Category Archives: Life in General

A Month of Thankfulness

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Yes, as cheesy as it sounds I’m going to try to talk about all the things I’m thankful for in Nov. Prepare yourself now. In reading over my last month or so of posts, it’s been a lot of complaining and whining which isn’t at all who I want it to be. So it’s time to shake off this funk and concentrate on the good stuff. I’m keeping things simple today – here are 5 things I’m thankful for this very minute:

1) My warm house. It’s really starting to get cold and I’m so thankful for a warm house full of comfortable furniture, thick blankets and cats to snuggle up with.

2) A good book. I started reading a new series that I’m really digging and got another great recommendation yesterday. I pity anyone that doesn’t fall into reading like I do- what a boring life they must lead.

3) The kid’s school community. I had a PTA meeting tonight and while being a PTA officer can be really frustrating, it’s also a great chance to see every month how amazing and giving people can be with their time, energy and talents.

4) Friends that speak their truth. Whether it be a dear friend’s moving, heartbreak essay in Salon about the long term ramifications of his sexual abuse at the American Boychoir School or another friend’s mission to education all women on the lesser known facts about breast cancer during the month of October, I applaud all who speak their mind.

5) Skinny Cow’s Dreamy Dark Chocolate Clusters. These make any night better. God bless chocolate.

 

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This Is Why I Love the Internet

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Earlier today, one of my friends on Facebook shared an article entitled The Default Parent. I made the mistake of reading it at work and I almost hurt myself trying to stifle my laughter because that? THAT is my life.  And honestly, I thought I was the only one.

I’ve always been the default parent. The Hubs is an amazing, wonderful father- but he didn’t have the boobs, so I was the go-to person when our newborns cried. Up until Scorch was 5 and the Bean was 3, the Hubs had a high-stress job with erratic hours and a ton of travel. On top of that, we owned a business 45 minutes away that took up a fat ton of the Hubs times so I was the one around the vast majority of the time. It wasn’t because the Hubs didn’t want to be there, that was just how life was.

My kids have literally walked right past the Hubs sitting in the kitchen and banged on the closed, locked bathroom door to ask me to get them a drink. Are you kidding me?!

As funny as the article is, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Is this nature? Is Mom always the default? Is it because I was around more when they were little? Is it because I have SUCKER written on my forehead?

Regardless, I don’t mind being the default parent 95% of the time. I like being my kids go-to person and I like knowing all the crazy silly details of their lives – it makes the control freak in me happy. As the kids get older, this default role seems to be evening out a bit – the kids know a lot of their own info and Hubs is around a ton more which is wonderful! It gives me hope that the next time I go away for a 5 day business trip, I won’t have to leave a 3 page detailed note about schedules, menu and carpooling.

Picture Pages

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Scorch was kind enough to bring home a cold last week. Then he was even kinder by sharing his cold.  I think I’m dying thanks to this damn cold. Because of that, you’re not getting words, you’re getting some of my favorite pictures from the past month or so straight from my camera.

Here’s the kiddos jumping waves when we were at the beach back in August. Good times (*sniff*I miss it*sniff*). Full disclosure, I may have suggested (strongly) that they hold hands for these pics.

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I have had the good fortune of finding shells with heart-shaped holes in them on our last day of beach vacation. Here’s the 2014 edition (2013 can be seen here):

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We took the kids fishing a few weeks ago. The light was spectacular:

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This weekend I realized it had been a good two weeks since I took out my camera, so while the kids played at their favorite playground, I played in the garden:

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Send soup. I’ll be back when I don’t need to have tissues stuffed up my nose. You’re welcome for that visual.

The First Day

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Dear kiddos-

Happy first day of school! For the first time ever, you started school on the same day. That means the Bean is Big now, which means I may have gotten teary-eyed leaving you both at school. Never mind that you both have been going to this school since you were 3 and that the Bean literally only moved up a floor, it was a Big Moment.

In typical fashion, when we got to school Scorch, you were off like a shot playing with your friends and ready to pick up where you left off in June. Bean, you were little more shy and reserved. You stuck to my hip until you had to step away and once you did, you were fine. By the time I left, you were both smiling and back in your groove.

New shoes!

I swear, my kid’s legs are clean- they are just bruised like crazy. Why? Who knows.

So, 3rd grade and 1st grade. How is that possible? I’m so excited for you both this year- it’s going to be great. Don’t ask me how I know that- I just do, I’m your mom. Like every year, I have some hopes for you. Want to know what they are? Of course you do…

> I hope that you have fun. At the end of the day, I hope you enjoy every aspect from math to reading to technology to recess. School should be *fun.* I know school can be a pressure cooker (especially for you, Scorch in 3rd grade) but don’t let that get to you. Stay enthusiastic and keep perspective.

> I wish you kindness. Kindness towards others but also kindness towards yourself. No one is perfect so cut yourself, your teachers and your friends some slack.

> I wish you courage. Be strong kiddos and know your worth. Stand up for yourself and those who can’t, or won’t, stand up for themselves.  Remember right from wrong and know that right will always win, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

> I hope that you learn discipline. (I’m looking at you, Scorch.) Keep track of your things, stay organized and take responsibility for yourself. We’ll help, of course- but it’s time to step up, little man.

> I wish you curiosity and love of learning. Seriously- not everything will be your cup of tea (see me + math) but never stop wondering why things work and how your teachers got that answer. Ask questions. Ask a million questions until you have answers that satisfy you. Want to know things, children – it’s an amazingly huge world and the possibilities are endless.

> I hope you have friends. Lots and lots of friends. The only way you’ll get these friends is by being a good friend. Cliche, but true. So be nice, be friendly, be polite and be open to everyone you meet.

Good luck, kiddos! This is going to be amazing!

Love,

Mom

 

 

Here & Now

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There are a lot of things I love about my house (have you met my pantry?), but there are a lot of things I’m not particularly fond of.  Our porch is one of them.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

It is the highest traffic area in my house and no matter what solid stain we put on it every year, it looks like that by summer. It’s annoying and time consuming and generally a giant pain in the butt.

When the kids were little, staining this (and the back porch- same issue, only three times as large!) was The Project of the spring as we could only do it when the kids were sleeping because they’d want to help. And anyone with half a brain knows that “help,” “paint,” and “3 year old” don’t belong in the same sentence.

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My kids finished school this week. Scorch ended a wildly successful 2nd grade year. The year wasn’t without growing pains as he’s had to learn to take on more personal responsibilities and make good decisions (the age old quandary of after-school recess vs homework club tripped him up a few times), but really, he rocked it. I couldn’t be more prouder.  And the Bean? She discovered her love of reading and writing this year as she went through Kindergarten.  She came out of her shell, made a ton of new friends and grew so much!

I seriously can’t believe I have 3rd and 1st graders.

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Tonight was the dreaded night to start staining the decks. We’re doing it later in the year then we normally do and it just can’t wait any more. The Hubs had to work late, so I got a jump start on it. I got a pizza and a movie for the kids and figured that would buy me a good 90 minutes of kid-free time to get this going.

Only the kids didn’t want to stay inside- they wanted to be outside with me.  Of course they did.

I told them they couldn’t help because I was doing the railing (a different coloring then the floor) and I couldn’t afford huge messes. Much to my surprise, they took that news just fine and came outside and played. For 2 hours. Peacefully. They played baseball and kickball and then spent 45 minutes trying to capture moths.

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There are times I miss having a babies and toddlers around so much that I ache. Then there are nights like tonight where I’m too damn busy being thankful for what we have right here to miss anything.

Bring It On, 2014!

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New Years

This image was floating around on Facebook yesterday and I love it. I love thinking of the start of a new year as a blank slate and, most importantly, I love that *I* get to choose what I do with this blank slate.  That has never felt as true as it does for me right now. Professionally, I’m starting over. I’ve got my hands into so many projects and places that I’m excited about that I can’t wait to see where my career goes next. Instead of going in the direction the Big Company wants me to go, I can decide which path works for me. While that’s scary, it’s also liberating as hell!

Personally, we are rocking! We had a fantastic school break with the kids- I’m sad to send the little buggers back to school tomorrow. They are old enough now that they’re just plain fun- everything is exciting and their imaginations are boundless, which means they did a great job keeping themselves busy this break. I say this every year, but right now 7 and 5 are my favorite ages. The Hubs and I are in a good, good place. Losing my job forced us to have a lot of conversations about stuff we hadn’t addressed in a while- money, goals, timelines and hopes. We were floating through life and that was going well, but this has forced us into the hard conversations. It’s nice to know that after almost 16 years together, we’re still after the same things in life!

2013, when I look at you in bits and pieces, you royally sucked. But when I look at the big picture, I realize that all your bad moments were buffeted by so much good. Thank you for keeping my family healthy and happy and safe. Thank you for blessing me with love and support and friendship and amazing experiences. But please don’t let the door hit you on the way out because I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!

 

Holiday Blessings

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2013 kicked our butts. The first half wasn’t too bad, but the 2nd was rough. Illnesses, acts of God and unemployment all hit our family within an 8 week period. All these things sucked- and some of them will continue right into 2014. But despite all the bad, we were bound and determined that the good would shine through this holiday season. And it really has!

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The Christmas Pageant

The only time the Christmas songs aren’t on in our house is if we’re asleep. The kids are more enthralled with Buddy, our Elf on the Shelf, then any year before. Tales of Santa and Buddy and the reindeer are all that we talk about about and videos from Santa yesterday cemented how closely he keeps track of us- especially when the Bean found out she hasn’t been good enough for the Nice List yet.

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Best of all, when we talk about this past year, my kids don’t talk about the stressful stuff. They remember our trip to FL last Feb, learning how to play Uno, reading Harry Potter and going to the Outer Banks and learning how to play laser tag with their cousins. They remember how fun it was to go camping in the rain- not that the Hubs was sick the whole time with mono & the flu. When they think about our shed being destroyed, they don’t think about the headache of dealing with insurance, they think about how awesome the tree was that fell and how now there is a tree fort in its spot.  Yup, I did lose my job and the budget cuts we made stink- but if you ask my kids about it, they’ll talk to you more about how I pick them up from school every day on time then they do the fact that we don’t go out to eat anymore. If that’s not a life full of blessings, I don’t know what is.

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To all those who celebrate, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season full of family, friends and more laughs then you can count!

Winter Ramblings

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Last night I had the craziest anxiety dream- I was studying to be a baker and I had to create a new breakfast pastry combining a croissant and donuts. While snakes were biting me and my pants were falling down because they were too big and I didn’t have a belt.  All this because I haven’t wrapped a single gift yet- so forgive me if this post is disjointed.

First- meet David/Davis. He is Scorch’s newest Hermit Crab that he bought with his own money on Monday.

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Too bad I’m 99% David/Davis is dead as he hasn’t come out of shell once that we’ve seen since Tuesday. Awesome. Merry Christmas kid, let’s talk about the Circle of Life.

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The kids had a snow day on Tuesday.  It was freezing out with a -12 with the windchill in the morning, so I made the kids wait until the afternoon and then we went out to sled!  (I dread the day my kids won’t let me dress them in goofy winter hats.)

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Only it wasn’t sledding snow- we just sunk right to the ground.  So we decided to follow the dog and take a hike instead.

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I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again- I don’t know how people who don’t live in the country do it. Between our 2 acres, our creek and the woods around us, my kids would stay outside all day, every day if I let them.  We hiked until the kids were freezing and tired (just how I like ’em) and then I set them up with some hot chocolate and Good Luck Charlie on Netflix and worked for a few hours until it was time to play a few cut-throat rounds of Old Maid.  Not a bad way to spend the day!

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After finishing the first 3 books in the Harry Potter series, we’ve been struggling to find a book that captured all our attention again. We read the 3 Stink Moody books and we enjoyed them- but they didn’t suck us in like a really good book does. We were recently given the first 3 books of the How to Train Your Dragon series as a Christmas gift so we decided to start the first one. Both Scorch and I were reluctant because we’ve seen the movie and we figured it would be the same exact thing.  So glad to say we were wrong- the book, thus far, is great! We are absolutely loving it- Scorch loves the story and I love the story telling. Two huge thumbs up from us!

This, That & a Minor Miracle

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When I thought about being unemployed one of the things that freaked me out the most was thinking I’d have eons of free time to fill up. I could very easily go the way of the sloth and do nothing but read all day and I was worried that I’d do just that.  Turns out, I have nothing to worry about because so far I’m finding being unemployed has made my schedule a 1000x crazier then it was before.  Before, I had a set schedule that varied little from day to day.  I knew what I was doing at any given hour during the day and there was comfort in that routine. Now there is no routine and I’m flying by the seat of my pants, yet my days are booked between meetings about freelance work, PTA meetings, meetings with my CPA, meeting with a financial adviser about what to do with my 401K and random interviews.  And when I’m not doing that, I’m cleaning my house- only to have the kids wreck it in 0.007 seconds after they get home.

And frankly this lack of a routine is making me crazy.

This is the week I start my part time job, find out more about one of the freelance jobs I’m doing and find out if I got a full time job I interviewed for last week. So by the end of this week I’ll have some idea of what my new schedule will be even if it kills me, so help me God.

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Halloween this year was amazing. Good lord, as crazy as 5 and 7 can make me, they are the best ages in so many ways. This year my kids were beyond excited about Halloween- they both completely got into the spirit and were old enough not to be exhausted and miserable by the end of the night. We went to a friends house for dinner, then 6 couples with 13 kids total hit the road and did the trick or treating thing. The oldest kids were 7, the youngest was 13 months old and they all rocked it with a lot of laughs, good manners and down right giddiness over the good candy.  Scorch was Harry Potter and the Bean was the Red Power Ranger and part of me wanted to freeze them right then and there at this age so they’ll always be this happy and excited.

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Scorch had his first sleepover at a friends house this past weekend. I admit, I was nervous that I was going to have to head out at 11 pm to pick him up. He was at one of my best friend’s homes with people who love him dearly and he knows well, but still, I didn’t think he’d last the night.  When I went to bed, I had both phones right by my pillow so I could grab them when the phone call inevitably came during the night.

But it never came- the sleepover was a complete success!

Such a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but a HUGE testament to how far Scorch has come. If you had told me 2 years ago when Scorch’s anxiety started that he’d spend the night somewhere other then our house or his grandparents, I would have called you crazy. We were lucky enough to get that child to sleep in his own house at that point in time- and when we did, sleep typically happened after hours of trying and usually didn’t last all night thanks to nightmares. Yet here he was, spending the night at a friends without any issues.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- getting Scorch therapy was *the* best thing we’ve ever done for him and watching him live a completely normal, ordinary life as a result is a miracle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes You Just Dance

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Today has been the most down that I’ve been since receiving the news about my job. I’m frankly feeling very overwhelmed between trying to figure out how the government shutdown will hit the Hubs paycheck(s), working my currently job the best I can and looking for a new job. To add insult to injury, we had to make some of our financial cutbacks today and one of those cutbacks affects an extremely hardworking, amazing single mom and I feel guilty as hell over it.

In short- today sucked.

But sometimes when you’re in a mood, the best thing you can do is dance. So that is what the kids and I did! A friend recommended that we check out the video for The Fox by Ylvis so we did.  And in between laughing like a bunch of crazy people, we danced.  In case you’re wondering, it’s really hard to be in a bad mood when you’re watching a dancing, singing fox break it down.  Here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day!