Friday, May 31, 2013

Cleanse Should Be a Four Letter Word

I learned something about myself this week. I am not a "cleanse" person.
Don't ask what prompted it, but I had decided that I would do a 3 day juice detox cleanse.
In theory it's a great idea. Flush all of the toxins that have been building up in your system from the crap food we eat, feel better, and give your system a little bit of a "re-boot", so to speak.
In reality it sucked ass. Like a lot.
Honestly the flavor was pretty good. I like juice. I like fresh juice I made myself. I even like vegetable juice. So for the most part I really liked the recipes. I went out and stocked up on some great, fresh produce, and set off to "cleanse".
The first day was a mental shift. Just wrapping my brain around the whole thing was difficult. And with some tweaking I was able to make my "lunch" turn out pretty good. I had a couple WTF moments, but I could do it.  I almost punched my husband in the throat when he had 5 doughnuts for dinner, but I could muster up some self control. This was my choice, not his, so I'll save my murderous rage for another time.
Oh, did I mention the no coffee thing? That should've been my first clue. No coffee? No good. People in my house have almost died because I didn't have coffee. This was not off to a good start.
The second day is what was my undoing. I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. My neck was sore, my head was pounding, my throat was sore, and I was just altogether icky. It was like a hangover without the snippets of fun bad decisions from the night before. According to my health-crunch friends (not a derogatory comment at all) this was the toxins trying to escape.
This is where I really started to lose my grip on my determination. But, instead of giving in I powered through. I made a really great juice for my breakfast and made myself ready to face the day. Once I got going with work, kids, and all the other crap I do in a day I was able to be more in my rhythm and felt a little better. I'm sure all the sugar from the fruit juice I had for breakfast didn't hurt either. I had been drinking water all day and by one o'clock still hadn't had any more juice (you're supposed to have one every 2-3 hours).  I just couldn't convince myself to get up and go make the juice. I tried making a salad out of the ingredients I was going to be drinking, thinking at least it was close. I could just not get up and actually make the juice.
I kept telling myself I can do this! I can do this!
Turns out, no I can't.
Well, that's not entirely true. I could. I don't want to. I couldn't pinpoint why I really wanted to do it in the first place. To look better in the bathing suit I'm not going to wear on our vacation to Mexico? Seriously, there's nothing I could do in the week that we have before we leave that is truly going to make any bit of difference.
I don't know if I'm just making excuses for giving up or if it's something more but I did have some pretty great thoughts. And if I can hold onto these I'll be much healthier than I would have been had I finished the cleanse. I will tell you that I'm pretty sure I heard a choir of angels sing when I finally said "I'm done" and opened a Diet Coke. Although I'm not 100% sure, it was slightly drowned out by the crying souls of my health-crunch friends.
Here's what I learned:
Right now I need to be OK with me. I need to not worry about the overall size of my ass or my gut. You know what? I'm 36 years old and I've had 5 kids. Two of those babies within 2 years of each other. When I met my husband I hadn't had a baby in 7 years, and I was still in my 20's (technically). Plus I'd just gone through that best-diet-ever-just-don't-recommend-it; it's called the Divorce Diet. It's amazing!! Lose that first 220lbs and the other 20 just falls right the F*** off! (If you don't get it, we can't be friends anymore. I'm sorry.) My baby cousin (19, and just gorgeous) recently told me "If I can look like you do when I'm your age and have had 5 babies, then I think I'll be doing damn good!".  I kind of laughed her off a bit, but it really stuck with me. You know what? She's right! I've lost about 50lbs in the last 2 years. I'm pretty sure I know a lot of women who would knife me in the eye right now to lose 50lbs. Amazing, beautiful women, that I would say didn't need to lose any weight, they're beautiful as they are, would be responsible for knifing me directly in the eyeballs.
My husband has learned in his 45 years, that it's best not to say anything at all when it comes to a woman and her weight. That's a Twix moment if there ever was one. My sweet husband, who still sticks his hand out to grab my ass as I crawl into bed most nights. The one who makes it obvious that he's not paying attention to whatever trivial thing I'm whining about because he's too busy looking down my shirt. He has told me when chastised about his lack of complimenting  abilities "I think you're beautiful, why should I continue to state the obvious?".  Apparently we don't walk around commenting that the sky is blue, so why should he say his wife is beautiful. There's a slight flaw in his logic, but that's another post entirely.
Bottom line, I'm not going to torture myself trying to re-boot a system that is currently running just fine. Could I be healthier? Absolutely. Couldn't we all? But with all that's going on in my life right now is this really something that needs to be my top priority? I don't think so. I need to feel good about myself and the state I'm in now. I'm not overweight. I'm considered a healthy range for my height and build. There's really nothing a little exercise can't fix. Later. When the chaos has settled a bit and I'm not dealing with such emotionally charged issues. Because quite frankly if a Diet Coke or a big bowl of ice cream is what makes me feel better right now then I am OK with it.
And as long as my husband is still trying to play grab-ass in the kitchen when the kids aren't looking, I should probably be OK with that, too.
So I will keep my juicer, because I like it and enjoy some fresh juice once in a while. But it will be relegated back to its position on the shelf in the garage for occasional use instead of taking up valuable, limited, counter space in the kitchen.  And I will worry less about the size of my dress, and more about keeping my husband's hands from it when we're in public.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thank you for not killing me. I know I probably deserved it.

With the Mother's Day weekend upon us I am forced once again to reflect on why I really don't like this holiday.  I made the poor gal at the bank uncomfortable when in her best customer-service-perk she inquired as to whether or not I had children, and then if I had "exciting plans" for Mother's Day. I told her honestly I'd rather skip it.
"But it's your day!"
Is it? Really? Or is it for the most part an anti-climactic day that is not really as great as we tell you it is? Maybe I've just been disillusioned over the last 18 years worth of Mother's Days. Perhaps it's the teenager's apathy to pretty much everything that has rubbed off on me. But, there is this commercial build-up that is never really attainable. The commercials depicting the "surprise" breakfast in bed and little velvet box from our somehow-still-smitten husband are kind of crap.
Now don't get me wrong, I've had my share of great Mother's Day celebrations. I have been woken up by 3 smiling children with partially-toasted toast, not quite perfectly prepared coffee, and a beautiful new jewelry box (which still sits on my night side stand). I have had my husband attend church with me less-begrudgingly than usual, and then take me to my favorite restaurant with reservations he'd made weeks in advance.
For the most part they fall flat. Not for lack of effort or desire on the part of my husband and my kids, but simply because there is just no way for me to just have a whole Day. Could you go to work and simply sit there all day while everything happened around you? This public delusion that as Mom's we are somehow on vacation one day a year is ridiculous.
I don't want to go out to an over-crowded restaurant for breakfast/lunch/dinner. I'd rather cook. And I'd rather not spend the whole time thinking about the small mortgage the bill is going to be for taking this many people out anywhere. I don't want my husband to go out and buy a gift and flowers because the calendar says he should. I know it's a lot to expect, but I'd love it if he'd just bring home flowers on his way home from work because he thought I'd like it when he stopped to pick up the milk I forgot earlier. Or a whispered "you really don't suck at this" would be nice. I could skip the half dozen cards from the kids, whose only involvement was signing what he shoved under their noses (I do really like the mushy ones that I get from my husband though). The best gift I could have from my kids? Do your friggin' laundry. All of it. Like I would do it. Just once. Please. Ignore the snarky remark from your sister. Just this once. Don't make a snarky remark to your sister. Just this once. Please. Refrain from all the discussion about all the stuff you have planned for someone else's mom that is just so awesome. I can run through my list of why I'm failing miserably at this mom thing without reminders, thanks.
Now as a grown child I have a different view on Mother's Day for my own mother (and mother-in-law; thanks for that boy of  yours, by way. He's pretty awesome). It's the reminder I need to send my mom flowers because she really should get them more often and for no reason. And I know she understands that raising a family is a lot of work and I can barely remember who I'm supposed to pick up at which school before what activity; let alone remembering to be appreciative of the fact that's she's my (his) mom. As a grown child, Mother's Day is an opportunity to send flowers or a gift that, regardless of the card, says "Thank you for not killing me. I know I probably deserved it.". 
Hopefully I'll get there with my kids one day. If they make it...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Life Happens

I'm up way too early on a Saturday as usual. And I'm working. As usual. But, my reports pretty much run themselves and I'm not terribly productive or proactive at 6am. I've played all my lives on Candy Crush, read through my newsfeed - more than once. I thought about doing the dishes. No really, I did. Then I realized there was no getting my butt out of this chair except to get more coffee, and that cup is full. I started reading through my old bookmarked blogs. I love The Bloggess, she's really awesome but if you're easily offended skip it. I stop there every morning and part of my routine. There are others too but that's where I started this morning. I started going back through my old Blog Favorites folder and realized that most of them are gone! It's been a while since I've looked at some of them (last post in 2011? Really? Huh.) but I was kind of sad to find them not waiting for my return.
It got me thinking about my own blog here. Honestly I've kind of let it slip. While it was never something I wanted to make a living from, it was a much needed extension of my mental health. Whoa does that explain a lot. For a lot of it I've not shared things that are just too personal. While I admire those bloggers that I read that are sharing their crippling depression and new found love for Xanax (I don't judge. Been there. Amen to modern pharmaceuticals and their ability to return life when it's been sucked through your eyeballs) I'm not there. I have been and so I get it. Sometimes it's just me, and the overwhelming life that comes from having five kids, a gigantic dog, and an ailing father. I don't want to listen to myself whine, why the hell would the other two people that read this thing care?
There is joy, too. The amazing feeling of completeness that my children bring. Because, along with the fact that they make me bat-shit crazy, I love my children like nothing else! I would sacrifice anything for them and their happiness. Sometimes there are just so damn many of them. What falls short is the ability to share and analyze all that they make me feel. The moments are so precious. Even the ones that have me screaming like a crazy person. I am always learning and growing as a parent and as a person. This shit is hard, yo! Maybe I should share more of that. We are not alone in this, even though it often feels that way.
I'm a little scattered, too. I have grand plans and, sometimes, very little follow-through. It's not from a place of malice, or irresponsibility. It's a creative side that has yet to be adequately tapped. It's needing something to call my own in the midst of the chaos that is my life, it's a desire to take on everything and having to let the things with lesser importance drop. It's part of who I am. Love it or hate it, it's something that just has to be dealt with. Honestly I'm a little a LOT self conscious about it and am hesitant to get too excited about any one thing on the highly likely chance that my life will take over my passion. It happens. And often.
My point? Oh hell, who knows? I am ever evolving, and I hope that my blog is showing that. At least to some degree. This is really for my recollection. That is what I need to remember most of all. There will be a time when I will look back and this can be a reminder of how the kids were, how I was, how my family was. That is what I need to remember when deciding to (or not) share something. I need to make the time to keep this up (I know I've said it before) if for no other reason than prosperity's sake.
Oh look, my coffee cup is empty...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bulk Cooking in My Life

So a couple of weeks ago I thought I would take on a pretty big challenge and do some bulk cooking. Honestly, I don't know what the hell I was thinking. I have a tiny, almost useless kitchen, no counter space, and a standard sized refrigerator that's supposed to hold enough food for a family of 8. Where exactly am I going to put all of this that I decided to make? And what possessed me to do this in the first place? Apparently I drink. And heavily.
It started when I made a trip to Sam's Club for some Booster cookies (We were selling cookies and water at a band performance). Since we had finally gotten through the 40lbs of chicken quarters I had bought on my last oh-mah-gawd-look-how-cheap-these-are spree I decided I should pick up "just a few things".
(This is the point I should probably share some background. When I was growing up we were poor. Not just broke, but poor. Like living with family, food boxes, and eventually when I was in high school, we moved to the projects. There were times groceries were scarce. I may have food issues.)
So my "just a few things" turned into a 10lb pork loin, 8lbs of pork chops, 5lbs of flank steak, 20+lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and some frozen meatballs. I get home and realize I have no idea what the hell I'm going to do with all of this. We've been spending a lot of money on fast-food lately. Which in our house usually means pizza (McDonald's is a $60 adventure when there's this many people. So not worth it. Have cereal). I've been lazy and under-motivated with dinner. It bothers me. Here is my chance to get back on the bandwagon. I need to get my family back to having a reasonable dinner every night. Being the Pinterest addict I am I did a little digging and found some good sites, recipes, and ideas for my big bulk cooking idea.
Let me tell you, this went way smoother in my head. If I had a regular kitchen with counter space and outlets it would have gone much smoother. I worked with what I had. It took me two days but I made it happen. There was only one small problem. Remember that whole "standard size" refrigerator I mentioned earlier? And its standard size top freezer? Yeah, we're gonna need something bigger. I do have a freezer. A big freezer. Like if my ex-husband ever goes missing at the same time as I get a new freezer don't ask kind of big. It'll fit two, maybe even three, bodies car loads of groceries. But it's been in the garage for a year. Not plugged in. And is partially buried under boxes. Long story short, that bad-boy is now in the kitchen. At least one of my many kitchen disasters solved. Thank you a LOT to my wonderful husband for doing most of the heavy lifting, moving, and cleaning to make this happen. It's amazing how little I was involved in this part of the process.
I will tell you that I had this post all buttoned-up and beautiful in my head.  There were pictures. And links. All the fancy shit that I looked at that sparked this fabulous stupid-ass idea in the first place. I had a lot of people ask about recipes and the menu. Here's what I made. I'll link where I can.
  • Chicken Pot Pie (2 - enough for one meal - it has been requested that this make it in the normal rotation from now on. Win!)
  • Lasagna (2 - two meals)
  • Chicken Caccatorie(2 bags. It tasted great. I added the noodles and I screwed it up some how. The kids didn't like it. I was only mildly fond of it. Considering I couldn't keep out of the pot for the sauce there has to be another way to serve this)
  • Cilantro Lime Chicken (2 bags. Makes some kick ass tacos)
  • Chicken Taco Soup (2 bags)
  • Honey Maple Chicken (2 bags)
  • Cilantro Lime pork chops (2 bags - recipe wasn't for a freezer meal but it should come out fine anyway)
  • Beef and Broccoli (1 bag)
  • Beef Stroganoff (1 bag)
  • Enchiladas (4 pans - two meals)
  • Shepherds' Pie (2 pans - one meal, minus the potatoes that go on the top. I don't like the texture that happens when you freeze potatoes.)
That's two and a half weeks worth of meals. Plus left overs, so almost 3 weeks of food. I also made
  • Pork Sloppy Joe's. In  the future I'll stick to cooking the pork loin in the crock pot with some Manwhich. I liked the semi-homemade sauce. The kids did not.
  • Shredded pork, meal to be determined later
  • 5 "cans" of cream of mushroom soup. I needed it for a recipe so I just made a big batch and froze it in 1 and 1/2 cup bags. 
I have the makings for pasta and meatballs with various sauces for two or three meals, a skillet dinner, a couple of casseroles, and breakfast for dinner a couple of nights. I even have the makings for pizza should I feel slightly more ambitious.  This should get us through the month.  I've been good about going to the store and only getting what we were out of. It's working so far. I spent about $500 initially. On the outside I think I'll spend another $300 on groceries. $800 sounds like a lot to me, but when I think about the 8 people in my house, it's really not so bad. Especially since that includes 2 grown men and 3 teenagers. We have salad every night, and sometimes bread/rolls and that helps round everything out.

And I would absolutely do this again. If I was more organized I could tell you what we were having tonight. But I'm not. I'll pull something out of the freezer later. It's easier if I pull something the night before and let it thaw overnight on the counter, and toss it in the crock pot in the morning. We'll probably have a casserole or something like that tonight. Once it starts to get hot out this will be my go-to planning. I hate cooking in the summer and this will definitely keep down the time I have to spend with the oven on. Next time I'll plan out a little better!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Putting on the Big Girl Panties
A common saying in my house is saying you are or telling someone to "put on your Big Girl panties". That means that like or not, this is how it is and it's time to deal with whatever is going on like a Big Girl. Suck it up, Buttercup. Things are not going to change.
So here I am, digging out the Big Girl panties. Doug has had a pretty full plate at work lately. Like 14+ hour days full. It sucks for me (because we all know this is all about me) because it means spending more time at home on my own. I can handle that. I just don't like it. It's really not about the kids or the housework or getting a break (I'm not gonna lie, that stuff is important). The biggest problem is that I actually like my husband. 14+hour days do not get me a happy husband. Again, this sucks for ME (noticing a theme here?) I don't get the rested, funny, snuggley husband that I like. I get uber-quiet, extra-introverted husband who is just trying to get 20 minutes of rest before he gets to fall into bed and do it all over again.
Plus, things are about to get worse. My loving husband has been chosen for jury duty.  So on top of everything else he has going on he gets to sit in a room and decide the fate of some poor bastard when he would much rather be making a dent in the mountain of work so that there's hope he can get home to his amazing wife!
So here's where it gets to be about me and my panties. I have to be understanding, and patient. Loving but not needy. Supportive, and not bitchy.
Ermahgerd! this is going to SUCK! Like a lot.
This is where I need to channel my inner Big Girl and get to work on things I need to get done; things I don't do or put off because Doug is here and I'd much rather spend time with him than...anything. Maybe if the rain stops and the weather clears I might tackle the garage. Or even the disgusting piles that I call my desk. I could figure out how to use my scanner and organize some crap. I could figure out our budget.
Truthfully this really sucks for my husband the most. Bedtime comes often before he gets home most nights. Mornings are a rushed blur. His whole family has to go on without him while he works his ass off and misses the whole thing. I hope he knows how much we miss him and how we'd much rather he was home and that I do understand that this not just all about me.
I love you.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Guest Post

So this is not something I've done before. I was approached by Michele over at about doing a guest blog. I sent over my post from January 12th and they shared it here. Pretty cool, huh?
I was pleasantly surprised when Michele sent me back a post on the basics of coupons. You know I love my coupons!
Be sure to visit Michele and see what else they have going on!

Being Creative With Coupons
As a parent, you are always looking for ways to save a little bit of money, especially in this economy. When it comes to coupons, you may not be like those people on the reality shows that save hundreds of dollars each time they go to the store, you may simply just be looking to save a couple of bucks here and there on what you buy. The fact is, saving money is always good, no matter how much of it you can save. If you have items that you regularly buy for the family, you should always be on the lookout for coupons that can be used to save you money on what you need.
The best thing about coupons in this day and age is that you no longer have to clip them out of the newspaper to get the savings that you need. While you can still save money by "clipping" through your Sunday paper, most shops, and products, have a full listing of coupons online. In most circumstances, there isn't even a need to print anything out; you can simply bring your Smart Phone with you to the store and present the coupon when you check-out.
To find the best deals at particular stores, download any Apps they may offer on your phone. Typically these Apps give you access to the latest coupons, as well as any sales that they may be offering at the moment. In addition, if you are looking for a coupon on a specific product that you buy a lot, check-out their company website, as most will offer coupons through either e-mail lists or downloads. If you are looking to save money on what you buy regularly, using the Internet to your advantage is always a great way to go  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Inspiration Strikes!

I've been slowly trying to decorate my house. Because I've always been a renter (and still am) I have never gotten terribly invested in decorating. Not that I am not interested in it. I could spend hours on Pinterest looking for new ideas and inspiration to make my house a little more "home". I've never done much short of tossing up some framed pictures of the kids.
Lately I've really really been trying to get out of that rut and to copy some of the great ideas that I see online. We always take great family pictures, and for the most part they sit on their disc hidden away from view. A couple of weeks ago I finally got off my butt and tried my hand at making some of those great faux-canvas pictures that are all over Pinterest. I didn't follow any one blog to the letter, but found what I liked from multiple sites. All of the steps seemed basically the same. So, I gathered up my supplies and went to town.  The end result was really great. The canvases are 12x12. The prints I got from Office Depot for about $4 for six 12x18 prints. If you order the architectural prints they're really cheap. Modge Podge the whole thing together and this is what you get:
Cute, right? I just wanted to do more with it. It looks great, takes up most of the large blank wall, but it's just not enough. This was still pretty simple. I knew I wanted to add one of the big initials and something else. I just wasn't sure what that something was. So, I've been just letting it bounce around in my head for a while and figured I'd find the perfect thing eventually.  Well, I did!
I have been engrossed in this blog I found recently called Full of Great Ideas. I think I must've spent 2+ hours the other night going through all the old posts and looking at all of the great ideas that she has on there. I'm honestly just floored by the creativity of others. Thank God for places like Pinterest where these amazingly crafty people can get their ideas seen by more people. Although, I'm sure I'd get much more "real" stuff accomplished without them!
There was a post about a teacher gift that she made and linked to a website called Wordle that makes those great word  "clouds"; a bunch of different words all jumbled together in an aesthetically pleasing way. It's super easy (and kind of addicting). You just enter in the words that you want grouped together and hit GO and ta-da! The more frequently a word is entered the larger it is on the finished product. I decided to use my wedding vows and see what I could come up with. I LOVE our wedding vows. I will be forever thankful for the help that we received from the reverend that performed our ceremony.

From today, I will belong to you for the rest of my life. I promise to love and honor you; to give you my strength, to stand by you in joy and in sorrow, and ask you to stand by me.  I want you to share your hopes, desires, and dreams with me.  I know that our home will be one of love and understanding.  I promise to care for you when you are sick, stand by you when times are difficult, and to share the warmth and joy of life.  I give you all my trust and all of my tomorrows.  I will grow with you as long as I live.
Aren't they awesome?!
I spent about an hour playing with Wordle and trying to get it to look just the way I wanted it to. To keep words together you have to add the ~ symbol between the words. I did this to get all~of~my~tomorrows and stand~by~you in the finished product. I added our anniversary date in a few times to make it the center of the combination. I took out the word sorrow. It came up in weird spots and I just didn't like it. This is how the finished product came out:
Now I did have to make a few adjustments to be able to save it. I printed it to the document writer, saved it to the desktop as a .xps file. Well, here's some news folks, you can't upload an .xps file to anywhere to get it printed. I couldn't figure out how to save it as any other file type (it wasn't giving me the option). So I Googled it. xps to pdf conversion. I have an image converter program that I can use to add water marks and convert files, but the whole thing didn't work. I've only used it a few times and I'm not really familiar with it. Same can be said for my Photoshop. I did it the hard way. You can actually convert directly from .xps to .jpg, but apparently I like to do things the hard way. It worked out fine when I took the file down to Office Depot to get the print (which took a whole 5 minutes). I had it printed in the architectural setting again at 18x24. It was $14. I'm not sure why it was so much this time, but still not too bad.
I headed over to Joann's to get the canvas. I had initially planned on getting a 16x20, but found the 8x24 when I was there and liked that much better. I also picked up a big letter S.
Surprisingly I didn't get straight to the crafting when I got home. I actually got some work done first and then worked on it.  It only took about 20-25 minutes (plus about 30 minutes of drying time).

Everything I used to make the word canvas. 8x24 canvas, word print, Mod Podge, foam brush, acrylic paint for the edges, Command strips to hang the whole deal.

My giant S and some spray paint
Spraying on the grass. Until the sprinklers came on!

The final product! It's a little higher than I would like, but Georgie likes to stand on the back of the couch. This keeps it mostly out of her reach.
So that's the finished product! I'm really happy with it. I think the wall really needs some color but we already have color on two of the other walls so it'll have to stay like this.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sometimes Being A Mom Means Letting Go

That's something I've been working on lately.  And it's not easy for me.
At 7:30 this morning I was outside, in the cold, letting  Georgie jump on the trampoline. Still in her jammies. At 7:30 in the morning!  After about 20 minutes I was finally able to convince her to go inside. Her fingers and nose were bright red.  She was all snotty. But her eyes were bright and happy and she got out some pent up energy. She had fun. She "jumped" (bending her knees and straightening them again, while yelling JUMP!), she ran, she fell, and she giggled. It was fun for her. Truthfully it was fun for me, too. The kid is just too cute of her own good. Jumping on the trampoline at 7:30 in the morning, in jammies, is not something I would normally do. I don't know brought out this little loosening of control this morning but I'm glad I did it.
I've been letting all of the kids do more lately. They all run around and do things with their friends, and enjoy themselves. It's good for them. It's what kids are supposed to do! But it's hard for me sometimes. Especially at a time where I am struggling with where I am. I prefer to have all the kids home. It makes me feel safe and in control to know they're here and we're all together. But I have to remember they're kids. And I'm crazy. My mom put a lot of her crazy on me and I struggle not to do that with my own kids.
I have a countdown on my computer to when Krysty leaves for boot-camp. Maybe I shouldn't. Bur right now it's something I need. It's a reminder that way too soon she will be out in the world and starting her life on her own. It's a way to remind myself that time is precious. It's not always a pleasant reminder. But it is part of letting go. Your oldest child graduating high school and moving on in the world seems like such an abstract thought. Even to me. But it's not. Here and now I am working on letting go of her. Just a little. Her independence is startling sometimes. Isn't that how I raised her to be? I still catch glimpses of my little girl; I still see the child she hasn't entirely grown out of being. Those are more and more rare. More often I see the woman she is becoming. That's scary for me.
I look at Georgiana and wonder how Krystyne is not that age any more. As I watch all of them in their different stages I wonder how we ever got this far.
I still have so far to go. Thankfully there's five of them and maybe by the time Georgiana is where Krystyne is now I may have gotten this whole Mom thing down.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happiness is a made bed

For all that is holy this is one of those things that just makes me happy. It's right up there with valet parking and coffee made by someone else. You'd think that I would  be one of those people that makes their bed every day with the great appreciation I hold for this simple part of every day life; I'm not. But I'm working on it.
I've been struggling lately with being happy. There's a restlessness and unease about me that I don't like. I love my husband, my children, and my life. There's just some external factors that weigh heavy on my head and have just made things difficult for me. But, over our Christmas vacation I was able to get some much needed rest and release a breath I hadn't realized I was holding.  I've always been one to trot out the phrase "If you're not happy with your life,  change it". I'm a firm believer in this. A life is either moving forward or becoming stagnant. If you are not happy with something change it. If you don't like the results, try something else. Like many people get, I've been caught in my own web of "this sucks". I'm stomping my feet and shouting at the heavens about how much I don't like XYZ and not making any forward momentum.
So I've changed my tactic. There are things I'm not happy with and can not change. There are things that I am working on that are going to take time. Patience is not one of my virtues. (Stop laughing, I have them!) There are things in my life that I can control. I am very affected by my surroundings.  Mess makes me anxious. You couldn't tell that right off based on the normal state of my house but it's true. Right now I am striving to put my physical house back in order so that I might be able to get my mental "house" (yeah, I see it. Shut up) back to something that resembles normal. Well, normal for me.
I've worked my butt off this weekend trying to restore some order in my house and my head. I've cleaned the kitchen repeatedly (the dishwasher is running for the 5th time in 2 days). I've added art and pictures to the walls. I cleaned out the cat box (totally not my yob man), cleaned up the dining room, done laundry, and cleaned my bedroom. Most importantly for me right now is my bed is made. I'm about to turn in for the night and I'm excited by the fact that I get to climb in a made bed. I'd be over-the-moon if the sheets were fresh but I had my limits this weekend. I did more this weekend than I have in a month. But I feel better for it. I want to continue this momentum for as long as I can. My goal is to make my bed every single day. This I can control. This makes me happy. This is what I will concentrate on, and I will not dwell on what I can not change and what I can not control.
What is one thing that you could do every day that makes you happy?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wow, It's Been a While

I can't believe it's been 3 months since I've been here! There's been so much that has happened. And like always I've let things percolate in my head for days weeks months without doing anything about them!

October was a crazy month and I guess it's just taken me this long to process it all. Truly there was about a week in there that just completely changed our lives forever. While it didn't seem so monumental at the time, looking back there was a LOT that happened in just a few short days. 

First, Krystyne swore into the United States Marine Corps. Yup, my daughter is going to be one of The Few and The Proud. I'm just as shocked by the whole thing as everyone else. It was a long time in getting her down to processing and (in normal military fashion) and absolute cluster-f*ck of paperwork and other reasons that kept her from swearing in. We eventually got it all under control and swear in she did. She leaves for boot camp on June 17th.  Just three short weeks after her high school graduation. 164 days from today. Yes, there is a ticker on my computer and I am keeping track. Some days it's to remind me that there isn't much time left. Other days it's to remind me how little time is left.

The change that she has undergone in the last three months is nothing short of miraculous. There were days when I dropped her off at the recruiters' office and double checked that they couldn't take her now, like right fucking now! Flippant doesn't do justice to the attitude I was getting! They promised me it would get better and it has. The transformation that I have seen in her in the last 3 months has been nothing short of miraculous.  I baked a bit plate of cookies for them for Christmas and feel like I should do it once a week for what they've done for my daughter. And she hasn't even left for boot camp yet. I can't wait to see what 13 weeks in Parris Island will send back.

Krysty also got her driver's license and turned 18 (in December). All in the same week. I survived. Barely. The baby that made me a mom for the very first time is a legal adult. Making very adult commitments. I'm surprised all of my hair didn't fall out. I am having some serious aging issues. If she's an adult(-ish) then I must be. Shit. I don't like it.

Jane turned 13 in October, the day before Krysty swore-in. Another Mommy-Milestone I'm not quite ready for. She's turning into such a beautiful girl. She's doing great in school. She's got fantastic grades and is coming home with a ton of awards. She's doing the California Cadet Corps program at her school and doing very well there, too. She's got her sights set on the military as well and is enjoying all that she is learning.

The biggest life-changer of October was my dad coming to live with us. He's been battling prostate cancer for a few years now. It recently came out of remission and he's in treatment. Treatment is working now and for that I am eternally grateful.

Honestly it's been really great. My dad and I have never been close, but we have that chance now. There was a whole ton of crap from my childhood I'll not dig up here, but we just never really had a relationship. He just wasn't there. In and out as I was growing up, but never a constant. There's no anger there. It just was. I don't explore it too much, I just kind of go with it. But I do know that having this time with him now is a blessing. It also helps that I have a more than full-house and he has a touch of OCD. Coffee gets made every night before he goes to bed, and the dining table gets cleaned regularly. Seriously, who could ask for more. It's the extra set of hands I always needed combined with a chance to have my kids know my dad in a way I never was able to.  Georgiana is his little buddy and it just warms my heart. Walking down the hallway and hearing Fi talking to him and finding her snuggled on his bed watching TV is priceless.  The older kids are getting the chance to know him, too.

I know one day that things are going to get hard. He's going to get really sick and eventually die. And  the responsibility that comes with that will fall on me. I'm OK with it. I'm living one day at a time and understanding that it will be the cost of what I have now.   So for now he's my Saturday Shopping Buddy, my extra hands around the house, with the kids, and even at work. He kept me company when during the month from Thanksgiving to Christmas Doug was working late.

So as you can see things seemed to explode for about a month! Then The Holidays showed up. I'm pretty sure I didn't give the go-ahead on that. But apparently I am not the one that gets to set the schedule (who's bright idea was that?).  Allie and Jane went on vacation to their dad's in Virginia for 3 weeks. Doug, me, and the remaining girls made a trip to Angels Camp, California for Christmas, and Dad opted to stay behind and wallow in the quiet for 5 days.

So, there it is. My last three months in a nutshell. I'll make my quarterly resolution to get back to blogging more often. And I'll probably be back in another three months with a recap.