have allowed, time and again, to act, do, be or say however or whatever they wanted simply because I held them in such high regard.

I am not someone who loves confrontation, even though I feel very strongly about different things.

But now I think it's time to 'red up as they say in these parts.

It's time to start laying some "boundaries"-- as some are so accustomed to doing--while being careful not to use "boundaries" as a facade for being selfish--as some are also so accustomed to doing.

There is a fine line between being a hypocrit and giving valid, honest truths. That has always stumped me. How do I begin to give (sought after) advice when there have been times in my life when I have done the EXACT opposite--and with good results?? At what point do you stop tickling someone's ears with kind words, subtle points that go unnoticed by the listener, and start giving some cold, hard reality checks. At what point do you tell someone-who is/was/has been important to you that you're not swallowing their bull anymore. That you see through them and know that they are full of it. When do you start asking them who exactly they are trying to fool--you or themselves or both?

I think I am poised on the verge making some good changes. Some needed changes.

I am 30 weeks pregnant and there are some things that just aren't worth me stressing over. Not anymore.

Some people will find that they fall into that category.

Yes, this is a somewhat cryptic post and very ambiguous. It's for me to "get it out there"-the things that have been floating around in my head for a few days.

If you think see yourself in this post, ask yourself why?

I'm an obsessive personality and I'm tired of having the same imaginary conversation with certain individuals in my head. I vascillate between wanting to get it all out on the table and making it KNOWN that I'm not taking it anymore AND not wanting to even deal with it--not making it a priority anymore, not expending another ounce of energy on the issue.

Not sure which way I'll end up going-confronting it or ignoring it. We'll see.

Friday, October 15, 2010

And Today I Win Mother Of The Year

I suck.

There is no eloquent way of putting that.

I have had an emotional, roller-coaster kind of day today. It started off badly when I cried on poor Joe's shoulder about feeling fat and ugly. Poor guy. Right as he was trying to leave for work. He said all of the right things. Great man. Gosh, I love him.

Then, in a fit of rage and anger over my freakin baby gate that works 50% of the time, I slammed it down on the bottom step...hardwood step, I might add...only to realize a milisecond too late that my baby's little, tiny pinky was UNDERNEATH the gate. We both paused as all the air was sucked out of the room. We looked at each other for a split second and then he started screaming. And then I panicked and scooped him up and started chanting, "Oh, God! Oh, God!" over and over. And I don't say "God" casually like that. I couldn't even look at his finger for a good 2 minutes because I was afraid of what I'd see. You see, injured bones and I have never quite gotten along.

I'm usually pretty calm in a crisis, but this time I just totally fell apart.

I called my mother-in-law, practically hysterical, and sobbed out that I thought I'd broken M's finger. She, of course, rushed right over. My father-in-law came over too. They both looked at the wounded finger and helped to calm ME down. I phoned my friend who is a nurse at Children's Hospital. She was helpful, And then I called my pediatrician's office. That nurse practically had me doing lamaze breathing because I couldn't get my phone number out without crying.

Talk about riddled with guilt.

I have long acknowledged that I have a horrible temper, but today put it in a totally new perspective for me. Now it's not just a problem with making everybody feel bad when I'm in a crappy mood-it actually almost broke my son's finger! And he's only 15 months old! I thouht for sure CYS would be pulling out front at any moment.

But, thankfully, he's fine. He has no lasting effects (it seems) from the ordeal. I, on the other hand, may actually experience some PTSD from this. I'm not kidding. I keep thinking back to it and it makes me jump when I think about it. Poor baby.

So, the crown for Mother of the Year belongs to me today, my friends. It's not the first. I know it won't be the last. And it really sucks.

Go ahead...make me feel better. Tell me your MOTY stories. Quickly.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Think *GASP* I Might Be "Done"...Maybe. I Dunno.

I have had this irresistable urge all day to blog...but I have NOTHING to say.

Too bad for all of you I'm going to say it anyway, =)

This pregnancy has been hard for me. I say this delicately because it's been a cakewalk compared to so many of my friends who have had horrible pregnancies. You know-where they're puking every 5 seconds, dehydrated, time spent in the hospital, at-home IV's to keep hydrated, pre-term labor, having the cervix stitched shut to keep the baby in longer...and that's just ONE of my friend's issues!

We got to see the baby on ultrasound again the other day. It became suddenly apparent why I am experiencing so much discomfort--she was poker straight. I mean, straight-as-a-needle straight as she could be. Her little toes were jammed into my ribs-and I got to see it all! It was so cool.

I've also gotten the worst case of acne I've EVER had, Yes, teenage years, notwithstanding, I have NEVER had acne so bad. It's all over my neck, back and shoulders. You getting the visual?

Then there's that sciatic pain...the pain that feels like someone stabbed me in the a$$ every time I sit wrong, stand up, or lay too long on one side. It's gotten to the point now that when I stand up from sitting on the floor (to change diapers, etc) and I scream out in pain, my kids don't even flinch anymore. They just say, "Your bum hurts because you have a baby in your belly?" That's right kids.

That and a uterus that's being held together by scotch tape and a prayer after 5 babies in 5 1/2 years.

You may know that I've said I have a hard time saying "we're done." But apparently my body has no such qualms. I don't know how Michelle Duggar does it. She must use bungie straps to hold her girl parts together after 19 babies in 20 years.

And let's not even begin discussing the bladder issues--or the fact that the dam just ain't holdin' anymore, if you know what I mean. A sneeze, a cough, a good chuckle, heck even carrying the baby upstairs right now is enough to weaken the muscles of my bladder and make me piddle. I'm worse than E during potty training. I should be the one wearing plastic pants.

But it's such a beautiful thing. That's a mixture of sarcasm and genuine sentiment. Of course I love my babies. Of course I am thrilled that I am able to have babies when so many can't. And of COURSE I love wearing elastic waisted pants with zero insecurity. BUT, this ole girl has had enough. Joe's had the doc on speed dial, just waiting to schedule the "snip" since baby #2. It's been ME holding us back. But now, I am alllllmost ready to say the word. The 'V' word. It's his counterpart to me having gone through pregnancy, labor & delivery 5 times.

And, on that note I think it's time to say goodnight. I just had an ice cube, and as you preggo ladies know, that's enough to make you feel like you haven't peed in weeks...

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Moves You?

So to say that this whole denying kids food issue has gotten under my skin would be an understatement. My husband said the nicest thing to me the other day--possibly the nicest thing he's EVER said to me! When I forwarded him the email I sent to the school superintendent, the cafeteria manager and the district's social worker, he replied,

I love your Passion. U r one of a kind. Very special.

Love you

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone




Love that man. So glad that even though he may not always "get it" (My passions and quirks and the stand I take for those who can't stand up for themselves) he supports it and appreciates it. Thank you, Babe!

Now...on to more serious business...

While this issue has certainly raised the hair on the back of my neck, it has also served to make me put my blogging pants back on. I've taken a bit of a hiatus from it as other things have taken my time (such as this tiny little being doing somersaults in my belly! and the business I just started a few months ago.)

But it feels good to be back.

Until someone disagrees with me. HAHAHAHA!

No seriously, I hate that part.

I know that we will never ALL agree on everything (or anything) and it's the way the world goes 'round, etc etc etc...but when it's an issue that seems so black and white, and someone doesn't see it anywhere near the way I do, it's upsetting. The issue like denying a child food when their parent doesn't pay their school tab, for example.

I think any adult who watch a child go hungry because of a parent's neglect, oversight, inability or ignorance should be ashamed of themselves. Period.

Can I get an amen?

I actually have heard some MOMS say that they don't see a problem with the policy whatsoever--including the part where the school STOPS FEEDING THE KIDS for an indefinite period of time.

I'm shaking my head as I type this.

Maybe empathy isn't a virtue bestowed on everyone. Shoot, I know it isn't. But why does that still never cease to amaze me???

I think, what if my child's account went in the negative and I "missed" it. How would I feel knowing they weren't fed because of something I wasn't aware of? And then finding out adults watched as he went hungry?

Granted...I will give you that not ALL people in this situation are because of financial hardship, computer glitch, or lack of communicatioinon on behalf of the school, BUT even for those adults who choose not to pay the overdue tab...I still have a hard time justifying not feeding children.

And then...as I am discussing this with others, the level of complacency of some is baffling.

On a similar note, I've tried discussing things of world importance with some people--things like what will happen if certain government initiatives are passed and how it definitely affects every citizen regardless of political party, etc...just to have the person STOP ME in midsentence and say, "Oh...I don't really care..."

Let's hear it for honesty.

So...what moves YOU? Are you passionate about something? How do you express it? How do you handle people you encounter who don't see things your way or flat out argue against you?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm All Fired Up

I received a letter from my child's school district today that has set my blood to boiling.

Funny thing is...it doesn't even directly affect me.

Doesn't matter. I'm making it my business for all those who don't have a voice of their own or are too afraid to stand up and speak out.

In gist, the school district is jumping on the bandwagon of other districts both locally and nationally who are "cracking down on deadbeat parents" who don't pay their child's lunch tab.

What does that mean, you ask?

If you're like me, you have been living in your own little bubble, completely unaware of this issue for...oh, let's see...forever. Since our oldest is just now in school, I've never once heard about this situation.

It seems that some parents are not paying their child's lunch tabs and the negative balance is making it up into the $100's...per student. That alone is staggering considering the average lunch costs around $2.50 per day.

But wait...it gets more alarming...

The school district's answer to this problem? Stop serving the kids the standard lunch--and in some cases (like my son's school district) stop serving them any lunch altogether.

Some districts are mandating this for middle and high schools only. Our district? They apply this new policy to grades 3-12. I guess 3rd graders have more say than a k-2nd grader in whether or not their parents pay their bill--and can surely withstand a full day without eating anything.

The alternative lunch that our district will be serving these "offending" children? A 'peanut butter sandwich and a milk'--but still charging them a "hot plate lunch cost."

After 4 lunches that are unpaid, the student is no longer served anything and they are not even allowed to purchase snacks until the bill is paid in full. So, here you have a 3rd grader who asks his buddy for 50 cents to buy a cookie...so he at least has something to eat after being denied lunch...and you're telling me the cafeteria lady is going to deny him this cookie until his bill is paid in full?? A bill that he has neither the option, the understanding nor ability to pay??

Please tell me I'm not alone in this outrage. Please tell me we're not going to allow the school system to punish the children for something that is the parents' responsibility.

I am actually moved to tears by the thought of a child being pulled out of line, humiliated and told that they can't eat lunch today. They won't understand. They'll have no idea why they are hungry and these adults-- whom they have been taught to trust-- are not letting them eat. It really tears me up.

And it pisses me off.

Excuse the language.

I don't take kindly to children being bullied, and in my mind, this is tantamount to children being bullied.

I have not come across another school in m y novice research that is flat out denying children the option of eating. I have read about schools both locally and nationally who are opting for the "alternative" lunch, but NEVER complete refusal to feed them.

Is this legal?

For some of these children, this is the only meal they get in a day.

Have we really come so far in society that money is more impartant than feeding a child?

Should the parents have to pay? Absolutely.

There are programs in place for those with financial difficulty.

Should the child go hungry until the parents rectify the situation.

Absolutely not.

I've emailed the superintendent, the cafeteria manager, and the school district's social worker. I hope to receive a response soon--especially since this has already been enacted and there are 4 possible days that kids were denied lunch alreadt--and the policy change had not yet been announced (?!)

Check with your local schools. Do they have a policy in place like this? Does anyone know the legalities of the school not feeding children?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Okay. It's time for a heart to heart. This is dedicated to all of my "readers," friends, and family who don't truly understand how to value and respect themselves or others...

I have seen faaaaaar too many people lately--people I care about dearly--who are either being used as doormats or treating others as if they are. Just because.

I don't get it.

Sure there are days (far more than I care to admit to) where I rant and rave and treat my family less than lovingly. We all have those days. That's not what I'm talking about here (although those days do leave me feeling miserable and regretful at the end of the day and I often have to go "untuck" my kids to tell them sorry again.)

What I'm talking about is this constant, consistent needling. Incessant (and usually passive agressive) behavior that clearly says, "your feelings are not my main concern." or "My needs are more important than yours...or anyone's."

At first I try to analyze it: "It must be insecurity and a lack of fulfillment somewhere in their life. Maybe they grew up being tormented that way and it's carried over...blah blah blah.

I don't look for a reason anymore.

If you're old enough to understand right from wrong, you're old enough to know that no one deserves to be treated like an afterthought. Like an insignificant, unimportant accessory.

I've had enough of watching it. I experienced it for long enough that I grew out of that "Oh, it must be me" and saw the light. "No, it's not me. It's them." Luckily, I don't have that same sitution in my life anymore, but it sure does leave scars. And those scars ache all over again when I see someone I care about going through the same thing. And having experienced it makes it all the more apparent when someone else is living it.

To my friends who are receiving this line of crap: You ARE more valuable than that! You DON'T have to take someone else's bull and swallow the lie that you are not important and valuable enough to have hopes, dreams, aspirations, and beliefs of your own. You should NEVER feel guilty for having outside interests or friends. You should NEVER have to accept comments that are hurtful, disparaging, or untrue. Don't settle. Don't buy into the lie that you somehow deserve this or it's okay to be treated this way. I don't care if it's a husband, a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a parent, a sibling, or a boss...they are wrong.

Even if you recognize this person is wrong, but you think the easy way out is to "take it" or even go so far as to acknowledge your "part" in it...when you clearly know you didn't play a part...only to keep the peace, you are only postponing the inevitable and giving the person permission to treat you like that. Stop it.

Stand up for yourself. Get angry. Draw some boundaries. Stick to them.

Don't allow yourself to be the victim. Be the survivor. Start calling the shots.

If you're in danger--GET OUT! If you don't have a trusted family member or friend, there are women's shelters who can lead you in the right direction.

I think the hardest step is the first one: Acknowledging that you are FED UP with the way things are and that you want a CHANGE. Usually the misery that we are in is more comfortable to us than the unknown of striking out and removing ourselves from the situation.

Once you're out--stick to your convictions. Usually that person will do and try anything to get you back in their life. Don't fall for it. I'm not saying people can't/don't change, but it should take a lot to feel confident in that change.

I've also noticed leaving the situation is a lot like the "saint complex" after someone dies. For some inexplicable reason, the mind tends to soften the sharp edges of our memory and those things that infuriated us before now merely annoy us. We start to justify them or maybe even forget some. The good times are elevated and higlighted so that we start to question why we felt the way we did or why we left.

Be prepared for that and maybe it won't take you by surprise or fool you.

Lastly, confide in someone trustworthy. You need a safe place to vent. Everybody needs a "vault." Find yours and use it.

Am I an expert? Not by ANY means. But, I've been there in experience and sadly by watching others who I care about struggle through. I don't know why we allow that lying bill of goods to be sold to us, but it's time to stop accepting it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mind Your Own Beeswax

Some people never cease to amaze me, but I don't know why. So here we were, out in public...me, the hubbs, and all 4 of the munchkins when someone near me looked up, saw my daughter (who was far away from me, by my husband) gasped, and commented on the age appropriateness of the "vice" she still (unfortunately) partakes in. The woman looked at me (not realizing she was addressing mama bear) and said, "Does that girl have a [insert vice here]?" She was noticeably shocked, disgusted, etc. I loked over and--sure enough--it was E she was referring to. I replied, "She's mine." I hope the other woman got that "I-just-saw-flashing-red-lights-in-my-rearview-mirror-and-I'm-speeding" heat rush that we've all experienced.

First of all, it's none of your business. Second, it's none of your business, and third, it's none of your business.

Let's disregard the fact that I am just as embarrassed by the fact that we still allow her to partake and look at the root of the issue here...this rubbed me the wrong way because I am sick to death of those parents who think their way is the best way and feel it necessary to impart their parenting wisdom onto others.

I'm not proud of it, we've broken the habit twice only to have much worse things happen (such as night terrors). No thanks. I need my sleep and if this one item will give her the comfort she needs (at 2!) then I will make that decision.

Situations like this make me so uncomfortable. Of course it knocks me down a few pegs to think that someone else doesn't think I'm doing a good job as a parent. (Shouldn't be my main concern, I know, but I am human.) I so detest moms who tear other moms down. And we all do things differently, so why openly condemn the way others parent? As long as it doesn't include abuse, of course.

It does serve as a mirror however, for me to look at myself and see the ways I am judgmental of others. It's never nice to be on the receiving end of those judgments and I try to remember that.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Takes Me Back

 Fall is officially on its way. It didn't seem like it just a few days ago when it was almost 100 degrees.

I caught a magnificent breeze the other day while driving and it stopped me for a minute. It took me back to when I met Joe. Which is weird considering I met Joe in June, but whatever.

Isn't it amazing how things can do that to you? Hear a certain song and there you are again at the 8th grade dance or with your first high school crush. Smell a certain scent and feel that rush of memories from a specific time in your life.

That's what happened to me the other day. It took me back to the butterflies in my stomach. The excitement of starting a new life for myself. I had just moved out on my own--for the first time EVER, I might add--from a 4 year marriage (8 year relationship) that ended very badly, although we are still civil to one another today.

It was so sad and so liberating. I was delirious with the prospects for the future and who I was as a person outside of the depressing, lonely life I had been leading. The life that left me feeling like a failure, like the ugliest woman alive, like a private detective.

And in walked Joe.

Well, actually in walked me. Into the bar. That's right, I said it. We met in a bar. It was one that I used to go to a lot with coworkers for Happy Hour. That's actually where I started tearin' up the mic on Friday nights for karaoke. Oh? didn't know that about me? 

Joe was the DJ. He had just moved back from California and was helping out with his brother-in-law's DJ business. My friend Stacey and I were there for my 24th birthday celebratory karaoke round and Joe played Happy Birthday for me while the bar sang along. Good times. Joe still recalls to this day that I had an enormous corsage on my wrist (compliments of Stace) but by the end of the night, it was around my ankle. One too many glasses of white zin.

I kept seeing Joe every Friday from then on and we started chatting. He told me he had just moved back and that he liked his apartment (since I was suddenly in the market) and I went to take a look at his complex. I also looked at a few others. The rent and location was best at the place where Joe lived, and wouldn't you know it....the ONLY 1 bedroom available was across the hall from him.

We got to know each other by propping our doors open and yelling across as we went about our day. It was fun. I got to know a really great guy and we fell in love (insert flowery music here.)

What a great time. I think that was the best summer of my life so far. I left an abusive relationship, harkened out on my own, Joe & I met, fell in love, got pregnant, freaked out, told our families, freaked out, bought a house, freaked out, got married, and then had a beautiful little boy. Yes, that's the order of things, and no it wasn't necessarily how I would recommend doing it or how I believe it should be done, but there it is.

So all of that was encapsulated in that breeze the other day. And it made me feel all kinds of things: nostalgic, wistful, sad, hopeful, content, and happy. All in a matter of about a second.

It made me realize (again) how important it is to refer back to where we've been to truly appreciate where we are and where we're going.

And I leave you with THE song that sums up all of the memories and emotions of when I met Joe. *sigh* Enjoy.

Click Here for your listening pleasure.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This Is Driving Me Nuts

So, here I sit...August 22, 2010...a mere 3 days before my oldest son is set to start school and I have not one bit of peace about it.

This will probably be a rambling post because it's all of my thoughts laid bare in the erratic order that they are coming to me. I apologize for misspellings. I'm just firing away at the keyboard and I don't much care about spellcheck at the moment.

R is 5. 5 years ago Joe and I already had started talking about his first day of school. I jokingly commented about how I would be a wreck (and that seems to be holding true today). I always had visions of his first day with his new little backpack and lunch box. It just seems a rite of passage that we've all gone through, right?

I am neurotic. We all know this. I've embraced it. But this is really kicking my ass. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I had finally decided for sure that I would homeschool him. Joe conceded. I had big plans of how I would make sure R was properly socialized (insert eye roll here) and also meet his scholastic potential. While I am certainly not a credentialed teacher, I AM his mother, and I consider myself moderately intelligent. Kindergarten should be the least of my worries as far as education. Shapes, colors, numbers, letters, writing his name, knowing his address, check, check, check, check, check, and check. This is most certainly not to take away anything from those teachers who are educated and credentialed. Not just anyone can walk into a kindergarten classroom and teach children what they need to know at their age level. However, in my favor, I have taught preschool, I have taught at my church, and I know my kids better than anyone. I also know when to admit that I am inadequate and where to look for help.

So, rewind to 2 days ago when I was watering the lawn and I had these thoughts creep in to my head, "Awww, he's going to miss all the fun "first day of school" stuff that everyone is doing. What if he doesn't get to know the feeling of his first classroom, doing projects at his desk, and making me a macaroni necklace at Thanksgiving?" "Should I send him? It's not too late. I haven't officially withdrawn him...." And on and on. I shared my thoughts with Joe yesterday and was greeted with [what I took to be] relief from him (which I meet with resentment...still sorting this out) and we sat R down at lunch and asked him if he would rather go to school or be homeschooled. He said he wanted to go to school. Then I burst into tears and cried all the way through lunch. (Quick caveat: just because R said HE wanted to go to school doesn't mean that's the decision. We don't let our 5 year old make momentous life choices all on his own, but I did want to hear what he thought.)

So, now you find me sitting here tonight feeling like a total sell out. I am so bothered and upset that I don't even know where to start. I feel like I am giving in to all the reasoning that everyone-- who has NO IDEA what homeschooling is, mind you-- uses to explain why they are against it. I'm mad at myself for not thinking about it more before I brought it up to Joe or put it back on the table for discussion. Mostly, I'm mad at the idea that there are people in my life who think, "Phew. Dodged a bullet for poor R. She FINALLY came to her senses."

I am really irritated at all the opinions about how school is so important for socialization. That one just makes me want to scream. Why does socialization HAVE to happen in the classroom? Is that really the best and only way to prepare our kids for being productive members of society? Because, unless times have changed and we sudddenly live in Mayberry, the "socializing" I got in school was all about hiding my insecurities, being teased and picked on by those who felt the only way to bring themselves up was to be hateful to others, made fun of for everything from where I lived to the car my family drove, the clothes I wore, the way I smelled, and the fact that my teeth were crooked. All things I had zero control over, by the way. But that certainly didn't stop anyone from tearing me down about them. I watched as groups of kids cliqued together and excluded those who they didn't feel were worthy to be in their group. But as I sit back and re-read what I just wrote I think that it IS a perfect picture of society today, isn't it? See what we're teaching our kids? Awesome. Sign me up. Here's my impressionable 5 year old son who has one of the softest hearts of any child I know and I'm going to hand deliver him to experience these "rites of passage" just so he doesn't 'miss out on anything.' Yeah, that's sarcasm.

So who am I really mad at? All those who are set in their 1950/60's thinking that homeschooling is for those hippie kids who are weird, wear long skirts, marry their cousins and can't carry on a conversation? Mind you most (if not all) of these people have such little understanding of what it is or the amazing opportunities there are for homeschoolers now, yet they are not afraid to throw out their opnion as what's "best"...for my son. 

Am I mad at Joe for not taking the initiative to do some research on his own and, instead, clings to his outdated and inaccurate stereotype that only weird, antisocial kids are homeschooled?

Am I mad at a society that we have let become so decayed that I now have to worry about my son's physical safety from bullies, predatory teachers, and lunatics who shoot schools up? That my son will be told he can't exercise his right to pray or speak about God or God's Word because some consider it 'hate speech'?

Or...am I really mad at myself? Am I so disgusted that I've caved into the pressure from others, from society, from my own husband to follow the crowd, walk the broad path, and conform? Am I still so bothered by the way I was treated all through school, that I'm terrified for my son?

*Sigh*

It's all just too much to think about. My head feels like it's going to explode.

And if I hear one more person tell me how I'm going to love it especially when he comes home and tells me all about his day...bad things will happen. No I WON'T love knowing that 7 hours of my son's day were spent with someone else who got to watch him grow and learn, and discover. I WON'T enjoy knowing that most of my child's waking hours were spent with people I don't really know saying who knows what and treating him in a manner I'm unaware of. I WON'T think it's great that I had one less child to care for that day, and his going to school will give me a "break." I din't sign on to be a mom so that it could be convenient. I signed on because I love children and I wanted to watch this little baby grow and learn and have an active part in who they turn out to be-who God intended them to be. So...how does public school fit into all of that? For me...I know the decision is different for every parent and one size does not fit all...I feel like I am shirking my responsibilities. I feel like I am failing him in some way.

I will have to stand before God one day and explain my decisions. What if I'm feeling called to homeschool him at this juncture in life and I am turning my back on it because I don't want him or myself to be looked at like we're "different"? I don't want to feel like I have to defend that he's homeschooled everytime it comes up in conversation. I don't want to be an island in my belief that it's what is best for us, for R, for me.

So, I'm concluding now. I'm not looking for feedback or comments, especially those that may agitate me more or send me over the deep end. I just needed a place to vent and cyberspace seemed as good a place as any. If you've followed this derailed train this far, you're a brave soul.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Let's Talk About Psychos

We've all encountered at least one in our lives. Right?

I certainly have, but why is it I always feel surprised when it happens. I KNOW they're out there, but it's always such a shock to experience one first-hand.

This week I had a douzy. Some crazy person who tried to get all up in my business--literally--and spewed lies all over a public forum.

If it hadn't been so disturbing--or happening to me--I probably would have laughed at how ludicrous the whole situation was. BUT...since it WAS happening to me, my head very nearly blew off my shoulders instead.

I have not quite mastered that zen-like quality yet where sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me. They hurt, darn it. Especially when they're used with malicious intent. I am not a malicious person--well, maybe a tiny bit passive aggressive at times-- but I am not OUTWARDLY a malicious person. So, it always hits me hard when I find someone who deliberatley wants to hurt someone--especially ME!

I did what any sane and reasonable person would do: I sent out for reinforcements (which showed up en masse, let me tell you! (Thank you, ladies! You know who you are), got a little choked up, swore a little, and cyber stalked the perpetrator. I found all kinds of interesting info on the person. ALLLLL kinds....

People really should be more careful what they put out there on the Internet!

And after my research session, I realized that this person is probably really insecure and acts like this to get attention. Yes, I know, it sounds like an After School Special, but it's true.

So, I can let it go. For now. Unless this person rears their ugly head in my business again. Then it's on.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Warning...This Post Is Of A Delicate Nature =)

I open this with a sincere warning to all family and friends who do not want TMI of mine or Joe's more personal life to exit stage right at this moment. Don't worry...it's not about S-E-X. At least, not directly.

I mean it...the following may make you enormously uncomfortable, but since it made me cry hysterically with laughter, I had to share with all of you...er, minus my mom...and my mother-in-law...and my sister-in-law....um and anyone from my church who may find this inappropriate. Okay,  you get the idea.

Still here? You're along for the ride? Okay, Welp, I warned ya...

This afternoon Joe found himself in the basement with a little extra time on his hands and the clippers staring him in the face. So, like any red blooded, hairy, Italian man, he decided the best thing to do would be to trim things up. You know *ahem* downstairs. He came back upstairs a few minutes later, all proud of himself for "cleaning things up" and proudly showed me his handy work. (Psst, Note to Joe: do not show handiwork in front of a wall of windows in our sunroom.) I oohed and ahhed for a few moments admiring his steady hand and precision skill with the clippers.

And then we went about our day.

Fast forward to this afternoon when Joe calls me from work to tell me that he may have gotten a bit "ambitious" when he cultivated his "manscaping" and could possibly have "nicked something on the undercarriage." He said, "You know that feeling when you just don't feel good and you wander around in your own little world? Well, that's where I am." He said he tried baby powder thinking that might quell the sting, but to no avail.

Anything he said after that is lost as I couldn't hear him any longer over my howling. Even as I tried to type this I had to stop for fits of hysterical laughter. Please tell me someone out there is laughing with me. I'm sure every man on the planet is cringing, protectively covering the jewels and nodding in understanding. Me? I'm doubled over. I know that may seem cold, but if you know me well, you would expect nothing less.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Project Mom Casting Call?

Me-in all my daily glory
I just stumbled upon this by watching one of my all-time faves Lori at Mommyfriend.com . I watched a couple other auditions and immediately my juices got to flowin thinking about the idea of entering. And then the sweat got to flowin because I always chicken out of things like that. I talk myself right out of it. Who needs a heckler in the audience when I have the voice in my head?

The idea of this casting call (I think) is to pick a mom (or moms? I'm not very good at reading the fine print) to make a show about. Pardon me if I just totally butchered the entire premise of the contest. "They" are looking for a mom who blogs. Okay, I fit the bill, even though I have taken a little snooze of late on the funny posts.

I think there may be a tiny problem, though. One look into my daily life and it may switch from a documentary type show on blogging moms to an episode of Intervention or Super Nanny. No drugs or alcohol here, just plain craziness and insanity. I mean, I'm hardly sitting in the corner talking to myself and drooling, but it can get pretty hairy. Who wants to see that? Who wants to see me in my sweats cleaning up E's pee off the hardwood for the umpteenth time, picking up the playroom...again, or repeating the same handful of phrases I repeat on a daily (hourly?) basis: "No hitting" "Share!" "Put your pee pee away" "STOP YELLING!" and "Please get off your brother's head!" Would you tune in for that? Actually, maybe you would. It might make your daily craziness seem completely sane and logical. =) I guess we all have a part to play, right?

If I were to take the leap, what would I do for my audition? Should I keep it real and have the day-old makeup smeared under my eyes, the rat's nest pony tail, and the inevitable booger on my shoulder? Should I glam up and pretend I always look so fab? Should I let E be in the background yelling at me to give her a bottle and R with his customary hand down the pants? Should I have a maid come in so I can give the illusion that my house is always clean? Nah, that's getting a bit ridiculous. I'll just go to my friend's house--it's always immaculate.

What do you think? Is a show about a blogging mom one you would watch? I know what my bloggy mom friends would say!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Holy Headaches, Batman! E's Peeing On The Floor Again!

I just started seriously trying to potty train our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I don't know why I'm in such a hurry with her when our oldest was almost 4 before he got it. People keep telling me that she probably won't walk down the aisle of graduation with a diaper on or a bottle in her mouth, and I'm pretty sure they're right, but I stress about it nonetheless.

Oh yeah, we caved in on the whole bottle thing. I'm weak. I suck. I totally admit it. She stopped going down for naps or bedtime without a fight and even then she would wake up an hour or so later screaming. This went on for a little more than 2 weeks. I decided I didn't care if I had to buy her a car, I was going to sleep the night through. So, Jesus Fed Ex'd her bottles back from Heaven and we all had a restful night's sleep.

I'm really wondering if she is ready, though, for this potty training business. I'm not convinced that she's even aware when she is peeing. She'll be standing playing at the train table and whizzing all the while without so much as a flinch. It's only when her brother yells, "E's peeing!" that she even reacts. I have scrubbed pee out of three different rooms on 5 different occasions today. I'm already over the whole thing. I simply do not have the patience for this. I made the poor girl sit on the potty until she had red marks from the seat, and she still peed all over the house! Maybe we'll wait a bit longer? Isn't this the whole reason we claim we don't have a pet?

On top of that, I have been having these headaches for the past few days. I actually think it's one drawn-out headache that ebbs and flows. It aches in my neck, shoulders, and head. I desperately need a massage! A chiropractor's visit would be Heavenly!

Did any of you mommy readers have headaches during your pregnancy? These ones I'm having sometimes turn into a migraine. I have had headaches with each pregnancy, but #5 seems to be kicking my butt!

Friday, July 16, 2010

That's What I Get For Surfing The 'Net

Click HERE for photo credit
And here we are again. Just you and me chatting over the ambient light of the computer monitor. Joe's working late, the kids are in bed, and no matter how many times I tell myself I can't wait to tuck them in, I always feel a little lonely afterward.

Have you ever surfed online and stumbled over one of those complaint boards? Has it ever been a bunch of miserable people complaining about a company or product you love? That happened to me tonight.

Usually I am the miserable S.O.B. complaining about some wrong done to me, but tonight I found myself championing the company they were verbally ripping to shreds. I had a beautiful and eloquent response all written when I chickened out at the last minute. I just can't stand those replies to my reply that are mean.

Reading some of these responses got me to thinking about a few things, in no particular order: spell check, grammar usage, and common sense.

Far too many people fire off an angry email without bothering to use spell/grammar check. Big mistake. One misspelled word? Forgivable. A paragraph riddled with them? Heinous. You immediately lose credibility in my eyes. Especially when you are complaining about a college and how uneducated the instructors are and why you can't understand the bad grades you received.

Grammar mistakes? They make me cringe, but one or two...whatever. So many that all I end up focusing on is your horrible assault on the American language and I've already forgotten what you were trying to say. I had some not-so-nice responses on my facebook page when my status update said something about the 'groups' on facebook needing to use grammar check. One reply was, "Well, no buddy's perfect, Mandy." [sic] I could not make this stuff up! I'd like to laugh and think it was a pun, but I think I know better. No, nobody is perfect, but if you're going to name a GROUP on facebook, (with the title "IF I SPOKEN TO MY PARENTS HOW KIDS TALK NOW DAYS I`D BEEN KNOCKED OUT") Really? Cuz I don't think you're doin such a hot job of 'spoken' now. Just run spell check/grammar check before you throw that out there. Seriously. Pet peeve. Amazingly it has over 2.3 MILLION "likes"! I guess I'm the only one who cares.

Common sense. Ahhh, that thing that you either have or you don't. One moaner on the site complained that the FA department of this college told her to go ahead and "apply for the full loan amount just in case you don't get enough grants." She said she couldn't afford the whole amount in loans, but the FA person said she "looked good" for the grants, so she applied for the whole amount...AND THEN COMPLAINED WHEN SHE DIDN'T GET ENOUGH GRANTS AND HAD TO PAY BACK THE LOAN. While I may not agree with the FA advisor's advice, this girl certainly didn't have her arm twisted to sign her John Hancock on these loan apps. And referring back to my earlier rant about spell and grammar check, if you're going to fire off a heated dispute about a company and call them 'ignorant,' 'uneducated' and other things along those lines, for the love of God, at least make sure you aren't butchering every spelling and grammar rule ever created. Don't pepper your 7 paragraphs of venom with commas anywhere and everywhere. Blaming the school because your syllabus didn't download completely and you missed assignments? Really? Being angry because no one answered your "What am I missing?" posts...YOU didn't even know what you were missing...how was ANYONE ELSE supposed to know??

I swear, this stuff is real. Maybe I'm the only one with a corn cob up the derriere because of it? I just think: Take some responsibility. Own up to your part in the situation. Quit expecting everything to always go your way. And for God's sake...spell/grammar check your responses!

Now, after a few minutes to reflect, I realize that I have expended a good bit of energy on such a silly topic. And I apologize for that if it annoys you. Maybe you can go blog about me now and how you're tired of reading blogs about people whining about BLAH BLAH BLAH... See?

There have to be things that annoy you? Let me have 'em. I can handle it. Well...as long as I am not the subject. If that's the case, keep it to yourself and go about your life.
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