Mama really does know best…

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We have our Summer Bucket-list going strong… We’ve made a fair amount of progress already, considering school has only been out for one full week. What began as a countdown until days of sleeping in and low expectations, aside from our sixteen year old’s part-time job that is, too roughly a week to spur immense negativity and complaints about nothing to do.

Here’s the reality, this sweet girl of ours has a small collection of chores. While we know kids who have a lot more, she boasts of kids who have a lot less. It’s pretty much neither here nor there because either she does them (well) and maintains a level of kindness and decent attitude while taking responsibility for her choices or she doesn’t. One path results in privileges, the other one results in none. It’s pretty simple. It’s pretty old school. She loves to get off on a tangent about how other kids down have to deal with that, to which I’ll simply reply “right, but do they make the same choices you’re making as often as you’re making them that led to the necessity of this plan in the first place?” Sometimes I’ll get a mouthy but I’m sixteen… And I’ll sadly sigh and say “My point exactly kiddo, you should know better. {Parenting can be so fun!}

Last week our major issue was that she constantly interrupted me during my work (at home) hours to entertain her. Would I play a game with her. Would I watch a movie with her. Would I take her shopping. Would I ________…She knew that I had time carved out EVERY DAY for those things, unless she had something else planned. This is not her first school break. She was just bored and wanted to be entertained. When this wouldn’t pan out for her and we would both wind up frustrated, she would retreat to bed where she would want to spend the rest of the day sleeping, reading or looking incessantly at her yearbook. We, her parents, saw many issues with this plan but decided to see if she’d iron it out herself, though one big issue was come ten at night she was full of energy and wanting to stay up and be active for the next several hours.

Yesterday, as we settled back into the routine after a weekend away, this cycle started again and I told her to go find something constructive to do. Sure enough, a few minutes later, I walked by her bedroom and she’s once again gone to bed, with her yearbook. I went in and walked to her about the beautiful gift she’s been given, of a brain that functions brilliantly and a strong body that works. I told her she has the whole summer ahead of her and we won’t allow her to waste it. That if she ends up worn out or exhausted, that warrants a nap, but every day laziness from boredom isn’t a reason. I also explained to her that I work so that she can have and do things, and she needs to respect that as much as I respect her school and work time. I pointed out that her needing me, or a friend to entertain her isn’t any different from lying around. This was not a discussion she was thrilled with. If you have a teen girl like mine, extremes were run to and before I know it she’s telling me that I’ve forbidden her from reading over the summer. My daughter is a BOOK WORM. I would never… But I did tell her she would not be going to bed to read anymore. She could read on the floor, in a chair, on the couch, in the yard, under a tree, on the deck, in the hammock, at the park, in the car, in the tub. Anywhere but bed.

I’m such a horrible mother…

Today she motivated herself to do some yard work, she laid on a quilt in the yard and did some fashion sketching and then she read. This afternoon we played the WiiU for a couple of hours and then she offered to help her dad with some more yard work. After her shower she said “I am exhausted, I will sleep good tonight!” And I smiled. Not only does she feel better going to bed tonight, but she likely feels better about herself too…

A silent rage…

There are things that happen in the world, to people we know and people we love, which we aren’t always at liberty to talk about. This is a world of injustice, where pride takes precedence in a person’s job performance over integrity. Perceptions become less and less about fact or honesty and more clouded with our own personal feelings and the way we see it.

The way one sees it is no reason to mess with someone’s life.

I am angry.

I am angry because someone, and therefore a collection of someones, is messing with my family. Their only motive has been because in their attempt to bully, they were stood up to, so they decided to bully back harder. This is not right. We live in a world, anymore, where the systems put in place to advocate for the people seldom do advocate for the people. This isn’t anti- law enforcement or any one particular agency, this is concern for a broken system. A financially draining system that bleeds the tax payer dry and then doesn’t blink an eye when they wreak havoc and make lives hell out of their own personal vendetta simply because their pride was wounded or their feathers ruffled.

It takes one second to change the course of an entire life, since when did the focus become something other than working together to make the world a better place? Why isn’t that the goal? Why can’t that be the goal? When we see someone innocent who is hurting, why can’t the powers that be and the people who care work together to problem solve a solution? Why must it be an ego play and power trip? Why, why, why?

My heart is sad at the world we live in. At the mess of a system that has foster children sleeping in hotel rooms and the floors of social worker’s offices, and yet every day we hear of them intervening and disrupting families that have done nothing wrong, and causing forever damage to these children and parents… The system exists for a reason, but this reason is being abused. We have a far-too-large government with so many employees and yet it takes light years to get anything done, and when it finally does is it really for the best interest of anyone?

I hate, more than anything, when people I love are hurt. I want to get angry and do something about it, but I admit my powerlessness because I can’t. This system is a monster that we cannot change. We will lose, every time. Even when we win a fight against it, we’ve lost something. Time, money, tears, heartache, heart scars, innocence… And they never really lose because these people are a mix. They are an assortment of the ones who truly care, but whose hands are tied, and the vindictive pot-stirrers who have nothing to lose anyway because, at the end of the day, they still get their paycheck and it’s just another day at the office.

Let us recognize… {a giveaway}

I know that on occasion I am really lucky to be able to offer giveaways to you guys, and I LOVE that! Sometimes I get the privilege of sharing with you a book or movie that I really loved, which are the best of all. Today I’m doing a giveaway that is quite special to me.

American Sniper is a film inspired by the memoir and life of Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy Seal. Through his several tours in the Iraq war we are given an honest look at one man’s journey as a husband, father and hero and the toll that being all three can take on a man. Bradley Cooper does an amazing performance, Directed by Clint Eastwood, there are many reasons this film received so much critical recognition.


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AMERICAN SNIPER

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AMERICAN SNIPER

On a personal note, I’m not sure that I’ve ever cried harder in a movie, even though I knew the ending already, nor have I been more inspired to just be a better person…

On May 19th American Sniper will be released on BluRay & DVD. With the sale of every copy, Warner Brothers will be donating $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project. The WWP is an organization very dear to my heart. Over the years I’ve met several vets who have had their lives significantly changed because of what the WWP does. American Sniper was one of the most moving films I saw last year (you guys know I watch a lot of movies), and this means that if a million people buy copies of the DVD, then that is a MILLION DOLLARS going to help our wounded vets! It’s an easy campaign to get behind! (If you’d like to order your copy now, go here.)

American Sniper 3D Box Art

To enter to win your copy, leave a comment here about a vet (ANY vet) you know. It can be a spouse, child, father, neighbor, guy you met in the supermarket, yourself… Anyone… TWEET the giveaway and link back here with your tweet and you will get an extra entry.

Entry DEADLINE is Sunday May 17th, 12p.m. EST.

Make sure you have an email address link back in your comment so that I can contact you if you win!

Good luck! Now share!

The one where Mother’s Day happens…

nQZcA7PRTyuduZPSZQ88_wanderlustI was called yesterday for another job interview. Whatever made me start applying for any and every job, I’ll never know. I guess I just felt desperate. At any rate, this job isn’t one I’d actually want. LOTS of travel and that’s just not conducive with our life. I didn’t even mention it to Chw. He’s pretty adamant that he wants me to stay home and write. I’d love that too, if writing had a weekly or bi-weekly pay check which actually paid the bills. So, I’m at a loss…

Gen had surgery last week and her recovery has been less than ideal. Before surgery she envisioned a week of popsicles, tv binge watching and ease. While I was a bit more realistic about her projected recovery, I did imagine myself with a lot of productive free time on my hands for some quiet reno projects and writing. We both couldn’t have been much farther off. She told me this morning (recovery day five) that she wished she were dead, and while I know my daughter has a flair for the dramatic, I also know this has been incredibly hard. Between the high fevers, rashes, bouts of choking on drainage from her septoplasty, which in turn deeply hurts her tonsillectomy recovery and plummets her into fits of sobbing (helping neither situation at all), it’s been bad. She doesn’t want me out of the room she’s in, and within a foot or two from her is better. She’s whiny (understandably) and in so much pain. The doctor wanted her eating soft food by day four, but at this point she will still only manage incredibly small amounts of jello, squeeze pouch applesauces* or slushies and I don’t see this changing any time soon…

(*random question/curiosity about squeeze pouch applesauce. Whats the deal? She takes them in her lunches, which is fine. When the tonsilectomy slid onto the docket I bought jars of applesauce though, because it just made sense economically. Each time we tried it, she cried and couldn’t eat it because it hurt so bad. Finally yesterday I bought some squeeze pouch (because she eats them in her lunches, we were out) and she ate it fine. What’s the difference? It wasn’t psychological because she loves applesauce in general and didn’t ask for the SP over the jarred…)

Moving on…

I’ve managed a whole lot of nothing. In the last five days I’ve:

– argued with my husband.

– gotten frustrated. (more than once)

– eaten fast food (which I hate, unless it’s Chick Fil A, which we don’t have.)

– cried.

– felt miserable. (I actually have a pretty fierce cold, though I think it’s on the mend)

– wanted to throw my phone at something. A lot. (crappy service in our house.) Of course I didn’t, and why? Because I don’t have a job and to replace my phone would cost real money.

– laughed at my daughter, a lot. Her recovery has been full of comedy. At first this wasn’t intentional on her part (as anyone with a kid whose had anesthesia can attest) but since then, her sense of humor has been amazing. When she’s not whiny. (again, who can blame her?)

– found Coke Life. Hello… AMAZING.

– Worked on our half bath. This is our latest, and possibly most frustrating of reno projects. (was supposed to be our quickest/easiest. We’re fools to think…) Mostly Chw worked on it, and I cheered him on, brought him cool beverages and occasional food and did little things. It’s ALMOST done, and I’m thrilled. Hoping, by the weekend. We’re also putting in a garden though, and so that takes priority over the finishing touches on the bath.

– watched a LOT of Friends.

– seen half a dozen Hallmark movies.

– Realized it’s pretty hard to sit and watch tv when you have a ton of things to do. Sometimes though, (these times) sitting and watching tv is the right thing to do.

All in all, I’ve learned a lot about motherhood this week. From my life of homebound (mostly) boredom, television and lack of adult interaction, but also from my older daughter. Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever journeyed through, and as a mother watching my daughter (who is an amazing mother) on her own journey is proving to be difficult as well.

Maybe Mother’s Day should be less about Hallmark cards and little gifts and more about personal milestones where we as moms sit back and reflect on another year and what we’ve trudged through, and how we’ve overcome. This world is full of weak moms who hurt or lose their kids, and then it is sprinkled with amazing women who pick up those pieces and mend the broken hearted babies with love and effort. Here’s to us… We may not be perfect, or even great but at least we did something good. Even when it’s just watching reruns on tv and coercing our sixteen year old to try another sip of water…

Intentionally speaking often leads to…

Sometimes my brain only makes sense to me, and sometimes I have the most honorable and best of intentions. There are times when these things play out in my favor. Then, as I’m sure we all know, in our own ways, there are other times…

My life, lately, is an other time

After we lost the first house we were trying to buy, back in November, along with our savings, things looked a little bleek. What we needed was a time of respite to regroup and plan, but what we had was a lot of pressure from several directions, pretty much no money and even less time.

Some people do their best functioning under pressure. I may not be one of those people. At least not this sort of pressure… We ended up in a mortgage plan that wasn’t what we felt remotely comfortable with, in a house we weren’t at all excited about and with even more pressure heaped on our shoulders because of all of the renovation work that needed done NOW. Then, just when we thought we could breathe for five minutes, we learned that we had every major appliance breaking, water heater and well problems, furnace issues, a sick daughter and the list goes on and on.

That cliché’ statement about how God doesn’t give you more than you can handle? It’s bologna. I reached the limit of what I could handle months ago, and I shut down. I wasn’t my best self, I wasn’t myself. My blog sat quiet, my life sat quiet. My marriage became a conversation about money, parenting struggles and home repair.

It’s frustrating when you do the right thing and it blows up in your face. Like trying to be there for your ailing parent by creating a home for them. Like giving your landlord six months notice because it’s the nice thing to do. Good intentions are great, but they are not certainties that things will work out. Was it a mistake to offer to bring my mom out here? Probably. But what was the alternative? We haven’t learned the answer to that. We’ve had the worst eight months of our lives as a result of trying to do the right thing, and the end isn’t in sight. Our sixteen year old has not been exempt from what she has lost/sacrificed as a result of this mess and yet we keep going because, well, what choice do we have?

We desperately need that ten grand we lost last November, and are sort of fumbling through life, trusting and trying not to worry…

And so, my brain made sense to me and my intentions were good when I accepted a job that had me working weekends and a weekday or two. The shifts were doable, and it was temporary. I would make nowhere near the money we needed, but it was money. With Chw traveling, often weekends are our only time together and this was a devastating development but we agreed (together) that the ease of some of the financial stress may be the balance of the lack of time. I went in to the job being assured flexibility when I needed it, and knowing that in return weekends would be a given. I was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for was the belittling when I needed to put a date regarding Gen’s school schedule (three weeks out) on the calendar so I wasn’t scheduled. Every time something like that came up, it was an issue. Then, as fate would have it, I was side swiped by a woman pulling out of Target.

Anyone who has had a car accident knows what follows… Adjuster meetings, physical therapy appointments, auto body shop appointments, etc. And then I thought, what about physicals? Dental appointments? Repairmen scheduled at my house? It would be stress forever, and I would be continually disrespected and insulted every time I had to be a mom or, God forbid, take care of myself… So, I quit. Which was both really sad because I had fallen INSTANTLY in love with the company and was excited to be there, and a tremendous relief because the amount of anxiety/stress that dealing with my boss had caused was so unhealthy.

It was after my decision that my husband said he didn’t want me to work outside of the home. But, the money. And then he shared the stress it put him on to imagine juggling everything that I take care of, and trying to manage our lives while he’s traveling, not to mention how we’d never be able to visit our out-of-town daughter and her family, (something I hadn’t even thought of). So, the reality is I need to try to make MORE money from home. Work HARDER at home. This completely overwhelms the crap out of me, and so my knee-jerk reaction is to look the other way.

And seriously, I’m not going to lie, I was really looking forward to interacting with adults out there in the outside, on a regular basis. Ha…

But anyway, my point with this harrowing story is that life is not the way our agenda bullet-points it out to be, and sometimes that really sucks, but it’s also ok. Are we happy about this mortgage nightmare? no. But, we ended up loving this house. Though I’m not a fan of living in a reno zone, I absolutely love what we have done. And do you remember wayyyy back when I shared how Gen HATED the prospect of our house and how she would never have a friend over? Well she is so surprised by how much she loves our house that she brings it up quite often. It’s home. It’s a work in progress, but it’s home… If we knew, a year ago, what we know now, would we do things differently? Yes. But I think we’d still want to end up sleeping under this very roof so we’ve got to trust at least something is headed in the right direction…