Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our New Life

Now that everything has died down a bit, now that it has stopped feeling like a vacation, now that everyone has gone back to their own lives and things have gotten normal - reality has started to set in.

Z and I are starting to get into a regular rhythm, a routine.

In the mornings after breakfast, we do writing and letters for 35 minutes. It's amazing how quickly she catches onto what I am teaching her. I give her worksheets to trace and color. She can now identify every letter (we are only doing capital letters right now - adding little letters at this point would be confusing for her), she can write A,B,C and D.

After we finish that assignment, we do open art. Open art is where I give her paper and every art supply that we have (including the paste and scissors). She will do that for at least another 30 minutes and it usually creates quite the mess.

Then it is shower time. We take a shower and get dressed for the day.

Once we are all clean and dressed, we pick up her bedroom and playroom and decide what we will have for lunch.

I make lunch while she plays in her playroom - she has an amazing imagination.

After lunch, we have a quiet time (not a nap) where she stays in the playroom and watches a movie for an hour or so while I regain my sanity load the dishwasher, washing machine and fold some clothes.

When quiet time is over we work on counting and numbers. She can write and identify 1,2,3 and 4. She can count to 15 before she messes up. We also work on sorting and matching using dominoes and poker chips.

After that, I have a structured art project for her to do. Things like pasting letters that I cut out from magazines into words and sentences (apparently, I am teaching her to write ransom letters).

We do science experiments twice a week. Our last experiment was seeing that water changes to ice and that ice will turn into water. Today's experiment will be watching a balloon get inflated by a bottle of soda.

She also gets to help out when I start dinner, pouring in ingredients and mixing them together (nothing near the stove) and she puts away the pots and pans and tupperware when the dishwasher finishes.

Of course, in between all of this there are the arguments, the threats of time out, the discussions about poop (when will it end?) and a walk to the mailbox in the afternoon (we have a finch that has built a nest in there that is intent on giving us a heart attack). There is dress-up and nudity. There are a million questions - Can I have? How does? What is? and on and on and on.

The one thing I am most proud of is that the TV stays off until 5 PM each day (except for quiet time and Zumba dance time in the morning). It's the one thing I always wished I could take out of her day and it seems as though I have been successful.

I am starting to feel guilty. I am starting to feel as though I should be looking for a job - for anything - to help out the Hubs. I feel like he gets home in the afternoon, looks around and is like, You did nothing all day? Even though he doesn't say it, no matter how busy I feel each day, I feel like it is never enough.

I guess I can't be anywhere without the guilt.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Ya'll are gonna love this.

The other day while I was cooking dinner, I heard Z in her room using her super high-pitched, sugary sweet "Mommy" voice. I was certain that she was in there with her "babies" changing diapers or taking off all of their clothes.  (Seriously, why am I the only one that ever dresses the babies? Are we doomed to live in the land of the nude doll?)

I was not prepared for what I walked in on.

I hope you are ready for this (and for those of you with pee issues - get prepared).

Poor sweet, little Rocky!
Rocky went home last night. We are sad, but adjusting.

We really don't need pets.

Meet George.
I wish George had a home to go to.

I really wish he would go home.

But I feel so sorry for him that I keep feeding him.

I guess he is home.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Saturday Night Hustle

I have mentioned before that the Scare Bear* and I have a standing Saturday night date. We get the kids together and while they play, we play board games, talk about our weeks, or watch movies. It's a way of venting, of getting the "stuff" out of our souls and preparing for the week ahead.

The Hubs is going to hate that he missed this weekend's edition.

We stripped off our shirts and danced like crazy women to the Zumba Dance game. The kids got in on the action too, often learning steps before we had them. We laughed, a few times we may have been crying, we shaked, we shimmied, and SWEAT (for reals, this game really works you a lot more than I realized it would)!

There was no alcohol involved.

Just good friends and a good time.

At one point, she mentioned that this may not be what normal 30-something women do on a Saturday night. Really?

Hmmm... other 30-somethings must be living a pretty boring existence if they are not laughing and having fun with their kids and friends.

* Scrae Bear would now like to be called Shakira Chaquita - Zumba Master. But that's totally up to you. Whatever.

Question of the Day:

What do other moms of preschoolers do when it is just their kids and their friends on a Saturday night?

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Praying for a Storm

This may sound strange to those of you who do not live in the South, especially Florida, but around here I have been praying for a storm.

Not just any storm, but a tropical storm or a hurricane.

Let me be clear, I do not want anyone to be hurt or their homes to be damaged, but in Florida, the only panacea that we have to the unbearable heat and humidity is to have a good sized storm blow through. A good sized storm that will finally fill all of the rivers and lakes to their peaks.

We have had rain 4 times in the last 2 weeks. Prior to that, we had almost a month with no rain at all. When I speak of unbearable heat, I am speaking of 105 degree days with 100% humidity. It feels closer to 115-120 most of the time.

The lakes and rivers are almost completely dry right now.

The people of Florida prepare for hurricanes. We know that this is the cost of living in paradise. You never see telethons to help us rebuild and while you may see some footage of the damage and debris - you will also notice that we are always open for tourism.

Hurricanes feel like nature's fresh start. They change the coast line, they change the horizon. It cleanses out and dilutes the Gulf.

I love the impending nature of a big storm. I love to open the windows and feel the wind as it is stirring. I love the adventure of it all. The energy that fills the air. The promise of great sleep while the wind whirls outside and giant drops of rain land on the windows and roof.

We haven't had one in awhile.

We need a hurricane more than ever this year, I am just not sure that we are going to get one.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

An Open Letter

Dear Creators of Children's Programming,

I was originally going to write this letter to you to thank you for giving me a way to grab a shower by myself, throw a load of laundry into the machine and check some other momma's blogs.

Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit under the weather this week so I actually got to partake in a few of your mundane shows. I am not sure if you are in on the government plot to dumb down my child or if you are intentionally trying to get thousands of preschoolers killed, but I know that I have officially lost brain cells as well as precious minutes of my life enduring your shows.

What has happened to children's television?

I can still watch the same shows that I used to watch on Saturday mornings on Netflix (now with my child) and still find them amusing (and, especially, tolerable). The shows that children are now being force fed are merely just filler between commercials for high-priced silly toys and expensive shoes.

When I worked for a daycare, I often wondered how it was that a 3 year old would know whether another child was wearing Skechers, Nikes or a knock off. Now I know. I have also been informed by my child that the "Twinkle Toes" at Payless are not the same shoe.


These shows (if you can call 18 minutes of actual plot a show) mostly revolve around other apparent preschoolers who have no parental guidance. They go on adventures, cross the street, talk to strangers, build things with REAL tools, perform high wire acts on clotheslines - all without any of the reality of a mother having all of her air sucked out of her lungs as she swoops forward, snatching said child from certain death and placing them into their room until the shaking dies down.

Perhaps you have read too many other mommy blogs that revolve around glasses of wine and activities designed to quiet our children and get them out of our hair. Please understand that these are "tongue-in-cheek" jokes, meant to help encourage other mothers out there in "the field".

I know that it is my responsibility to monitor my child's television habits. I understand that I must take an ounce of humility in this situation and admit that I was allowing her to watch shows that I thought would be safe. I was wrong and so are you.

You have a responsibility to the parents of this country. The parents that are trying so much harder than to just survive, but to also raise their kids with a bit of good moral fiber and strong values. If you teach them to avoid authority figures, not ask for permission before doing things that could be potentially dangerous, if you show them that all adults are just stupid fools - then you are doing a major disservice to these children and to this country.

My child will be watching a lot of VeggieTales and 80's cartoons until things change. At least I won't have to worry about buying "REAL" Twinkle Toes anymore.


A Very Weary Momma

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fatty, Fatty, Fat, Fat

I will probably be fat forever. It's not a choice, just a fact. This is not a pity party, I have reasons to believe that this shall be my lot in life.

  1. People that work out and eat right don't seem to be having any fun. They are so concerned with calories burned, calories taken in and eating organically that life is streaming right by them. I feel sorry for the lady that yells for me to slow down on the side of the highway on her morning run (really lady? The speed limit is 55, I can see your flourescent t-shirt and hat AND your scowling face) - she really has nothing better to do. 
  2. I don't own shoes that talk to Facebook and Twitter. If I did, they would say things like "Momma stayed at the house most of the day chasing after Z." or "Momma burned 0 calories while marching up and down the aisles at the grocery store trying to find a suitable dinner".
  3. I don't own an iPad or an iTouch or an iPhone (I refuse to belong to any part of the overly expensive, elitist Apple crowd). Apparently, you can only effectively lose weight if you have one of these devices (and their apps). Obviously, I am doomed.
  4. Speed is illegal (or at least only prescribed). I am not sure where other people get their dosages but I have yet to find a doctor that will write me the script to give me the power that I need to not collapse at the end of a long hard day.
  5. I like to bake. I like to eat what I bake. In the last two months, I have made these and these. Try them. You will stop wanting to eat green things and run all over the place. You may even have fun while eating them. Maybe you will even smile every once in a while.
  6. Comfort food makes me feel better. When I am sick. When I am tired. When I can only hear a child whine and plead ONE MORE TIME before I go f**ing insane. Hand me the cupcake and back away slowly kid.
  7. I can't ever imagine myself being condescending and rude. So many people that are only concerned with what goes in and what comes out, come off as so flipping arrogant that they tend to alienate me. They also tend to turn into busy bodies (lack of carbs). It's irritating.
  8. I am happy. The Hubs says I am cute. Some days I actually feel like he might be right. My daughter is the cutest kid on the planet and people say she looks just like me. I must still have a cute factor in there somewhere.
  9. I am healthy. You may think that I am huge and a heart attack waiting to happen but I can walk several miles before I get winded, I love to play the Zumba Dance Party video game with the munchkin, my cholesterol and blood pressure are perfect (much to my doctor's surprise!).
  10. I have better things to do than run everywhere, go to the gym, eat spinach all day and bitch about being too fat. I have a kid. I have art projects to help with, laundry to do, dishes to wash, stories to read, playdates to attend and dinner to prepare. I don't have time to ignore my kid and race all over the planet in pursuit of an unrealistic ideal.

She's going to be grown before I know it.

Then maybe I will take up running.

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And I Will Call Him George

It seems like only a few days ago that I was extolling the virtues of a pet-free household.

Ah, those were the days.

On Monday, I brought JoDene's dog home with us as they were going  out of town on vacation. His name is Rocky and he is awesome. He barely barks, plays nicely with Z, is tiny enough to pick up and sleeps a lot. I like him and both Z and I wish that we could keep him.

I think one of the reasons that we like him so much is that someday he will go home.

Also on Monday, an orange cat showed up laying in the grass of my front yard. Every time he would hear someone coming outside, he would cry and meow, but I knew that the last thing that we needed was another animal in the house.

Finally, yesterday, I caved and fed the poor skinny crying kitty. He was skittish and seemed like he wanted nothing to do with a human.

Now that I have fed him, the damn presumptuous cat thinks that we are best friends. He rubs on my legs when I walk outside, he scratches the back door and cries all night long. I had to race him into the door of the house yesterday because he honestly thought that he lives here.

I named him Orange George.

Farmer Brown's chickens seemed to have moved to our house as well and can be seen night and day pecking at the yard and talking to each other with a cluck there and cluck, cluck everywhere.

I am not feeding them.

Birds kinda freak me out.

In 3 days it seems like we have built quite the menagerie. So much for the land of the anti-pet.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Pole Saw

Thank you, friend, for moving the pole saw on my porch.

You are not my husband but I love you.

No longer must I worry that quickly moving, clumsy feet will trip over said pole saw.

Or that some small child will impale themselves upon it's blade.

No longer must I fret that the gasoline will ignite from the heat of the sun and burst into flames.

Or that I will awaken to the sounds of a frightened and injured animal that has fallen across the chain in a hurry to get off of our porch.

You have taken away yet another worry from my mind.

And you are so very appreciated.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Skeleton in My Closet

There is a skeleton in my closet, something that we just don't talk about around here. Or maybe we should call it a carcass in my refrigerator.

I don't mind folding clothes day in or day out, or loading and unloading the dishwasher, I don't even mind cleaning and organizing Z's playroom and bedroom. Cleaning toilets - not an issue.

But, I put off the cleaning of the refrigerator for as long as I possibly can.

I run from refrigerator cleaning responsibilities at every possible moment. Sign ups for a cleaning crews at work or even at church have been avoided to escape the possible chance that I may have to clean any other refrigerator.

Food containers pile on food containers, leftovers take over every nook, every cranny until you cannot possibly add one more thing to the fridge. Unidentifiable produce lays in a putrid juice waiting to spill on the cleaner, spores of possible penicilin await to spew into a new world. One raw piece of chicken tossed in a freezer bag with the best of intentions is now adding it's deadly flavor to everything it can. Cups of yogurt, past their expiration date, are ready to burst at the slightest touch. Cartons of milk that are nearly empty are waiting with their horrifying contents to ensure that I do not come out of this unscathed.

It's like a warzone in there.

I wish that there was a cleaning fairy that would come magically and take care of it for me so that I don't have to deal with the shame, the smells and the extra dishes.

Due to the cleaning fits of energy that I have been in engaging in as of late, my trashcan is now  overfilled, so today after cleaning the refrigerator I will have to drive it to the nearest dump. Which means that I will have to double bag everything and keep the windows down in the car so as not to gag on the drive.

I can do this, I CAN do this.

If there is no post tomorrow - you will know that I have been killed by something in my

What is your least favorite household chore? What have you been known to do to avoid having to do it?

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Monday, June 20, 2011

At Least It's Not a Poodle

I failed at Father's Day.

I had no cards, no special gift.

But at least it's not a poodle.

Z has been adamant the last few weeks that the one and only gift that the Hubs would want for Father's Day is a poodle. She couldn't be more wrong.

Even though I grew up with pets and love the sweet smell of puppy breath or the soft gentle purr of a kitten, I have been enjoying this period of the anti-pet. I love that I can be out of the house all day and not have to worry about messes that need to be cleaned, items that may have gotten torn up or chewed, ticks and fleas that are not invading my home.

I adore not having a pet right now (besides the 3 year old monster leaves a big enough mess for me to deal with).

Yesterday, as we had lunch and perused the local mall, anything that we considered purchasing became "Not A Poodle".

So, while I failed at Father's Day - at least it was not a poodle!

Perhaps it was a success after all.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

13 weeks

In 2003, I found myself unmarried, supporting my father by working two jobs and lusting after a boy I thought I would never have. The same boy that I had been chasing after since 1994. The same boy that grew up to be the Hubs.

And pregnant.

I knew that I couldn't have this baby. I knew that his parents and mine would be angry. I cried often from the hormones, the idea that we weren't even a couple (not really), the worry and dread that this secret baby would be found out. My father's remarks about how bi-racial children never quite fit in with anyone raced through my mind on repeat. I was scared, I was lost and I was definitely not ready to be a mother.

I didn't even have the strength to tell my father - how would I be strong enough to be a mother?

At 13 weeks, I learned that I was miscarrying. 13 weeks. Past the point of threat to the pregnancy - or so I had been told - until it happened.

There was pain, there was blood - but none of that was as hard on me as the guilt, the emotional toll that it took on my body.

I could not grieve in public - no one except the Hubs and a few choice individuals knew.

I could not grieve at home - lest I be found out.

I learned to squash it. The pain, the anger, the guilt. Masked by a smile for all to see.

And for the few people that did know, the few people that were aware of what was happening - I hid out. Not wanting to be weak, not wanting to cry, not willing to mourn a child that I had never known.

Four months later, I found out that the Scare Bear was pregnant with Blade.

Five months later, I found out that JoDene was having A.

And while I was excited for the news for my dear friends, my entire being was ravaged by grief, pain, guilt that felt like it would never end, never go away.

Eventually, the pain subsided, the grief fell by the wayside. There would be days that passed that I hadn't cried at all, hadn't even thought of the baby that should have been growing inside of me.

And while I cried on the days that they were born, it was not for my loss, but for the joy that these boys would forever be a part of my family.

I looked at Blade's hands yesterday, expecting to see soft, pudgy baby fingers and was surprised when I found big boy hands, callused from playing hard, dirty from being a boy.

That's when I realized that that baby - wouldn't be a baby anymore.

Next month, she (I have always thought that it was a girl, even though it was too early to know) would have been 7.

Sometimes God gives you strength when you think you have none. Then you think that you are SO strong, he reminds you of where you have been.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Half Birthdays

Today is Z's half birthday.

To my possible detriment, I kinda make a big deal out of it.

Z's birthday is 8 days before Christmas and with the hustle and bustle of the holidays her birthday tends to blend into the merriment of the season. In her 3 year old memory, Santa arrives immediately following the cake and ice cream (and, honestly, as fast as time is moving maybe he really does).

So to let her know how very special she is, she gets two birthdays a year. And all of the people that love her know that they should wish her a happy half birthday when they see her. They know that it is important to me and, especially, important for my girl.

Last night we had a slumber party with Blade and A. We watched movies, played outside past dark, drank slushies and sodas, ran around nearly naked (well, some of us). As bedtime closed in, they all changed into footy sleepers and found spaces on the couches - what is cuter than 3 sleepy children walking around in footy pajamas?

They talked and giggled until the wee hours of the morning.

And when Z awoke this morning to the choruses of "Happy Half Birthday!" - she felt special in our busy lives.

That's what matters.

Please vote for my cutie in the 'Baby Idol' contest by clicking here

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rockin' with the Rhythm

Once upon a time, before marriage had softened our bodies, before children had suckled the life out of our breasts, before life had stripped the color from strands of our hair, JoDene and I worked for a local college. Back then, during the summer semester, our office would close at Noon on Fridays.

We would lie about where we were, claiming that we still had to work, and because there were no cell phones (at least not for the paycheck-to-paycheck set), we would head to the beach. We would crank up the Judds greatest hits tape in my hot pink Escort and head on down the highway.

We would blow up our inflatable loungers and drift away until 3 or 4 PM and then head on back to town before anyone was the wiser. Back then (before Florida became a desert began the world's longest drought), it rained consistently between 3:30 and 4 PM, so there was no doubt what time it was when we were racing to beat the rain clouds to our car.

We would stop off at this little dive bar and shoot pool for about an hour before beginning the long drive back to our respective homes.

On Tuesday, had it not been for the constant stream of bitching coming from the backseat, I would have sworn that we had been teleported back in time 15 years. There we were singing the songs from the recently downloaded album on her iPhone, riding in from the coast where she had just bought a boat. We sang to all of the songs of our past and talked about the flood of memories that came pouring back with every mile of road we covered.

The children in the back (both only children) bickered as if they were brother and sister:

"He's touching me."

"She said 'hate' is a bad word."

"He looked at me."

"I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I got to pee NOW."

JoDene bought a boat that day but the only thing anchoring me to reality were the two little voices coming from the backseat.

I miss that time. That time that freedom came so cheaply, that excitement and adventure were so easy to be had. We were stupid and young.

And so very, very free.

But I would never trade yesterday for what I have right now - even those two bickering children.

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A Mixed Issue

My daughter is bi-racial.

The Hubs is black (I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before). Z refers to him as brown. In fact, everyone in the world is either pink or brown. It's something that she discovered before she turned 2 and how she identifies herself with the world around her.

Most of the time, she describes herself as pink, however, in the last few fiery inferno months she has turned a beautiful shade of brown (as have I). Now we are both brown in her eyes - just like daddy.

Which brings us to yesterday. We drove over to the construction site that the Hubs is working at to bring them cool drinks so that they would not burst into flames be too hot. The construction site that his crew is working at is in the projects, so (of course) the entire area was filled with out-of-school children with nothing better to do than play tag around a pile of sheet metal and metal frames. (I will talk about this situation in a later post.)

Z ran off to play with some other small children (away from the construction materials) as I delivered the cool treats. As I approached the group of children, I hear the following conversation.

Little Girl: "Hey, girl. You mixed?"

Z: "No, I am Z."

I smiled inside. I know that in my three year old's mind she thought that the girl was asking her name, I know that the girl was equally confused by her response, but I love my daughter's innocence. I love that she does not understand these harsh and cruel terms. I love that she does not categorize herself in the ways that society will attempt to, that she will never fit into a box.

That no matter the color of her skin, the environment that she is in or the people that she is around - she is just Z.

That's pretty great to me.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

No Naps!

Today was Z's first Monday without daycare.

I didn't have any plans for the day, other than to eliminate her daily nap. See at daycare, the children are allowed to take anywhere from a 2 to 2 and half hour long nap in the middle of the day. This means that my child's bedtime has been hovering around 11 PM for the majority of her life.

It also means that our mornings are full of tears, threats, time outs and running late (not that we have to worry about lateness anymore - we make our own schedule now) because she doesn't want to get out of bed in the morning.

So today, even though there was a period around 4 PM that I almost gave in and forced her to nap, we took nap out of the equation.

Wanna guess whose child went to bed without complaint or fight at 8:30 PM? Wanna guess who may actually get into bed before midnight tonight?

If you guess this momma, then you are so right.

Happy Monday to all!

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I am blessed. I am surrounded by people that love and care about me and my family. I thank God every single day for the people that he has put in my life (including you!) to help me through this journey.

If I sound ungrateful about things, it's because I don't know how to handle sympathy, pity or charity. Pity and charity from family members is especially hard on me because I feel as though there is now a debt owed and I don't have a way to repay it.

When I speak of the things  that Z has been given, I don't want to sound condescending or rude - it's just that she already has so much, that that excess could wait until she is older (she is rapidly outgrowing her suppliers of hand-me downs) or given to a child that is so much needier than she is. I was raised with far less than she has ever had and I think that I have turned out pretty well.

Hand-me downs are easier for me to accept. I say thank you and feel as though there are no strings attached. People that go shopping, specifically to buy my child something, often make me think that I owe them and I either am left with guilt (for not being able to provide for my child in the way that they expect) or hostility (for feeling judged or put down by - what I feel is - a passive aggressive attack on my parental skills).

Additionally, I feel as though there is some expectation of the gifts that are given to my child. That they expect to see pictures of my child playing with or wearing only the gifts that they have purchased. I blow those thoughts away as being tricks of my mind, until I get a call or e-mail - "Did Z like the X, Y, or Z? How does it fit? I must not have received the pictures that you sent".

I have a hard time sharing my child (who would have guessed?). I was raised in a family where grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. were not a part of our daily journey. The idea that extended family are equally as important as the father and mother is foreign to me. I was so paranoid after having my daughter that my in-laws would in some way attempt to get custody of her, somehow find fault in my parenting in an attempt to keep me from her that I limited visitation as much as I could.

I know that this is all in my head, I know that they don't want to raise another child, I know that I don't owe anything (aside from gratitude) to anyone, but it doesn't shake the idea from my paranoid and twisted mind. Sometimes I feel that my status (UNEMPLOYED) is just another nail in the coffin, another way to prove me not good enough, not smart enough, not fit enough to raise my child (or to be married to the Hubs, for that matter).

Perhaps they are right, but I am a work in progress, as is my child, and I am trying as hard as I can to be the best momma I can be.

Right now, today, based on who she is, I think I am succeeding (tomorrow might be a different story).

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lack of Concern

People are preoccupied with concern over my lack of a job situation. They pray for me to find a job, they pray that I hear back about the jobs that I have applied. They worry and fret about the silliest things as though somehow my child will go without clothes (FYI: I have never had to buy clothes for my child - she has a lot of friends whose children outgrow clothes at just the right time. Right now, I can not put another article of clothing into her dresser or closet. Clothes are not an issue. In fact, the people who inherit clothes from Z, often remark about the fantastic condition they are in, since she rarely wears clothes more than once or twice.)

I am not concerned.

In fact, since arriving in my new unemployed state, I have given very little thought to finding another job. I have tried to be concerned, I have tried to care - but I just cannot find it in me to really give two pennies towards stressing about it.

"It is useless for you to work so hard 
from early morning until late at night, 
anxiously working for food to eat; 
for God gives rest to his loved ones."
~Psalm 127:2 (New Living Translation)

My lack of action, of concern, may be caused by the still small voice inside of me. Healing me, telling me to rest, telling me to bide my time. 

I am not depressed, as I thought I would be, I am not anxious (as most feel that I should be), I am neither nervous nor afraid (which is new for me). I am rather excited to begin this new chapter in our lives. A chapter in which I will be able to get to know my daughter in all of her glory, a chapter in which I will get to see my husband grow into the leader that I have longed for him to be, a chapter that may see my house become cleaner and more organized than ever before. 

This is not the time to stress. I have another paycheck still to arrive, a severance check after that. I qualify for the unemployment that I have spent the last cabillion years paying into, if I really pushed the issue with my medical history I could probably also qualify for Social Security. This is not the time to panic. 

This is the time to rest, to heal, to prepare for the blessings that God is going to send our way. 

And that is what I am going to do.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011


It occurs to me as of late, that my husband does not feel comfortable taking the lead in our household. He dares not to try to fix things as they break or to do things without instruction.

I am partially to blame, but I think that his attraction to me had as much to do with my personality being as strong as his mothers.

I am excited that Z will be is a leader. She is definitely a product of her environment as the women that I surround myself with are strong, talented, articulate and smart. My only fear is that in cultivating our own strength, and hers, we are turning our society into a nation of emasculated men. Men that are so used to women being strong, taking the lead, taking care of them - that they have forgotten how to care for themselves.

I see in my godsons the signs that I fear. Eager to do a project they rush in with gusto and excitement, but one correction, one criticism and the project is abandoned - left to sit, half completed without so much as a second thought.

For the majority of my childhood, my father did not work. He stayed at home, sleeping on the couch while my mother went off to work to support our family. And while she was the sole monetary support of our household, he was definitely the head. He kept the grass mowed, the cars running, the kids in check. He made sure that all of the bills were paid each month and lorded over our families expenses with an iron fist. There was no doubt who the man of the family was.

These days, women stand up to this type of patriarchy saying that it is sexist and abusive, but, back then it seemed as though that was the way things were supposed to be.

Now that we are in our current situation, I need my other half to step up, to take the lead, to be the man. My fear is that I have beaten him down so much in the past that he is not ready to take the helm of this ship and guide us.

What I question is in this age of self awareness and equality, have women done themselves a disservice by taking the strength (and, perhaps, validity) from their partner? Have we created our own nightmare in the guise of wanting to "have it all"? Have our men, after years of being nagged, bitched at, complained to, just given up?

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Thursday, June 9, 2011


I need an intervention.

I have an addiction that is tearing my body to shreds, giving my daughter false impressions of adulthood and massacring our family budget.

I need help and I have heard that knowing that you have a problem is the first step towards getting healthy, getting well again.

My drug of choice? Mountain Dew.

Oh, how I love the energy bursts provided in each and every 20 ounce bottle. The flavor, how it goes down so nicely when it is freezing cold on a hot summer day. The blazingly unnatural color that stimulates my senses and lets me know that relief is on it's way - 20 tablespoons of sugar, several grams of caffeine later, I am ready for more. I drink approximately 6-20 ounce bottles per day.

I have rituals based around my need for the Dew, places I go (sometimes out of my way) because it is cheaper or fresher or colder there. I work my schedule around when and how I will be able to get my next fix. After exiting the gas station or store, I rustle through my bag, grabbing the cold tube of bright green. I sit in my hot car as I open the cap, hear the distinctive release of carbon dioxide, talk my first cold sip and feel it travel down my throat and into my stomach. My eyes close in a moment of bliss before I start my car and head to my next destination.

I have my reasons for not quitting, for needing - nay - requiring the carbonation, the caffeine, the pick me up, the cool me down. It's my crutch, and my object of lust.

I have searched for Dewaholics Anonymous, I have tried to find a treatment center in my area. I have looked at the children of West Virgina and their teeth, in an attempt to scare myself straight. I know that I will not allow Z to drink my Dew, but I need to care as much about my health, my diet, my body.

I know what is in Mountain Dew, I know the chemical makeup, I know the health risks and dangers, but I have never taken it personally. Obviously, it could never happen to Me.

Today, my lovely urinary tract has informed me otherwise.

I'm sorry body.

I'm sorry self.

You deserve so much better than what I have been feeding you.

Thank you for carrying me around everyday on sore feet, with a tired and swirling mind. Thank you so much for being so dependable, so deceptively strong and capable.

I promise, I will try to do better in the future.

You're the only me that I get, and I am sorry that I have screwed around for so long instead of taking care of you.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I am not a big fan of camping.

Well - actually, I have never been camping, but I really don't think I would like it. It's not that I am a girly-girl that can't deal, but the idea of hiking long distances, sleeping outdoors, on the ground, around the critters and bugs and slimy, slithery things is not my idea of a vacation - or a good time.

Z is rabid to sleep in a tent, begs us to buy sleeping bags, coolers, lanterns, flashlights, and wind up radios.

Tonight,  I am going to surprise her with a new adventure. I have stocked the cooler with drinks and snacks. I have set up her princess tent and two sleeping bags in her playroom. I have hung cut out stars from the ceiling. I have strategically placed bears, bunnies, tigers and lions into every nook and cranny in her space. I have put batteries in every flashlight we own.

Tonight, we will camp.

On a Wednesday.

And, although she will most likely cry and tell me that this is not really camping, it will be a memory that she carries past this Wednesday night. I hope that it's a good one.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No Answers

I am the girl that has always had a plan, always had an answer.

That's one of the cool things about being a mom to a 3 year old, most of the questions are pretty easy to answer and I look super smart.

When I told Z that I no longer had a job, she cried - hard. She looked up at me, eyes full of tears and said, "But Momma, what are we gonna do?" And for the first time in her life, I didn't have an answer.

I really do not have an answer right now, my plan right this second revolves around cleaning and organizing our home during her last week in school.

Next week, I think we may go fishing, maybe even go for a trip to the swimming hole.

Beyond that - well, I just don't know right now.

This week, I am trying to pull myself back together, trying to repair myself from the damage done. Trying to figure out who I am again.

And right now, it's a pretty big job.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Scare Bear to the Rescue!

Life hands you a family. People that, whether you like them or not, you have to love them. When you grow up, become an adult, you begin to form your own family. People that care about you, love you and support you, people that will stand with you when times get tough.

My family includes the Hubs and Z, but there is also the Scare Bear, JoDene, Blade and A. No matter what happens to me in life, I know that they will be there for me, helping to dust me off, pick myself back up, and helping to focus me on what I need to do.

It's funny, the Scare Bear proclaims herself to panic in the face of adversity, but this week - when I have needed sanity more than ever in my life - she has been managing my life for me. It's amazing really.

On Friday, I picked up our kids from daycare, bought an inflatable pool (I win!) and was letting the kids splash around when she arrived. She cooked dinner, got the kids to tidy and decorate the playroom and then had Blade lead me, eyes closed through the house to my very first ever retirement party (apparently, there are no Happy "You Got Laid Off" Banners at the party store). We picnicked on the floor of the playroom, laughing and hanging out with the kids.

Yesterday, as I pulled into the yard from my next-to-the-last-day of work, she pulled in behind me and took Z for dinner and fun with her family. They didn't come home until almost 10, allowing me to have alone time with my husband, a nap in the early evening as it drizzled rain outside, dinner that I didn't have to cook, un-animated TV shows.

Even though Z returned screaming that she didn't want to come home, that she wanted to stay with Scare Bear, that she didn't love me - I am so grateful for the amazing gift from my awesome friend.

I am so, so blessed that I got a second chance at a great family - it makes this whole process just a little easier, just a little better.

And right now, it's all that I need.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Giant Bathtub?

I probably should have talked to the Hubs before we got married. I mean, I thought I knew him after 11 years of dating, but, perhaps we should have actually talked about childhood and our ideas for our children.

We clearly have different expectations for our child and these differences are vast.

The Hubs grew up in the city parks. His mother has worked for the City Park & Rec department since he was a year old. She went to school to major in Park Administration. It is her life's passion and a great mission for the children of our community.

The Hubs always had constant and consistent access to playgrounds, pools, swings and game rooms.

I lived a decidedly different childhood where the majority of my time was spent in our backyard. The city pool costs money and my family didn't have much to spare.

To the Hubs, backyard swing sets, playgrounds and wading pools are kinda trashy (apparently the bleeping pole saw that has been laying on my porch for almost a year or the two spare tires - that are not even for our cars - laying in the yard are not trashy).

We do not live close to a park. There are no sidewalks in our area. It is an ordeal to pack up juices and waters, snacks and a change of clothes to drive the 15 minutes to a park that my kid may play in for an hour or two. If we had a play area or a wading pool at home, she could play for hours - HOURS (I might be able to read, or crochet, or tan)!

My concern for the wading pool is that it would become a giant bathtub for our great big bear or other creatures. It's the only reason that I have not sprinted down to the closest Wal-Mart (I know, I know) on our 103 degree days (seriously, if it is 103 on the first of June, what is this summer going to be like?).

No one really drives by unless they live out here - is it really about not looking trashy?

I want my kid to have a backyard oasis. I want her to know that it is cool and fun to go outside and play. Right now, other than digging in the sand and gathering rocks, there is really nothing for her to do. The sprinkler is not as much fun in the heat of summer as it was in the warmth of the spring.

The first summer of the sprinkler - why, oh why, do they grow so fast?
What do you think? Will our little pool be a giant bathtub or a trashy, mosquito breeding eyesore? Or maybe a little piece of homemade heaven in a very cruel, cruel summer?

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011


It's June 1st.

Where has the time gone?

June 3rd seemed so distant, so far in the future.

Until now, until today.

Today, it feels as though June 3rd is just hours away. As though I am hanging from a precarious branch.

And there is nothing I can do to keep the branch from breaking.

I have never not had a job before. I have never not had something to do. I have never not had a purpose.

I am terrified.

That the Hubs will leave me.

That I will be homeless.

That my friends will abandon me because I am too needy.

That I will become lost in the daily shuffle of everyone else chasing the American dream while I am stuck in quicksand of unemployment, depression and squalor.

That now that Z is developing memories, those childhood gems that we look back on as adults to get us through the tough times, hers will be memories of a broken and wounded momma. A momma that the world has chewed up and spit out.

I know that God has a plan in all of this, that he is holding me and my family throughout.

I know that I should not worry because it does not do anything for me and just makes things worse.

I know that it will be okay.

And even though I know these things, even though I believe them with all of my heart, today - well - today, I am terrified.

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