SAHM

It’s all going to be ok, Back to School edition…

I find myself telling my kids as they are getting older things that my friends and I have been telling each other for years.  As they are facing challenges and disappointments that come with an increasing age, I have found myself giving them the tools of ‘it will be better in 5 minutes’, and ‘the first day is the hardest, it will get a bit easier every day after.’

As my middle child went to middle school for her intro half day last week, she was nervous of course.  My words to her were, ‘focus on 12:08 when the school day is over, at that time, it will no longer be new, and no longer be as scary.’

And after the conversations with my children are done, I then start telling myself the same things.  Man, this worrying about your kids thing just gets harder and harder with some of the things growing older presents.

There were times in my life that I couldn’t see around the moment I was in in order to see the possibilities of the future.  And only through living life have I learned, that it really is better in 5 minutes, and the second day is usually easier than the first.

So, I will continue to tell my kids, and I mean it when I say ‘it will all be ok, I promise.’

As school starts tomorrow, and I look into my crystal ball and see myself waking up repeatedly throughout tonights sleep, I will tell myself as I often do in the middle of the night ‘everything is ok’ and allow myself to go back to sleep.

I hope the little things I say (mantras?) that help me move on and not get too tripped up on things actually help my kids rather than make me resemble Bob Wiley more and more.  They humor me at least making me feel as though they do help!  🙂

With the first day of school comes the enjoyment of a routine (and a quiet house), which will only too soon be replaced with  missing the kids and wishing for summer to return quickly!

Here’s to a safe school year, and strength to all of the wonderful teachers that spend each day teaching our kids!

Accused of being born with a silver spoon in my mouth…

Born with a silver spoon in your mouth = to have a high social position and be rich from birth. (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)

I have told this story to my kids multiple times, each time the outcome is still surprisingly amazing to me…

One summer as a young teenager, my mom and I went on a float trip down the Truckee River from Tahoe City.  We’d all done this trip as a family many times.  This particular time, it was just my mom and I, and we were using a raft that we had brought for the 3 hour trip, rather than rent one from the two companies that pump people into the river on rafts for a nice chuck of change.

We had just recently gone back to school shopping for the upcoming school year.  I was able to pick out one new outfit and one new pair of shoes.  I remember this very clearly.  It was a big deal, this one new outfit and one pair of shoes.  Years prior, and again in future years, there were additional items added to the one outfit, one pair of shoes, but during this period in life, it was one of each, and I knew it was important and to be appreciated.

I brought my new pair of white Keds back to school tennis shoes with me on that float trip with my mom.  About 1/2 hour into our trip, one of my brand new pair of shoes went over the side of the raft, and got carried away with the current below instantly.  I was already a kid that worried in general.  Now, this float trip, I sat in a silent worried agony.  The guilt of losing a new shoe that I knew was worked hard for by my parents was disabling to say the least.  I was old enough to know, that at this time in our lives, replacing those shoes wasn’t something that would just necessarily happen.  I was old enough to know not to suggest ‘just write a check for new ones’ as I had believed in my younger years that as long as we had the paper checks, we could buy things.

Two hours of trying to enjoy myself with my mom on such an awesome float trip with beautiful sights and fun stops to swim, while secretly suffering in guilt and worry was taking a toll.  Forget ‘how do I get from the river through the parking lot with one shoe’.  It was more ‘how do I go to school with one shoe’.  I don’t remember talking about my worry to my mom, I just dealt with, ‘you get one outfit and one pair of shoes’ in my mind repeatedly.

With about 20 minutes left in the raft trip, I was enjoying myself.  I sat on the edge of the raft, feet in the water looking around.  I looked down into the water, and I kid you not, my overboard white Keds shoe was tossing and turning with the current along the bottom of the river, directly under our raft.  I jumped in, got the shoe, and carefully placed it with it’s pair for the duration of the ride.

When I tell this story to my kids, they just can’t believe I found my shoe, what a cool surprise.  For me, when I tell this story, all the feelings of worry and guilt from that day come to surface, along with the sense of relief that I felt in not having to burden my parents with an additional purchase.

When I was in my young 20’s, I worked in medical billing for a large clinical laboratory.  A conversation with another co worker ended with her saying in a snide voice ‘Well, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.’  Maybe she had this impression of me because I was a carefree young 20 something that spent her money on rent and beer while counting down the days until a trip to Cabo with my roommates that we saved for, rather than using my paycheck for real life things like kids and medical expenses.  Maybe I had talked about my family back at home, my parents and two brothers that go on cool trips like Hawaii and dude ranches now, and that is why she had this impression of me.  Not sure what exactly gave her the impression that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I was offended as hell.

I called my dad that night.  I thanked him for working so hard all his life for us.  For picking things up and making a better life than it even had been before.  When I was a young teenager, my dad’s partner in business literally ran away in the middle of the night with all that the business had, leaving my dad in a situation forced to make very hard financial decisions for our family.  As an adult and as a parent, I can now realize that those years for my parents must have been extremely stressful.  As a kid back then, I was happy.  My brothers were happy.  My dad worked his ass off and was able to enjoy the result of the stock market boom.  A bit of irony that I of course had already moved out of the house when Hawaii, dude ranches, and a Corvette were part of our family’s  picture, but it’s all good.  I’m not too sure what my dad thought about that thank you call, but I’ve always remembered it.

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.  And I didn’t like being accused of it.  I think I was so offended by the comment because it took away from how hard my dad, and my mom worked to allow for our family to enjoy, and not to struggle.  And for that woman to just see the end result rather than the work behind it, was offensive and disrespectful. It felt like a slap in the face to the struggles, and hard work that was done in order to enjoy some pretty cool experiences.   A great life, whether in Hawaii, or diving in the Truckee river to retrieve my miracle lost white Keds.

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The older I get…the more free I feel.

Last week was my 44th birthday.  Although I spent it as day 3 of a flu/food poisoning experience, I feel that this is going to be a darn good year.

Last month, I discovered a very cool, inspirational website and Facebook page called http://www.theseeds4life.com.

I submitted the quote below with my interpretation and inspiration from it regarding my upcoming 44th birthday.

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I was very pleased with their publishing of my interpretation, which was accompanied by a beautiful picture.  I was fortunate to even get some wonderful feedback from readers.  You can read the short article here:

http://www.theseeds4life.com/i-choose-to-make-the-rest-of-my-life-the-best-of-my-life-louise-hay-2

“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.”

The summer of creepiness and creatures…

Of all the creepy and creature surprises so far of this summer (it has been a bit much), the animal cracker such as the one in the picture above has created the most surprise and confusion.  More on that below…  For now, this is what we have encountered so far this summer:

I believe it was the first week of summer when my daughter ran in and said the chickens had this cornered in the backyard:

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 I ran back there to appreciate my chickens fully for their attempt at cornering this thing.  Snakes are my number one fear/freak out, and this is only the second snake we have ever found in our yard in over 18 years.  Once I saw it, and started doing a weird crazy dance of grossing out, my husband took over, and corralled it into a butterfly netted carrier, and took it down the road, across the street, and into a creek with my 2 girls and a friend thrilled to be a part of it.  Yuck.

Next up on my summer adventure with creepiness and creatures was this guy:

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As I was walking outside to turn off some sprinklers, I saw this on the cover of our hot tub.  I screamed ‘Whoa!’ real loud.  Pretty sure the neighborhood wondered if we had gotten a horse and it was now running out of control.  Nope, just a gross, inappropriately large beetle hanging out.

There was this:

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A wolf spider, that upon seeing it in the windowsill of the office, my son proclaimed ‘it can not live here’.

On to the neat/fun creature part of the spectrum (although it too had a creepiness factor).  As I was talking to our insurance agent on the phone, I looked out my front window at the large tree we have in our front yard, and I saw a paw/hand reaching out of a hole in the tree holding onto a large branch.  I yelled for my middle daughter to come look, she thought it was a squirrel.  Um, that would be a really big squirrel!  Then, a few minutes later, this guy poked his head out:

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That night, we discovered there were 4 babies.  Super cute, clumsy little guys all climbing over one another.

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We all sat on the grass and watched them for a long time.  Then, when I went back to check them out again, the mama stuck her head out and hissed at me.  Ok, not cute anymore.  I’m scared.

So, through all this excitement and creepiness, this last discovery has left me the most surprised and perplexed…

Getting into the shower, an animal cookie was found by my husband on the tile floor inside the shower.

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My husband asked why there was an animal cookie on the floor.  I had no idea.

Of course he left it there, and then when I took a shower later, it made me curious again about why in the world an animal cracker was on the floor of my shower.  (I, did not leave the cracker on the floor.  I instead smushed it up real good so it would go down the drain.  Don’t judge my cleaning process.)

So, I asked my son, ‘Why was there an animal cracker in the shower?’

Son:  ‘What?  I don’t know.  It wasn’t me.’

I texted my husband who had my daughters with him,

Me:  ‘Would you please ask the girls why there was an animal cracker in the shower?’

Him:  ‘L wanted to eat one and B threw it to her.  It fell in the water though.’

I guess that explains that.  Sigh.

I’m good for the summer now, I’d be just fine with no more surprises thanks.

I’m at the bottom of the bed hierarchy…

12:01 am, I wake up to my crying 9 year old standing next to my bed.  I’m trying to come to life and recognize where I am, why there is crying, and what needs to be done.  I’m sure I asked strange questions as I acclimated to the situation.  Our previous day came rushing back to me, doctors appointment confirming swimmers ear.  Ok, now I’m on board.  My comatose husband who had found my hiding spot for the peanuts and had secretly been back and forth to them through the night mumbled something nice and comforting towards the crying, as I began the ear infection protocol (one that I know too well…)

  1. Kid into my bed, propped up high on pillows.
  2. Go into kitchen for ibuprofen and water, give to kid who is in my bed.
  3. Back into kitchen to warm up wet washcloth and put into ziploc for her to apply to her ear.
  4. Ask myself why in the !&*# I didn’t suck it up and go back to Walgreens last night to get the ear numbing prescription to accompany her drops, even though she had been feeling awesome when I knew the middle of the night would bring this?
  5. Find somewhere to sleep since she now has my spot.

Can’t go to the couch, because she has her friend over for a sleep over and that’s where they were camped out.  It would be weird for her friend, even though I’ve known her her whole life to wake up and find her friend’s mom next to her, not her BFF.

Can’t go to her bunk bed.  I’m totally afraid that I will fall down that ladder and truly break my neck.  Let alone, it has got to be at least 10 degrees hotter up there.

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Looks like the window seat is my spot.  4′ x 3′ area with 2″ padding.  I’m a little over 5’9″, but it will work.

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I love my cat Kiki so much, and she obviously loves me right back, so that is why she felt that she needed to join me on my pillow on the window seat so I wasn’t lonely.  5’9″ me, and my large cat on the 4′ x 3′ window seat.  I’m thinking Mom Award.

Settling in for a great sleep now…

Why at 12:51 am is there a bird outside auditioning for number one song bird in America?!!!?  It’s DARK!  It’s one thing when you’re sitting outside in the evening and you hear this particular bird  sing all it’s songs, but going through all of it’s greatest hits when you should be sleeping is not as captivating to say the least.

And WHAT is that neighborhood dog barking about for 44 minutes straight?  I’m serious, what could it be?

1:00 am, littlest is back up, smaller cries, asking for me to rewarm the compress.  After rewarming, she is coerced back to the couch.

From 1:09 until 1:13, the number one song bird in America took a short snooze, and is now back at it.

Here it is 1:29, bird going for it hard core, neighborhood dog has even stopped, I’m back in my spot in my own bed, although obviously not sleeping….

But still being taken care of:

Image 2 I love Kiki.  It’s hilarious she now sleeps on my pillow.

Sleep is not in my near future.  As I am writing this at 1:44, the neighborhood dog is back at it.  Good grief people, you may want to check at what it is barking at now.  Or at least bring it the heck indoors.  Bird, still full force at it.  But, a sleeping 9 year old, which makes it all good.

Taking a lesson from my husband.

It was about 7:00 pm on a Thursday. Dishes were on the table, dishes were in the sink.

Kids were getting their showers done, finishing homework, reading.

I cleaned up, did all the dishes, washed down the table and counters, mopped…ha ha, who am I kidding, I hate mopping, I swiped a wet towel across the kitchen floor under the sink area and called it a day.

It had been a while since I had seen my husband.  He had disappeared into the backyard somewhere.  Not unusual.  He often goes outside to make work phone calls, and evening time is not out of the ordinary.

Dishes done, house picked up, children clean, hanging out, ready for bed. It’s 8:30 now, and I’m folding a load of laundry.  I asked my husband if he could bring in the next load for me.

After he did, I asked ‘Hey, where did you disappear to earlier after dinner?’ He said ‘I was throwing the ball to Mara for about 20 minutes.’

This is Mara: IMG_5066 I had to laugh.

Amazingly, I wasn’t annoyed or anything.  Just laughed.  I thought ‘man…this guy…not bad.’

Then I thought, I need to disappear for 20 minutes and just go and throw the ball to Mara sometimes.  Stupid that I never think to just disappear.  I always seem to have something to do. Although, I think that if I disappeared for 20 minutes unannounced, all I would hear is this, real loud:

My husband gets away with his buddy at least once or twice a month to go fishing.  Down time.

For some reason it takes an act of Congress for me to get away with my friends.  We all mean well, and we talk about getting away.  Hell, we practically dream of getting away for a weekend.  We talk about where we want to go, what we want to eat, and the spa treatments we’d get.  But too often, our grandiose dreams end up just being that.

There have been times in my mothering life, that I have gotten away.  Vegas with my friends, drinking at the craps table at 11:00 am, so awesome!  Spa treatments and excellent food along the coast.  And hotel movie jammie days (the husbands just don’t get those ones, they think it’s a waste of getting away.  Whatever, they are heavenly.)

Few and far between though.  Way too few and far between.

For now though, if you can’t find me, I’ll be in the backyard throwing the ball to Mara.  With earphones on though.

Squeaky Wheel

I have found that I have no problem being the squeaky wheel when it comes to the safety and protection of my children and family. Other times, I often sit back, and let others be the squeaky wheel in circumstances where it is more of a matter of opinion or personal preference.

I have learned to make sure the situation is one of which I want to be tied to as stepping up for, and then I’ll go for it.

Knowing I don’t have to voice everything that can be voiced is a learned comfort that allows me to really choose to when to speak up.

The situations that matter most to me, where I feel I would regret not speaking up, is when I have no problem at all being the squeaky wheel.

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Did I used to be a better parent?

I recently told my husband that I feel like I used to be a much better parent than I am now.

I think back to when my kids were little, and I remember smiles, snuggling, making home made play dough, blowing bubbles outside, making cookies, reading stories, and having all day jammie days.  It seems like time moved so slowly back then, and that I was able to sit back and just soak it all in. Today, time moves so fast.  And as I spend much of that time in the drivers seat chauffeuring my kids to numerous events, practices, and games, I don’t know if I get that feeling of connection and soaking in the moment as often as it seems I did when they were small.

I think it’s maybe that I felt like a more successful parent when they were younger.  When they were little, it was not hard to make them happy, I had all the tools. These days, I can longer longer fix a grumpy kid by going for a drive until they fall asleep, so that they then wake up happy. Image

It seems like now I am the guard dog at times, and they are trying to break in.  And honestly, that is their job as they get older, to push and see where they can get to, in order to learn limits.  To walk that tight rope of independence, as I try and keep the net operational below.

My kids are great, I am very proud of them.  They are loving and wonderful, smart and caring.  But, I have a teenager, a pre teen, and a tween.  All those labels come with their own set of instructions and needs.

It isn’t necessarily easy with the ages that my kids are now.  I can’t really send them to time out for two minutes, or take away a Rescue Hero if there’s an issue.  I’m up against so much more than a tired toddler. The amount of why questions today are almost more than when they were little and asking their ‘why is the sky blue’ questions. Although now, it’s ‘Why can’t I?’ And, ‘Why not?’ I can’t always come up with clever crap that will pacify them anymore, it has to be real answers that make sense with my explanations.  And then, at times when I have nothing left, I resort back to ‘Because I said so.’

Image 1 When they were little, there was no checking out of real time and losing hours on the internet, it wasn’t available as it is today.  Now, I have to decide which apps are appropriate for my kids, how much time is acceptable to zone out on their devices, and hope (and check up) that they are following the rules. Social media apps and I don’t see eye to eye when it comes to my kids. I see many as invitations to problems. So, I say no to most.  And then comes the backlash of being the ‘only one‘ without (enter in the social media app of the week here) in the whole school.

Clothing is another issue.  I just can’t go for some of the things that young girls wear for my kids. It’s not enough that everyone is wearing them.

When I put my foot down and will not bend on some of these issues, the looks that are supported by what seems as disgust, (with no other word coming to mind to describe what I see in their eyes), can be hurtful.  Issues my kids face and bring up make me question myself with every cell in my body at times, but in the end, I’d be cheating myself if I went against my beliefs, and that would feel much worse than dealing with a disappointed child. Because once I cheat myself, it would be very easy to cheat again, and my kids would know me to be a cheater on my own morals and beliefs, in addition to being wishy washy and willing to change my mind.

This shit is hard. And it’s going to keep going. Continue reading

Dear kids, a little Journey and old school rap in your ears will not kill you, I promise.

If you can, and have been known to play kick ass air drums to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”, this post is for you, read on.

When I have kids in my car, the music being played is primarily top 40 pop hits. I really like music, so it’s not hard for me to listen to current hits channels, and to know most of the line up.  Although, it’s also to stay in touch with what my kids are listening to, so they won’t be like I was growing up, and purchase and memorize 2 Live Crew’s “We want some…’ (you know the rest) without my parents having any idea.

Continue reading

It’s Groundhog Day!

Cook, clean, wash, repeat.  Throw in some work here and there, and an incredible amount of kids’ sports and activities.  Wake up, repeat.

A good friend and I were talking yesterday and laughed at how sometimes life can seem like Bill Murray’s ‘Groundhog Day’.

I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.  I love being a stay at home mom, who is also able to do my work at times that either my kids are in school or my husband is home.

But, let’s just say there’s never too much to report when catching up with old friends who you don’t see on a regular basis.  What’s new?  Nothing much.  And that’s ok.  I think that is where it’s supposed to be at this time in life with 3 kids, a husband, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 4 chickens.  Very busy, but nothing extraordinary to report.

I think that’s why I always need a vacation to look forward to.  If something is on the books, I keep my eye on that ball until it arrives.  It is the reward for the routine.  The routine I love, but the reward I love more.