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.