Monday, October 31, 2011

We Made It

We have finally finished the month of October!

My first month of work is done. I am finally able to relax and eat some candy!

The kid gathered quite the haul!
I am not going to think about Thanksgiving today. Or the kid's birthday. Or Christmas.

Today, I am going to go to work and think about work.

It might be hard, especially with all that sugar, but that is what I am going to do.

By the way, those vitamins I got a few weeks ago are AMAZING!

I finally feel like I am back to my old self again. 

Have a happy Halloween hangover day - you've earned it Mommas!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let's Do This Thing

Z's costume is finally completed.

I think she looks awesome.

I finished the Hubs cape.

He doesn't know what he will be yet.

I bet you would like some explanation on her costume.

"Z, what would you like to be for Halloween?"

"Dorothy. But Dorothy would like to be Red Riding Hood."

So I made it. And I think it is the best costume I have ever made.

Next year, she says she wants to be a rock star.

I think she already is.

This sentence kind of seals it.

"Momma, when you said I couldn't have anything else to eat or drink, did you mean my boogers too?"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Broke Is Not A Joke

I got a job at the beginning of this month. It is a government job.

I get paid on the last day of the month.

That means that aside from a couple of part-time paychecks and some very light Hubs checks, we have had no income this month.

I made it home from work on Friday which was a feat onto itself.

There is no gas in my gas tank.

Walking into the door, I realized that I had very little in the way of food in our house. Something that had not occurred to me until I got home.

I had two frozen chicken drumsticks, a half bag of frozen peas, a half bag of frozen corn and some egg noodles. I succeeded in making the best chicken noodle soup that we have ever tasted. The kid is still raving about that dinner.

Amazing. I am so glad that I did not ruin it. There wasn't really any other options.

This morning, I woke up and realized that we had nothing left in the way of breakfast. No cereal, no oatmeal, no eggs, no margarine.

Z and I whipped together some chocolate chip muffins concocted with a half bag of chocolate chips that I had tucked away in the back of the pantry.

There seems to be a theme with half used items in our home. Thank God.

I also learned that I could substitute an egg with 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup and a third cup of oil. In case you every need that tidbit.

We will make it through this weekend.

We most definitely will not starve.

I can't wait until pay day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Touchy Subject

I am not crazy about being touched. It's something I have to work my way up to and something that I need to be prepared for.

It feels like an invasion, an assault upon my person and I have to know who is behind me at all times.

As you may have guessed this particular problem is exacerbated when you have a preschooler. Especially when your preschooler is particularly aggressive in her affection. Her needs to climb on me, touch me, grab me, hang on me are sometimes so overwhelming that I need to walk away, just to calm my nerves.

When she was a baby, I touched her all of the time. I loved skin to skin contact with her because I knew the benefits that it would have for her and because it felt like yet another sacrifice that I was making for her future well-being.

Lately, however, I yearn for my personal space. I yearn to be able to sleep in my bed, unencumbered by flailing legs, fingers that entwine in my hair, elbows that leave tiny bruises on my back and abdomen, touching only if I want to be touched.

Eighteen years with the Hubs has made him knowledgeable about the small signs and body language that let him know that I am okay with being touched. And sometimes he still gets it wrong.

I know that my reactions are based off of the abuse that I experienced as a child and I am so grateful that my daughter does not demonstrate any of those characteristics. I love that she is so loving that she is so free with her kisses and hugs.

I just hope that when she grabs a hold of me and I am caught of guard, that she does not see that inside I am grimacing, tensing, even recoiling from her touch. I would hate for her to misread my personal issues as not loving her.

That will never be the case.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Friends Like These

I texted JoDene today.

Me: Have you ever heard of planking?

JoDene: Yeah. It's dumb.

Me: Yeah, I know. But have you ever heard of Tebowing? Cause I think I may have found my life's purpose.

JoDene: No, but it's probably dumb too. :)

Me: It's where you drop to one knee and pray in random places for no reason. It could be my purpose on Earth. AND YOU DON'T EVEN CARE!

Me: I think I might move to Williston, ND. There are more jobs than people there. Six figure jobs.

JoDene: That's awesome, actually. I might have to do that.

JoDene: When you get to ND, text me. I might come visit for the summer.

Sigh. She doesn't visit now and she lives right down the street.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I have finished the Sleeping Beauty costume. A fitting tonight proves that all is right in the world and I am done.

I have finished Red Riding Hood's cape and Dorothy's dress.

I am finally done with the month long costume creation that has addled my brain for the last few weeks.


Except that I still do not have a costume for Saturday night's Halloween party, or for the Hubs to wear trick or treating because obviously he should get a bag full of candy if the 3 year old gets one. And obviously it is my responsibility to make said costume a reality. (Much like last year's Cat in the Hat fiasco when the hubs announced at 1 PM that he would need a costume by the time he left for work at 4:30 PM. Oh, and that he would be requiring a tail.)

I read yesterday that moms aren't making Halloween costumes for their kids anymore (or at least 81% percent of moms aren't). Well, that's great. Now my kid is gonna feel like the poor kid whose mom makes costumes for her rather than shlepping her down to some store to buy a cheaply made, expensively priced piece of crap that is really only good the first time you wear it.

As I discussed in yesterday's post, my kid has roughly 8,362 events during the month of October, over half of which require some kind of costume. She also likes to wear costumes everyday, everywhere. She wore a Water Bender costume for 23 of the 31 days of December 2010, including to sleep in. I had to buy a second, just to convince her to allow me to wash the first one.

I am happy that other moms can afford to spend the little bit of money they have in the world to outfit them with costumes. My kid is gonna wear stuff that I make.

When I was a kid, it was up to us to figure out what we were gonna be for Halloween. It was the one time of the year that nothing was off limits - my mom's black wrap skirt made a perfect cape for a vampire one year, the next year it was the perfect skirt for a gypsy princess, feetie pajamas turned my brother from an adorable three year to a super cuddly Care Bear (complete with a paper rainbow safety pinned to his belly and a yarn poof for the ears and tail), cardboard boxes, aluminum foil - you name it we have used it.

Next year for Halloween, why not letting your kids figure out what they want to be? Let them have a hand in crafting it and making it a reality? It might be messy, it might keep you up late - but they may just surprise you.

And I guess, I will let the husband make his own as well.

Next year, that is.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Party Animal

When looking at this month's calendar, I was pretty excited to see that I had a few important things to do this month. A concert with friends, my birthaversary, and a big charity event. I was really excited and I felt super popular.

And, of course, it gets to be ruined.

My kid has so many invites to birthday parties, picnics, Halloween parties, festivals, etc. that it is running me ragged. And, me being who I am, cannot resist the urge to make and bake and create something for every little thing she has. I make aprons for 4 year olds, cakes for parties, costumes and on and on.

Her social calendar is starting to look reminiscent of a college student. She easily has 4 times the amount of things in the next week or so to look forward to than I had for the whole month of October. It all seems a bit ridiculous.

All of her friends birthdays are between now and April 1.

We haven't even reached winter yet, and I am sitting here plotting what I will be able to do in April with all of my free time.

Are your preschoolers overextended? Maybe we let them party to much.

Although, if faced with the alternative, I think I would prefer for them to get partied out now than wait until High School or College like I did.

I do hope that the attitude adjusts so that she will be able to attend all of these soirees. She is teetering on the edge of losing a few events.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Satin, Satin, Everywhere

I had vowed on Facebook last year to never make another Halloween costume using satin. It's impossible to work with and for the last two years in my house it has caused crying, temper tantrums and heartache. For me.

Z at one. Rainbow Brite was all the rage in our house. I crocheted the stockings and arm bands.
That was the easiest part of that costume. I used a fabric stabilizer on the fabric (it still didn't help).
Really it is just cheap satin that annoys me so greatly. Sold by the yard at Walmart and Joanne's, it shreds with the slightest touch, it's crazy thin so it slides all over the sewing machine, and the remnants of tiny, shiny threads are left for months following a Halloween costume making frenzy.

And every year, I seem to forget these little truths and forge ahead with princess costumes.

Snow White was so excited that her costume was finally finished that she passed out. 
This year should have been different, except that a friend commissioned me to make her daughter's Sleeping Beauty costume. I was so proud that I ignored the alarms of "SATIN, SATIN" going off in my head.

If you only knew the tattered remnants that were left after a hard night of trick or treating. 

I am happy to say that I am done. Done. If I try it on the girl and it still does not fit, we will have to come up with another solution, I cannot take another day in satin hell.

Z is Red Riding Hood/Dorothy. Her outfit is made of broadcloth. It's fairly basic. It went together so nicely (save the inside out sleeves, but those have been corrected). I have spent so many hours working on outfits for the two of them, that I have not had time to even create an idea for myself or make the adult size cape that my husband requested.

Needless to say, there will be no more princesses, fairies, Rainbow Brites or sprites. If it is shiny and sparkles - some other kid is wearing it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Watch Out - I Got Vitamins!

I have been very tired lately.

Two jobs.

A child that doesn't sleep.

Cakes and costumes blowing away any self confidence I ever owned.

It just takes a lot out of a momma.

And so I sleep. A lot.

In fact, I can barely keep my eyes open anymore.

Everybody says take iron, B12, a multi-vitamin, but I am a momma and everyone else's needs go before mine.

Until today.

Today, I bought some vitamins and if any of the claims are true, I will be a superhero in the near future.

Boosts Mental Awareness!

Promotes Breast Health (yes!)!

Stronger Bones!

Extra Energy!

I don't know what they put in these vitamins or what kind of radioactivity I am setting myself up for, but dude, it sounds like a healthy crystal meth or a legal phen/phen and I am all about it.

I need to have someone invent Momma Vitamins.

X-Ray Vision!

Extra Emergency Arms!

Run Faster!

Jump Higher!

I guess I need to work on my own cape now - momma's gonna be a superhero in no time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Don't Rush

You know how whenever you are in a rush, everything falls apart?

That is my day today.

And I quit this day.

The cake I made crumbled while we were decorating it. I need it in an hour.

The shirt that I was making for Dorothy/Red Riding Hood had the sleeves sewn inside out, because I am cool like that.

And Harry Potter has lost his glasses.

I quit this day.

I'll try again tomorrow - or maybe I will just sleep.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Little Miss Project

Tonight, JoDene and I went to the Sugarland concert.

During the concert, our local radio station had handed out posters to concert goers with instructions to hold them up during their song, "Little Miss". I didn't know anything about the Little Miss Project at the time, but the band was very impressed that so many people were part of this big surprise for them.

It was an amazing concert and we had a lot of fun, singing at the top of our lungs, dancing and screaming like we were in our twenties all over again. And although I feel like I may be too old for concerts anymore, I am sure that we will do it again in the future.

I googled the Little Miss Project when I got home. It's a site for women (and girls) to talk about how they are inspired by the lyrics and how this song has helped them to overcome obstacles in their daily lives.

The lyrics touch on how woman are expected to push through all of the obstacles, all of the things that are like roadblock in our day to day lives. Women are special because rather than getting mired down in the awful things that have happened to them, they push ahead, smile planted firmly on their face and become stronger rather than allowing events to victimize them.

And this song (besides being undeniably catchy) encourages us to keep up the good fight.

We should all be fighters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chronically Pushing Ahead

I have a chronic illness.

For the most part, I am healthy and strong but when I have flares (or attacks) the pain is so intense that it affects every aspect of my life. Everything I do is painful, putting on my shoes, standing straight and still enough to get my contacts in my eyes, driving.

I see the look of concern in my daughter's eyes when she sees that I am not feeling well, that momma's tummy has gone rotten again, and I know that this is molding her, making her into a different person than I dreamed she would be. I think that being the child of a chronically ill parent must really suck.

No matter how much pain I am in, I try to bite down on it, suck it up so that she won't know. Of course, this usually wears my body down more so it's kind of a no-win situation for me but there's another reason that I want her to see me moving past my pain, past my physical capabilities.

I want her to see that no matter how bad things get, you have to keep pushing, you have to keep driving yourself ahead. I have a chronic illness, but it is not debilitating, it's not going to kill me. I can't let this illness win. Nothing in this world should be allowed to steal your drive, your motivation, your being.

It has stolen precious moments from me: I missed her first steps because I was in the hospital when she took them, I missed the first time that she said "momma" because I was in Urgent Care, I missed her first shots because I was in the hospital recovering from surgery.

My illness will not steal my relationship with her.

I will not allow a diagnosis to ruin my life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Halloween List

In honor of the fast approaching holiday (my personal favorite), I offer a list of what I have learned from '80's scary movies and how they have affected my parenting.

  1. Do not feed or water the small creatures after dark, unless you enjoy delayed bedtimes, late night play times or wet beds. 
  2. Do not try to walk quietly through the quiet house in the dark - sharp objects will impale tender areas of your body. 
  3. Do not sleep as soundly as you did in your youth - small creatures will awaken you with their screams, or worse, will just come in to your room silently, press their nose against yours and wait.
  4. Do not question what that fluid sitting in a bucket in the closet is - you really don't want to know. 
  5. Do not investigate that loud bang outside of your bedroom window in the middle of the night. Just hide under the covers, the covers will protect you. 
  6. When someone comes into the room screaming, and possibly bleeding, you really do not need to know what they did to cause it.
  7. That girl? The one that always seems so innocent? She is really the culprit. 
  8. When children tell you that there is a ghost in the house, believe them. 
  9. When you call out a name and no one answers, it's probably better not to know what is going on in there.

And finally...
  10.   When all else fails - go to the light.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Evil Momma

These last few weeks have been hard on me what with going back to work and everything that a new job entails. Add into that a part-time job that I have been working from home and a kid that never, ever sleeps, I have had a pretty rough go of it as of late. (Not to complain though, I know how blessed I am to have a job, more now than ever.)

Everything boiled to a head this evening as I tried, once again, unsuccessfully to get Z into her bed at a decent hour.

"I want my old momma back.", she wailed. "This job has made you evil, you are not my momma anymore - where is the old momma, the one who loved me?"

Wham! Hello, guilt, where have you been all this time? Could you maybe not shatter my heart into a million pieces?

I sat down with her, listened as she cried and stuttered and told me how she was feeling.

"Y-y-you (gasp) never play with me anymore. Y-y-you are always grumpy. W-w-when I fall asleep - you aren't here when I wake up.", she told me through broken sobs.

She feels like the job has cast an evil spell on me and that I am not the same person. That she misses when I was home with her all of the time and could play and read and do all of the things that we used to do.

Of course, once she had settled down I look up Child Abandonment symptoms and sure enough, my kid is showing all of the early symptoms - acting out, not sleeping, not eating, whining (of course, all of these could just be her being 3). The guilt tells me that I am a bad mother.

Tomorrow night?

Tomorrow night, I am turning off the phone and computer. Tomorrow night, I have a tea party with a princess to attend - because she is more important than the work, more important than the rat race, more important than the laundry that is piled on the floor (we have a bagillion laundry baskets and a hamper in every room, why are my clothes the only ones that can make it in there?).

She is the reason that I am working so hard, but she will never know it if all she sees is the evil momma.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Am An American

I refuse to identify myself as a percentage. I agree that I am part of the 99% and the 53% because I have to be, but that is not who I am. I am an American.

I vote.

I pay taxes.

I have worked multiple jobs since 2007 when everything hit the fan.

I worked multiple jobs while I was in college full-time.

I worked for my family and supported my father for years before he died.

I have lost a house to foreclosure.

I have filed for bankruptcy.

I have filed for and received unemployment.

I have filed for and been denied for Medicaid and Food Stamps.

I tithe to my church, not because I can afford to, but because I have faith in God.

I pay my bills on time or earlier.

I have not had to take out loans for my education or my child's.

I realize that life is harder out there for others than it has been for me and my family. I feel bad for those that are out there that are losing everything, but I refuse to be part of a statistic that further divides a nation.

It used to be that we had Democrats and Republicans. Then Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Now there are so many groups and subgroups that I am not sure where I belong.

The only thing that I am still certain of is that I am an American.

And I would really like my country back.

“Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”  
- Patrick Henry

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I was inspired many times this weekend.

I love October - aside from being my birthaversary month, it is also the time of year where Florida is more than tolerable, where there are tons of fun, free things to do with the family and when inspiration simply seems to ooze out of the ground.

I was inspired to write a book today by the message at church. It was everything I could do not to start writing dialogue on my hand and arms while the pastor spoke (why do I never have paper and pen handy when I need it?). I am super excited about this possibility as well as the idea in general.

Halloween is my ultimate inspiration, however, and I have already started on Z's costume as well as some commissioned work that I have been asked to do. The skirt for that is finished as well as Z's cape.

Any guesses on what she wants to be?
Finally, I was inspired to start my annual "bake-every-weekend" fall habit, so I have started making a list of goodies that Z and I will be whipping up in the kitchen over the next few months. I am ready to fire up the oven for another season and am ready to try some great new things this year.

If you have a fantastically delicious treat that you think I should try, direct me to your recipes!

MaƱana, dear readers! (and yes, I totally had to look that up)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Momma's Life in Review

I know that you all are dying for some information on the homestead, so here is a quick review of where we are.

In case you had not heard - I got a job. It's pretty awesome so far and I am so grateful to be out of the house and back in the world of adults again.

Oliver (the cat) has finally been fixed. Z overheard one of us say something about his lack of balls so she has been placing any ball that she can find around him while he naps. Today, she closed him in a dresser drawer with 4 balls and told him to have fun. Fortunately, I heard his cries and was able to rescue him - I think he will be staying out of her room for awhile.

The bear has been MIA for awhile. I am not sure what has happened to him, but I am glad that he has finally stopped molesting our trashcan in the wee hours of the morning.

The nest of eggs were stolen by some kind of varmint that I am trying not to think about. I haven't been home enough as of late to throw feed out for the chickens, so they may move back home sooner or later. At least that's what Farmer Brown thinks. I talked to him about his chickens and he seems okay with the idea that they are currently living in my tree.

I turned 35 in there somewhere and became an adult overnight.

I am still recovering.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Give It Up

Having both grown up in our smallish town, the Hubs and I had one "museum" that was the destination for most school trips, birthday parties and family days out. Our museum is part zoo, part park, part historical re-enactment.

After entering you walk through a small building and out onto a wooded trail, to your right is the farm, farm animals, out buildings (restored farmhouse, barn, blacksmith shop, general store, etc) to your left are the wild animal exhibits (Florida Panther, Grey Wolf, Otters,) and straight ahead is the snake house.

Behind you is the plantation house, the slave church and the first school for black children in the state of Florida all restored, all awaiting your exploration and imagination.

A place of many childhood memories for the Hubs and I, the museum is extremely close to our hearts. It is the one museum that we have a family membership for and that we visit often with Z.

Where we lack in the funds to be able to make donations, we are able to offer our time and energy.

Every year in October, the museum hosts a huge benefit to raise money. The Hubs and I volunteer to mix drinks, serve food, park cars or sell T-shirts. The event features several local restaurants, open bars and a live band. It gives us the opportunity to see old friends and a night out without the girl.

Most  of all, it gives us the opportunity to serve our community, to help out an organization that is near and dear to our hearts and to do something good so that (hopefully) our grandchildren will be able to benefit from the same experience that we grew up with.

If there is a program or organization that you care for, that you want your children and grandchildren to experience - VOLUNTEER. Make the time for things that are important to you. Many places have varying types of volunteer opportunities - answering phones, pledge drives, serving at fundraisers, mailing postcards too benefactors. It is never too late, it is never too little.

Just give it up - what to you is a few hours could be the difference in keeping places like this around for future generations.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's A Family Thing

I see her stumble across the floor, dark hair flopping into her face as she eagerly rushes to the object of her desire. She is definitely my daughter, just as I am my mother's daughter.

There was never a question whose child I was.

With dark, thick hair and brown eyes, a clumsy gait and a friendly smile, I am the one of the four of us that has always looked most like my mother.

Three pees in a pod...
But there is another side to me, my personality and that side is more like my father. Quick to judge and anger, emotions that I tend to wear on my sleeve. While my father seemed gruff and angry, I think it was his way of protecting his easily damaged emotions.

I tried to take only the best of my parents. I used his misdirected anger and hostility to become driven and hard-working, I used the ample curves that I have been supplied by my mother's side of the family to woo my man (and get out of tickets). He was analytical, she loved to read. These skills have served me well.

With Z, I have to focus on not allowing my anger, my rage to get out of control, with the Hubs I have to guard my sword of a tongue to protect his feelings.

I watch Z, I listen to her stories and I see that she is culling all of the best parts of the Hubs and I. I hear the too-big-for-a-three-year-old vocabulary and the tales that she weaves and I know that it came from me. I see the gigantic heart for people that she has and I know that it came from him.

I see her creativity, her eagerness to please, her ability to morph into new and different characters and it's like looking in a mirror.

I am the potpourri of my parents, and so is my girl. I hope that she can only find the best.

From the NaBloPoMo writing prompt: Between your mother and your father, who are you more alike?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Please Sleep

Z has taken up a new hobby.

She likes to get up as early as possible, say, oh, 4:30 AM. She doesn't wake us up like she used to. No, now she gets up, goes to the only TV in the house, turns on the Playstation, logs in to Netflix and watches shows that she knows she is not allowed to watch.

Shows like Family Guy, American Dad, Futurama, and, recently, Ren & Stimpy.

When I realize that I am hearing the TV in my sleep, I wake up, stumble to the living room without the aid of glasses and contacts, hoping that the cat has stepped on the remote again. Instead, I find my 3 year old, parked in the center of the floor, staring at the TV.

"Dad, do you want me to get herpes?" I hear the child on the TV whine.

"Well, I at least want you to try son." his father replies. Huh?

I don't even know what she is watching because I cannot see it, I just know that it is wrong. She has not even noticed that I am in the room yet.

"Z, what are you watching?" Her body jumps and her head turns almost 180 degrees as she fumbles for the controller to turn off the show. She begins to stutter an explanation, an excuse, anything. I turn off the show and then she asks for Dragon Land or another kid approved program.

Are you aware that 4:30 AM is one of the most God awful hours of the day?

And that my kid NEVER stops talking? I mean, never? From the moment she knows that she has company it is a non-stop narrative of everything she has ever done, is ever going to do, is doing?

And did you know that after I leave for work, three hours later, this kid goes back to sleep? And sleeps until like 11 AM?

And that she refuses to go to bed until 11:30 PM each night?

I appreciate that she misses me throughout the day and that the Hubs is not really that great at entertaining her, but dude, I need some sleep. I need rest. I need moments that I am not accompanied by a constant, high pitched narrative.

Is that so much to ask for?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I have never had a proper date. You know the kind where the guy comes to your door with flowers in his own car and takes you out to a fancy restaurant, a movie, maybe a walk around the lake.

I didn't have a whole lot of self-esteem when I was younger. 

Well, that and the Hubs and I started being a couple when he was 15, which is too young to drive (or have a job for that matter). So smitten with this boy was I, that I knew he would be my husband one day before we actually even became a couple. 

So I pursued him, I chased him, I attempted to buy his affections when other girls would catch his eye. For him, I was always just easy. 

I want better than that for my girl. I want her to have respect for herself, I want her to be comfortable in her own skin. I want these things because I didn't have them for myself for so many years. 

Now that I am finally comfortable with who I am, confident in my voice and my stride, I want her to learn these things earlier. I want her to have dates, to have the choices that I would not allow myself in my younger years. 

Not that I regret being with the man that I eventually would marry for so long, but that I would allow him to be so dependent on me for everything for so long, that I would make myself so easy and available to his whims whenever he wanted, that I allowed him to call all the shots and determine our moods. 

My only regret is being so inexplicably easy. 

And easy is not what I want for her. 

Monday, October 10, 2011


Memory can be a tricky thing. As we get older, dreams, images, even television shows from our youth become intertwined with the fleeting images of our childhood selves. I begin to wonder what is fact and what my mind has conjured up in a facet of imagination.

When I was in Kindergarten, I believed that I was a figment of someone else's dream. That if I was too loud, I would wake up my dreamer and I would cease to exist. I worked very hard at 5 years old to walk the balance of being not too boring and not too loud so that I could stay in reality. I knew that when I fell asleep that I would cease to be, and that some other person - the person in my dreams - would awaken and live their lives.

I often fought sleep, choosing instead to sit in the darkness of my room staring at the pages of a book by the glean of light from the hallway. I remember the terror that I felt that tonight could be the night that I would slip off to sleep and never come back.

I wonder what Z's first memory will be. I wonder what she imagines in the darkness of her room at night. While her vocabulary is huge for 3, she struggles to find words to describe the images in her mind sometimes, choosing instead to make up words that I do not understand.

I wonder about the nightmares that wake her up in the middle of the night. My daughter shaking in my arms, refusing to tell me about the images that interrupted her slumber. By morning those images are gone and she is unable to tell us how she arrived in our bed or why she is there.

I wonder if she will remember these dreams when she gets older. I wonder if I will ever fully know the thoughts and ideas that run through her mind. I am fearful of the day when she begins to keep everything secret from me, the good and the bad.

I hope that in the next few years she will trust me enough to tell me her scary thoughts, her bad thoughts as well as her good thoughts. I hope that I will have a short time of sharing to hold on to before everything goes under lock and key.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When Mothers Attack

Mothers have a pretty crappy job.

Literally. We clean butts, we wipe butts, and we are responsible for anything that happens to come out of those butts.

What bothers me most is when other mothers choose to think that they have superior parenting skills or the right to tear down other mothers in their quest for perfection.

Recently, Allison at MotherhoodWTF? wrote a couple of posts that really seemed to enrage some folks. You can see those posts here and here. I encourage you to read the comments.

One of the women who commented, Mrs. C has a blog of her own that I have now read. To be fair, you should probably read that as well. The only thing that I will note is that she appears to only have one child, aged 13 months.

As much as I love my child, I know that I am not always a great parent. I know that there will be days that the parenting skills that I have assembled to this point will fail me, I know that each day that Z grows smarter and more independent she is developing ways to thwart the rules and disciplines that we have set in place. I race through life, trying to stay on top of her new skills (locks on closet doors, taking bedrooms doors off of their hinges, covering the seat belt button when I strap her in so that she does not free herself to dance naked in the back of the car).

Until Z was about 18 months, I thought I was a super mom. I though I had it down pat. I could leave the house with nary a diaper bag (just a few diapers and a travel supply of wipes in my purse), spend the day with friends and their babies. My child never had a pacifier, she never cried in public, I thought she was perfect, I even started to think that I was.

And I think that everyone lives in that babymoon bubble for a while.

And then our children turn on us. They begin to climb things that shouldn't be climbed, have temper tantrums in the most awkward places, to talk back, to bite, hit, scratch and lie.

All children do this. It's about pushing boundaries, it's about trying to find their place in the pecking order of their worlds.

My point is that we mothers have to deal with this day in and day out, it wears on our frazzled nerves, our broken patience, our self esteem. We bloggers have a great way to dispel some of the frustrations that plague us, a way to vent all that is wrong with our parenting, our children, our lives. We have other mothers that offer support, suggestions, helpful shoulders to lean on when we are at our worst.

To tear one another down, to alienate other moms by placing ourselves on a pedestal is not the way that this community should function.

I know that I have never been anywhere in public where any mother has walked up to me and called me a "shitty ass parent" or my kid a "demon" - they may have thought it - but it was never spoken.

I am not sure if people feel protected by the anonymity of the internet and therefore feel that they can be people through this medium that they would never think to be in public, but it is mean, it is spiteful and it is counter-intuitive to the blogging culture.

Finally, we are all trying to do the same thing. We are trying to raise good, healthy, respectful children in an insane world. We are trying to teach them morals and values that we hold dear. We are trying to make sure that they stay alive to become the adults we know that they can be. And we are trying to do a good enough job that their college savings won't have to be used for therapy instead.

Can't we all play nice and attempt to be more understanding?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Lot Can Change In A Week

When I posted last Friday, I was still unemployed, although I knew that I would soon be starting a new job.

On Monday, I woke up, dressed professionally, applied makeup, filled water bottles and packed my lunch. I wore heels.

And I hit the ground running.

I have spent everyday this week doing the same thing.

I have a job now, I work with (mostly) adults. I have pleasant surface level conversations about my life, my family, the job. I have an office with a door and I am encouraged to pee in private.

I take lunches. I was treated out to lunch this week by some fabulous ladies from church.

Between last Friday and this Friday, I have learned that I am not as young as I used to be. I love caffeine far more than I realized I did (but after the withdrawals stopped, I started feeling pretty good). I can function on 3 hours of sleep a night (it is hard working an 8 hour day, spending time with my kid until fall asleep and then doing another 5-6 hours of work for my part-time job - but I will not complain, right now I am so blessed). I am really as good as I proclaimed myself to be at interview after interview (they are amazed at the ease I have had in picking up their procedures and systems).

I have shed the funk that I have carried for the last month. Maybe that's the makeup talking. Or the daily showers, because those are pretty freakin' awesome.

I have started walking during my breaks.

I plan on losing some weight.

I have goals.

If so much can change since last Friday - imagine what could happen by the end of the month, the end of the quarter, the end of the year.

I am excited, invigorated.

I can't wait to see what is in store for me.

Friday, October 7, 2011


When I was 28, I decided I would finally marry the guy I had been hanging out with since high school. We had been living together for 2 years and it seemed like the right time to make it official.

So when he said, "Why not?" one Sunday in September, I let him know that I was not playing. If we were gonna do it, he had to be serious.

The following Monday, I secretly made an appointment at the courthouse. I got all of the information, all of the prices. The only day that we both had off in the near future was my birthday.

I called and let him know and he agreed.

Over the next two weeks, we giggled about our secret. We told his parents first, although they chose not to believe us.

I called and told my dad, who, of course assumed that a) I was knocked up and b) that he was a drug dealer (sigh, I am from the South after all).

And on rainy Friday morning, the 7th of October, we went to the courthouse and got hitched.

I am glad that we did it, finally. I am happy to share my birthday with my wedding day (although the older I get the more childish it seems).

But there are things I wish the world would know.

I did not get married on my birthday to make it easier on my husband.

He did not marry me on my birthday to get out of giving me two gifts.

We did it because it was convenient, because all of our vacation had already been used up for the year and this was the only day that we could do it without having to lose pay.

Not that it really should matter. It's my birthaversary, not yours.

Besides, my momma must've liked it - she did the same thing 3 years later.

P.S. I will not be sad if my kid decides to run off to the courthouse and get married. My parents did it and they were married for 21 years, her dad and I did it, - it's kind of a family tradition at this point.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Clip'Em Already

On Saturday, I stood (in the relatively, for Florida, freezing cold weather) for over 2 hours while I waited for them to open.

On the first of the month, they give away vouchers to have your pet fixed for free. They only receive 20 vouchers a month. I was not giving up my space for anything.

The Hubs was the only male in our house until we got Oliver and I think he has had a change of heart about neutering the cat. He has stalled, fallen back asleep after I have left for work, bought a cardboard cat carrier instead of the indestructible plastic crates that people carry around these days. 

Everyday this week, the cat was supposed to be fixed.

And everyday this week I have been disappointed.

The cat stinks. 

I want him fixed or he will be banished to the yard.

I don't think it's that big of a task. Get a carrier, take to him to the vet between 7:30 and 9, go back, pay 13 bucks for the rabies shot and bring the cat home.

I have done it many times. 

I guess all I will get for my birthday (and anniversary) tomorrow is a fixed cat. 

It better be. Otherwise, they will both be living in the yard.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The House That Built Me

It was a little two bedroom house on a quiet street. It was wood and painted red. It was surrounded by good neighbors, camellia bushes, bamboo and other kids my age.

It was the house that I lived in between elementary school and seventh grade.

It was where I got scraped knees and a baby brother. It is where I got my period for the first time and where I finally had my own bed. It is where I learned to play the flute and study. It's where I built a fort hidden underneath the palm tree and the bamboo. It is where I collected camellia blossoms for my mother and sister. It is where I learned that I could sing and where I learned to shave my legs.

It's where I learned about the birds and bees, and watched kittens and puppies be born. It's where I got my Shadow cat on my 8th birthday.

This house is just another small house in our smallish town, but to me it represents the time between innocence and awareness, childhood and puberty. In this house, things that I had only slightly questioned before became clear.

It was in this house that I realized that "doing it" meant sex (something that had always been a rather vague mystery in the past). It's where I realized that school work was something that I would have to deal with on my own. It's where I realized that there were times to lie ("No, my parents are not home. No, I cannot take a message") and times to tell the truth ("I shaved my legs because I am in sixth grade and the teasing is relentless, and I don't need anything else that sets me apart from these mean girls").

It's where I learned that the abuses in my own home were not as hard to deal with as the abuses that could be dealt by really mean girls in middle school. The girls that I was just friends with a few months before.

It's where I developed a quick wit and a sharp tongue. It's where I started building walls to keep others from getting too close. It's where I learned to protect myself, my heart, from the ones that sought to break me.

And it was where I realized that the little black boy that walked me home everyday was not as bad as my father made him seem. That just like me, he was just trying to survive being a poor kid in a rich kid's school.

This house was the between, between being a child and becoming a teenager, between the me that played with dolls and the me that loved to write.

And, although I have lived in many other places over the years, this was truly the house that built me.

In response to the NaBloPoMo prompt: List two things (however close or far) that your childhood home is between.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In The Between

My family seems to function in the Between.

Between a rock and a hard place.

Between jobs.

Between ages.

Between now and Christmas.

And it is usually me that announces, "This is our reality right now and here is what we are gonna do to fix it".

It's not always the right decision, but sometimes it's the only decision to get from point A to point B.

I don't like the unsteadiness and uncertainty that the Between represents, it is scary and oftentimes to big for me to deal with. So I focus on now and on numbers and fixing the problem.

We seem to get stuck in the Whens.

When I get a job.

When we are both working full-time.

When Z gets older.

When the house gets cleaned and organized.

I just can't live like that. I can't find comfort in the Whens because there is always something around the bend.

Z likes to live in the yesterday. It's always yesterday. Unless it is tomorrow. Tomorrow is her When.

I want to teach her to appreciate the now, even if it is the Between. I want to teach her to take charge of the now, so that she won't ever have to deal with the uncertainty of the Between.

But first I have to teach myself to do that.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The 6 Minute Nap

Z has stopped taking naps. It's something I started when I lost my job and something that we would like to continue as long as possible. It leads to early and easier bedtimes.

Except on Mondays.

You see, I try to not take her anywhere after 4 PM as riding in the car usually leads to short naps that wreak havoc upon bedtime. And on Mondays, she has a dance class. At 5:30.

Today, after I got off from work, I picked her up after dance class and we drove home.

We chatted about our day and all of the cool things she and her dad did during the day. And then she stopped responding.

A check of the rearview mirror affirmed my fears. She was asleep.

Those 6 minutes of sleep lead to a recharging of her system that kept her awake for 3 hours past her usual bedtime. It kept me from being able to do the things that I needed to do tonight.

And now, I have a million things to do (pack up the cat so he can be neutered tomorrow, iron and lay out my clothes for in the morning, work on a project for my part-time job).

It's a good thing that tomorrow is still part of my learning curve and should be a light day. I will be going in with no sleep.

Too bad that 6 minutes won't help me out like that.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


This is the story that Z told me about she arrived in our family.

"I once was a baby lion and I lived in Ireland. My momma lion loved me very much and would lick my forehead all the time. I never really saw the daddy lion, but he was big and strong.

One day while I was walking along smelling flowers and chasing butterflies, a big bird with a very long mouth (beak) scooped me up and put me in his clouch."

"Clouch? What is a clouch?", I ask.

"A clouch is a bag that the birds carry to get things. They can't carry things in their mouths. Mouths are for eating. 

Stop asking questions, Momma. I am telling you something important.

So, the bird flew me very, very long way. Very far. And while we flew I turned into a human baby. All of my fur was gone and my tail disappeared. I was sad about my tail. I liked it a lot. 

When I was all human, the big bird delivered me to you at the hospital."

"Why was I in the hospital?"

"You were in the hospital because your heart was broked. You wanted a baby and when I got there, your heart was fixed and we could go home.

Do you think someday, when I am bigger that we could go back to Ireland so I can have my tail back? I really miss not having a tail."

I am not going to tell her that lions do not live in Ireland or that babies do not get brought in by birds. She will learn those things soon enough.

What matters is she knows how much we wanted her and that she was a missing part of my heart.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Workin' 9 to 5

After 4 months of unemployment, uncertainty and self-doubt, I finally got a job. I am excited about the position and thrilled to finally be going back into the workforce.

I am a little apprehensive about the idea of going back to work though.

In resumes, in interviews, you put your best possible self out there. You have days or weeks to contemplate your wording at interviews, you have all the time in the world to check, check and recheck your resume.

But for work, each and every day, your new employers are expecting to see that great candidate, that shining star that was so much better than all of the others.

What if I don't measure up?

What if, on day one, I walk in and they realize that I am not the one that they wanted after all?

What if the charm, the charisma, the quirky personality wears thin on my new employers?

How will I be able to keep them interested in having me around?

I know that a lot of this is pre-new job jitters, but having been disposed of, having been discarded like so much old news after interview after painful interview, I worry that I am not as great, as shiny as I once believed I was.

I am going to go back to work.

I am going to love being around adults again.

And showering daily.

And actually changing out of my pajamas.

But it is a very scary step out of the unemployment line into the workforce.

It feels like jumping off of a cliff.

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