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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crazy busy thankful

Life is crazy.

And by that I mean absolutely positively unimaginably insane to the nth degree. And then some.

Popcorn sales for Scouts. As treasurer,
I've had my hands full.

Daniel and I helped unload a tractor trailer full of Christmas
trees. We'll be spending every spare moment at the Scout
tree lot until the last tree is sold.

Sarah celebrated her 14th birthday - and had
basketball games on the same day. The 3 oldest
are all playing now - so life revolves around
basketball AND Scouts.

The Dude and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary.
Still trying to wrap my head around that one.

I sat down during my break this morning at work and paid bills - and officially paid off the last of my debt. All of my old debts from my previous lives, all of our medical bills, all of my credit card bills, the van - those payments are all gone. GONE.

I am literally debt-free..... until.....

The biggest thing of all right now.... is the house situation. I haven't really said a whole lot about it since I posted those pictures - but I'll fill you in now.

I officially made an offer on it last week. The seller countered, I countered his counter, he countered my counter of his counter....and it went on for several days like that. He was being obstinate and pretty much refused to budge on anything. We finally reached an agreement and I did all of the loan paperwork on Monday. The inspection is scheduled for December 9, so as long as everything goes well and there isn't anything major wrong with it, I'll close on January 25.

Here's the catch. The seller - is stubborn. He doesn't want to do anything to the house. He doesn't want to allow room in the price for repairs. He just wants to get rid of it. So, if there's something wrong with it, we'll either have to fix it ourselves or give up on the house. I am trying desperately not to get my hopes up because I know that it'll just take one big bad thing on the inspection to lose this. I have the day of the inspection off from work, and I plan to follow the inspector around so that I can see first-hand what needs to be done - and then I can make a decision as to whether or not it's something that we're willing to do.

Needless to say, I'm an anxious nervous wreck right now. And I couldn't be happier about it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Could this be THE ONE?

House hunting isn't for sissies.

Look at the natural light, and not the carpet.
The Dude and I have now looked at about 15-20 houses over the past 6 months or more. Some of them - we really liked. And some of them - not so much.

But we saw this one last week. And then we saw it again today. And we're in love.

It was built in 1967. At the time, it was *the* house in the town. It was *the* location for dinner parties and open houses. People actually paid money to walk through the house during the holidays to look at the decorations. The owners were very active in the community and were very well-loved and respected.

It will be worth getting a landline just to see if it works.
Time took its toll. He passed away in 2004. She passed away earlier this year. Judging from the appearance of the house, although it was well-maintained, it was never updated. Almost everything is original.

Counting rooms in the basement that can't be advertised as such, there are 6 bedrooms. Six. One for everyone.

There are 3 bathrooms. Three. As in, 3 toilets - so 3 people can use the bathroom at one time. That in and of itself is a major selling point.

I think the Bradys might live next door.
There are 2 fireplaces. There is a 2 car garage. There are 2 kitchens. There is a huge yard. There are a ton of closets and cubbies and places to store things.

It's hideous.

And we love it.

We love the gaudiness of it. We love the crazy wallpaper and the funky light fixtures and the unusual room dividers. We love the location and the yard and the amount of work that it's going to take.

The fixtures. Look at the fixtures.
We know that it won't be an easy job - but we also know what we want to see in this house, and we both feel that we can do it.

So....while nothing is official yet, we have let our realtor know that this is the house for us. She is going to get the ball rolling to see if we can get into it.

The price is right. The payments would be well within the affordable range.

All of the kids would finally be in the same school district.

All of the kids could finally have their own bedrooms.

I could finally own a home and stop paying rent.

For some reason, I love this gaudy wallpaper.
There are so many positives right now. But of course there are always negatives. There are inspections and other hurdles to jump before we can say that we're officially planning to buy it. At this point, it could all still very easily fall through and we could not get this house.

But, at the same time, things could very well fall into place.

Only time will tell.

Natural light. Built-in shelves. And that light.
What's not to love?

Love. Just...... love.

One of the fireplaces. And built-ins. And The Dude.

Second full kitchen - in the basement.

The basement definitely needs TLC.
Seriously. That's only part of the yard.

*** Just a reminder - if you know me (or even if you don't) and you know where this house is, please don't say it. We all know it's in Kansas, but just leave it at that, ok? Thanks!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Merry Hallowthanksmas

I saw a facebook status from a friend of mine today, talking about the controversy surrounding businesses that are choosing to be open on Thanksgiving Day. The comments on that status ended up leading into a fairly heated discussion about who was right and who was wrong in the Shopping vs. Not Shopping and the Open vs. Closed  arguments for that day.

You want to know what I think?

Seriously folks - there are so many more important things in the world to argue about, you know? Whatever you choose to believe in this scenario is YOUR opinion. Yours. Not mine, not your friends', not anyone else's but your own.

I've got news for you - society doesn't define YOU as a person. You do.

If you don't believe that anyone should shop on Thanksgiving Day, then don't do it.

If you don't believe that a business should be open that day, then don't patronize them.

If you want to go shopping that day because you like the challenge and you want the bargains, go for it.

If you want to sit around in your underwear all day scratching your butt, guess what? You can do it. Just remember to wash your hands afterwards, ok?

I choose not to shop on that day (or Black Friday for that matter), and it's not to make some sort of crazed societal statement. It's for one main reason - I hate to shop. Seriously. Hate it with a passion. Mix that with a general intolerance of rude people and it's a deadly combination. So I don't do it. I don't need a bargain badly enough to deal with that kind of nonsense.

Those people who argue about "the employees deserve to spend the holiday with their family" - ok, do you personally know EVERY SINGLE PERSON who is working in that store? Do you know FOR A FACT that they didn't choose to work that day to get the holiday pay, or that they don't have family, or that their family is celebrating the holiday on a different day, or that they volunteered to work that day so that others could have the day off?

I'm working Thanksgiving Day. Why? Because to me, the holiday season isn't dictated by a calendar. It's a SEASON. We can have our Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day, the day after, the Saturday after (more likely because I'm off that day), or on the 4th of July - it doesn't matter when it happens. It's a season, it's a way of thinking, and just because it might not happen on the 4th Thursday of November at 1:00pm doesn't mean that it is any less meaningful for my family.

I'm working so that other people can have the day off because their families won't work around their work schedules for whatever reason. I'm working to suck up 8 additional hours of holiday pay. I'm working to sock a little bit more money into our "Home Sweet Home" fund to get us into a new home. I'm working because I don't allow the calendar to dictate my life.

We as a society have become conditioned that we must have the newest-biggest-best-shiniest-fastest-most-expensive things and we must have them first. Just look at the people who camp out for days in order to be the first to get the newest-fastest-best iWhatever - it's become a normal part of society. Some people like that sort of thing, and some people don't - doesn't make anyone wrong or right.

If you don't like it, then don't participate. If you do, then have fun and I hope that you get everything that you're searching for in that store while experiencing (and inflicting) the least possible amount of bodily harm.

But for crying out loud, stop with the judgmental crap. Leave that for the important stuff.

Monday, October 21, 2013

697 days

We reached a milestone today.

697 days.

Daniel was born on June 10, 2007. On May 6, 2009 - I told his father to leave our home for the last time ... 697 days later.

Daniel and I met The Dude for the first time on November 25, 2011 - 697 days ago.

As of today, The Dude has been a part of Daniel's life longer than his biological father was.

It's bittersweet for both of us. I asked The Dude today what he thought about it and his response was "conflicted". He's glad to be a part of Daniel's life, but at the same time he feels bad that Daniel will never get to know his father.

Honestly, it's the same for me. I know that his father loved him. I know that he had the potential to be a great father. But it just didn't happen that way. The addiction was too much to overcome and it tore our family apart before it took him away from us forever.

But, we have a good life now. We have come so far as a family and we are finally in a good place. The Dude has been amazing to all of us. Daniel looks to him as a father and I am so incredibly thankful for that. He knows that he has another father - but he also knows that The Dude is there for him and loves him even though there isn't a biological connection.

At his age, Daniel doesn't realize the significance of today. I've been thinking about it for weeks, because not only do I realize what this means for Daniel, but I realize what it means for me. I never dreamed that I would allow anyone to become such a huge part of our lives, but yet somehow, The Dude has wormed his way in and he still claims that he plans on staying. We have gone through so much crap in the past few months between work schedules and house hunting and injuries and illnesses and vehicle breakdowns and stress and chaos and panic - and yet we're still hanging in there (and creeping dangerously close to our 2 year anniversary) and doing everything that we can to care for our family - even if it's split between a couple of different residences for a few more months.

Life is good. Crazy, chaotic, and not always predictable, but it's good.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

That wasn't supposed to happen

Today started out rough. Daniel started on another vomiting spree sometime in the middle of the night, and kept it up for several hours. The Dude came over at 4:30am as usual so that I could go to work, and I made the decision to take the day off instead. So I got the kids up and ready to go to school, he loaded them up and took them, and I crawled back into bed with Daniel. At some point, The Dude came back and brought some Gatorade and ginger ale - I vaguely remember him coming in to the house and leaving again.

Daniel and I got up around 11:00am and puttered around the house for a bit. I figured that since I had an unexpected day off, I could maybe get some stuff done around the house. The Dude had to be at work at 11:00am, so I knew that I wouldn't be hearing from him for a while.

A little after noon, my phone rang - and it was him. I had a really bad feeling, and as soon as I answered the phone I knew that I was right.

"Babe, I'm headed to the hospital. I fell and I'm pretty sure I broke my wrist."


We talked for a few minutes until he got to the hospital, and then the texting started. He kept me updated as things were happening. At 1:13pm, I got the text from him - "And its broken"




I met him at the hospital and took him back to work to fill out paperwork, and then dropped off his prescription and picked Alex up from school. We had to run a couple of errands and then I had to get back here to make supper for the kids. After we were done with that, we made supper for him and his mother and ran that over to their apartment, and then ran a few more errands.

Needless to say, he's not a happy camper right now.

So now we wait until he sees the ortho to find out what the plan is from this point. All I know is that he is miserable and in pain, and I hate to see him like this. I'll be out of town all day tomorrow for a Scout outing with all of the kids, so once we get back I'll be able to check on him and make sure that he's ok. But it looks like he's out of commission for a little while - at least until the pain eases up and he can start to function again.

It could be worse. It could be worse. It could be worse.

It. could. be. worse.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I never thought it would happen. Never.

You know, it's kind of funny. When I was kid, I loved to draw. Whenever I drew a house, it always looked the same - kind of like this...

I never claimed to be an artist.

Anyway, as The Dude and I have been out shopping for houses, we found one that we both like. A lot. And the funny thing is that it really kind of looks like the house that I always drew as a kid. Except it's straighter. And prettier. And has a front porch. And a hot tub. But I digress.....

We were shopping for houses with the knowledge that my credit wasn't quite where it needed to be yet. I've been working on it, but as anyone who has shoddy credit knows, it's a process. I have been working with an agency that has been busting their butts to get negative stuff removed for the past few months. We thought that I was where I needed to be a couple of months ago when my scores suddenly tanked. I was heartbroken. As it turned out, an old debt (to the tune of $3000+) that has been in collections for years - and that I have been faithfully making payments on for years - was sold to a new collection agency, who in turn started reporting it as new debt. It killed my credit.

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago when I got a letter in the mail. It was from one of the credit reporting agencies. Nervously, I opened it. 

According to the letter, that particular negative piece of information was deleted from my credit report. Deleted. Thinking back to how much of a negative impact it had when it appeared, I wondered what kind of a positive impact it would have when it disappeared.

As the battle against this particular creditor was happening, I paid off my credit cards. I also paid off a couple of smaller debts with the agreement that those creditors would remove the negative information from my report. I also got the raise at work, and the Social Security that Daniel and I receive increased at the same time.

So on Friday, I was able to check my new and improved credit scores through an online deal that was set up by the credit-report-cleaner-upper-people (my official name for them). I already know that the numbers that I see are slightly higher than the official numbers, so when I saw on Friday that they were high enough, I anxiously contacted Mortgage Lady (also her official name). She was excited to hear the news, and we agreed to meet this morning.

Fast forward to about 2am today, when Daniel's official name changed to Sir Pukesalot. He kept that up for the rest of the night, but seemed to level out a bit. The Dude had planned to go and meet with Mortgage Lady with me, but because Daniel was so sick I emailed her and asked her to just pull my credit report without me and to call me, rather than run the risk of Daniel hurling in her office. The Dude came over and we waited by the phone. Finally she called.

It's official. My credit score is now high enough to qualify for a mortgage.

I started shaking and pacing around the house while I talked to her. I'm not officially pre-qualified for anything yet because there is still one account on my credit report that is showing as "in dispute" - so I have to contact all 3 agencies and tell them to remove that because nothing can happen while there is an active dispute. Minor detail, really. But qualifying for "our" house will not be an issue - and we can actually look at houses in a higher price range than I would have even thought possible.

I contacted the realtor who has been helping us, and "our" house is still on the market.

I am completely and totally overwhelmed right now. Just over 3 years ago, I was on the verge of being homeless. People were sending me money to try to help me save my old house, but it wasn't enough and it went into foreclosure and we were forced to move. We moved into this house only because I qualified for assistance at the time - but I had no idea how I was going to pay the rent when that assistance ended, which was only 3 months. Then my ex passed away and the Social Security started and through the emotional turmoil that followed, the bills started getting paid regularly. It was a horrible way to get the bills paid, but I did what I had to do with what I had - and it's led me to where I am today. Between the Social Security and the job - I will be able to own a house, and soon. 

Me. The same person who was days away from being homeless just 3 years ago - will be buying a house within the next few months.

It's crazy and mind boggling and overwhelming and exciting and scary and surreal, all at the same time. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is it worth it?

So things have been kind of crazy around here lately.

I started my full-time gig at work a while back, and I have mixed emotions about it.

Seriously. We all know that I'm not a morning person. Getting up at 4:30am five days per week sucks. My days off are unpredictable. I come home greasy and exhausted and cranky and sore.

I work with some really great people. Some really awesome people. But there's always that one person who ruins it for everyone - and in our case, it's one of the people in a position of power. There are days when the stress of being totally overworked and underappreciated gets to be too much, and I have to convince myself (and others) not to just walk out of the building and never return.

And then I get my paycheck, and I seriously wonder.....is it really worth it? It's not like I'm making a ton of money, which would make being miserable slightly easier to handle.

At the same time, I need this job. No, I need a job. This one was handed to me at the right time. My credit is *thisclose* to being repaired enough to apply for a mortgage. Seriously, *thisclose*. I got word the other day that one huge thing on my credit report has been deleted - and this was something that had a serious detrimental effect on my scores. So I'm waiting for next month's report to see if maybe, just maybe, it was enough to push me over the top. The extra income from this job will make it easier to get us into a house - without a doubt.

I sat down last night and figured some bills. My van is so close to being paid off - like, if I really push it, I can maybe pay it off by the end of the year. And the medical bills that appeared over the summer - instead of taking 7 months to pay them all, I think I can do it in four. I can't do that without the income from a job.

So the job is good. Or at least the income from the job is good. Or good-ish. It definitely helps.

But at the same time....

I was off the last couple of days because I was sick. Well, today was supposed to be my day off, but I took off yesterday as a sick day. And honestly, these were the best two days that I've had since I started this job - because I wasn't there. I got to take the kids to school, and I realized how much I miss doing that. I got to putter around the house and get stuff done (when I wasn't sleeping) and I realized how much I miss doing that.

Don't get me wrong - I love that The Dude does so much with the kids so that I can work. I love that he does it and that he does it willingly. But I hate it. He's spending more time with them than I am - and as a mom, that's not ok with me. He shouldn't be the one meeting with the principal over behavior issues - that should be me (ok, it really shouldn't be either one of us, but the kids aren't perfect). He shouldn't be waking the kids up for school - that should be me. He shouldn't be the one running them to last minute appointments - that should be me. And now that he's working, I'm having to turn to other people to help out with the kids from time to time - and while I trust them completely it still makes me feel so incredibly guilty every time I have to do it.

I know that this is what working parents go through, but I hate it. I made a promise to myself 2 1/2 years ago that I wouldn't work as long as they were little and I could afford not to do it - and I'm breaking that promise - to myself and to them.

I have to stop and ask myself why I'm doing this. I keep saying "it's to get us into a house of our own" and yes, that's true. But at the same time I have to wonder if I couldn't do that without the job. Or maybe without THIS job. Sure, it might take longer, but it could happen. I know it could.

I'm seriously questioning my "need" to work right now. Is getting into a house of our own right now so important that I should be sacrificing time with my kids and my own happiness to make it happen? Am I being greedy by wanting this to happen right now, when realistically we could wait a few more months for it to happen? Or is it something that we can put off for a few months in order to save our sanity? I don't ever want to look back on this period of my life and say "wow, that was so not worth the stress".

I'm not a quitter. I'm not one to walk away from an obligation just because it's hard or stressful. But this is one of those situations that really has me questioning what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Decisions, decisions....none of which can be taken lightly.

Stress doodles while working on computer
stuff tonight. No point, really.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Where I am...

You may or may not have noticed, but I haven’t been around as much lately. Some might think that’s a good thing (ha) and some might be wondering what is happening.

There is so much going on in life right now. This job is kicking my butt. I know, I know – people work every day and it’s not that big of a deal. But face it – I’m not used to it. I didn’t work outside of the home for years and I was still busy every day. Now, I’m gone for roughly 45 hours every week – yet I still have the same amount of stuff to get done around the house. There’s still the same amount of laundry (if not more, thanks to my greasy work clothes) and the same amount of housework and the same amount of yardwork….. except now that all has to get crammed into the time that I have left.

The Dude helps with the stuff around the house when he can, but as of this week he is now working full-time as well. So now we both have crazy schedules and somehow we have to try to fit in time for us to be able to spend time together along with everything else that has to be done around here.

Fall sports have started, which for me means volleyball games every Thursday night. Emily has a tournament tomorrow morning that is being played about an hour from here, and could last all day long. The girls have practice every day after school, so on the days that they come back here they don’t get here until after 6:00pm. By the time we eat and do homework, we’re all so tired that we crash – and then have to get up early the next day and do it again.

I finally got a new phone the other night – but now that I did that, I no longer have my unlimited data plan, which is what I use to access the internet. We added a phone to my plan for The Dude so we share the (now) limited data – he doesn’t use much, but we have to be really careful about how much we use, or it’ll get really expensive, really quickly. So I’m just not online as much, unless I go to his apartment to use his computer or go to the library to enjoy some peace and quiet. While I’m not online as much, I’m working (still) on freeing up some space on this ancient machine so that it’ll hopefully run a little smoother.

So needless to say, I just won’t be around as much for a while until things calm down a bit. I’m looking into options for cheap home internet so that I don’t have to worry about the data usage on my phone as much, but honestly that’s not a high priority right now. We are still working on getting a house of our own, and that is taking longer than we had hoped – but with each month that passes, we are one step closer. My credit is *thisclose* to where it needs to be, and hopefully it’ll be over the top before the end of the year – and then we can actually start the purchasing process.

So many things that are changing in our lives right now – at times I sit back and think about all of it, and it can be a little overwhelming and chaotic and stressful to say the least. But I know that we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re going to just keep on going until we get to where we want to be. I know that we're going to get there - it's just going to be a little crazier than usual along the way.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thoughts & stuff

September 1. We've lived in this little ghetto-esque house for exactly 3 years now.

It's been 3 years since I felt like I lost everything, but it's also been 3 years since I started my life over again.

Life is better in so many ways. I'm financially secure - not rich, but secure. My kids are doing great in school and are healthy for the most part. I have a wonderful man in my life who loves me and loves my kids as if they were his own.

But no matter how good life is at the moment, I know that it can change in a heartbeat.

Things have changed so much for us in the past 3 years, and to sit here and think about it can absolutely blow my mind. I don't ever want to forget about the struggles that we went through, because those struggles made me and my family who we are today. We are better people for what we experienced.

I continue to carry my Vision card (EBT, food stamps, whatever you want to call it) in my wallet. It's right there, under my checkcard where I see it every time I open my wallet. It hasn't been valid for a couple of years now, but I won't get rid of it. It reminds me of where we were not so long ago, and seeing it there reminds me of where we want to go. It keeps me grounded.

With the amount of progress that we've made in the last 3 years - I can't wait to see where we are 3 years from now. I know where I want to be - and now I just have to make it happen.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My new table...and a realization.

So if you happen to follow my shenanigans on my facebook page, you might have seen the really cool table that I found today. I know that it's not a priceless relic or anything like that, but I'm just absolutely in love with it. I had to wander around the house for a while this evening, trying to figure out exactly where to put it, because there just isn't much space in here for anything else.

I finally found the spot - right next to the rocking chair that still had the boys' stuff on it from last school year. But of course, because I'm me - in order to put the table beside the chair, I had to get rid of all of the crap on the chair. And that meant that I had to sort it all out and put it where it belonged. But that of course meant that I had to pull the chair out and sweep the floor underneath it, which led to moving all of the living room furniture to do the rest of the floor, which led to cleaning under the couch cushions - and so on, and so on.....

But, the table has found a home.

(*Mental note: buy more duct tape to fix the footstool again.)(Don't judge - it was Gramma's footstool.)

But honestly, what I think is really cool - and some people might disagree - is that for once, I saw something that I liked and I got it. Not because I needed it or because it was on sale or because I had been saving up like Scrooge for it - but just because I saw it and I liked it. There was a time not so long ago that doing something like this would have not only been impossible, but would have caused us to not have food on the table for a few days (or more).

It's been 3 years since I lost what seemed like everything. I lost my house, my van, my marriage..... I almost lost my kids because of my financial situation at the time. Things have turned around for me in so many ways. Having a little bit of extra money to spend every now and then is still a novelty - but it's also something that I know I have to watch if we're ever going to be able to get a house of our own.

Knowing that my financial stability started as a result of receiving the Social Security after my ex passed away still causes some guilt. I know, I know - I shouldn't feel guilty. But I do. And knowing that Daniel and I are getting a pretty significant increase in that Social Security as of tomorrow causes even more guilt. But like I've said before, it is what it is, period. And now that I have a "real job" - the finances are finally looking better.

We still aren't rich. We still aren't taking any road trips in the near future (especially with the van still acting really wonky) or going on any exotic vacations. But, I'm saving for a house (and a newer van), and every now and then, I can buy something that I want.

It's a pretty cool feeling.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

You asked, I answered....

So a few days ago, I asked people to ask me questions on my facebook page. These are some of them - finally with answers!!!

Katie asked: How do you manage stress?? With all the kids work school ect you seem like you manage everything so wonderfully...How in the world do you do it??? 

I'll let you in on a little secret: I don't manage it all. I really don't. I'll give you an example.

See that chair in the picture? That's the chair that's in the corner of my living room. I walk past it about 873 times every day. See the pile of stuff on the chair? That's the stuff that came home in the boys' backpacks on their last day of school. In May. 3 months ago. It's still sitting there on that chair, and I still haven't touched it, and school started last week. I keep telling myself that I'm going to get to it, and it hasn't happened yet. So yeah, I keep up with the important stuff, most of the time - but I really don't have it all together.

Jessie asked: What are you future plans? How do you think others view you? What are your top 2 biggest insecurities? What are your greatest achievements? On your days off what do you do ideally? ... Okay thats all I can come up with for now lol 

Wow - lots of questions! I'll try to answer all of them.

Future plans right now include buying a house in the town where my older 3 kids go to school so that I can get all of my kids into the same school district to cut down on stress, chaos, and mileage. At that point, The Dude will hopefully be officially moving in with us, and we'll all live happily ever after.

How do others view me? I think that depends on who you ask. I'm sure that my boss considers me to be a scatterbrain, my family has all sorts of mixed feelings about me, my kids think I'm pretty cool some of the times and the meanest mom in the world other times, and The Dude apparently thinks that I'm pretty awesome with a touch of OCD. Honestly though, I quit worrying about what other people think and I just try to be the best person that I can be.

Biggest insecurities....I question my parenting tactics all of the time and wonder just how badly I'm screwing up my kids (that's normal, right?) and I'm always afraid of losing the people I love.

Greatest achievements? Easy. My kids. They are the best things that have ever come from me.

Days off....I don't get many of them, but I try to spend time with The Dude (fishing is always good) or with the kids if they're not in school - or I clean and do everything around the house that I can't get done any other time.

Lorena asked: don´t you just LOVE MOTHERHOOD?.....I LOVED IT WHEN THEY ALL ATE AT THE TABLE AND TALKED!! WHAT HAS been your favorite moments til now? Besides them being asleep at night!

Motherhood has been pretty awesome. It has had its moments when I wanted to curl up in a corner in the fetal position and never come out, but those little buggers force me to keep going no matter what. Dinners together - though few and far between - are amazing.....assuming that they all like what I made.

As for favorite moments....there are so many! All of the 'firsts' of course, and now that they're getting older I love being able to have real conversations about real topics with them, especially with the girls.

Bianca asked: Best thing about your new job? 

Oy. That's a tough one, because the job is hard. And it's not really that much fun. And the pay, while good, isn't great. And we all know that the hours suck. But I really think that one of my favorite parts is working with the teenagers and young adults. Listening to them talking about school and dating and college and hopes and dreams has actually restored a little bit of my faith in humanity. They're really a good group of kids.

Sarah asked: If you could change anything in your life, what would it be? if anything that is! 

There is only one thing about my life that I would change, and it's something that causes most people to look at me like I'm insane. But, I had my tubes tied after I had Daniel. I didn't really want to do it, but at that time it was the best decision to make. I do regret that decision because if I had my way I would have more kids (stop looking at me like that) - but, I can't change it now and at my age it's probably smart to not even think about starting over again!

Dianne asked: I want to know how you have so much energy with no little sleep each night? Please do tell...im a mom of 4 and i have 0 energy!

I've often said that it's simply a matter of survival. Before The Dude came into the picture, I was doing it all on my own. I had no choice in the matter, and I had no help. I had to get everything done, and sleep was not going to happen until I got it done. I'm still in that mindset to a point, although he helps me out tremendously around the house. At the same time, I know that my house is my responsibility and I try not to shove too much of that off onto him. I depend on caffeine (bad, I know) and I just keep moving, because if I sit down for too long, I'm gone.

Jennifer asked: What is your biggest fear?

Losing my kids or The Dude. I would be lost without them.

Kathy asked: If money was no concern, where is the first place you would travel? Who gets to go with you? 

Easy. Back home - back to Pennsylvania to see my family and friends. I try to make that trip every year, but we couldn't afford to do it this year and I hate that. Hopefully we can do it next year.

Gloria asked: Do you want more kids with the Dude ? 

See above. :)

Paula asked: Where did you meet the Dude? (Think we all want to see if there's anyone even remotely as brilliant as he is!) Did he chat you up, or you him, and what was the first thing that was said? Where did you go on your first date? 

There's a whole blog post dedicated to exactly that.

Donna said: No questions...just this: between you and the crumb diaries, some days both your blogs either bring a huge smile of delight to my life OR a tear to my heart and a reminder that my dramas are not as bad as I think they are. SO PLEASE...Just keep blogging and THANKS for sharing your life.

Thank you! I love the crumb diaries so much, and to be paired with her is a huge honor for me. She is amazing, and has become a very good friend in this amazing world of blogging.

Andrea asked: What is your favorite thing to do for yourself? Get your nails done? Read a book? Watch a movie? What? 

I used to do my nails all of the time, but I can't even wear polish at work now so that's out of the question. I love to sew, but I haven't been able to touch my machine in months unless it was to fix something - I have so many projects started (and that I have to start) but I just haven't had the time. Boo.


So, that's it for this round. Sorry it took me so long to get to it, but you know, things are always crazy around here. I hate not blogging as much, but it's been so hard to find the time - I've actually been considering doing a few video blogs - that way I can say what I want to say while I'm driving or walking or doing the dishes or folding laundry or whatever - but with my horrible internet connection that might be more of a hassle than it's worth. I might try a short one in the next few days just to see how it works. Or I might not. We'll see.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I couldn't do it...

...if it wasn't for The Dude.

Seriously. As I get ready to start my third week of this full-time working gig, it's really dawned on me just how amazing he has has been - and continues to be.

If he doesn't come over and spend the night before I have to work, he gets up around 4:00am so that he can be here between 4:30 and 5:00am. He makes sure that I get up when my alarm goes off (not a feat for the weak, mind you) and then he sleeps for a couple more hours until the kids get out of bed. While I'm at work, he feeds them breakfast and lunch, makes sure that they don't kill each other, and he takes care of the house. My house. Not his house or our house - but my house. He'll do dishes and do laundry and take out the trash or whatever needs to be done - and if I leave him a list, he does everything on it. He makes me something to eat when I come staggering back in the door at 2:00 - or sometimes as late as 3:30pm.

And with school starting this week, he'll soon be responsible for getting the kids up and dressed and fed and to school in the mornings too - which is not an easy thing to do on a good day.

Yesterday, we got the chance to go to a cookout that some friends of his were having. The weather was finally nice after close to 2 weeks of solid rain and flooding, and we had a great time. The kids got to run around and act like idiots and bounce in the bouncy house and swing on the swings, and he and I got to sit and visit with people and just relax. Afterwards, we did a little bit of shopping since we were in the city and had a few more options of places to go (I still can't find any more pants that I like for work) and then we came home and relaxed. The boys went to spend the night with The Dude's mother for an impromptu sleepover, so we had the house to ourselves for the night.

He knew that I was exhausted - so he didn't give me too hard of a time when I slept through the entire movie that we had planned to watch together. We woke up this morning and he went and picked Alex up and brought him back over here so that he could go spend the day with his father, and I promptly fell asleep again. At some point, I got up and moved to the couch so that we could watch another movie, and -  you guessed it - I slept through it. Finally, The Dude made me get up and go back to bed, and he went back to his place and took Daniel swimming for a couple of hours so that I could sleep some more. He brought Daniel back sometime in the afternoon - and then Daniel promptly fell asleep. I finally got up - for real - around 5:00pm.

I guess I was way more tired than even I thought that I was.

My job is hard. The hours suck, it's physically demanding, and it makes me lose a lot of time with my kids. But I know that it is what I need to do right now in order to get us into our own house, which is the ultimate end goal at this point. I know that it's what I need to do, even if it's not always fun and pleasant. But the bottom line is that none of this would be possible without the love and support from The Dude. Whether he's taking care of everything at the house while I'm at work, or simply letting me sleep - I couldn't do it without him.


Just a couple more shots from around the cookout...

There was a really big fish.

Alex being Alex. I tried not to watch him so that I didn't
have a panic attack.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


There has been a lot of stuff going on in my life lately.

I've talked about some of it here. The new job, trying to buy a house, life in general.

Some of it, I haven't. Suffice it to say that there's a lot of stuff going on in the background that I won't go into here for many reasons.

I have my moments when I sit and think about everything that is happening, and I wonder if I will ever get any of it accomplished. I am living in such a state of limbo right now, waiting for the right pieces to fall into place in so many aspects of my life, and it seems like it's never ever going to happen. Seriously - there is so much crap that is out of my control right now, and I have to wait for things to happen. I have done everything that I can humanly do, and now it's a waiting game.

And of course there have been those instances when I think that everything has fallen into place, and then something else falls out and crashes - and I have to start all over again. It's life. It happens. Pick up the pieces and get going with the reassembly process.

The boys and I went out walking around the neighborhood today, scoping out the damage from last night's storm. We walked to a nearby creek that has been dry for what seems like years, and found that it was full and overflowing, finally.

And then I had a "do as I say and not as I do" moment and I walked up to the top of the railroad bridge. No, I didn't walk across it, even though it was tempting. Instead, I just sat on the rail for a moment and snapped a few pictures looking down the tracks.

Kind of a neat view, isn't it?

It reminded me of a lesson that one of my teachers taught in high school. It was actually in geometry class, and it was about parallel lines: lines that will go on and on forever without ever intersecting. I remember the teacher talking about various examples of parallel lines, and then he went off on a tangent (get it?) about optical illusions, and the specific example that he used was railroad tracks. We know that they're parallel - we know that they never cross, but yet if you look far enough down the track it looks like they do come together.

It seems like things are so far from falling into place for us right now - but I know that if I look far enough down the line, it will all come together. And it won't be an illusion - it will happen. I just have to be patient.

Monday, August 5, 2013

So I made these plans...

Tomorrow is my day off. And I had plans.

I was going to get everything done that I had to do tonight. Lots of computer work mainly, but some other stuff too. Then, because I wouldn't have anything that HAD to be done tomorrow, I could sit around and sew.


Ha. Ha. Ha.

Instead, we had this little thunderstorm roll through the area. Now, we all know that I'm one of those nuts who loves a good thunderstorm. I go out and videotape them from the porch. I watch and enjoy.

Instead, I saw what this one looked like on the radar, and I opted to not only turn the computer off, but to unplug it. The television too. I lit candles.

And it hit. It hit like an angry PMSing Mother Nature on steroids who stepped on a lego in her barefeet after finding out that chocolate and wine were now illegal.

Water started running in through my laundry room light fixture. Then in a line down the laundry room ceiling. Then through the ceiling of the furnace room. The wind started howling. The thunder and lightning were unreal. I wandered around the house, watching the ceilings to see if there were going to be any more leaks. The power went out, and came back on, and went out, and came back on..... 5 or 6 times total. Then finally, the storm started to slow down a bit. I stepped out on the front porch to watch. I stood out there for a few minutes, just watching and listening.

And then it happened.

There was a Z-Z-Z-z-z-zzzzzzzzot!!!! followed immediately by blinding light and the sounds of an explosion. Just the sound itself almost knocked me off of my feet and I ran (I admit it) full speed back into the house. I didn't know at that point what the lightning hit, but I knew that my hair was standing up on end and my body was tingling. My lights were still on and I looked out the side window to see that the neighbor's lights were still on - so it didn't hit either of our houses.

When the storm finally stopped, I looked outside. I could tell from the amount of debris that either a tree got hit by lightning, or we have a helluva lot of wind damage. I grabbed my camera and went out back (imagine that). I couldn't see much, and was just pretty much aiming blindly to see if I could get an idea of the damage, and these are the shots that I got.

It's a waterslide!

We got a little bit of rain.

Kind of weird here - it was bubbling up around this block
of cement. Nothing like standing in your yard in the dark
and hearing gurgling coming from right beside you.

So much for my naked ladies.

So. Yeah. There you have it.

Tomorrow's plans?

sit around and sew all day long
clean up yard and assess damage

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Catching up. And some nakedness.

The past few days have been crazy hectic.

I started my new position at work on Monday, and have been on brain overload ever since - there is so much to learn, and it's such a fast paced place that I'm really just kind of being thrown in headfirst - but I'll figure it all out eventually. It's been harder on my body - there is much more involved physically as I get into unloading the truck and putting all of it away, and just the increased running back and forth across the store to deal with stuff. I'm exhausted by the end of the day - and having to get up at 4:30am doesn't help much.

The Dude - has been amazing. He either spends the night here or comes over at about 4:30am so that he is here when the kids get out of bed. He's been feeding them and doing laundry and washing dishes and sweeping floors and running errands and all sorts of stuff. Today he even took care of dropping off school enrollment paperwork for me so that I didn't have to deal with it. All I have to do is mention that something needs to be done, and he does it. I still don't know how I got so lucky.

We've also gotten a ton of rain in the past few days - and the yard was starting to show it. After work today, I sent The Dude back home to take care of some things for his mother, and then I sent the kids outside to ride their bikes while I dragged the mower and weedeater out of the garage and got to work in the yard.

I just noticed the mud up his back.
*makes mental note for laundry*

It's a jungle out there - especially in Nice Neighbor's yard.
But now they both look spiffy.

But, the best part of the yardwork was discovering some nakedness near the swingset.

That's right - the naked ladies are getting ready to bloom again for the first time since 2011.

I made sure to call the kids over to show them exactly where they are, since they're literally just in the middle of the yard by the swingset. I gave them the lecture about how they needed to be careful and pay attention when they're out there playing so that they don't smash my flowers, yada yada yada blah blah blah....

As they ran off to continue playing, I stood and admired the flowers for a few more seconds. And then as I turned around to get back to work, I hit the trigger on the weedeater.


Luckily that was a smaller patch with just the four flowers, but still......