Kindergarten & College

It’s an ironic distinction to have a toddler and a teenager, especially when they both begin school and one goes off to Kindergarten and the other to college. I knew this day was coming but wasn’t quite sure what it would feel like when it did. Basically it feels delightfully quirky. It’s odd, but at the same time, fun. As I return with little guy to the very same elementary school that Teenager went to, it’s familiar but new at the same time. So many years have passed and so many things have changed, most for the better. As a very young, first-time mom, I recall back in the day taking my firstborn to Kindergarten and being so unsure of myself and my life. It was right around that time that I’d made significant changes which although difficult to live through at that time made me the stronger, happier and more authentic person I am today. As I look at our family, in all its delightful quirkiness, I am filled with joy for the life we now have and despite the various challenges I wouldn’t trade it for the younger me who back then had so much to sort out and deal with.

So, back-to-school dates were a week apart for each kid this year, but other than that their schedules are nearly identical. Last week was the first day of Kindergarten for Little Guy. It also just happened to be his fifth birthday. There’s nothing quite like saying; “Happy Birthday, kid! Now go to school.” We sent him with cookies to share with his class and things seemed to go well overall. Of course when I dropped him off at his classroom there were a lot of tears, but I stopped crying after a few minutes.

Now, little guy has the first week of school down and Teenager has ventured off to college. I should note here that he hasn’t actually gone “off” to college as thankfully it’s in the same town, so it’s not like I have to say goodbye to him. I did want to be able to get a “first day of school” photo of him though; you know, posed in front of the school sign with his backpack and all. Apparently he had a problem with this so now I have to resort to hiding in the bushes with a telephoto lens. I’m kidding of course; we don’t even have a camera with a telephoto lens.

I did however get this shot just before taking little guy to school and minutes before teenager needed to run to catch the bus to his first class.

school 2011 (2) 

Yep, those are my boys; a kindergartener and a college student. I am very, very proud.

Craigslist Scammers

Last year when we started listing some antique pieces for sale on Craigslist I learned about a common scam out there. Within a short time after placing my ads I’d get several emails that all went something like this:

I would like to buy your item so please consider it sold and remove the ad. I would have loved to meet you in person but presently I am out of town for business. I will like to proceed with payment cashier’s check which you will receive in 4-6 business days. I will include an additional $20 for the delay. Please send me your full name, address and phone numbers so that I may have the payment sent to you. I will have my business associate contact you to pick up the item as soon as you’ve cashed the check.

I’ll be awaiting your info.

I quickly learned that you can generally avoid this whole ridiculous situation by simply not having an email to respond to and requiring actual buyers to phone instead. Placing “cash only” in your ad also lets scammers know you are not going to accept their phony payment method.

Recently I placed an ad on Craigslist for a dresser and forgot to check the box so there would be no email option. This time the email I got was one I just had to share. First, I got the initial “feeler” email asking if the item was still available. I went ahead and answered that it was available, fully expecting this to be the scam I suspected. Sure enough it was and here’s the actual email I received.

Hello

I appreciate your response to my inquiry. Am interested in buying it from you. I would love to come and check it myself but I just got married and am presently on a honeymoon trip to Hawaii with my husband.Pls do withdraw ,with immediate effect, the advert from Web as i dont mind adding $50 for you to do that, so i can be rest assured that the item is held for me. I should believe it is in good condition as stated. I will be making the payment via a Certified Check, which my secretary will mail across to you. I'll be picking the item from you with the aid of my mover. My Mover will be coming to pick it from you once the Certified Check has been cashed.

Pls I will need both your full name and physical address to issue out the payment. waiting to hear from you soon.

Best regards

Patricia

So here’s my response:

Dear Patty,

Congrats on your recent marriage! I think it’s awesome that you’re spending your Hawaiian Honeymoon looking for used furniture on Craigslist. I also went to Hawaii on my Honeymoon and I too couldn’t wait to whip out my laptop and peruse the Craigslist ads back home. The hubby complained a little but I told him to pipe down because I was going to find us some good deals! I’ve been saving him money in this marriage ever since. But I digress. I’m impressed that you have both a secretary and a mover to handle the transaction and the pick-up and delivery of a $200 used dresser. However, I have a better idea. Tomorrow at exactly 9:01 pm place an empty fast food bag containing $200 in small bills in the dumpster behind the Safeway. Then, just three minutes after my associate picks up the fast food bag, my mover will pull up in an unmarked white van, the back doors will swing open and my mover will shove the dresser down a ramp. It’ll be rolling pretty fast, so be ready at the bottom of the ramp to catch it before my driver starts to peel out. Also, if you see any other unmarked vans pull up and aren’t sure which one contains your item, the secret phrase will be; “The pink pig squeals at noon.” Any questions?

Remembering

My dad has been gone fourteen years now. It was shortly before my thirtieth birthday that he passed on, in his eighties. As I look back on the memories I have of him, they are a mixed bag of good, not-so-good and bittersweet. My folks were divorced just after my 12th birthday and I did not spend any time with my dad until after I graduated high school, so my main memories were as a young child.

It was summer 1975. I was seven years old. We lived in a cute old house with an awesome yard in a not-so-great area. 

housefront 

I remember how I’d spend hours and hours in this yard. It was large and had a huge persimmon tree. Mom made lots of persimmon cookies. I distinctly remember how the house sat on a corner. The front door on one street, the back yard along the side street where there were four large palm trees, two on either side of the driveway which was adjacent to the back yard. There was a large iron gate that closed off the yard near the street. I’m not sure why, since you couldn’t really drive into the yard, but that was how it was configured. Today the house has a wooden gate and a smaller entrance gate next to it, which makes much more sense as that is private and a slatted iron gate is not.

house

I’m not sure if on this particular day the gate was left open or just unlocked or what. But all I remember is one minute playing in my yard and the next minute two big teenagers had grabbed me under my arms and started hauling me off down the street. I screamed as loud as I could. I don’t remember any words beings spoken, all I remember was the teenagers were laughing and I was screaming. I’m not sure how long this went on, but I recall being quite a ways down the street, well past all the palm trees.

housefromback

Then I saw him. My Dad. Running, full speed towards me. Now you need to understand I had never in my life seen my father run and in fact I don’t recall ever seeing him walk very fast. He was 54 when I was born, so he was 61 at this point. He was sprinting. He'd had to come out the front door of the house and around the corner past the yard entrance. As he came barreling down the street the teenagers spotted him after he passed at least a couple of the palms. They dropped me and took off. It was over.

It's odd because I don’t remember the fear of being snatched out of my yard or the terror that I surely must have felt at the time from being dragged down the street . All I remember is my old dad ran. And he saved me.


Unapologetic

I ran out to the grocery store this morning for a few essentials. This is my least favorite store, but as irony would have it, naturally it's the most convenient and least expensive. One of the reasons I'm less than thrilled to shop there is the ridiculous lines regardless of what time of day it is.

As it turns out, I ran into a unoccupied line with an older man as cashier. Just before I'd approached, he'd sprayed down his conveyer belt and started cleaning if off during his down time. As I got in line, he joked about how he figured as soon as he did that, he'd get a customer! I laughed and told him not to worry, and that it was the kind of thing that would happen to me. I then told him how shocked I was he had no one in his line since usually their lines are three and four deep at least. He made a comment about no one being in his line because he's cranky  having reaching a point in life which no longer takes any crap. I told him I'd reached that point much earlier in life.

And that's why I love my Husband

I'm known for wanting things done a certain way and I can own that about myself. I guess I tend to be a tad on the anal retentive side. My family's emotions towards this tendency range from annoyed to amused. For example, there's a hotly debated topic about about how many pairs of underwear to pack for a trip.  I have my own formula to arrive at that amount. [Number of days x 2 + an extra 10%]

There are other various household methods I insist we follow and one such item is the rule when you open a package of lunch meat. There's nothing more frustrating when you go to make yourself a turkey sandwich for lunch and can't recall how long ago you cracked open the package. The simple solution, of course, is to mark the date on the package when you open it. We always keep a marker in the kitchen for this and other purposes.

So a couple days ago the hubby went to make a turkey sandwich and asked if we had a package already open. I told him we didn't and of course then threw in my admonition to please "remember to mark the package!"

Now this is where I must tell you that I am a firm believer in humor in everyday life and in my opinion it's absolutely required in marriage. When I went to make myself a turkey sandwich today I saw this;

 

turkey 

His intended hilarious sarcasm is not lost on me! Apparently he looked up at the atomic clock in the kitchen and decided to not only write the date but also the exact time and current temperature. This cracked me up and totally made my day.


Little Guy Entertains

It is truly a bright spot in the day of the life of a stay at home mom to realize the pure entertainment value your children provide is worth all the stress and less than pleasant circumstances life brings.

Take the other evening for example. I hear little guy shout; "Help! I'm trapped!" I run to his room expecting to find the worst; did furniture fall on him? (even though everything is bolted to the wall). Did he wedge himself "Winnie the Pooh" style in a tight spot somewhere? But nothing horrible had occurred. This is what I found;

 

 

trapped 

He'd tied himself to a little chair with a Hawaiian lei while wearing his pirate banana and robot jammies. (Straight from the files of; "I can't make this stuff up!")

Then just last night this happened; I'm lounging on the sofa checking email on my phone when he strikes this pose right in front of me and says "Take a picture". I immediately went into camera function to get this awesome shot:

 

princelittleguy 

And at this point, he starts calling me Princess Mommy.

Need I say more?

Summer of Specialness

Hooray, it’s summer! With summertime comes an increase in blog readers. Well, some blog readers anyway since they have more free time during the summer. One such person happens to be a very special reader, aka “Special Reader”. You all remember her, right? If not, be sure to catch up on all the hilarity by clicking on any of the  “Special Reader” posts under the favorites on the left.

SR’s continued visits to my blog are even more intriguing to me now that there is no other possible reason she could be reading my blog other than for the pure entertainment value it provides which loosely translates into; “she likes me!” Or at least likes reading my posts. Why do I say there is no other reason? Well, back when she discovered this blog, we were still embroiled in numerous court battles involving Teenager’s care and custody. Naturally, hitting on the blog of someone you’re attempting to take child custody and support away from can be a goldmine. Or rather it could be if said blogger both engaged in and mentioned things that could be helpful to that cause. You know, like I run a meth lab, have concocted an elaborate money-making scam or am a stay-at-home-mom by day and hooker by night. Of course none of those things are remotely true, but I’m sure she was hoping!

So back to why she could only be reading now for my witty prose; since Teenager has now both hit the age of 18 and graduated from High School this means SR’s husband, aka my wasband, is no longer required to support his son in any way (sadly, “no longer required” to him translates into “no longer will”.) Now that child support and shared child custody has officially ended and SR can’t be a thorn in my side in any way, shape or form there is nothing left but her intense interest and curiosity in my life as a reason to read my blog. Of course, I completely understand this because yeah, I’m pretty entertaining, if I do say so myself!

I would never want to take away from Special Reader’s specialness, so every now and then I feel compelled to a write an amusingly sarcastic “tribute” to her. Though I’ve mentioned very little about SR’s specific specialness (in this case “specialness” translates into mean-spirited, evil and illegal crap she’s done over the years) some of you may be wondering how I could possibly hold my tongue and not let her have it on this blog since I know she’s reading it. Well, I’d like to think it’s because I’m trying to be the “bigger person” and while that may be partially true, I also fully believe Karma can be a real *&$#! and if she hasn’t already experienced some form of retribution in some area of her life I have no doubt she will. Of course, there are other things I’d like to tell her, too, like how to use Twitter (HINT: you have to actually have followers and perhaps also follow some other people, otherwise you’re just writing notes to yourself in cyberspace.) But you know, some things she’ll have to come to on her own. It’s more special that way.

We actually left town

So, this past weekend we left the kids behind and got out of town. This is a momentous occasion because we haven’t gone anywhere together overnight since the little guy was born. It was more than due time. The reason for the occasion was quite momentous in itself; a high school reunion; the hubby’s 30th to be exact. With complete faith in Teenager to hold down the fort, and neighbors on alert and lookout in case of emergency along with plenty of typed instructions we headed out. The Reunion was held out of town (and quite a ways from where hubby actually
went to High School.)

 Snow on the ground on the way Entering Reno
The hubby had a great time connecting with old HS buddies and plenty of the girls raced up to hug him. He was told how he "hadn’t aged and still has the same face." Yep, that’s my hubby, alright! Sadly, we neglected to have anyone snap a photo of us with our phones so we’ll have to wait to see the official reunion pics the photographer took, but we looked pretty good! I actually found a dress to wear that was in the “Hey, it doesn’t make me look too fat!” category. We had a great time and actually made it all
the way to ten after 11:00 at the evening event.

Dance floor Ballroom
Apparently there was even an “after-party” and I guess this wild bunch pretty much closed down the bars. Considering it’s a “wild night” for us to even make it past 10pm we thought we were really blowing it out. It was tough to sleep knowing my kids were not there…and no snuggles with the little one before night time. But I made it through and even had fun. And yes, we need to get out more.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the little guy seemed to do fine until he realized it was dark and there was no Mommy & Daddy story and snuggle time. He made it through with his big brother, but gave us quite an earful on the phone the next morning about how we needed to “come home now”. He seemed to forgive us once we made it back to town Sunday afternoon and took everyone out for frozen yogurt.
Frozen yogurt

Lines by Little Guy

Upon seeing someone with a facial piercing;


"Mommy, that person has a nail in them."

Lines by Little Guy

As I was preparing to give little guy a haircut, he gave me the following instructions;

"Just a little off the sides....and don't make me look older."

Graduations and Celebrations


It’s quite a surreal moment to see your child, in my case my first born, graduate high school. It also adds an interesting element to drop off your toddler at childcare on the way to the ceremony, but that’s beside the point.

The graduation festivities were full of excitement and emotion. It was very moving to see hundreds of high school seniors march onto the football field while Pomp and Circumstance played over the loudspeakers. I was full of pride to see Teenager walk onto the stage to be handed his diploma and realize all that has gone into this moment; the past 18 years of his life. I am so proud of him and what he has become and full of hope for the future and what he has yet to become.

As our family was cheering for him on the Home side of the stadium, Teenager had one more guest across the field on the Visitor side; his father. In a phone conversation with Teenager a few weeks earlier, his father had asked about graduation tickets. Since we did have an extra due to some family members that were unable to make it I decided to be nice and give it to him; at least he had the desire to see his child graduate even if his contributions in the last several years towards getting him to that point were none. To be honest, I was pleased he wanted to see him graduate (and thanked him for coming) and was able to put aside the annoyance of having of course paid the entire cost of his graduation.

Ironically, the following day when the new grads were asked to go to the Admin office to pick up the official copy of their diploma (they hand out empty covers at the ceremony) Teenager ran into his father doing the same thing. His father explained that he needed to get a copy of his diploma to prove he’d graduated so child support payments could cease. Of course, just because child support is no longer due when a child graduates high school, it doesn’t mean the kid no longer needs to be supported. Naturally, his father takes it entirely for granted that I will be the one to continue to do so, as I’ve done all these years. And because I know the obvious questions, let me just say the answer is “no” to both; “Will he be providing help towards colleges?” and “Did he at least give Teenager a graduation gift?”

One of many, many negatives from the prior shared custody arrangement years ago was this little gem; Teenager would be over at his father's house for the weekend and would hear comments about how hard it was for them to pay child support and how they couldn’t wait for it to end so they could get a new truck. I can’t help but think now about how his father and of course “Special Reader” must be celebrating heartily over their increased income and being “rid of that payment forever”. Naturally, their increased income means our decreased income, with of course no decrease in costs as we still have the same kid to care for not to mention now send to college. But I’ll tell you what, every day I get to look at my son and see him continue to do great things with his life and feel the joy that comes from seeing all he’s accomplished and what he's become and know that I had at least a small part in it.

And that is a reason to celebrate.



Conversations with Hubby

While out for our morning walk with the little guy in the jogging stroller I noticed that each time Daddy went over a big bump little guy would kind of partially fly into the air (partially because he was belted in). It was quite a spectacle since all his limbs would go straight up as if he were about to fly out of the stroller. The following exchange took place.

Me: OMG! Take it easy on the bumps, Honey! Little Guy looked like he was going to take off!

Hubby: Relax dear, he’s strapped in. He’s doing that on purpose!

Me: Oh. So he’s just being overly dramatic about it is what you’re saying.

Hubby: That’s exactly what I’m saying. He is your kid after all.

Me: Ha! Like you don’t have a flair for the dramatics yourself?

Hubby: Well, yes, but you’re the Queen.

Me: At least you admit I’m the Queen of something.



Conversations with Little Guy: Saying Goodbye to Brother

We have a little routine around here when we say goodbye to each other. My standard has always been to add “be careful!” followed by any number of other cautions according to the situation. One day I half jokingly told the Teenager (who walks a fair distance to school) to “watch out for bad guys”. Little guy being observant as he is, took this info and formed it into his own understanding, which became obvious in this morning’s exchange:

Teenager:  Bye Mom, bye little guy.

Me:   Bye Teenager, have a good day, be careful!

LG:   Bye Buhbuh! Watch out for ghosts, and bazombies and   coconuts!

Teenager:  Coconuts?!

LG:    Yeah, if you see a coconut, shout “Coconut!” and then jump over it and you will be safe.

Sounds like a Scooby Doo episode combined with a Mario Bros Wii game! It’s a new video game in the making right there.

Conversations with Little Guy: Shipping Supplies -w/ Hilarious Video

So, little guy was playing in his room when we heard him yell out for Daddy. I heard a muffled little voice say something about being trapped. Daddy ran back while I looked in the monitor (yes, we still use it) to observe a scene that about had me rolling on the floor with laughter. The hubby cleverly videoed this whole thing and the dialogue is priceless as well. Turn your sound up to hear little guy. Here you go!

Cars, Horns & Husbands

Readers may have heard me joke about the hubby’s first car a couple times in previous posts here and here. We’ve recently discovered his current car, referred to as the old “bucket o’ bolts” is actually older comparatively than the car he drove in high school. He thinks that’s pretty ridiculous and I must agree.

There are numerous things wrong with this car from the A/C being out to some weird electrical issues. On top of that it smells like “old car”. Well, now this thing has a new problem. It seems there’s something wrong with a connection somewhere which causes the alarm to go off on its own and the horn starts honking. Naturally, we discovered this new “feature” at 3am on a weekday morning, along with several of our neighbors. The first time it happened, hubby stumbled out front in his boxers to turn the thing off thinking it was just a fluke. After settling back into bed, it went off again. Rinse and repeat a couple times and he finally disconnected the battery; a task he now must do each and every time he drives his car.

This reminds me of a similar car issue in my prior marriage. While I’ve never actually shared stories from past including the wasband here, I’ll go ahead and share this one. Flash back to my twenties living in Provo, Utah. We were the typical poor, starving student family and had only one car; a crappy one. I had purchased this thing brand new but made a very poor choice and after only a few years it had more problems than you could imagine. The most memorable was the bizarre electrical problem that made the engine stop. The car would just suddenly stop dead in its tracks. We’d had it looked at by mechanics at length on two separate occasions and they couldn’t figure it out. One day while out driving, we accidentally discovered that if the engine started to cut out on us and we honked the horn it would keep going! So until we finally got it fixed we actually drove around town honking like idiots just to be able to stay moving on the road. Of course, this was Provo, Utah so I can assure you that our odd vehicular behavior was hardly the wackiest thing going on around there. Oh, the memories!

Back to the present day, with the hubby’s car honking issue. We had an appointment yesterday right after he got home from work so I had just gone out front to meet him and get in our other car. I watched him pull up, hop out of his car dressed in his nice work clothes, grab a towel and pop the hood to disconnect his battery. I was chuckling as he came over to get in our car to leave and said; "At this point, with all that’s wrong with that car the only things missing are one of those special stickers in the back window for not being able to pass the Smog Test and some Bondo on the doors!"

And that folks is one of those life lessons about finding the hilarity in everything.

Spring Organizing

Spring has finally sprung and with it the increased desire to get things done around here. As I shared in my last post regarding the big office clean up, we have a long list of “projects” we’re attempting to tackle. Everything from new household projects to basic de-cluttering and organizing. Once again, I admit that even with a background in helping others with residential organizing it’s still a struggle for me personally to keep things as organized as I would like them. There are lots of contributing factors to this but the big three (which in my experience apply to many of us) are:
  • 1) Not having homes & systems established for the various items in your home
  • 2) not taking the time to use the homes & systems once you’ve established them
  • 3) Having too much stuff!
#3 is the biggest of all and always has been in my opinion. When I was in the organizing business I told my clients that the act of organizing itself was a piece of cake compared to the task of eliminating excess. Once you’ve whittled down your belongings to a manageable level, they can practically organize themselves. But if you attempt to “organize” your items before you de-clutter and purge it’s much like putting the cart before the horse.

We’ve found it a challenge to find places for everything within our home and it’s been an ongoing task to come up with solutions. My prior post described how we were able to utilize a large armoire that was no longer in use for storing our projects and in process, shop items for Etsy and other eBay items to be sold. A little over a year ago, constructing a pantry provided the much needed home for our food that previously took up all the cabinets that were needed for dishes and serving ware.

Our newest organizing challenge is the master bedroom closet. While we are at least fortunate enough to have a walk-in closet filled with shelves & double rods, it’s sadly very small and does not house everything without some serious cramming. I hear that in many marriages it’s not uncommon for the husband to keep his clothes in a spare closet in a guestroom or hall, however not only do we not have a spare closet anywhere I couldn’t bring myself to make my hubby get dressed in another room. When we did our seasonal clothes switch (absolutely necessary unless you have a huge closet where you can keep everything out at once!) I realized I needed to get ruthless about paring down my clothes. So far I’ve managed to fill two huge bags to give to charity! Among the first items to go were several pajamas and nightgowns that the hubby has complained about for years. Let’s just say they were the type that would have made Laura Ingall’s very proud. I’m hopeful that with more purging and some great creative ideas I’ll be able to get our Spring/Summer wardrobes set up in the closet in such a way as to be able to actually see and retrieve them without swearing. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Tackling “The List” & Tales of Household Organization

Around here it’s well known that the hubby feels his “Honey-Do” list never ending. Of course, he’d be right about that. The mile-long list of home improvement projects, or let’s call it what it really is; “Crap we have to do to keep the house from falling apart” is something that a lot of households get overwhelmed by. Of course, it’s not just actual house fixes, a lot of it is organization. As you may recall in another life, pre-baby (well, pre-baby 2, post baby 1) I had an organizing business. I’ve said many times, including in this blog, that staying organized is something I still struggle with as it’s a constant work in progress. I certainly know how to get organized and can come up with any number of creative ideas for organized living, but it is definitely work. Things tend to creep up on you when you’re not paying attention.

Take our office for example. Since we don’t really use it much as an office any longer we inadvertently ended up with one of those “catch all” rooms. First, it was shoving in the play kitchen that although little guy still plays with, there are times we’d like it out of the middle of our family room, such as for my recent birthday celebration. Then there are the things we are actually trying to get rid of via eBay; the irony here is that even when de-cluttering you can actually end up with more of a mess while attempting to eliminate stuff! Between all that and several vintage items from our Etsy shop mingled with a few works in project the office was becoming a disaster. And just because I love my readers and am not afraid to “put it all out there” I’m actually showing you a picture of this mess! 
 OfficeB1 OfficeB2
So, we decided to get serious about this and spent last weekend working on it. Here’s what we did; we started with the ol’ pull everything out maneuver (which meant our entire front room was covered in stuff!) and after working all day Saturday, we ended up with one huge bag of trash, several things to eliminate and along the way discovered a surprise solution that solved two dilemmas at once! As readers may recall, we redecorated our home and sold many of our antiques. We successfully sold all the large pieces but one, our French armoire. Once everything was re-decorated and furnished it became the elephant in the room because it no longer fit anywhere. After months of having it block the double doors to the office (there’s another door around the back side of the room) the hubby realized that since we couldn’t seem to sell it and we didn’t want it sitting in the living room any longer that it would be perfect for storage of “projects in process” in the office! He was right, it’s the perfect solution and it’s already outfitted with three shelves. We managed to get it in the office after some partial disassembly and reassembly and its now acting as a very fancy storage solution!
OfficeA1    OfficeA2
Of course, the overall moral of the story here is “never let it pile-up”. Ha! This was definitely an eye-opening lesson in realizing how bad things can get when you let them go vs. how much easier it is to manage to when you have systems in place and do the maintenance to keep things up little by little.

And in closing, I thought I’d share with you this accidentally hilarious photo I took while the hubby was painting.
213
The explanation here is that he is painting our new family room wall, a room which was previously used as our dining room that had large iron wall art that held wine bottles. When he removed the iron pieces he set all the empty wine bottles on the table, making it look as though he’d been throwing back a few while on the job!

Conversations with Little Guy: Speech

First of all, I wanted to report that it appears Little Guy is completely caught up with his speech which of course is great news. During his final sessions in speech therapy the therapist tells us she’s now working on things that are past his age just to have things to work on.  One of things she says he’s not yet really expected to be able to do quite yet is correctly produce the “L” sound in words. This was evident in a recent conversation he had as Daddy was getting ready for work.

LG: Daddy, I want to go to work with you!

Daddy: No LG, you can’t come with me, but you get to stay home with Mommy!

LG: I want to go to work with you! I can work, let me come to your work!

Daddy: I’m sorry, but you can’t. We have Labor Laws.

LG: Daddy, what’s “Wabor Waws?”

Being Happy to be Me at 43

This month marks my 43rd birthday. I haven’t been a fan of my birthday past my late teens. I tend to get caught up in the old “another year older and…..?” it’s that “and” that gets me. And what? “What did I accomplish in this last year?” I say to myself. I know I set my expectations entirely too high..it’s the perfectionist in me and something I try to focus on taming a bit.

There are things I would like to accomplish and I know some of those things are at least doable with supreme effort and fierce determination. There are other things that rely heavily on luck; such as being at the right place at the right time, a blog post going viral, a publisher offering me a book deal….things like that. (You know, those “pie in the sky” type of things. The things on my Vision Board that I’m not sure really coincide with realistic thinking.) It’s when I realize that those are things that may not happen (I don’t like to say probably won’t because after all, you have to have a positive attitude, right? I’m thinking of the old “if you build it they will come” philosophy) that I can start to see the need to just go with whatever is happening; whatever is presenting itself and is right in front of me. At this moment, that would be a kitchen that needs cleaning and some laundry that needs folding, but hey, I am a stay-at-home-mom after all and this is part of my life.

In examining that life, there is quite a mixed bag of emotions or as I like to call it; the happy, the crappy and the ridiculous. Time tends to fly by faster the older we get, as I can’t believe it’s already been three years since I wrote the post Warning: Opinions Ahead on the heels of my fortieth birthday. While I can look over forty three years and think there are some things I perhaps wish I’d done differently as well as things I wish had happened differently, I can also look at the flip side of those things and realize that some things do happen for a reason and may end up with positive results later on down the line. Take the kids for example; yes, it’s amusingly ridiculous that I have two sons with a near fourteen year age gap. It’s even more ridiculous to realize that as one starts college the other will start Kindergarten. But while things like not having siblings closer in age to play and go through school at relatively the same time could be looked at as drawbacks, the flip side of that is having an older son who can often be available for babysitting on Date Nights and who’s actually old enough now to pick up his brother from school or daycare should the need arise. And it’s heartwarmingly adorable to see how close those brothers are and how much they share in common despite the age difference. Of course once they’re both grown the age gap won’t matter much. In the meantime, it’s so fun to see Teenager set up an elaborate train track for his little brother and to see both little guy and his big brother enjoy a Disney movie together and laugh at the same things.

Of course there are other things I’m still trying to figure out but as the saying goes, “life isn’t the destination, it’s the journey.” Now while that statement would make a fitting closing line to this post, I can’t stop here. You see, that statement holds a lot of meaning for me. I’ve been a person who in many aspects was more focused on the end result than the process of getting there. There’s part of that I still struggle with to some extent; the old “It’ll be great when…..(fill in the blank)” and then I remind myself that the journey is so important and being fixated on an end result can be counterproductive to the joy of living. Not to throw in too many clich├ęd sayings but I can’t help but think of “Life is what happens while we’re making other plans”. I’ve previously been guilty of not enjoying the journey of life and really try to not fall into that trap. I think it’s a shame to live life for some “end result” and have that be all one is thinking about and working on in life while failing to truly enjoy the here and now. I believe in living and enjoying life now because “now” is what we have. As a disclaimer for those who might think I’m suggesting living life haphazardly, or to toss out another quote; “Eat, Drink & be Merry for tomorrow we may die” that’s not it, it’s a lot closer to “stop and smell the roses”. I think about things like using the good china for more than just holidays, dressing up for more events than just those that require it, and making the effort to spend quality time with friends and family and truly enjoy their company rather than simply going through the motions of obligatory visits and events.

So along with the concept mentioned in my prior post regarding the Gratitude Board , I intend to put my focus on what’s happening in the here and now and continuing to find the joy (& hilarity!) in everyday life. As always, you’re invited along for the ride. I have some more personal posts planned in the upcoming weeks and months and am looking forward to sharing more with my readers.

Future Dreams and Current Gratitude

A few months ago I set out to do a vision board; one of those things where you use pictures as representations of things you would like to have and happen in your life. I think this is a great idea and it makes a lot of sense to create a “vision” you can refer to in a tangible form. But then I got to thinking, how much of this is too much wishful thinking and not enough reality? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s not okay to dream because I think we have to dream to some extent. But I pondered what percentage of dreaming to what percentage of current contentment makes sense in one’s life.

Then it hit me, what if I did something similar in a reverse manner? Well, not making a board of things I don’t want, that would be pretty counterproductive. But what about making a board of the things I do have that I am very glad I do; a Gratitude Board. That way, I have tangible images to refer to in helping me remember what I have and how grateful I am for those things. For instance, one thing on my Vision/Dream board is being a size or two smaller. But on my Gratitude Board I have being thankful I’m the size I am since I could be a size or two bigger. You see? Along the same lines, this doesn’t mean I've stopped wanting a larger kitchen, but in the meantime, I'm learning to enjoy the things we’ve done to make it work a little better (remember the awesome pantry?) and look a little nicer (a cabinet re-do is coming this spring!)

These are just a couple examples of many, but I thought I would share this little epiphany with you. Maybe it’s just me waxing philosophical, but it seems like until we’re truly appreciating what we already have and are being genuinely thankful for those things, getting more or having better may not be in the cards. I intend to share more of this with you throughout the year as this little experiment of mine manifests itself in real life. I’d also love to hear from you in the comments below about what you think, so feel free to share!

And Speaking of Brothers

I’d forgotten about this little gem I wanted to share with you, but there would have been no way to really work it into my prior post.

So, you would think that not having two little ones and instead having one little one and a really big one there’d be virtually no squabbles or brotherly torture. You would think, but that would not be entirely true around here. Making up for lost time I suppose, Teenager has found numerous ways to irritate and otherwise lovingly torture his little brother. I just discovered one of these recently.

Teenager was getting little guy a yogurt and was headed over to the table with it along with a spoon. Little guy starts getting upset and saying; “No, no nooooo!” when I asked what in the world was going on. Teenager, now laughing, explained that for some time now whenever he got his brother a yogurt he would pretend to just about put the spoon into the cup because he’d discovered a while back that little guy wanted to be the one to put the first little “stab” into his yogurt. So of course, his little brother would get very irritated if he thought his big brother was going to be the one to get to do it. A wee bit mean? Perhaps. Amusingly cute? Absolutely.

Coming Soon to a Restaurant Near You

Since kids are off school this week for President’s Week aka “Furlough week”, we’ve been spending some quality time together.

The other day little guy had a little friend over and the two of them were having a blast playing “restaurant”. The kitchen LG got for Christmas two years ago is still a huge hit. The hubby and I were sitting in the living room and the kids would come over to take our order and then go over to the play kitchen to make it. The best part was when we asked what the special was. LG responds; “Chicken BaBomb!” Intrigued by this new creation (sure to be the next big culinary hit) we asked questions. We were told it’s very spicy (hence the “bomb” part of the name) and preparation involves some form of meat tenderizing with one’s feet. The whole scenario was hilarious.

When LG took his big brother’s order, Teenager ordered the Chicken BaBomb only to be told by LG that they were out of that. (Isn’t that the way it always is?) Teenager insisted on speaking to the manager. LG yelled over to his little friend in the kitchen; “Manager! We have a pwoblem ober here!”

At the end of our meal, we were offered “buzzert”. Another example of hilarity and cuteness colliding.

The Grocery Cart of Shame

I realize you all may be tired of hearing my tales of weight loss antics, but I’m going to tell you another one anyway. There’s good news though! This one’s funny rather than sad and pathetic. Well, okay, it’s a little pathetic, but therein lies the funny.

First, I’d like to report that after my record weight gain a few weeks ago, I have managed to take those pounds off. Now I need to work on taking “new” pounds off, instead of the same old pounds that I’ve lost over and over again. *sigh*

So, onto the story. The other day I popped into a favorite food store of mine to pick up a few specialty items. I wasn’t there to get much and I couldn’t get anything perishable because I still had my regular grocery shopping to do afterwards. Yes, I generally go to several stores; it’s just how I am. I was checking on some wine the hubby had wanted me to try to locate and they didn’t have it. Then I found some of my favorite cookies and put a package into my cart.

Now let me explain about me and cookies. If they are cookies I like, I have no self control. If I purchase a package of cookies, I make reasonable attempts to take a couple and be done with it, but more often than I’d care to admit my cookie eating habits involve a “row” or a “sleeve”, if you know what I’m saying. I had convinced myself that I still needed to purchase the cookies because they don’t often have them and they were a great price. Yes, I’m justifying this all over the place.

But here’s where it gets tricky. At this point I have nothing else in my cart. Just the cookies. Then a couple aisles over I spot a fellow Weight Watcher’s member. A thin one, too, I might add. At this point, you may as well cue the theme music from Mission Impossible because now I’m stealthily trying to figure out how to make it to the checkout aisle without my WW friend spotting me. With a package of cookies. And nothing else. I start thinking of other things I need to throw in the cart so at least I could conceal the cookies and I can’t come up with anything. I probably spent a good ten minutes on my plan to make it out of there unseen and with my cookies. And yes, I can fully see the ridiculousness of this whole scenario…..well, now anyway. I finally decided this was clearly fate intervening of my behalf and I put the cookies back. Am I proud of myself? Well, not terribly, no. Because I think we can all see that the humiliation of being caught with the cookies was the motivating factor here. But nonetheless, I will go without cookies this week. And that’s a good thing.

Home Improvement

We’ve been busy around here with numerous home related projects. My regular readers are familiar with the RRR Projects posts and I’ll have a few more of those coming up here soon. We’ve been on a major home re-do kick here and have made some impressive changes. Our most recent project however is painting the interior of the house. This of course involved not one, not two, but many paint samples. We were having a hard time discovering a color we really loved and had it narrowed down to two colors which are right next to each other. But we still felt one was too light and the other too dark; leave it to us to be difficult like that. So we went down to the paint store and asked them if they could make us something right in between the two colors. They did, and thankfully it was perfect. The hubby was overjoyed with the fact that he could finally start painting and get rid of our ridiculous patchwork wall.  005

Before he started painting, I decided to clean out the hall closet. Some items I uncovered were; the sheet to Little Guy's pack-and-play that I sold about two years ago, my granny sandals I wore when pregnant because no other shoes fit and the sad discovery of Murray’s leash. But the best discovery was this gem; a brand new, still has the tags on, fishing vest from Eddie Bauer. Beyond the fact that he bought this long before we were ever married and he's never gone fishing since we've been married is the hilarious realization that it makes him look like the main character of one of our new favorite shows; “$#*! My Dad Says”.

 

 

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You’ll have to exscuse the messy hair and unshaven face. The guy’s been painting all day.

Learning the same lessons over and over

 

I’d like to briefly discuss a particular lesson I’d really like to not continually re-learn. That lesson would be the one about not going off the wagon, so to speak, in regards to my food choices that ends up in a weight gain. You know it’s bad when you step on the scale and your WW leader exclaims; “Whoa, what did you do this week?!” Yeah, it’s that bad. Let’s just say if they gave an award for weight gain a one week I’d be a big winner. Of course, I’d much prefer to be a big loser, pardon the pun.

So here’s the thing; I could list lots of excuses for letting my weight go up instead of down, but ultimately it all boils down to not properly planning for the right food choices and simply eating beyond what I should be. Like I say; “Weight loss requires planning. When I fly by the seat of my pants, it means I’ll need bigger pants”. But while we’re talking about excuses I do have to address one little thing I really am having an issue with. Weight Watcher’s decided to revamp their program, effectively making the old points system null and void and starting out with the brand new PointsPlus system. The thing is, they’re still calling it “points” but yet they aren’t really points as we’ve come to know them. The points values for numerous foods have gone up, in many cases doubling and tripling the former points. Oh sure, they tried to make us feel better about it because we get “more points" in a week, but if you do the math, we don’t get anywhere near the amount of points that would cover the points that foods have increased to. And that’s a hard thing to adjust to. In addition, I have yet to go through everything I normally eat, recalculate all the new PointsPlus values and plan my meals around that new information. Of course that sounds like it would be pretty important to do, right? Yes, I must get on that. Because I am really, really tired of not fitting into my pants.