2011 Year in Review

It seems everyone is doing their New Years posts so I may as well, I haven’t written anything new in a while anyway.

With the major vehicle repair in 2010 (replaced the motor), we spent most of that year struggling to get caught up. We were quite anxious to welcome 2011 and the fresh start it would bring.

Most of this past year has been smooth sailing, maybe a little too smooth. Here we were sitting on our high horse not understanding some of the choices people around us were making. We’d gotten cocky, and the worst part about that is that I know better. Karma is ALWAYS watching me and if she thinks I’m even a little too full of sh*t she slaps me hard with a dose of reality…and she did.

As you know, in September my husband quit his job to start his own business. It’s no secret I was nervous but he had lots of leads and the experience neccessary so I chalked it up to just not liking the whole idea of “owning your own business”. I prefer the stability over the independence. Well, needless to say it didn’t work out. Not that it couldn’t have but with his being the primary income, 3 kids (and pets) to feed, and all the monthly bills, we couldn’t afford to wait for it to take off. Add to that the holidays when people aren’t doing much business at all (except in retail) and the fact that my husband is NO salesman (which happens to be one of the things I love about him) you can imagine how little was coming in. We decided to give it 2 months and as long as he was at least making what we had to pay out each month then we’d consider it a success. But those months went by, and then another one too. All the leads fizzled out. I had to apply for assistance and medicaid for the kids, and had it not been for the help of family and a neighbor who hooked us up with her church, the kids may not have had a Christmas. It’s been a humbling experience. If there’s anything I can take from 2011 it is that, I needed to learn that we’re not better than anyone else and need to remember that before passing judgement.

2012 has potential. Chris is starting out the year with a second interview with a local company and if that doesn’t work out he’s submitted a dozen or so other resumés and applications, hopefully ONE of those will result in something good soon. In the meantime, I’ve been spending time with the kiddies who have been gems during this whole experience. They’re not begging for new toys like before, they aren’t whining over dinners they “don’t like” like they were. They seem to have matured because of this and I couldn’t be happier with the young ladies they’ve become (they still fight with each other though, we can’t expect miracles). Not to say they’re being tortured! They still have more than enough entertainment around here! The Zelda torch has been passed on to Riley who is eating it up. I think she’s enjoying being the “game master” of the house nowadays. Milla is all about all the sewing stuff she got for Christmas, maybe she’ll get good enough to start making us clothes…we may need it (just kidding!). It’s nice to see her with a passion for something that didn’t come off the wake of her sister’s hobbies. Link is talking up a storm! He was so excited about Christmas that for sanity’s sake we couldn’t put any presents under the tree until the last minute because he was unable to ignore them, and forget patience! That is not a word in his vocabulary! He was so excited Christmas Eve that he woke up at 1am and stayed awake until 8am! We had agreed to sleep in until 7 but by 5:30 I was telling daddy to get up because I couldn’t take it anymore 🙂

All in all it’s been a great year. I wish it had ended on the same high note it started on, but I doubt any of us would have appreciated it. I’m all about life lessons. Sometimes you believe you’re a good person who always does the right thing and then you get a glimpse of your reflection and even though you aren’t “bad” you can still be better. I always aim to be better. So thanks 2011 for all the lessons I’ve learned, the family I feel a deeper connection to, new friends I’ve made, and Cross Point Church for ALL you did.

Happy New Year everyone! Party like it’s your last New Year’s ever (because according to the Mayans, it just might be ;))

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No big deal

So it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. It’s early (6am), but I’ve been up since 2. The girls are with their dad and Link’s finally asleep again so as long as the sounds of me hitting the keys on the keyboard don’t wake him up then I’ve finally got some time. Fair warning, this is a “catch you up” blog, not much excitement, it’s just honest.

Halloween was good. Riley was a clown/jester and Milla attempted to be “Death” but the hood was too hot (one downfall of Florida weather, Halloween is usually pretty humid). In typical toddler fashion, Link threw a fit when it came to costumes and did not dress up for the second year in a row. Instead we put a white t shirt on him that read “I’m 2, that’s scary enough!!” He did love trick-or-treating though! He was running with the rest of the kids saying “there’s one” to each house we passed. He’d get to the door and say “tick-a-teet” and “di du (thank you)” Total cuteness overload! The kids burnt out early though so we were done by 8 o’clock. Chris, who had been in Maine to spin at Scaryland 3, had gotten on the first flight back home and made it literally just in time for the girls’ Halloween parade at school (he’s so awesome!), he wasn’t complaining for the early night (after a weekend along with the 3 kids, neither was I).

When Chris was gone that weekend, the kids and I spent a couple nights at my mom’s. While there my sister Mandy, who volunteer’s at The Clearwater Marine Aquarium got us in so we could see Winter the Dolphin. Milla was so excited, it’s all she talked about ALL WEEK! Every day I heard “how many more days until we get to see Winter?” I really have to learn not to tell her we’re doing anything until we’re on our way. It’s a small aquarium (but all the hype from the movie is allowing some major renovations) so we weren’t fighting crowds to see the animals. They even have the sting ray touch tank which was one of the things Sea World used to do but don’t anymore (there’s always those a**holes who do something malicious to the animals and ruin it for everyone else). Of course now that they’re upgrading the same thing will probably happen here and they’ll abolish that too. Mandy said on a normal Saturday the aquarium would see about 200 people, since the release of the movie the numbers are around 2,000! Glad we got to see it when we did.

My birthday was this past Saturday (the 19th). It wasn’t a big deal meaning we didn’t do anything, but I got some pretty rad gifts! Chris had bought me my cell phone months earlier because I am way to impatient to actually wait for my birthday. My dad is a great craftsman (he’d probably say “not ‘great'” but the family would disagree) so he made me some shadow boxes to take up some space on my enormous yet naked walls. My mom and step dad bought me my first Coach purse! I’ve had a few “designer imitation” ones so it feels really good to finally have a REAL one, and every girl deserves at least ONE nice purse right? I got a few other things, my mother in law sent me a gift card (which was so nice of her) and my sister bought me a bottle of wine and a “Mommy’s Little Helper” wine glass which always comes in handy, and at least 70 (yes i counted them) “Happy Birthday’s” on my facebook. You know, you think those things aren’t important but just that one little gesture, that takes a few seconds from your day, can really make someone feel special (I say to the other 100+ “friends” I have on there who did NOT say it to me, but whatever…I ain’t mad :))

I’ve been trying to help a friend of mine with her pot belly pig rescue by running her twitter feed, but Link and I have been sick the past week or so. Just a cold but I haven’t been very motivated to do anything. But if you’re on twitter please follow her @GoodKarmaRescue and help get the word out, She’s starting virtual adoptions and could really use the donations and support. I admire anyone with the resources to help unwanted and/or abused animals, and while she definitely has the land, most of the financial burden is on her family so like I said, any and all donations help!

So that’s all the “up” stuff. The downside is, the new business isn’t taking off like we hoped and money is tight. I’m honestly so sick of stressing about it! All I keep thinking about is Christmas and whether or not we’ll even be able to afford one this year. Chris of course says not to worry and he’ll come up with something and he always does, but you can’t tell that to my anxiety… because it doesn’t have any ears to hear you. Meanwhile the girls keep adding to their wish lists and I’m just hoping we’ll be able to get them something. “Woe is me” right? This isn’t a pity party, just venting.

Also, the phone I love and that I got for my birthday, fell out of my hands and onto my driveway a couple weeks ago. Now the glass is all cracked. The phone still works (as Riley discovered) but it looks awful 🙁 I cried! Like a little girl who just heard her puppy died. I know I know, “first world pains”, but I think it hit me so hard because with all our other financial obligations, fixing a phone that broke because of my carelessness was just not something we needed added to the list. *Le sigh*

Oh and our washing machine started making a weird noise  and our vacuum stopped working…fun times! 🙂

I did go job hunting, which sucked. Turns out we’re in a recession, did you hear? And apparently everyone who got fired or laid off from their high paying corporate jobs took all the retail ones that I am qualified for! Being a stay home mom with no college degree or technical achievements, I’m not exactly reeling in the offers. So seriously, my blog needs to take off and make me rich so we can live off it…you think? Who doesn’t want to hear the rantings of a stressed out mom/housewife??? 🙂 Obviously I didn’t get any call backs and I would have started calling them but recruiters started calling Chris and I didn’t want to get a job I’d have to quit if he got one that paid better, but those didn’t work out either so… “pssssstttttt”

I don’t think I appreciated how good we had it. I mean I did always appreciate it, but I feel like I took it for granted too. Now I know we don’t have to go blow $500+ in a weekend to cure boredom, and the kids don’t need a new toy every time we go somewhere…I do miss eating out though. Maybe we needed this slump so that when it’s over we don’t forget that we don’t have it bad.

I guess that’s it. I hear Link stirring around which means he’ll be up soon. If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading!

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Cyber Bullying

Of course you’ve heard about cyber bullying, it seems lately it’s ALL you hear about! I hadn’t thought about it much because it hasn’t really affected me (much) or anyone I know, but that’s not to say I’m not aware of it.
I’m in my mid thirties. When I was in high school it was a completely different time. There was no such thing as myspace, facebook, twitter, cell phones, texting, sexting…hell, there was hardly an internet! (The advances in technology over these past 15 years make me feel a lot older than I am by the way.) Sure kids did drugs, had sex at school, got into fights, and bullied other students, hasn’t that happened in every generation past? But it’s was nothing like it is now.

I’m not one to dumb down kids. Teenage hardships are a rite of passage, they mold you into the adult you’re going to be. There isn’t a single person in the world who hasn’t been put down or disliked by SOMEONE at some point in their life. Example, there was one time in high school when I was on the bus, some girl I didn’t know, had never talked to, threw little pieces of gum in my hair from the seat behind me. I never did find out why she hated me so much. Let us not forget the fact that I am blind in one eye which made for relentless name calling and teasing, especially before I had my wandering eye corrected in the 7th grade. Throughout Elementary school they called me “One Eyed Wille” (courtesy of the pirate from the Goonies and the fact that my last name was “Wille”. I hated it then, but I think it’s pretty clever now :)) Yeah it sucked sometimes, but like everyone else you grow a thicker layer of skin and you move on. It was easier back then though. If you got teased, if you got your ass beat, if you got caught doing something embarrassing, the news only spread as far as your school or neighborhood, and only mattered to the people who knew you. If you got a reputation for being a slut you dealt with it, either by continuing to sleep around or by waiting it out until someone else became the topic of discussion. Nowadays, EVERYTHING is instantly on the internet and you are powerless.

I first noticed how cruel cyber bullying can be on twitter. I follow some people from different shows that I watch, yes, a lot are from the shows Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant.

Side Note: I know, it’s ridiculous that I’m so addicted to these shows obviously intended for a younger audience. I would totally blame being pregnant with Link when it came out because I was addicted to EVERY pregnancy show back then, but I like Jersey Shore too and I’ve never been a guidette from Jersey. Just chalk it up to my mind numbing TV addiction.

Some of them and/or their fans are down right ruthless! This one blogger, Heather that I follow for example, is also victim to a lot of internet hate which I just don’t get. I read her site, Teen Mom Talk, it entertains me, but like with any tabloid you have to know there are always different versions of the story. Obviously if it’s your blog you’re going to write about it from your standpoint, and if you’re friends or acquaintances with the subjects of your articles your opinion may even be biased, but who really cares? There are a dozen sites just like hers, if you don’t like it, read another one! This girl has several hate pages and sites dedicated to her. Some people accuse her of stalking the girls from the shows and claim that they (the castmates) all hate her, but only a few have blocked her, and I see her having conversations with them on twitter constantly. It doesn’t read like they hate her. I read the posts and just shake my head. I can’t believe the lengths and the lows people go to to cut someone down – especially someone they don’t even know.

Recently the Amber Cole video went viral. I haven’t seen it for obvious reasons, but I’ve read about it, and THAT’s the one that really freaks me out. If you don’t know, she’s the 14 year old girl who was video recorded by another student from his camera phone giving oral sex to a boy at school. I’m not about to make excuses for the girl, you’re responsible for your own actions, but I will admit that it’s harder for kids these days to make mistakes like this and move on. She did this thing but it wasn’t just her fellow students or neighbors who were judging her, it’s the whole world! This bystander uploaded the video and in no time at all she was infamous. I remember one incident when I was in high school when a student had a sexual relationship with a bus driver. That story made the local newspaper but it didn’t name the underaged student. These days, there’s no privacy, no human decency, no “names changed to protect the victim”. Nope, if you screw up and someone thinks it’s funny, you’re on the internet, have hate pages made about you, and are being ridiculed and harassed from anonymous people hiding behind the safety of their keyboards who don’t care about how you’re affected by what is being said. And they’re judging you based solely on this ONE thing.

I’m afraid for my kids, for ALL the kids! You could be in the locker room changing clothes, and someone who’s mad at you at that moment (or just thinks it’s funny) snaps a picture of you topless, sends it to a friend who sends it to 10 friends who send it to…well, you get the point. Adolescence is a time for making mistakes, leveling out your hormones, and figuring out all these changes going on in your bodies and minds. You’re supposed to do stupid stuff (not have sex at school, I mean come on, have some common sense at least!) but you shouldn’t have to have those mistakes follow you all of your life. It’s why juvenile records are sealed!

Before the internet, if you had something negative to say about someone, you said it to their face. At the very least you said it someone who told someone else and it got back to that person who then confronted you, but the end result was the same, you either argued it out or you fought it out. If you were scared you were going to get your ass beat, you probably didn’t say anything! It’s too easy to sit in front of a computer screen and spew a bunch of hate and then go play YoVille without another thought or concern for the consequences. There are kids who are killing themselves because they can’t take the abuse, that’s not your average, back in the day bullying, that’s serious. And instead of making people think before they type, it seems to be fueling the fire, like a “that was fun, who’s next” type thing. That’s scary.

I’d love to tell people “it will all go away if you just ignore it” but that’s not really true is it? One time I posted a video to youtube of my preschooler doing her letter sounds while her older sister held up the cards. Because I know my daughters’ love for aggravating each other, it was obvious to me that when she kept holding the cards out of her sister’s sight it was intentional, but some stranger on the web who came across it accused me of favoring my youngest and suggested that my oldest was “scared” of me. Of course after one person says something someone else reads it and watches the video with a slightly skewed perception and then they agree via comment which encourages others to jump on the bandwagon. I watched the video with their opinions in mind and thought “I can see how you would think that if you didn’t know us” and even apologized to my older daughter if she felt that way. But it still eats at me. That some strangers on the internet could make me feel like I show favoritism with my kids considering that they don’t even know me, when I only posted that video with my family (who also know my kids) in mind. So sure, ignore it, don’t respond, eventually the haters will know they aren’t going to get a reaction out of you and they’ll move on, but yes, it does hurt to be unfairly judged when people only see a small moment of your life and assume that’s how it is all the time. It has to be especially hard for reality stars whose stories are edited for maximum ratings.

In the end, we are constantly in a state of evolution, and times are getting tougher. No doubt being a kid isn’t as easy as it was generations ago, but the one thing that should never change is simple human decency. That good ole Golden Rule “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself” should continue to be true no matter what generation you’re born into.

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Nursing Toddlers

“You’re STILL breastfeeding?!” I asked a mom I knew who was still nursing her two year old toddler. I never would have thought two years later I’d be answering the same question.

Females are truly magical beings. We not only have the ability to create life, but to sustain it after birth as well. It’s something no male could ever do. It’s our super power as women, and I can’t think of anything more profound. So I always knew I’d breastfeed my kids, at least for the first year of their lives. I grew up in a pro breastfeeding family so it was just the norm for me. Occasionally with my oldest we would supplement with formula during over nights at Grandma’s house, but that was just because pumping enough milk in preparation while also feeding her at the same time was annoying. She was fine with it so we were all happy. My younger two would have nothing to do with formula! In fact, once we tried to introduce formula they no longer trusted the bottle either, so then I was exclusively BREASTfeeding!

My oldest nursed for 11 months. She was on solid foods, had plenty of teeth, and was well acclimated with the sippy cup. We were both ready so the transition was smooth. She was about 25 months old when I became pregnant with her sister. That means she had only been off the boob for 14 months, I had just lost all my baby/breastfeeding weight (some women lose weight while breastfeeding, I seem to gain) and now I was getting ready to do it all over again. I was already feeling defeated going in to it and by 6 months I was ready to quit. We went as long as 8 months when she finally bit my nipple hard enough to draw blood that I finally said “we’re done!”. It was a tough transition. She screamed bloody murder that night anticipating her nightly ritual of booby before bed and I was denying her that. It’s something I still feel bad about to this day. She wasn’t trying to hurt me but I used it as an excuse to quit because “I” was over it. Like her sister, she was on solids, obviously had teeth, and had started using a sippy cup at 4 months, as for me I was ready to shed the pounds, and ready to have my body back so I felt justified in weaning her earlier, but still, if I could do it differently I would. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me to break my son now…

Five years later, cue my son. A professional nurser who is apparently aiming for the gold medal of all nursing toddlers! It’s a running family joke when we’ll actually stop, me often saying “we’ll be done when he leaves for college for SURE”. When he was born I said I would nurse for the first year. As his first birthday drew near life seemed to get a little busy. His sisters were out of school for the summer and them being home all day was throwing off his routine. My husband’s mom had also flown in for his birthday, and we were having a party to celebrate, so I told myself, let’s settle into a new summer routine and then we’ll quit. Then it got to be, “we’ll quit when his sisters go BACK to school because it’s just too chaotic now” Then I would try, he would scream and cry, and either I’d give in or his dad (who works from home) would come out to see what was wrong which made me feel like we were distracting him, so I’d give in. The more excuses I made, the older he was getting, and the more it became a comfort thing rather than a nutrition thing, and when I would deny him, the more I felt that he was feeling rejected (I realize that could all be in my head). Now I’m dealing with THAT guilt which he is totally exploiting! It’s still the one thing that makes him feel better when he gets hurt, helps him go to sleep, and keeps him quiet when I need a “hush” moment.

So when I hear, “you’re STILL nursing?!” I sigh and answer, “yes…unfortunately” but what I need to do is try to think that one day he’ll be over it (soon I hope), and we won’t have THAT bond anymore. He’ll have taken one step towards independence, and that maybe instead of dreading it so much, I should enjoy the time that he is mine, and that to him, there’s no better place in the world than snuggled up next to me, even if he is literally draining me.

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Risky Business

After 3 years at a job that was, for lack of a better phrase, eating his soul, my husband’s birthday present to himself this year was to finally put in his notice and begin his own web design business. His idea is for us to create the business together as a husband and wife team with him doing the majority of the work while my artistic abilities (which for the last 10 plus years I’ve primarily used to entertain the children) will be my main contribution.

Since putting in his notice at his current job, I’m starting to see the old Chris coming back. The fun loving, less annoyed looking, more involved, family man that I fell in love with. Sure he’s still cynical and unimpressed but that too is the man that I love. It’s nice to not only hear him say that a weight has been lifted from his shoulders but to actually see it as well.

Meanwhile, I seem to be coming more unglued. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified at the idea of him quitting his job. Obviously my main concern is stability. In an economy where everyone is lucky just to have a job, he’s quitting his and we’re starting a whole new business…together. I know NOTHING about running a business, unless you count this household and believe me, I’m sure there are days that if my family were actually my employess they’d have quit without notice a long time ago!

Years ago I’d come to the conclusion that I will probably never be “wealthy”, and that’s fine. I’m fine with the idea of working for someone else, knowing that there’s a steady pay check coming, benefits, insurance, paid holidays, and set days off. As long as the bills are paid, we live in a modest house with plenty of food in the fridge, and a car (or van in our case) that’s running (and at least born in this century) in the garage then I’m good to go. Add a little extra cash to buy wine, the kids a new toy once in a while, and go out to dinner on occasion, you could even call me “happy”. So yes, the idea that those things are no longer “guaranteed”, is causing me to panic a little bit.

The end of the job he quit means the end of our health insurance, life insurance, and paid holidays. It means knowing that those steady paychecks WON’T be desposited in our account every other week. That means paying for private insurance which is expensive, and tightening our belts financially (something we’ve never been really good at).

But…

It also means no more 2am phone calls because his company’s over seas affiliates can’t seem to comprehend time zones! It also means, no more business trips (that always seemed to come up on or around my birthday and our anniversary), no more work calls on family outings, or pulling all nighters to meet ridiculous deadlines or “urgent” last minute changes. There were no defined days off, “vacations” were more of a legal term than what it actually implied. Seriously, the man worked the morning of our wedding! He was also pulling 70 hour work weeks for the 3 months right before our son was born, building a web site from the ground up. A job usually completed by a team of people, he was doing alone while also expected to complete his daily tasks as well. Do you think he was financially compensated for that? The answer is no.

Since then he’d threatened to quit nearly every day. He has a computer file of at least 8 different resignation letters he swore he was going to send to his boss one day or another. Of course, something would always happen, be it familial obligation, his boss’s appeasement, or my obvious reluctance, and ultimately he’d just file it away for a later date. Until at last he’d finally had enough.

For the record, I have complete confidence in my husband. He is great at what he does, and when he’s good at something he gives it his all. Do I believe he can run a successful business and provide for his family? Yes. Am I 100% confident that he possess all the necessary characteristics to do so? No. I want to be, believe me. I’m trying. It’s not his ability I worry about, it’s just the salesman aspect of it. Give Chris a task and you’ll be more than pleased with the results. However, make him ask you to give him the task….ehhh, not so much. So in an economy where people want everything for nothing and want to spend as much to get it, I worry he won’t be convincing or confident enough to sell himself for what he’s worth (a habit he’s possessed for years), and I know I am definitely NO salesman!

Still, I could never ask him to stay at a job he obviously hates just for the sake of security. I also can’t tell him not to pursue something he’s so sure he can make successful because I question his qualifications, who am I to say what he can or can’t do? He would resent me in the long run which would ultimately ruin “us”, and for me, I’d rather weather a rough patch financially than damage the relationship with the man I adore.

Pessimism aside, I see how confident he is in the whole endeavor and I can’t help but get excited too. I got my Photoshop for Dummies book (because it seems to be the only technical language I speak) in the mail today, and am anxious to dive in, learn all the ins and outs, and become more of an asset to the team and the business. He ordered business cards the other day and when I had an opinion about the slogan he chose he actually considered what I said instead of treating me like a subordinate, and that meant a lot to me.

The truth is, I hope this business is all we’ve dreamed of. Him being his own boss, having time for the family where his mind is there WITH his body, and isn’t frazzled and annoyed. I’m excited to have my husband around, doing something he enjoys, while also able to support our family at the same time. Wish us luck friends. We may see some rough seas ahead (we may not), but we agree we’ve always been the luckiest when it comes to timing, so at the end of the day, I KNOW this will work out no matter what happens.

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Can I Please Poo in Peace?!

As a mother of three I’ve conceded to the idea that there may as well be a revolving door on our bathroom when I am in it. I take it as my karma for all the times I cornered my own mom while she was in the can and therefore accept my fate gracefully. However, the company of my youngest child lately seems like more of a punishment than I deserve. Lately he finds it necessary to unroll the toilet paper until I scold him no less than three times. Next he tries to grab the toilet brush and or plunger depending on how well I’m paying attention, often pretending he’s just looking in the shower to distract me. When he fails at those attempts he has taken to inventorying the cabinet by removing all the contents from it and the drawers underneath, including unwrapping new tampons, brushing his teeth with whomever’s toothbrush he finds, putting on head bands, and using my make-up brushes to sweep the floors. Since my bathroom time is really the only time I have reserved for reading (read: catching up on celebrity gossip via tabloids) this is quite frustrating as you can imagine. Eventually I kick him out, but before deciding to do so several consequences must be weighed. He will either…
a) scream and bang on said door screaming “mommy, pwease!!” as if he’s being eaten by rabid wolves on the other side
b) he will leave quietly…too quietly and as I exit the bathroom I will find that he has either…

  • discovered a coloring utensil and decorated my walls,
  • gotten into one of his sisters rooms where he will unknowingly torture their guinea pigs with his squeals of delight
  • climbed the stools if I forgot to flip them upside down (yes, the ones he flipped over and gave himself a black eye for the record books just in time for his second birthday)

c) go play quietly until mom is done. (for the record, “C” never happens),
or…
d) I just let him stay in there with me and clean up the mess afterward.

This is way too much to contemplate just to empty the bowels, and I realize it’s a bit too much information than you needed to know about me, but hey, everybody poos, even dinosaurs! It’s just a reminder that a mother rarely get a break, bathroom breaks included.

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Pregnant Again?

Recently my husband and I had a bit of a pregnancy scare. No, it was not planned, if anything it would have been complete birth control failure. The likelihood of me actually being pregnant was slim to none considering I’ve been using the Nuva Ring off and on for about 8 years. It’s my favorite form of birth control and had always been reliable. So why did I think I was pregnant? I admit there have been times that instead of putting it in on Sunday I would forget until Monday or Tuesday. I didn’t think much of it, following the proper instructions if that should occur, but for two weeks I was so nauseous I couldn’t stand it, and I rarely get sick, especially for any length of time. I had avoided foods that were too heavy and just felt sluggish and miserable. I felt…pregnant! I’m not one of those women who knows when she’s pregnant. I know women who say they can tell right away, but not me. The three times I’ve carried babies I had to be told by someone else that I was pregnant. So when I was near crying because I wasn’t feeling well my husband asked when my period was due and we both got that look, you know the one. Me saying “no way” him saying “I don’t know…” A few days later I got my period. We both were relieved, but also a little disappointed too.

The whole thing got us thinking, “what would it be like to have another one?” I mean, who doesn’t love babies? They’re so tiny, and soft, and sweet, and smell like baby soap. My heart just melts when I’m near a new baby. I also love being pregnant. Sure the first trimester is exhausting and boring, but once the second one hits you’ve got some extra energy and a cute little baby bump popping out, and you can feel baby flip flopping around in there practicing those martial arts moves that will one day surely make them a grand master. Plus, my husband was a gem! If I had a craving, that’s what we ate, even if it was Wendy’s Spicey Chicken sandwiches twice a day. He never got annoyed with me, he was always patient and tolerent. He was ideal! And when our son was a newborn, you never saw a man so delicate and paranoid and happy. He’s a great father, he’s what I always imagined the father of my kids would be.

I have three kids. Two from a previous relationship and now my son with my husband. For as long as I can remember I always wanted three, and I had always hoped the first two would be the same sex and the last the opposite. I had everything I ever wanted! All three of my kids even have the same initals L,M,R (not in that order, but those three letters). My husband however, while he is an amazing step father to my daughters and loves them as if they were his own, he still only has one biological child. It makes me wonder, does he wants another one? Would I have another one if he wanted to? Is it right for either of us to give up what we want because it’s not what the other wants? Is it wrong to?

My mind says “no more kids!” The only real reason I say that is because of money. That’s another birthday every year, another kid at Christmas to buy for, another child in school eventually. It means the terrible two’s again, breastfeeding again! Do I want to do that all over again? I haven’t even got Link weaned yet and he’s certainly not sleeping in his own bed yet, so could I do that with two?! And the weight! I have the hardest time losing the baby weight. It usually takes me about two years, and with my last child it took dieting too. I’m getting older, my body is recovering a lot differently than it did before.

But…

Those days don’t last forever. Eventually the weight does come off, they are weaned, they do sleep in their own beds, and they do grow up. It’s certainly not all bad either. Nothing beats the first time you hear “momma”, nothing beats those open mouth kisses, or when they fall asleep on your chest (back when they FIT on your chest). The feeling you get when they first roll over, sit up, crawl, or walk. The way they turn their heads to watch you walk around the room. The way they smile only for you (their parents). There’s nothing else in the world that compares to it.

No doubt babies are great, and if the next one was anything like Link, toddlers are pretty neat too, and so far the girls aren’t too tough to handle (most days). So would I have another one?

In the end we’ve talked about it. We’ve agreed if by some divine intervention it happened (which we are still protecting against for the family members with dropped jaws right now) it wouldn’t be a bad thing (we even have names picked that go with our naming convention), and if it doesn’t happen…well, then we have a pretty great family as it is and there’s no need to change that. I just worry, if it’s important to him and he’s just not telling me because he thinks I’m dead set against it then that would be sad. If so, he’d better let me know because I’m about to hit mid thirties and I’m not about to be considered a “gereatric pregnancy”! These kids already make me feel old enough as it is! 🙂

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First day Back

Today was the day of getting back to our routine. Not only for the kids, but for us parents, and little ones too. It truly is a magical time of year.

First of all, the kids went back to school today *que “hallelujah” music*. I was relieved to hear that they were both excited. The first week back was always exciting, even when I was a kid. The girls were with their dad last night so I met up with them this morning. I had to drop off their school paperwork and last minute school supplies anyway, and of course, take pictures. “Dad” had to do his obligatory “make sure you filled out all the paperwork right” check like I haven’t been doing it correctly since Pre K! I’ve never left him off it (read: pretended he doesn’t exist which is what he accuses me of without proper cause), but nonetheless he feels the need to go over it (even though I need to explain what it all is and then give him what he needs and explain that to him too). As usual, it’s all correct, so I just roll my eyes and let him play the part knowing this is probably the last school related event I’ll have to deal with him for the year.
I came with my sister and nephews today because she hadn’t been able to go to the Open House on Friday and since we arranged it so that our kids would be in the same classes it was easy for me to show her where to go. Everyone was very civil and the main focus was on the kids which is where it always should be. We even laughed and joked about how embarassing all us parents were for taking pictures, teasing them that we’d still be doing it in High School (no not really…probably). Finally we left (I think the kids were relieved) and came home where we’ll wait to hear all about their first day back. Unfortunately, I won’t see the girls again until Tuesday after school. Monday nights are “Dad’s Day” so I’ll have to call them to hear about it.

Chris is happy to have peace in the house again so that he can get work done. Ahhh, working from home, “a blessing and a curse” he would say. Aside from our toddler the house stays pretty quiet during school hours so it’s nice to have that again.

As for me, back to my diet and workouts! I busted out the stroller and Link and I went for our two mile walk. Let me tell you, even at 10am, the heat and humidity in Florida is ridiculous! I was panting like a pup, and those hills were not playing around today! I realize I haven’t worked out in a month practically so that certainly didn’t help. As hot as it is though, it makes for a more productive feeling workout. Some days when I walk I hardly sweat so I feel like I’m not doing much, on days like these I feel like my body worked hard! That humidity has to add some type of resistance and if you add to that pushing a stroller carrying a 30 pound child up hills, you’ve got a pretty solid workout for any stay home mom anchored by a toddler. “No gym, no excuse!”, I’ve seen my body change for the better simply by walking so why bother paying a gym membership you’ll no doubt lose interest in when you can’t get a friend to agree to be your work out buddy (or is that just me)?Besides, toddlers make decent walking partners. You can point out trees, squirrels, birds, houses, street signs, whatever! It’s all exciting to them, even still by the 23rd mailbox. Admittedly, there are days when I wish I had a tread mill, like rainy days or when it’s cold. At the time it might feel like a God sent break from working out, but I hate getting off routine. It’s that much harder to start up again which is what I’m experiencing now.

So that’s about it. Since I worked out I’m feeling lazy now and am just sitting here even though laundry needs to be done. I look forward to getting back to where working out GIVES me energy (I hear it does that, hasn’t been my experience too often). I hope all the kids (mine and yours) enjoy their first day back, even if it’s not today, and I hope all you parents enjoy it too.

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Moments

I am often told how one day my kids will be grown and move out and I’ll miss them, and so on and so forth. Probably because my kids exhaust me and I vent my frustration via whatever social networking medium I happen to be on at the moment. So yes, I realize that I am inviting those types of comments. I know that one day I’ll be sitting in my empty nest reminiscing on the days when I heard the sound of children’s laughter and warm little arms hugging me tight and sweet “I love you”s coming from their lips, and I know my heart will ache and I’ll miss that.

However, it is NOT that time. I’m in the NOW, and NOW that laughter I hear isn’t a faint memory, it’s usually bellowing at the expense of a sibling. The warm arms hugging me tight are usually an over zealous child playing too rough with their arms wrapped around my neck choking the life out of me, and the I love you’s are said in a teasing manner like when they’ve been busted doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing in the first place. People in general tend to romanticize relationships (or times in their life) that are over (or have since passed). It’s easy to forget the hard times when all you WANT to do is remember the good. I know when they’re grown I won’t be sitting in my rocker thinking fondly of the days when I had to ground my kids or send them to bed crying because of whatever they did. Who would?!

Parenting is HARD work. It’s hard already and I’m not even in the teen years yet! I think the generations before the one with small children at home forget that sometimes. Do you know why they forget? Because we gave them sweet little grandchildren to play with and love and spoil rotten and then send home at the end of the day. Sure, kids are GREAT in small doses. They make you laugh, they make you feel young (sometimes), they remind you of happy moments in your past (perhaps with your own kids), but you have to admit too, when they go home and you have your quiet house back, you let out a nice little sigh of relief as you survey the damage they left behind. It’s okay to admit it 🙂 It’s because when you know your grandkids are coming over you make time for them. You don’t save your laundry to do for when they’re there. You don’t decide THEN would be a good time to pay bills or mop floors, forget making a phone call for some adult interaction! As full time parents, we don’t get that luxury and I think THAT’s the biggest thing that gets forgotten. As great as they are, we CAN’T play with them as much as they’d like, we CAN’T give them as much attention as they demand, we CAN’T ignore the things that need to be done around the house because we HAVE to take care of them. We NEED to make dinner even though they won’t eat it. We HAVE to wash their clothes so they have a variety of stuff to say they can’t/won’t wear. We MUST make them do the homework they swear the teacher didn’t explain even though we know that is not true, and we are REQUIRED to make them brush their teeth, smell their breath and despite their argueing, INSIST that they go back in there and use toothpaste this time! YOU have time to THINK so you spend it thinking about your kids (ironic isn’t it? Can’t wait for the kids to grow up so you can spend you golden years thinking about them as kids).

No, I won’t look back on these past 11 years (so far) fondly. I know they aren’t all peaches and gravy (is that a real saying? Who eats that?!). What I WILL be thinking about as I’m sitting in that rocker on my front porch are the moments that got me through these years. Like when Riley wasn’t quite 3 but was so protective of her newborn baby sister, like when Milla made her pillow fort at midnight and told me to “wook at my face, I’m not tiewd”, or when Link ran around the house singing “go koko, go koko”. I’ll remember the things they used to say (easier to do with Link since I post most of them, I wish social media was around when the girls were little) and the cute “baby” voices they would say them in. I’ll remember when I would nurse them and they would make eye contact with me and just smile up at me. I KNOW that’s what I’ll remember then because it’s what I think of to get me through the hard times now.

I know my kids are great, I think I say that in every blog I write. They may not be great ALL the time, but for the most part. I guess what I mean to say is I don’t think we’re meant to treasure every moment with our children. We’re suppose to give all the blood, sweat, and tears required to raise strong, independent future adults, and if we’ve done our job right then we will miss them when they’re gone. Maybe one day this blog will still be around when Riley has kids and is frustrated beyond belief, she’ll read this and know that I was there one day too and it passed, and when I tell her to cherish these moments because they go by so fast she can belt out “MOM!” they way she used to when frustrated with me and I’ll remember why I shouldn’t say that.

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Sometimes being the mom SUCKS!

In the past two days I have heard “you love him more than me!” followed by a door slam, and “I’m always the one getting punished because I’m older!” followed by a door slam. At this rate our doors aren’t going to last.

Kids are exhausting! They forget there are three of them but only one of me. I can’t referee every fight, I don’t always know who did it, and sometimes it’s NOT fair. I wish once in a while they could remember I’m human too.

Yesterday Milla came into Riley’s room (without knocking of course) and when I told her to get out she got pissed off and stormed out, accidently knocking her little brother over making him hit his head against the wall. Not hard, but hard enough, and she did genuinely feel bad so I kind of felt bad when I smacked her on the butt for doing it, but she does it a lot so I had to punish her. That was the “you love him more…” cry fest, which obviously is not true.

A little while ago Riley was playing SIMS on the xbox. Milla wanted to watch from the couch. I don’t know why this bothers Riley so much. Like I said, I don’t stand over them every time they’re in the same room together so I don’t know if Milla is bugging her, talking, humming, just being annoying for the sake of being annoying (which she does) so Ri started yelling at her to get out. I was on the couch with Link who I thought I almost had asleep so I didn’t run in there to prevent the fight about to come, instead, I calmly asked Milla to come into the living room with me. When she ignored me I got louder and more demanding, she continued to ignore me and, according to Riley, tried to punch her sister in “the stomach and the throat” which led to the smack across the face that I heard clearly from the other room, followed of course by the wails of pain from Milla. So I had to send Riley to her room for the smack which led to the “I’m always the one in trouble…” which obviously isn’t true. I had to explain that had she told me Milla was hitting her MILLA would be the one in trouble but since Riley decided to handle it herself she got herself in trouble. I assume all she heard was “blah blah blah go to your room”.

Like any parent, I love all three of my kids equally. Maybe in different ways but the same amount nonetheless. Riley is my dependable one. I can trust her to remember things (except not to hit her sister), help with her brother, and entertain herself. Milla is my little people pleaser. She tries so hard to make everyone happy, she helps me around the house, plays with Link (when she isn’t bulldozing him), and gives the sweetest hugs. Link is the baby so his only job is to fill the cuteness meter, which he does above and beyond, to NOT hit mommy in the head with a wood plank!! (which he just did…ouch) and to PLEASE for the love of God STOP taking his train track apart!. Oh believe me, there are times when it’s definitely EASIER to love one over the other, but it does hurt me that, even for a moment, they might truly believe I love one MORE than the other. My kids are literally my life, without them every day, life would be boring. It’s true I appreciate the boring days now because I have the kids, but I wouldn’t want it every day.

Okay, I need to wrap this up. Milla wants ravioli and Link wants strawberries (at the same time of course), and you can bet as soon as I get everything cleaned up Riley will want me to make her some mac-n-cheese. Today would be good time for one of those “boring days” *sigh* Until then, time to slip into my Super Mom suit and make everyone happy! First order of business, trying to explain to a toddler that the strawberries he sees on the box of Ziploc bags aren’t actually in the box…I may need back up.

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