Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thank You Facebook

Dear Facebook,
I wanted to write you and thank you for your recent formatting changes. I understand that you may not be receiving many letters of appreciation for the current changes and I wanted to take a moment to let you know how valuable the changes have been for me.  Thank you for making it harder for me to see the posts of the people I would really like to be able to see.  The new set up is slightly confusing and makes it difficult to see the "real-time" posts that we've all become accustomed to in the last couple of years.  For most people this poses a significant problem.  However, I am finding it more and more difficult to see the number of get-togethers, coffee dates, play groups and other interesting happenings that I am missing out on due to a recent move.  This not only saves my sanity but allows me to get more work done during the day. Because I am not able to spend such significant times refreshing my browser to see what I'm missing out on, I am actually getting the more time consuming parts of my job done in a timely manner.  My husband appreciates that I am not as easily able to lament on the most recent social opportunity that I missed.  Because of your newest changes I am not able to see the most up-to-date happenings of my friends and have found it frustrating (as well as heartbreaking) to find out what everyone is up to.  Thank you for your unintentional help in my irrational adjustment period.
Your Friend,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flowers for Mama

Sometimes all it takes to make the day what you needed it to be is a toddler with a few "unsupervised" minutes and a mason jar.
"Look Mama, I brought you a flower!"
"Look Mama, here's another flower! That's TWO!"
"Mama, you have to put it in the water"
"Here's another flower Mama. Put it in the water. How many are there? One. Two. Three. Four.  Aren't they beautiful?"

Yes, Fiona. They are beautiful flowers.
"They're ROSES Mama".
They are beautiful roses, Fiona.

Thank you for reminding me how something so simple and beautiful can make my whole day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

I've realized something. I have too much going on.  I know, take a minute to let that kind astonishing announcement sink in.  It's taken me a few days/weeks/months/years to come to that realization myself. 
Things have been difficult lately.  I've felt like I've been swimming in a mudslide.  Getting the house unpacked, taking care of the girls, figuring out my new schedule, work and desperately trying to find something kind of hobby or outlet has left me with a ton of unfinished projects, unpacked boxes and a disaster of a house. 
Through it all I'm not able to be the kind of wife/mother/friend I want to be. There's just not enough of me left.  There's not enough of me left for ME!  I'm struggling. And I'm all the more crazy for it.  I've been trying to figure out what I can do to make this clutter in my head disappear.  I'm not handling anything well and I need to. So I decided that I need to simplify my life. I need to just get back to basics and stop trying to be super-mom, super-wife, super-anything. I need to just be... simpler. 
It's not as easy as it sounds but I'm working on it a little every day. With multiple melt-downs under my belt the last few days I've been able to see what my triggers are and hopefully can figure out how to avoid them. Or at the very least recognize when I'm get swallowed up whole by my life. 
So I've given up on couponing. I've been able to cut the costs of our groceries, just by the costs associated with food here.  I don't know if it's just an ease of transport thing or what, but I'm finding groceries are much less expensive than I was anticipating.  I need to just let the coupons go for now and concentrate on making fresh meals from in-season produce.  It'll be cheaper and healthier in the long run.  Plus, I've found a Win Co close by and that will really help, too.  I'm going to be passing the coupon-torch to a good friend who can benefit and don't feel like it's going to waste.  My chaos is benefiting another family. Can't go wrong there!
I'm putting the craft mess away.  I toyed with the idea of starting a business with the beautiful fabric flowers I was making. I found them relaxing and just loved creating something.  But the pressure of making the hobby into something that might actually provide some kind of income (even as a little "extra") was becoming one more thing I had/wanted to do that I just didn't have time for and we were all suffering because of it. 
So now it's back to basics. It's crafting one thing at a time when I can. It's finding the best deals and finding a new way to save on meals and groceries. It's getting back on track with a budget and trying to save for a house. It's doing only what I can and letting the rest be.
I need to learn to let Doug help more. I need to accept that the kids don't do the job as well as I do but that they are  helping and it's that much less I have to do. 
I need to take a deep breath and learn to enjoy my family again.  I am truly and deeply blessed.  I know it, I just need to re-learn how to accept it. 
Be patient with me. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Choices in Bat Country

I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again. I come from some crazy people. It's part of who I am and I come by my own crazy very honestly.  You can look at 98% of my family and think "Oh yeah, that totally makes sense".  It's not like I come from some Norman Rockwell fantasy and everyone's confused on why I'm all bat-shit. That being said, I have managed to become a fully functioning adult with a family of my own.  I'm sure I'm doing a good job of keeping today's psychology students in tomorrows workforce (you're welcome) but I don't think I'm doing any lasting damage. No more than eventually living through five teenage daughters will do to me.  It seems to be a fair trade. 
What seems to be difficult for me to understand is how my parents seem to be unable to make the same basic functioning adult choices that the rest of us manage to make every single day. Like they couldn't make a good choice if it fell out of the sky and landed on their sister!
Good choices - Sister...
 I do appreciate that they are on some kind of rotation so one of them seems to be acting vaguely adult-ish at a time.  It's helpful since there's three of them and one of me (how do I keep getting myself outnumbered like this?).  When one of them decides to go haywire it seems that it's an example of Go Big or Go Home.
My father is an alcoholic. He has been sober for 15 years. Because of the alcoholism he was non-existent as a parent and there was something that clicked in my head at one point and I got it. I don't really have a lot of anger because he didn't actually do anything. He just wasn't there.  Over the last 15 years we've managed to carve out a relationship that has hinted at normalcy.  My grandmother had a great hand in that (missing you more than ever right now Grandma) and we managed to almost be functioning. Then dad got cancer.  He spent some time in April of 2009 and all that needed to be said was and I was at peace with things. 
Insert a lot that is merely details I'll skip and we ended up living within an hour drive of each other for the first time since I was in high school.  It took a couple months of us getting settled in here to be able to get there to visit but when we did it was fantastic.  Dad said it was the best day he's had in years. It was great for us, too.  Then, little by little, I started hearing about XYZ that was going on.  OK, bumps but nothing more.  I had decided that we needed to make this a monthly thing and was all-in-all happy with the whole thing. 
What I was not prepared for was the total shit-storm that I was about to be hit with. Usually when this kind of thing is coming you at least get some kind of foreboding music or something. To keep this already ridiculously long story to something more manageable I'll hit the highlights of this bad-decision laced road trip.

We can't stop here! This is bat country!

  1. Drinking again. 15 years of sobriety out the window. Awesome
  2. All for some woman. Really? One that you "never felt like this before" about but didn't k now was a raging alcoholic and drunk by noon? Got it. (here's a hint: you don't REMEMBER feeling like anything before because you were too drunk!)
  3. Running off on "One last adventure"  sounds all fun and shit, but isn't truly realistic. While you may be in remission you have CANCER, stupid. 
  4. Something about Colorado, motorcycles, getting married and diamond mines
It was all a conversation involving a lot of "but I have to's" and "I need's".  All wrapped in a "I want your blessing" blanket. Um, no. All of this is a choice. A total and absolute choice with little thought for the ramifications and consequences. 
Every single day we make choices. Hundreds of little and big choices that impact our lives, and those of the people we choose to share them with.  If it's what we have in our first morning coffee or what time we go to bed, it's a CHOICE. There is very little in this world we have to do. Our hearts have to beat, our bodies have to function and our brains have to make a choice. But that's where the have to's end. No, you don't have to abandon the one chance you have to see your daughter/granddaughters on a regular basis. You don't have to run off and not face the life that your choices has led you to. Life is not a series of adventures. It is a series of choices, some easy, some hard. Some lead to adventures, some don't. These are the things that make up our lives.  I am not lucky that I found such a great life. I worked at it. I busted my ass and made the choices that I sometimes didn't want to. 
So now I just wait. I wait for the phone call that the last choice was a bad one. That the
rest of the choices are mine. Now I have to make new choices. Just when I was getting happy with the old ones.

Update: Dad is moving in with the girlfriend but has "come to his senses" about the motorcycle/Colorado/riding into the sunset thing.  We shall see what comes to pass on this one. Fingers crossed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anonnimity Please

So I know that's not really something a blogger should really be looking for is it?  I mean the whole reason some of us do that is to get what we have to say heard and out there and for people to know who it was that said/thought/wrote it. But sometimes it'd be nice to be able to just word vomit it all out there without having to think and re-think how everything sounds and if it's going to hurt someone's feelings or should even be said at all. .
 There are times though... oh, but there are times... when what you have to say isn't for the masses. For me writing is therapeutic. It's how I process things. You would be amazed to know how much time I spend "writing" in my head. I work out problems. I make things that I'm struggling with in my own head by writing.  This is not only my website out to the world, it is what makes my world livable.  Like everyone I have my stuff to deal with. But unlike everyone, this is how I deal with it.  This is what puts my thoughts together.  While I'm sure there are people that read this and think there isn't a filter.  That's not true. There's actually a very heavy filter. I've asked Doug how open he's willing to have his life, since this can affect him, too. He says that "so far" there hasn't been too much. So far I've kept it mild to prevent putting too much of our private life on public display.  There have been things I've wanted to write about that I've left out because I don't want to have to have the conversation that the post was "too much" and I have to delete it.  Maybe that would be therapeutic, too but I don't want to have to get there.  Writing seems to be so much a part of my brain that I don't know how else to think.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and so I am careful. But when my frustration with someone or some situation is reaching overload it's hard not to rant. And those are the times I wish I no one knew about this. That I could hide behind some kind of anonymity and word-vomit all over.
There are blogs that allow you to "take over" and has ghost posts. Maybe I should think about doing that the next time the urge takes me.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mama WIN!

Today I was the mom I always wished I could be. It was only for a little while but it was pretty fantastic. Even better was the fact that I didn't actually do  anything. I just let it happen. 
Fiona is beginning to be quite the little explorer. She's an amazing free spirit with a beautiful imagination.  I am always surprised by her. Her laugh and her smile is enough to change my whole day around.  Don't get me wrong. There are days when I'm wondering if  I have enough duct tape to attach her to the wall and exactly how much coordination it would take. She's two. Better yet, she's almost 3 - which is two with better verbal skills! She has my temper.
There was little surprise this morning when I went looking for her... again.  I've had to start locking the doors so she doesn't wander out.  Her Papa was out mowing the lawn and I figured she probably went to go "help".    This is what I found.
It's a Waterfall! It's DIRT!
Awesome.  In very un-Brandy fashion I just laughed. And then went and got Doug to see what his daughter was up to.
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This is how Fiona spent most of her day. Digging in the "Garden". Which is actually a small, unused flowerbed just outside the kitchen.  She was having so much fun I even sacrificed one of my kitchen spoons as a shovel.  Doug eventually took her in and showered her off so she could have lunch and a nap. 
Later in the afternoon she headed right back out.  She spent the rest of the afternoon and early into the evening playing in this four feet of space.  When it was still pretty hot out I thought it might be fun to turn on the sprinklers. 

 What we ended up with was a muddy mess.  And that's OK. This literally kept Fiona busy for HOURS! Every time I went out to check on her she had a different something to tell me about what she was doing - digging for treasure and dinosaurs or making a garden.  I realized as I'm tracking dirt and mud back through my kitchen - again - that I am having a pretty awesome Mama Win right now. She's dirty and happy and having a blast.  There was nowhere to go, nowhere to be and she was able to be out and just be a little kid. She's filthy and I'm OK with it. Letting my child just be happy doesn't seem like something that should be a big deal, but in my controlled chaos, sometimes it is.  I was not able to be happy or relaxed enough when the big girls were little. I wasn't happy or relaxed. They seem to be functioning well enough so I have to let it go and do what I can with the future.
I haven't been the best wife today. I don't think that all the kids would agree  that I'm pretty awesome (although I think I may have skipped Totally Sucks completely today) but that's just how some days go.  I know that tomorrow or the day after may be something I'd sooner forget - but for at least one of my babies today was fun. 
Dirty Toes
Happy Girl