Friday, July 29, 2011

Reasons I Should Not Kill My Kids

I'm not writing this for you, I'm writing this for me. Every once in awhile I need a reminder.

1. I would not fair well in prison and I really don't wanna be somebody's bitch. A bitch? Sure. But I don't like  the idea of ownership of bitches in prison.

2. No one looks good in the pictures on the front page of the paper.

3. I can't afford a good enough lawyer to go to a posh prison.

4. My mom would be PISSED.

5. Orange makes me look washed out.

6. I hate doing laundry for five, let's not even think about laundry for hundreds.

7. I don't know how to make license plates.

8. I get stage fright when it comes to peeing in front of others.

9. I absolutely refuse to take a shower in a room full of naked women.

10. No midnight snacks.

11. I think you only get one pillow. Who the hell can sleep with only one pillow?

12. I wouldn't have grandchildren, and I'm counting on revenge. It's the only thing that keeps me sane.

13. ...

Ok, well that's all I got. Apparently there are only 12 reasons not to murder my kids. That's not very compelling.

After thought- There is no alcohol in prison, none that I would put in my mouth anyway, but there are plenty of drugs so I'm not sure if that's a pro or a con. Further analysis is needed on this topic. I also think this topic needs a 'pro' list, I'll work on that.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Disillusioned Goals

When I was a kid we lived down the road from a family who sent their kids to an academy. I remember watching them come home in their fancy uniforms and shoes, carrying their laptops and cellos, and I would sit there and stare longingly. I wanted to be an "academy kid" more than anything I had ever wanted in my entire life. I remember begging my mom, to no avail, although she did let me go there for one day to check it out and see what I thought. I loved it, as I expected, but when I told her that it still didn't change her mind. My yearning to be an academy kid lasted until I graduated from a regular plain old boring public high school and I have never forgotten my insane desire to be one of them. I don't know if it was because I wanted to stand out, maybe it was a status thing, or an attention thing, I'm not sure what I found so irresistible about it, but I needed it, I dreamed about it... it was a sickness.

As I got older and became a mom I sort of pushed that aside, after all there are bigger fish to fry than a stupid childhood fantasy, right? My children attended, or are attending as the case may be, a regular public preschool with no uniforms or fancy classes. Their mainstream education has been a blessing to us and I have watched them grow and change in ways over the years that have literally taken my breath away at some points. We have been lucky to get some amazing teachers who I can't say enough wonderful things about. Especially Miss Valeri, I'd move her in if I could and I'm more excited than words can say to have the baby in her class next fall. She did miraculous things with my son and my youngest is desperately in need of some Miss Val treatment.

However, when my oldest graduated preschool and we started looking into kindergarten I was hit in the face with memories of  my "academy kid" dream. We started her in a public kindergarten program because we assumed we could never afford a private school and then we ended up taking her out halfway through the year due to some issues with her teacher, who was physically aggressive and verbally inappropriate. This is in no way connected to the school, just some unresolved personal issues, perhaps she has daddy issues, who knows. Anyway, I homeschooled my daughter for the last half of the year, I even had her testing at 1st and 2nd grade levels at the age of 4. Homeschooling, even for half a year, was great and I enjoyed every minute of it- the planning, the collecting activities and lessons, and especially the carrying out of said lessons. As much as I loved it, I knew I could never do that for the rest of my life or with all three kids, so we were back to looking at schools again for the fall.

I finally managed to do some research and found an academy to send her to. She was accepted and will be starting kindergarten there this year. Now let me tell you what's so damn special about an academy now that I know first hand. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Finding and buying uniforms is becoming a pain in my ass, there are no buses so I have to drive her both ways every day,  and their website is always down- which wouldn't be a big deal except I can't even know when school starts if I don't go to the website. It turns out that an academy is just as crappy as my school was, just with funny shoes.

Tonight we're having an "Academy Family Event." Yup, we are going to go play on the playground in the rain and eat popsicles. I am thrilled about this, just effin thrilled. It's not that I don't think this is a great idea. The premise is that the kids will be able to meet their classmates and have some time to play and perhaps forge some new friendships. This is a wonderful idea. I just think it could have been postponed since it's been raining for almost 48 hours. Then again, perhaps it was postponed and I just can't go to the website and find that out, this is also plausible. Either way, I am preparing to drag myself and my children to a playground in the rain where we will eat frozen things. Yay.

The moral to the story is one we've all heard a thousand times. The grass is always greener on the other side... be happy with what you've got... or... be careful what you wish for. These all apply to me, but you should find the one that fits your day and then twist this story to be relevant to you.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Why are my kids so damn helpless??? This pisses me off to no freakin end! What the fuck?! Do you seriously, at the age of 5, need me to talk you through how to use the bathroom?! Here's how this goes every single time-

Her- "OK, I peed, momma."
Me, from the other room- "Ok...did you wipe?"
Her- "No."
Me- "Well, don't you think you should do that?"
This is followed by a few moments of silence, and then..
Her- "Momma?"
Me- "What?"
Her- "I peed."
Me- "Yeah, I know. Did you wipe yet?"
Her- "No."
This is followed by silence as I dialogue in my head- Stupid m-fing... idiot... ape child.. on and so forth
Me- "Then WIPE!!"
Her- "Ok... I wiped."
Me- "Stand up, put your clothes on, flush, and wash your hands!"
Her- "Ok."
Few moments of silence..

We have to go through this for every step, every single time this girl uses the bathroom. Then she's usually sent back into the bathroom because she didn't use soap to wash her hands. Keep in mind that she's been doing this on her own for 2 FREAKING YEARS!!! I swear to God that someday I'm going to snap and end up saying or doing something to this child that lands me in jail. I cannot understand why on earth her 4 year old brother and 2 year old sister can handle this without fail and she cannot, but it drives me up the friggin wall.

She is also the child who commonly pees on herself. Not when she's sleeping, no, when she's awake and playing. She tells me this is because she'd rather pee on herself than stop playing. Seriously?! Moron! I don't know what the hell to do with her anymore. Here again, her brother and sister have no problem staying dry throughout the day, and her sister started potty training on June 2nd. I don't even know how to explain this- my vocabulary does not cover the depth of idiocy that must be accomplished to make this child act this way. She will be 6 this year and ENJOYS peeing on herself. WHAT THE FUCK!!

On the upside, this is where it becomes handy to have adopted. See, she was 3 when she came to live with us and had not potty trained yet. We started working on that a month later. Not that 3 is late, but our other kids potty trained at 2 with huge success and perhaps the being ready portion of the program is a little genetic and she WAS ready at 2. There are all sorts of studies out there that say if you miss the time frame when your kid is ready for something big, like potty training, you can't get that time back and the end result of trying when it's "too late" will never be flawless. It's very handy for me to just blame this crap on the bio family. I have no idea if it's true or not, but how nice that my kids come with build in scapegoats because quite frankly if I had no one else to blame for her stupidity than her, she would be in a world of hurt. Momma ain't raisin' no dumb kids!!

Thanks for allowing me to vent at you instead of at her.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Facebook Announcement!

I have recently started a Facebook for the blog. It's a better place to keep up with me as I am always on Facebook. Be sure to like me there.

Looking for more reasons to 'like' the Facebook page?

I know how to post pictures on Facebook and I can't figure it out on here.
I'm linked to all my favorite sites so you can like them too.
I get a little more inappropriate on Facebook.
There will be pictures of life around here on there shortly, and you know you wanna see them.
Periodically my hubby will post on there, and don't you want to hear from the man that has to deal with me on a daily basis?
I often post free samples and other cool couponing info.

If that isn't reason enough then I want you to ask yourself, "why am I even reading this in the first place??"

Hope to see you all on Facebook soon!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Most Awesome Awesomeness

I have been a slacker lately with all the not posting. Sorry about that. My life has been so freaking awesome that I've just been busy soaking it all in.

Earlier this week we had my son's appointment with his surgeon/specialist to discuss that surgery that was going to keep him from walking for 4-6 weeks, remember that? Well, you'll never guess what happened! My son is fine, he doesn't need any surgery for any reason, and I have zero reason to worry- for now and the foreseeable future. Awesome, huh?! We were so excited. I cried all the way home, which I had planned on doing anyway, but they were real tears of relief and that was a pleasant surprise. The surgeon was upset with the situation and said that the hardest part of his job was writing an appropriate response to the doctor. He also left me with quite a few "words of wisdom" for the stupid man that had sent us there to begin with. You know the scariest part about going to a doctor? 50% of all doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class. It's a fact. Regardless of that though that day was awesome #1.

Awesome #2 was the huge family party yesterday. In July the entire family gets together for a day of swimming and eating to celebrate six birthdays. It's super fun and the kids love it. As an adult I like to see everyone and catch up, especially since some of them we only see one time a year. As usual my kids seemed to be the center of attention and they ate it up with a spoon. One on one attention is hard to come by in our house and they love it anytime they can get it. For the most part they just stayed in the pool and didn't have much to do with me, but after people started going home my daughters spent some time in the backyard picking flowers for me. Sweet, huh? Yeah, until we discovered that they were removing the flowers from Grandma's garden. Oops!

Awesome #3- I had the house to myself today! I had to set the alarm for 7 am on a Sunday, but it was so worth it. Everyone was gone by 8 am. My hubby came home around 5, but we aren't picking the kids up until tomorrow. I can't even remember the last time I had a day to myself. I enjoyed every second of it, even if it did fly by entirely too fast. I did absolutely nothing except sit on my ass and watch a marathon of Swamp People, which I love. I suppose I did do some laundry, but that doesn't really count as getting things done as it's the only thing, on my daily list of at least 8 things, that I did.

I just thought I'd check in and let you know that I haven't disappeared- I've just been living the high life, which leaves me too busy to talk to you all- my imaginary friends. I have a feeling that life will be back to it's shitty norm soon enough and we will be talking daily again. Until then my friends!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stress Free Parenting

Today started TV Boot Camp at our house. This is by far the most amazing thing I've ever come up with as a parent. Originally we had decided on this after months of, "But I neeeeeeed tv!!" whine, whine, whine- and then when we shut the tv off... temper tantrums and crying. Insanity in my home!! I came up with Boot Camp, as retaliation basically, and I have never been happier.

We have changed our daily schedule and it's posted everywhere in our house. For the next 6 weeks, that's how long boot camp is, right?, this is our new schedule:

9:30 am- Breakfast
10:15- 10:30 am- Kids clean up after breakfast- this includes washing the table
10:30- 11 am- Journaling- which they love so this isn't really a punishment
11:00- 11:30 am- independent reading- they also love this
11:30- 12:30 pm- free play- self explanatory
12:30- 1:30 pm- chore time- today my oldest is vacuuming, the boy is cleaning bathrooms, and the baby is     scrubbing marker off the wall that she thought belonged there
1:30 pm- lunch
2:15- 2:30- kids clean up again
2:30- 4:30- nap time- my favorite!!
4:30- 5:30pm- free play
5:30- 6:30 pm- chore time again-this one isn't so much chores as it is learning, we're going to learn what it takes to take care of all of our pets, and then we're going to go through the basics of doing laundry
6:30- dinner
7:15- 7:30- you guessed it- they're cleaning up
7:30- 8:00 pm- journaling
8:00- 8:15 pm- group reading- my oldest and I will take turns
8:15- 8:30- brushing teeth, getting on pj's, etc.
8:30- bed time

It's strict, but I think it's fair. I tried to have time for them to do things they love, and also to pay me back for having an attitude with me about the freaking tv for months and months now. If I had known that parenting could be this easy, I would have done this years ago. I knew kids needed a schedule, but it's been so awesome to see how quickly this has changed their attitudes. They're all so easy going, relaxed, and happy. After the punishment/ chore part of this is over, I'm going to revamp it to work for daily use!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today I feel contented. Perfectly at one with everything around me- my husband, my children, my job and my home. I don't often feel like this so I'm going to marinate in it for awhile.

I was driving home from work tonight, an hour drive, when I was all of a sudden blindsided with giggly happiness. Out of nowhere, for no reason. In fact, this week has been a little emotionally tough. I have a cat that I have had since before I even knew my husband existed and he's on his way out. His liver is failing, he stopped eating a month ago, to be honest with you I'm not sure how he's still here. That has been tough on everyone, but it's not the only thing going on around here. On Thursday my son has an appointment with a specialist and a surgeon. We're not going into details, but he's looking at surgery this summer which will leave him unable to walk for 4-6 weeks and might leave him with the need for prescription drugs for the rest of his life. This has been the hardest thing for me to deal with. This is my very first kid/surgery experience and I am NOT handling it like a champ. I'm just completely losing it. I can't focus, I can't function, I just want to sit and cry, not that I've done that at all, I still have to parent and therefore there is little to no time for pity parties. Suffice it to say that this week has sucked and I was floored by the sudden giggling.

I have come to realize in the last few hours how blessed I am, and how thankful I should be. At first glance you might not think I have much to be really thankful for. We live in the "projects", I work one day a week and make no money, my kids are falling apart, my pets are falling apart, but here's the truth of the matter.

I am happy to be in the projects because this is where I'm most needed. This is where I do the most good. I was meant to be here right now. It is right that I am here. It is good that the teenagers take over my porch to the point that even I can't be on it. I'm the only parental influence a lot of them have, not due to drug addicted parents or anything, but their parents are working two jobs, or even more and aren't home a lot, and I know that the kids appreciate the relationship that we've forged in the last two years, even if they sometimes complain about it. I often have knocks on my door throughout the day from them, asking for advice, asking if I'd just sit and listen to them and I am all too happy to do so. Through interaction with my neighbors I have learned that it isn't just worthless welfare moms out here as I had been raised to think, it's families that are struggling and surviving, making the most of what little they have, making happiness and laughter out of nothing but togetherness. Our families are lucky. Lucky to be together, lucky to have people by our side even if things aren't easy and we don't have it all. I was raised in the suburbs in a fairly well off family and all we got from our neighbors was judgement. If our cars weren't upgraded every few years, people talked. If our house wasn't an acceptable color, people talked. I have never once run into that in the projects. In fact, the only thing I've run into here is people wanting to help, to chat, to be the neighbors you see on old time tv shows. More than once a neighbor has said,"You know, I'm an out of work mechanic so if you ever want me to work on your car, you buy the parts and I'll do it." Or, "I'm an unemployed lawn guy, want me to help you with your garden?" No, they aren't asking for anything in return. The greatest thing about the recession has been the flipping of the projects from horribly scary ghetto to nice ex-middle class families who are just having some trouble right now. I'm not saying we don't have the scary people, but the nice ones band together and chase them out pretty quickly. I'm proud to live here with these people and tell their story when everyone else is trying to forget them. It's not the story of an unlucky few, it's the story of all of us and no one should be allowed to sweep the dark parts under the rug, even if it's not the perfect fairy tale we wanted. No true stories ever are.

I am also lucky to have my job, not because I'm working, although that's certainly true, but because of who I interact with there and what I learn. I do TNR, which stands for Trap Neuter Return. It's a program that works with stray and feral cats and their human neighbors. The neighbors will trap the cat, bring it to us, we fix it and make it healthy, and return it to them to put back out. Why do we return it? There are a few reasons, one of which is that cats are territorial- we've all seen this on the Discovery Channel in lions and other big cats. If you take a cat out of it's territory a new cat will take over. The new cat will not be fixed and will then be having litter after litter, making more "nuisance" cats. I'm not sure about every city, but in my city most feral cats are living downtown in the poorest areas, therefore that's who I deal with most often. It is amazing to me how people who have nothing will scrounge up a way to get a cat to us, call and check on that cat, and give that cat a home after it's fixed and healed. They often choose to become volunteers and work with us. I have often heard it said that those with the least give the most, now I know without a doubt that it is true. I'm aware that this is the reason that the rich get richer and the poor stay poor, but in the end I'd rather be poor and generous with great neighbors than be rich and greedy with judgement at every turn.

Another thing that makes me so darn lucky is my husband. He is the most to say the least. He works hard for us, sometimes for 14 hours a day or more, and comes home every night without fail. He doesn't spend his days off golfing or hanging out with friends, he spends them with his kids. He is the best daddy that a kid could ask for. He loves playing with toys, getting dirty and wrestling, he lets them do his hair in princess barrettes and ponytails, paint his nails, and he has never once shied away from changing a diaper, potty training, or cleaning up puke. As a husband he is devoted like no other, dotes on me, cooks and cleans, and is always kind, patient, and understanding. When I first told him I wanted to start a blog he was more than supportive, he even said, yes this is a direct quote from a middle-of-the-day-for-no-reason text, "I'd read it every day, and I wouldn't care what you wrote about. I'm your biggest fan and you know I think everything you do is amazing." Not that we don't fight and argue or do things that leave the other in complete and utter shock, but at the end of the day I know that he'll always be there and he'll always think that I'm the greatest thing that has ever graced this planet. How lucky can a girl get?

When I look at it all that way, there isn't much about my life that isn't incredible and I'm glad that today I was smacked in the face with that revelation. Sometimes we all just need a little reminder. Even when things aren't perfect, they're perfectly how they should be.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Further Adventures in Not-So-Extreme Couponing

Ok, I know I've already done this, but this time we're gonna be a little serious, if I can pull it off that is. Here is some more important tips of the trade, and also some opinions thrown in for good measure.

First, the opinions. I'm sure we've all seen Extreme Couponing on TLC, right? In fact, if you're like me, that's what got you started on this whole couponing venture. Now, let me tell you why that show is bs. Have you ever thought, what do they do with 93 bottles of hot sauce?? Let me tell you the answer. They get it free and sell it at a garage sale. Seriously. Sure, some of them "donate" some of it to the less fortunate, but the vast majority make money off of it. I never knew that was true until I started joining coupon sites on Facebook and getting the invites to the sales that these people hold. Those of us who coupon for real can't stand those people, we call them shelf cleaners or shelf wipers. If you're going to coupon, don't do that. It makes you a douche and no one will like you. There are people out there who depend on couponing to feed their family and if you come along and take all 105 boxes of mac and cheese we're going to want to hit you with our cars, so don't. If you think that no one liking you isn't a big deal.. think again. Couponing is a social experience- we trade coupons, let each other know about sales, trade tips, workshops are held.. you'll want friends. Got it? No douchebaggery!

Now for the tips. I kinda glossed over the organizing and planning part in my last go around with this so today we're going to get really in-depth. When I sit down to plan I take up the entire dining room table and cover the top of it with a notebook, calculator, my coupon organizer and the ads. (At this point I have already gone through my paper, clipped my coupons, and put them in the organizer.) First, I go through the ads and write down everything that more than one store has in their ad. When choosing which store you're going to go with there are a few things to keep in mind- The size of the product, the price, if there are any bonuses for buying, and of course if you have a coupon. Remember I don't buy anything unless it's on sale AND I have a coupon. There are exceptions to that rule of course, such as milk, and every once in awhile I like to splurge on something we love. My most common splurges are pizza rolls and drumsticks, the ice cream kind. It's good for the soul to treat yourself occasionally I think.

I'll give you an example from this weeks ad. Meijer has Tide detergent 50 oz.on sale for $5.99, and Target has Tide 100 oz. detergent on sale for $12. At first this seems like the exact same price per oz., but Target is offering a $5 gift card for every two that you buy. I also have two $1 off of 2 coupons. I'm buying my Tide at Target this week since the gift cards and coupons will ad up to me getting one for free. Your decision will be impacted by your household budget. Originally I will be paying more money it's true, but I'll be getting twice as much which means I can go longer in between buying it again, and our budget this week will allow that to work. Whatever decision you make will be based on your own situation, but these are the decisions that you'll be facing. Catching on? Now go through every duplicate item and decide where/if you're buying it.

Once I've made my list of duplicate sale items and decided which store I'm buying each thing at, the real fun starts. There are a few different ways to do this, but I'm only detailing the one I like the best. You can either go through your ad, looking for coupons as you go- or go through your coupons, consulting your ad as you go. I think everyone has their own way of doing it, but what works for me is to open all of my ads up to the same section- usually ads are split up into dairy, meat, cleaning products, produce, etc.- and then pull all of my coupons out from that section of my organizer. I look at every ad and pull out every coupon I have for anything that's in the ad. Then I start comparing. Today for instance, Pantene is on sale. I have seven $1 off of 2 coupons, and five $1 off of 1 coupons. The $1 off 1 is a better deal so I'm using all of those and put the other seven back in my organizer. Just because you have a coupon, doesn't mean you have to use it. You're NOT saving money if you're buying things you wouldn't normally buy, or buying just to use your coupons.

When I'm making my lists, I try to make them as complete as possible. A typical line on my list would look like this:
Tide detergent 100 oz. (4) 2 cpns
I make sure to include what, what size, how many, and cpn stands for coupon, cpns= coupons- that way I can make sure at the checkout that I have the right number of coupons for what I'm buying. It also speeds up shopping. I know when I get to that aisle exactly what I'm looking for and how many I need to buy, this eliminates trying to do math in my head in the middle of the store and also digging through my coupons unnecessarily. Since you only buy when it's on sale and you have a coupon, it's very easy for you to calculate exactly what you'll be spending. In all honesty, sometimes I add it up, and sometimes I don't. It's not mandatory, at least not for me.

Once you're done with the ads it's time for online coupons, if you're going to use them, and also the store card- some stores have a coupon program with only coupons that they offer. If you have a store you frequent, it's worth it to sign up. This is where your coupon friends come in handy. There a few different sites I use that go through and post links to the online coupons for you, it cuts down on literally hours of time. They also do match-ups, I don't use them, but I can see where it could be handy. My understanding of match ups are these people basically go through the ads, and the coupons and tell you where they 'match up'. I only have Facebook links for these, although most of them do have websites. My favorites are: 
Coupon Mom-
Bargains to Bounty-
Cleverly Simple-
Midwest Coupon Chick-

Please make sure that if you visit their site and use what they have to offer (you should, they're fantastic!!)- that you tell them thank you. They put in hours and hours of work so that you don't have to. See? I told you it was good to have friends.

More tips? It is important to have a separate list for each store. I use 3 ads- Meijer, Target, and Walmart, so I have three pieces of paper. Also, when using a coupon, read very, very carefully. They will specify the size of product, which product exactly, etc, and no store will take them if you haven't met each and every qualification to the letter. When I go shopping I take my entire coupon organizer, my envelopes with coupons, even the ones that aren't for the store I'm at, my list, and the ad. It's important to have all of that so you can compare, contrast, and double check your counting, or your memory.

Also, and this is HUGE!! You are probably going to have coupons that expire before you can use them. Don't throw them away! There is an amazing organization, Coups for Troops, that you can send them to. Military families overseas can use coupons up to six months after they expire. I always mail my expired coupons there and I cut every coupon out that I didn't want and send it with them. Their address is:

                                                 Coups For Troops
                                                  PO Box 147
                                                 Winnabow, NC  28479

They also have a website, and a Facebook page,

Let me know if there's anything that isn't clear, or something else that you have a question about. I'd love to help, if I can that is.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Teenage Love and a Maimed Baby

Today we're going to discuss a few things. First, my sister, who is almost 16, and her crazy love life. I wouldn't have to care about this except she calls me in tears commonly and that impacts my schedule. Second, my daughter and her new "friend", the dead butterfly. Third, the stupidly annoying emergence of "Mommy wars"- we're discussing that last because I just learned what the hell it even was, so I need time to prepare a statement.

So, my sister, who we're going to call Goddess of Teenage Boys... God bless her and I love her. That being said, let's get to the good stuff. For the last 5 months or so Goddess has been in this on again, off again relationship with a guy we're gonna call Too Stupid to Live. So everyone's following, we have Goddess and Stupid, right? They've broken up too many times to even count, but there is only time that I can really speak about, because I witnessed it. A few weeks ago my family was going to see Cars 2, and we took Goddess with us. She, being her, asked if we could also take Stupid. To set the scene, Stupid is currently living with his aunt an hour away from us because he beat the crap out of his step dad and his mother kicked him out... whatever you're thinking right now.. yes, exactly. I, being an idiot, said yes she could bring him, so I drive an hour out of my way to go get him and then I pay for him to see the movie with us. After the movie, I look over to see Goddess in tears. She walks up to me, takes the baby- a clever ruse on her part, leans in and tells me that Stupid just broke up with her. Stunned, I nodded and said that we'd take care of it later. Why did they break up? Apparently, she was texting a boy at the movie. She says she wasn't, but she couldn't prove it since he had broken her phone. Who the eff breaks up with their girlfriend at a movie with her family, that they paid for, when they're driving you home?!? This is how he got his name, Too Stupid to Live. With every ounce of my being I wanted to tell him to use his phone to call a new ride home, but I didn't, because at this point I'm still half attempting to be a decent human being. Fast forward to the ride home, Goddess and Stupid are in the backseat with the kids, she's crying, he's yelling and swearing, she's hitting him. This is waaay inappropriate in front of toddlers, yes? So, I spoke up and put an end to it. I gave both of them what I thought was a very nice talk about jealousy and trust and behaving yourselves in my van with my children. Goddess chose to spend that weekend at our house and I was all too happy to oblige. By chose, I mean that I might have guilted her into it with my superior Jewish/ Catholic mother skills. I'm not Jewish or Catholic, but I do possess some mad skills. She was here for about 48 hours when she started crying and showed me a text that she had gotten from Stupid. It was the most disgusting, unwelcome, slanderous thing I had ever seen- I can't even tell you about it because I'd have to change my blog to one with an adult content warning. It spoke of body parts and whatnot though- make up your own, your imagination will never touch what Stupid had the nerve to send to my baby sister. After learning that this had been going on for the entire 48 hours she was at my house, I texted him back, said I was her sister and if he texted her again I would call the cops- this is harassment. Did I stop there? Absolutely not! I called that little prick's mother and told her what had happened and asked if perhaps she would be willing to speak to her son. She agreed whole-heartedly and we never heard from him again. At least that's what I thought until today. Apparently, Goddess and Stupid are back together. Why? I asked that very same question. Apparently he apologized and visited her last week after she got her wisdom teeth removed. Yep, that's all it takes.
"Sorry, babe, let me get you some ice."
"Oh my God, I can actually feel myself forgetting that you're a jealous, verbally abusive jack ass! This must be meant to be. You make me so happy with your petty words and your frozen water!"
Ugh!! I'm sorry, but this is not love. This may be obsession, addiction, or fear of being alone, but it is NOT love. And quite frankly, I don't understand her fear of being alone. My baby sister, who is almost 16, is close to 6' tall, with long blonde hair, and she has somehow managed to be thin and curvy at the same time. The best part about her? Besides personality and being freaking hilarious, she has no clue that she's hot. She's not stuck up, she's very humble, and she laughs at herself with the best of them. This girl will NEVER be alone, not even if she wanted to be. In fact, the night they broke up, which was announced on Facebook, as it should be, she had four boys texting her and asking her out. Yes, four...four!! But she chooses to be with Stupid, because she looooves him. Or whatever. Her love life assures me that I'll always be married- I would put up with any amount of crap from my hubby, just so long as I  never had to date again.

Now, my daughter and her dead butterfly. I had to write about this one because when I write I have my back to the room, quite handy for hiding laughter. My daughter is very nurturing. We're talking about my eldest here, not the other one, my youngest  is... something else entirely. My eldest is just running through life trying to mother everything she can find, or smother I suppose would be more accurate. Today we had this moth on our curtain and I was going to take it outside. She cried and cried and asked me if she could have it, and I let her. As I handed it to her she almost dropped it so she quick cupped her hand over it and smashed it. Now she's mothering a dead moth. A short time later I hear her arguing with her brother in the playroom and then the floodgates of hell opened and she got so angry it sounded like she was screaming in tongues. I walk out there to find her huddled in the corner holding a playing card, gasping for air with tears streaming down her cheeks. Her brother, at this point, is dancing around like a maniac. After several minutes of deep breathing and conversation I learned that her brother had ripped a wing off of Lena, which is apparently the name of the "butterfly". May I remind you that this is a dead moth. Wings or no wings, it doesn't care and it makes absolutely no difference to its ability to move. She now demands that I punish her brother. Well, I didn't, and I'll tell you why. I have no clue what the punishment is for ripping wings off of dead pests. I had never thought of a suitable punishment for that, and I don't think I ever will. Of course, to my daughter, he has just maimed her baby and he needs to be punished, and I can't say that I disagree, but what am I supposed to do? So that moment passes and we move into lunch time. The girl is is trying to find a spot to put the moth with its card. She keeps trying to put it on the table, but it seems like all those places are too close to her brother, so finally she asks him, "Do you want to rip the other wing off my butterfly?" He says, "YES!" (I think he thought she was offering it to him.) She shrieks and moves the moth. He quickly changed his mind, but she wasn't going to fall for it. The moth ended up on my kitchen counter, as far off to the side as I could talk her into putting it, and I had to assure her repeatedly that I would watch the precious thing for fear that some other dreadful fate would befall it.Yes, it is possible to be too nurturing, in case you were wondering. Moving on..

Lately it has come to my attention that Mommy wars are the new norm.  Apparently there are mothers out there who disagree with another mother's way of doing things so intensely that they feel the need to assault that mother, either verbally or even physically. Come on, moms! Seriously?!? You're so concerned about someone else's children that you're going to set the example to your own that it is ok to throw a tantrum and even hit? This is ridiculous! Where is it stated in the rule book that we have to agree with each other all the time? I must have missed that chapter. I did, however, manage to find the chapter on setting good examples. I don't know about you, but my hope is that my children will have many tools for conflict resolution and none of those tools would be violent. If you don't agree with someone, don't have play dates with them, or have a conversation with your kids about your family values. "No, in our family we don't do that, but every family is different." Feel free to provide your children with reasons why you feel that mothers decisions are invalid, but for God's sake, don't assault the woman! Any parent knows that being a parent is hard, and I don't think that any of us truly believe that we make the right choice every single time. Let's get biblical. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Who am I to judge someone else? Is my parenting so above reproach that I can physically force my will on another parent? Absolutely not, and quite frankly, if we're being honest, I don't think any of yours is either. I'm not saying you're bad parents, and neither am I, just imperfect. It's perfectly ok to be imperfect, it's the way we're made. Show me a perfect person and I'll show you a liar and his/her friend, the simpleton.

Please share your input in the comments section. I would love to hear what you'd like me to address next. By the way, what is the correct way to punish someone who rips the wings off of dead moths/ maims pretend babies? Help a girl out!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The American Dream- Edited and Revised

Ok, typically I only post once a day, but I was on the Daily Kos and found this absolutely poignant and powerful piece that I want you all to read. It about moved me to tears. I'd like to admit that my family doesn't live this way, but we have and it wasn't long ago. There are people out there suffering and struggling and if just one of  you could be moved to give back, even just a little... Please. It truly is the little things. The good trash bags line about killed me. I STILL remember the first time I could buy trash bags somewhere other than the dollar store again. They just want to take their trash out without the bag ripping, dumping everything on the ground. Is that too much to ask?? Anyway, here is the copy and pasted article from the DK...

I want to not be invisible anymore.

I want to get up and shower and have somewhere to go.

I want to punch the people who talk about the recession being over.

I want to not have to choose between toilet paper or dog food.

I want to take back all the money I spent on student loans for an education that does me no good now.

I want to stop mending the waistband of five-year-old sweatpants.

I want to not consider two tacos for a dollar at Jack In The Box a splurge.

I want to walk into a job interview not reeking of desperation.

I want to be able to afford a simple goddamned urn for my daughter's ashes.

I want to pay just one bill on its due date, not have to wait until the FINAL NOTICE.

I want to be able to drive across town to pick my kid up so he doesn't have to walk in the rain.

I want to shop at the Dollar Store because I'm thrifty, not because it is the only way I can afford luxuries like body wash, toothpaste and laundry soap.

I want to be able to drive the two hours to Santa Cruz to visit my dying friend.

I want to pay for a haircut, instead of using the kitchen scissors to “even up the ends again”.

I want to have a shit job to bitch about.

I want to not panic every time the doorbell rings unexpectedly.

I want to split a tab or treat someone to something.

I want to wear contact lenses again, instead of these wobbly old glasses.

I want to be able to buy a present for my goddaughters.

I want to go to the theater to see a movie and pay for my own damn ticket.

I want to drive a completely legal car legally.

I want to not have to choose between buying tampons or a pound of ground beef.

I want to buy a book that ISN'T on the 25-cent rack at the Thrift Store.

I want to stop avoiding my friends because they're pitying or worse.

I want to not have to invent new ways to rearrange my resume and STILL get no response.

I want to get my dogs their shots so I can take them to the park.

I want to use good trash bags.

I want to wake up without dread that today is the day it will all come tumbling down.

I want to consider owning a spicebox and a mortar and pestle NOT a pipe dream.

I want a new bra.

I want to feel like a real person again.

I want to BE a real person again.

I am sick to death of this Middle Class poverty (not a penny to my name, but the remnants of a better life all around me)

I am sick to death of dumbing down my resume, groveling for jobs I could have done at sixteen and STILL not getting hired.

I am sick to death of feeling powerless.

I am sick to death of apologizing and being shamed and embarrassed for being one of the long-term unemployed.

I am sick to death of tailoring my resume to each job and STILL not getting a response from 99% of the companies I apply to.

I am sick to death of people telling me that I “really should see a doctor” when nothing would please me more, except that I can't afford to do so.

I am sick to death of not even getting interviewed for open positions, and then getting shitty service from the person they DID hire when I didn't even get an interview.

I am sick to death of turning down invitations to do things with friends, because I can't afford to do so.

I am sick to death of pretending that holidays don't exist because I can't afford to celebrate them.

I am sick to death of throwing away 2/3 of my mail without even opening it because I know that there's a bill or a statement from someone I owe that I can't afford to pay.

I am sick to death of explaining to other people that “getting a job at McDonalds” is not as simple as they think.

I am sick to death of hiding, being quiet, trying to play nice, mentally composing suicide letters, trying to figure out who can take care of my dogs/cat/kid when it all goes to hell like it is bound to do.

I am sick to death of feeling powerless.

I am sick to death of being unable to pay my own way.

I am sick to death of people telling me that “it could be worse”, because I know that it could and I am convinced that it will and I am only biding my time in this limbo which is a certain kind of hell all its own.

I am sick to death of these conversations where my friends and I try to brainstorm ways to get the hell out of this town/state in hopes that there is some place where we can still trade hard work for decent wages and crawl out of the hellhole we've fallen into.

I am sick to death of having to look my son in the eye and admit that I have failed him, that I failed his sister, that I have failed us all.

I am sick. And sad. And exhausted. And undone.

The original can be found at:*#ing-life-back

Flypaper For Freaks

Do you want to tell me your life story? Do you think we'd get along and be bffs? You're not alone. I'm not saying that I feel that way about you, but there is at least one person- usually a waitress or cashier- everywhere I go that thinks I want to know all about their drama and ridiculousness. I don't. It isn't that I'm not social, or that I don't love being with people, I just don't have time or energy for asinine, elementary bullshit, especially not when it belongs to strangers. Today at the pet store for instance, I can tell you when that woman bought her house, where she moved to and from, her relationship drama, all about her dogs and their different personalities, and also what bra size she wears. Sadly, this is not a joke. I'm not sure what it is about being the woman with three toddlers climbing in and out of the cart, who is constantly saying, "No! Stop it! Put that down!", that makes people think that I want to spend thirty or so minutes nodding my head and saying "mm hmm", but let me assure you: I don't. I can think of dozens of other ways I'd like to spend my time- including, but not limited to, waterboarding, intense FBI questioning, hunger strikes, and bamboo fingernail torture.

As if the pet store was not enough, I also had this experience with our waitress at lunch. Are any of you parents? If so, you've probably had this happen to you. You show up with your kids and you're trying to get their order straight, open crayons, check and see if someone has to go potty and your waitress stands there and tells you that her kids are that same age, she has boys, blah, blah, blah. It's not that I don't want to chat with my waitress, and I understand that she's trying to be chatty and get a great tip, but here's the deal. I already knew I wasn't the only parent in the world, and I assumed, from being present in my kids classrooms, that they were not the only children on the planet their age. I also know that if you have children there's about a 50/50 chance that your kids are the same gender as mine. I don't need a conversation about this. If you are a waitress or waiter who has kids, then you should know that the first 10 minutes of being in a restaurant are busy, if you want a good tip, don't interrupt me when I'm trying to parent. If you feel that I simply must know all about your little snot nosed brats, cause mine aren't enough for me, please wait to tell me until you're dropping off my bill- I am much less busy at that point of the meal and would be far more generous with my listening skills.

After lunch we took the kids for haircuts. This was the highlight of the errands. We just go to one of those $10 haircut places and sign in, but the one we go to is incredibly awesome. When the kids get cuts they enter into the computer what the kids had done. This means that I can walk in, tell them who needs a cut, and they get them in a chair and do it, or at least usually it means this. Four people in my family got done and we were in and out in 25 minutes. Incredible. However, here again, I'm confronted with chatting. I'm busily running back and forth between three chairs and carrying on three different conversations, some of which are taking place across the entire room. Do I care that you had a picnic last weekend? Nope, sure don't. But the kicker for that trip? The girl cutting my 5 year old's hair telling me that she had a son who was 5 so she knows all about that age. Like all five year olds are the same and don't have their own individual personality. *gigglesnort* Apparently her five year old doesn't like to be spoken to because she completely ignored my daughter the entire time she was in the chair, this is not impressive. Treat my human child like a person, please. I'm not sure if maybe this is too progressive, but I figure that my kids are big enough to pick what they want done with their hair and I always make sure to tell whoevers doing the cutting this very thing. "Oh, just let them choose. It's not my head, I don't care what they pick." Yet each and every time I have to be called back to the chair for every little decision regardless of what my child is saying.
Do you want her hair parted on the side?
I don't know, does SHE want her hair parted on the side? And then I hear, well, she said yes. Ok, so why are you asking me?? Even when you tell people what you want they're too busy telling you about their kid to listen. I hope to God I don't ever turn into that parent.

I read an article the other day that was shockingly true. It was about those parents that just let their kids run amok and don't bother parenting. We know those parents, right? I have a huge dislike, borderline hatred, for those parents. That said, when you teach your kids that the world revolves around them you do them a great disservice. Eventually they're gonna grow up and become part of that world that's supposed to worship them, and you know what? That world doesn't think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. In fact, in most cases, that world doesn't even know they exist and they're gonna have to follow the rules and work hard to be noticed. When did you plan on teaching them that part of it? 10? 16? 18? How about right from birth? I'm not saying you have to be mean and treat them like they're worthless, but making them feel like the sun shines out of their nether region is also a no-no. The other thing I don't get about "helicopter parents" (look it up, it's a real term) is the complete control they like to have over their kids. I have enough issues dealing with my own stress, I can't possibly even be paid to care what kind of haircut you choose, whether you like yogurt or not, or whether you're ordering chocolate milk. I feel that letting my kids make their own decisions and not questioning that, most of the time anyway so long as there is no danger, is showing them that I believe in them and I know they're capable of doing things for themselves. Doing every single thing for your kid teaches them that you think they can't make it on their own, they're too dumb to make their own decisions, etc. This also is true, there have been countless studies, look that up while you're at it. Do I claim to be a perfect parent? Oh heck no! I screw up on a daily basis, sometimes in huge ways, but at the end of the day I'm glad I let my kids be their own people, as long as their appropriate about it, and that they feel good about the people they are.

This is the link for the article I referenced. It's called, 'Permissive Parents: Curb Your Brats', and I think it's spot on-

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Puppy Kisses and Crazed Maniacs

Puppy kisses and crazed maniacs should not go together, however that has been my last two days. That being said, I have good news and bad news. Personally, I like getting bad news first, that way I can follow up the let down/ anger with an "awww". So, on with the show.

Today in Grand Rapids, MI, where I grew up, there is a crazed maniac on the loose. This all started about 2 pm, when he murdered his "wife". (The reports of her actually being his wife are unconfirmed, as is pretty much everything else, keep that in mind as you read.) After this he went to a house and killed 4 people; 1 man, 2 women, and a girl, age unknown. Once finished with everything alive in that house he went a few blocks away to another house and killed 2 women and a 10 year old girl. Was he done yet? No. He proceeded to be involved in a high speed chase with about every cop car in the state, going the wrong way down two expressways and through downtown, randomly firing shots at anything moving as he went along and, of course, causing many, many car accidents. When his car could no longer go, due to having no tires left, he jumped out of the car and ran, broke into a house, and took two hostages. Where we're at now, and the live news coverage is still going on behind me, he has released the female hostage and is talking about blowing up the house. Now that we know the order of things, let's delve into what could possibly make someone do this. My husband and I have been discussing this all night while the news has been blaring non-stop for 6 hours. We've tossed around ideas such as anger, jealousy, drugs, gangs, but the one that makes the most sense to me is complete and utter INSANITY. I have absolutely no sympathy for him and his, what has been described as a, "very hard, sad life" and I hope they shoot and kill him on sight. I would feel differently if MI had a death penalty, but we don't. I understand that the death penalty is a hot button topic, and that quite possibly people will be very upset about my saying that, but here's the deal. Don't be a dick. Don't go around shooting people, murdering children in cold blood, putting hundreds in danger, or taking hostages, and I won't talk that way. I am willing to bet that anyone who reads this has been angry. Correct? Perhaps, like me, you've even said, "I'm gonna kill..." whoever the hell has pissed you off. With me so far? Now, did you actually do it? I have not, because I'm at least a little sane, and I'm guessing that the vast majority, if not all of you, have never killed anyone either. Does being angry mean that you can do whatever you want? Hell, no!! My 2 year old has learned this, yet this 34 year old man has trouble grasping it. Perhaps I was wrong with my insanity decision and the real reason is that this man is a mental midget and cannot grasp the simple idea of cause and effect, or right and wrong. Both of these phenomenons, by the way, are learned in elementary school. Now I'm done with the bad news cause I choose not to be angry all night, but feel free to discuss this with whomever it is you discuss things with.

Are we ready for good news? You may have noticed, or not, that I didn't post yesterday. Wanna know why? We got a new dog! She's very cute and sweet. She's around 4 or 5 years old, a Jack Russel Terrier mix, and she loves my kids and other dog. Her name is Pepper and she's awesome. She has taken over every portion of our day. As with everyone else in our house, she's a rescue. She may be 4 or 5, but she's not housebroken or trained, and lacks some basic manners, so it's very much like having a new puppy. Of course, given her history, the fact that her only issue is training is quite miraculous. Technically, we're fostering her, but we've already talked about licensing her in our name and where we can move with 2 dogs, so my guess is that she's staying. Awesome, huh?

If that was not enough cuteness to make up for the crazed maniac, here's more. My oldest daughter made me a book today all by herself. It said, "The birds and the squirrel. The butterfly." I got to hold it for a few seconds, but then she told me that she had to do "listrations" so she took it away again. I did get to look at it after that, but I wasn't allowed to touch it. She's a thoughtful, selfless child, isn't she?? She gets it from her momma.

News break: Unconfirmed- Originally we had been told that there were 2 hostages and one had been released. New report says that there were actually three hostages in the house and still two left there.

Quite honestly I'm aware that I should keep talking, but this tiny thing has taken me an hour to write because I keep turning around and staring at the tv. I'm going to go focus on it and fill you all in tomorrow. I hope your day was full of puppy kisses, and that there were no crazed maniacs for you.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mormons For Lunch

For the last two months or so we've been hosting the Mormons at our house once a week.

Let me explain how that got started: They came to the door in the usual way that they do and this particular day I was feeling quite fair and just. I decided to talk to them and make an appointment. After all, everyone could use a little human kindness and, really, is it so difficult to talk to other human beings like they're... human? I think not.

At first, as the day approached when we had our first appointment, I was feeling like kicking myself. Why did I sign up for this? How stupid do you have to be to fall for this crap? When the big day finally came, they showed up and we had a nice hour of conversation. Not a conversation focused on religion, although that was certainly in there, but a conversation based on getting to know each other. It was actually a very nice visit. I enjoyed them immensely and I eagerly made another appointment next week. It went on like that for 6 weeks. They'd come over, we'd chat about life mixed with a little religion, and I'd schedule again. As time went on we got to know more and more about them, and they got to know us. I had always assumed that they lived around the area and were raised Mormon and were trained to be pushy and rude. I'm not clear on how I made that assumption as my previous dealings with them were few and far between at best. I've come to know that they are actually missionaries who come from far away, in this case Montana and Oregon. They go in groups and call their partner their "companion". They spend all day going door to door, often times not eating, although I guess where I live is actually a great place for them and they do get served dinner most days. Other than that, they're on their own. They don't have jobs, and therefore have no money, and they need to feed and clothe themselves. They live in small apartment/hotel room set ups and they're with their companion 24 hours a day for 2 years. They're young kids who, most of the time, have never been on their own. They get plunked in a mission field that they do not choose and they spend all day going from house to house and being treated like crap. This is where we, as rational human beings, should be able to put ourselves in that place and perhaps make a real effort the next time they show up to use our manners the way our Mommas taught us. Regardless of religious belief, we all deserve to be treated with basic respect, do we not?

Let's get beyond that though. The Mormons come to our house more often than our friends do. They have also in the last few months, asked to help out, offered things to us, and followed through on that, more often than my friends do. Their ministry has gone beyond religion and we have a real friendship with them. I can tell you about their parents, their siblings, what they do for fun, and they know the same about me- it's been a great blossoming relationship and I look forward to seeing them every week and think about them often in between meetings. Our meetings have gone from an hour to three hours and now include a meal and a LOT of laughing. It's truly excellent and very much appreciated.

As does happen though when you make friends with missionaries, there comes a point where you are asked to make a decision about your religious future. For us, that point was today. I will admit that the more I learn about Mormonism the more a lot of it makes sense, more so than other religions I have looked into. I was raised Baptist and had a lot of questions that no one could ever answer, nor did anyone ever look the answer up. It was just, "we don't know and we don't care that you don't know. Don't question so much, some things you just have to believe on faith". Which was not good enough for me. I have a spirit that hungers for knowledge, and I hate being shoved in a corner just because I'm a girl and therefore I must lack some sort of essential part of my being that makes me worthwhile, and I felt like that was the gist of Baptist, at least in my church.

The Mormon beliefs that I really like are, the three kingdoms- celestrial, terrestrial, and telestial vs. Heaven or hell. I also like that they believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are not the same person, just three people who want the same goal for you- quite frankly if the father and son are the same person there's something going on in that family that I don't want to cling to. However, no coffee? No tea? No smoking? Oh, man. I don't think I can do any of that. Well, ok, I don't drink coffee so I wouldn't care about that, and I could probably do without tea, but it would suck. The smoking? I'm not giving that up. I honestly had some part of me whisper, if I just didn't smoke at church, nobody would know. Isn't that awful and dishonest?

But I digress, it saddens me that we're at a point where we either embrace Mormonism or lose our friends. Is this really what it's come down to? I have no doubt that they would still be around and still talk to us, but it wouldn't be the same, or as often. They're missionaries after all. I'm sure that making friends is a great side effect for them, but it isn't their goal. So the question today is, am I able to quit smoking and adopt a new religion for the sake of friendship? Is giving up all that worth what I would gain?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Shopping With Coupons and Without Kids

Today started out amazingly well. My son told me that he missed Grandma and Grandpa and wanted to see them. Whenever my kids say something like that I always have them call the person and tell them how they feel. I think that since you never know when your time is up, or their time is up,  you should never leave anything unsaid, and I'm raising my kids that same way. I dialed the phone and handed it to him. I could only hear his side of the conversation, but it sounded cute. Not surprising though, my son is quite the little charmer. Anyway, Grandma and Grandpa decided that they wanted to take all three kids for the afternoon. Whoo hoo!! I quickly got the kids fed and shipped them off for an afternoon of swimming and fun. The first thing the hubby and I do when the kids are gone? Go to the bedroom? No. Take a nap? No. Get things done around the house? No. We go grocery shopping. Shopping without helping hands is amazing! I only end up with what I wanted to buy, no one whines or complains, there are no little hands sneaking out and pushing things off shelves, and my cart contains absolutely zero people hitting, pinching, kicking, or arguing. It's as close to heaven as I think I'll ever get.

If you've read my profile you know that I'm into couponing... extremely into it. It's like a sport for me, or a drug. I am going to tell you the secrets to couponing successfully, so get your pen and take notes, or you can always copy and paste, you lazy person. During my planning, which takes about 4 hours a week, I'm calm, collected, and in charge. I go through the ads, the coupons, the online coupons, and, at the store I go to, they have a store reward card that lets you clip coupons from the internet that they offer exclusively. I make my list and place my coupons in their corresponding envelopes. (2 for every store; food and non-food.) Important note: If you're just starting couponing you either need to spend more money to get started and stock up on things, or you need to resign yourself to the fact that for the first 6 weeks or so you'll only be eating things that are on sale. I chose to spend more money and get stocked up, but what you do is your business. Once you're stocked, you never buy anything, with the exception of milk and things that expire quickly, unless you have a coupon AND it's on sale. Please notice that that says "and", not "or".

Next step: The store. By the time I walk into the store, the panic takes over. Oh my God, what if I didn't count my coupons right? What if I put something in the wrong envelope? Am I really sure that the total is going to be that much? I get shaky, nauseous, light headed, my heart starts pounding, and I spend the entire trip that way. Which is another great reason to dislike the long, drawn out trips with my kids. I have no tips for avoiding panic, but if you have some, please feel free to send them my way. So, I'm in the middle of my freak out when a store employee walks up and asks me if I want to open a store credit card. This may surprise you, but I am anti-credit card. I don't think debt is healthy or intelligent, but, after our buying a new car fiasco a month ago, I have come to realize that without debt you have no credit, and without credit you have no anything so... I told her that I'd love to sign up for a card. She takes my information and goes to run it and get me my card. I'm thinking, "I just qualified for a new car loan. A new credit card? This should be no problem!" But noooo. She comes back announcing loudly that I did not qualify for their card, but they'd be happy to mail me ways to help my credit. Are you kidding me?!? I propose that THIS is one of the many, many things wrong with our great country. People can buy new cars, but cannot have food. What the heck is that?

Back to couponing though. After the freak out all through the store comes the Holy Grail- the checkout. This is what I've been waiting for, this is the light at the end of the tunnel, this is where my skill will combat technology and only one of us will come out the winner. I'm sure you can see all the pressure that this creates to perform well, and here is my secret weapon, what every great couponer needs to get through it- a favorite cashier. My favorite cashier is Tyler. I will wait in his line for hours and I don't care how empty all the other lanes are. Not only is he VERY attractive, which was my initial draw to him admittedly, but he also has the patience to deal with me when I realize that I've lost a coupon, or something hasn't scanned right, AND the sense of humor to joke with me. I like to blow off steam by laughing and it's been said that my sense of humor is less than acceptable, perhaps even a little rude and off colored. I don't see it, but it's been said, so it is a little difficult from time to time to find someone that can handle me. The key to keeping a Tyler? Be memorable. You want them to recognize you when you get there. It's only fair that if you are potentially going to be losing it at their register, that they have time to see you coming and get mentally prepared. There are many options when it comes to this; wearing a funny hat could do it. I choose to have the same introduction every time, "Hello, Tyler. I'm very happy to see you today." I promise you that he probably doesn't hear this often from the people who frequent his lane. Step 2 to keeping a Tyler around- every single time I'm there I ask him to call his manager to the register and I go on and on to the manager about how awesome Tyler is and how much I appreciate him- it's important to do this in front of your Tyler- stroke his ego a little, Tylers like that. As  you walk away from the register, mile long receipt in hand and a big smile on your face, do not forget to thank your Tyler for all of his help and make sure to tell him that you hope to see him again. It is important to do this even if you calculated wrong and just wanna cry, just keep your head up in front of your Tyler, grab a Starbucks on the way out and cry all the way to your car if you have to, but never make your Tyler uncomfortable.

Now that I've shared my no fail tips to couponing, I hope you can all save as much money as possible. I personally manage to save about $200 a week, well worth the hassle and stress if you ask me. If there are further questions, or if you're having trouble finding a Tyler, leave a comment and I'll see what I can do for you. Maybe there's a Tyler union somewhere with a map or something.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In The Beginning

In the beginning there was a mom who wanted to get her children interested in journaling, well that was the excuse anyway, really this was just a ploy to get them to do something calming, expressive,and educational. She created a rule that all family members would journal for 15 minutes before bedtime every night. This rule led her to and this is where it all went horribly right, at least that's the expectation.

Tonight is the first night of our "every family member must journal" rule. As usual, I'm the only one who cares about the damn schedule. My son, age 4, is in the downstairs bathroom giving me a play-by-play of the goings on in there, including counting the toilet paper squares and that, fortunately, I "got it the right way this time." Go me. My eldest daughter, age 5, is upstairs. She's supposed to be getting her pajamas on, but instead she's arguing with her 2 year old sister. This is what is considered fun around here- teasing and taunting the baby. I half hope that one day she just smacks her siblings. I often wonder if I'd punish her afterwards. I lean towards no most of the time, and then I wonder if that makes me a bad mom... not keeping the rules fairly and all. Seems like some sort of fairy tale, mean step mom thing to do. Hmm...

Apparently they've solved whatever issue they had as they have now taken the cushions off the couch and are sliding down the stairs. I used to yell about things like that. Now I just keep a first aid kit handy and give them the look that says, "You know you're doing something stupid, right?" Screw it, they have insurance. Besides, it seems to be more effective than time out.

Even though my children are 5, 4, and 2, I've only been a mom for a little over two years and sometimes I think I'm still adjusting. Some background- My husband and I got married in Oct. 2008 and decided to do foster care. We had heard that the whole process usually takes about 2 or 3 years before you actually have kids in your house, so we, blissfully ignorant, signed up for foster care 10 days after our wedding. In April 2009, we got a call asking us if we wanted three children ages 3, 2, and 5 months. We said yes, and 12 hours later they were at our house. That was the real beginning.

I think this is where I should warn you that the purpose of this journal, for me, is to write down every thing I can remember about the last 2 years, and also add to it all the great stuff that happens now that I don't want to forget. I'm hoping that along the way I pick up some "fans", (is that what you call them? Followers seems so cult-y.) to swap parenting advice/ stories and to commiserate with.

I don't have many memories of the very beginning of my mothering- I think I blocked it out for self-preservation purposes. I do remember spending almost every night on the couch with my husband in tears and telling him that I couldn't do this, I wasn't cut out for this, etc. The thing about being a foster parent is that not only do you have kids, but you have kids that are angry and hurting and they blame it all on you. You wouldn't think that 2 and 3 year olds could be very mean or destructive, but you would be sorely wrong. I can't count the number of black eyes I had that first summer, I do know that for an entire month I didn't leave the house because I was worried that someone would think that my husband was beating me. That first summer was torturous hell, until July 16, 2009. That day we had decided to take the kids to the aquatic center for a playdate with some friends of ours. I parked the van, opened the slider door, and my oldest said to me, "You're like my mom, and my friend." She just said it, matter of factly like there was nothing life altering about it. Up to this point she had been the hardest nut to crack, she had seen the most, remembered the most, and experienced the most. At the age of 3 she was a bonafide mom to the youngest two, and she was pissed as hell when I came in and started taking her role over. We butted heads about every little thing, when the baby got fed, changed, napped, if her brother needed to eat his veggies or not, what the rules were.. it didn't matter what I did, she was unhappy and telling me all about it. They were weird, unhealthy conversations to be having with a 3 year old and they always left me shaken. I already felt like my parenting sucked and then this little, tiny child is telling me how I should do it, when I should do it, and telling me every single time I fucked it up- which was often in her eyes. Anyway, I remember her saying that to me and I remember standing there unsure of what to do now. I finally said, "Well, I'm kinda like your mom because I love you and take care of you, and I'm definitely your friend." Then I unbuckled all the car seats, carried a baby and held two hands, and walked to the building, hoping and praying that I wasn't going to burst into tears in the middle of the parking lot. Shortly after that day I had another amazing moment with her, this time at home. I had fed the baby "wrong" and she was correcting me when I told her that it wasn't her job to take care of her brother or sister. She stepped back like I slapped her and her eyes filled up with tears and she asked me, "Then what do I do?". Try to imagine having this conversation with your 3 year old. Heart breaking. I told her that her job was to go play, be a kid, and have fun. She sulked in the corner for the rest of the day and refused to look at me, but she also stopped correcting my every move, and that was the breaking in of my oldest daughter. I'm not saying that she snapped out of it immediately and turned into the bright and amazing child she is now over night, but that's when the tide turned. You should see her now, all sweetness and light.

That was enough reminiscing, now onto the new stuff. Tonight before bed we all took turns praying and my daughter's prayer went like this, "Umm... God? I like you and, um, thank you for my show being on and, um, letting me watch it. I like you. Bye." Then my son said, "To God: I love you very, very much and thank you for Lightning McQueen. That's all." At which point the baby said, "I just like my underwear, not my diaper. I'm done." You may have guessed that this is our first time praying out loud in a group, but if it's this cute every time, I'm going to start making it a daily thing, like this journal.

Now for the rest of the day by day boringness- My mom came over today and stayed with us for lunch and dinner. She brought a desk for my son's room and a bunch of supplies for our craft cubby. Also while she was here, she weeded my garden, which is quite the task. Gardening is something I swear every spring I'm going to have time for so I start growing things and by the end of June it's completely over grown and nothing turns out. Bless my mom for trying though. We've been working on re-doing the house for about two months now. We've turned the dining room into a playroom and turned the back half of the awkward, rectangle shaped living room into the dining room. Now I'd like to get going on turning the master bedroom and bath into the relaxing spa I want, but as usual, the kids come first and I find myself redoing their rooms instead. Ugh.

Alright, the kids are tucked in and I'm still sitting her blogging. That's ridiculous. It's time to not be 'mom', flip on the tv, make a drink, and enjoy my night alone. My hubby closes at work tonight so I won't see him til tomorrow, I love those days.