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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

One of those days....

Today has just not been fun. Seriously.

It took me a while to even get motivated, but once I did I finally started working on my shower some more. Luckily, the tile on this wall doesn't have to be cut to size at all, so it went fairly fast once I got started. But, getting all of the tile work done is going to take forever and at this point, I just want it to be done. I want my shower back. But of course, once I get the shower done, we have to redo the floor - it's a neverending battle at this point.

(And in case you're wondering about the crazy tile - the light blue tile is what was in there originally. I pulled that off, and I'm putting it back. However, some broke in the process and we couldn't find the same lovely shade of baby blue. So we bought a couple of boxes of white to mix in with the blue. Rather than try to make a perfect pattern, I just opted to go with a random one.)

Once I decided I was done working on the shower for the day (as in - once I ran out of the mortar I had mixed) it was time to run to the grocery store for a few things. Right about then my phone rang, and I had to run and pick up a "sick" kid from school. I say "sick" - I think I got snowed on that one. Live and learn. We went to the grocery store, got what we needed, ran through the carwash and came home.

Once the other kids got home, the chaos just escalated - and boy, did it escalate.

Crappy attitudes. Temper tantrums. Whining. Fighting. Arguing. Slamming doors. Neighbor kids coming over to play and doing stupid stuff so that I had to yell at them too. Constant yells of "Mom!! I need _____!!" or "Mom! He said _____!" or "Mom! She _______!" One kid flipping another kid the bird. One falling off of a bed (after jumping on it) and getting hurt. Vomit. Weird bug crawling across the dining room floor.

Nights like this get to me. I know that they happen, and I know that they're inevitable, but holy crap do they make me feel completely and totally inadequate. I count down the minutes until bedtime, and I feel guilty because I'm not all mushy-gushy and "oh I love my kids so much and every minute is precious and rainbows and unicorns and happy happy yay!!"

Instead, it's "holy hell it's only 30 minutes until bedtime and then it'll be quiet and then all I have to do is get through the morning and get them to school and then I can get stuff done".

A big part of it is stress. The next few days are absolutely jam-packed with stuff, from track meets to a field trip to choir concerts to baseball practice to The Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis to the half-marathon, and I have no adult backup at all because The Dude is going to be out of town. I'm worried about making it to everything and attempting to stay sane, and then worrying about whether or not the house is still going to be standing if I leave the kids on their own Sunday morning while I go to my race.

For now though, I'm just going to chill. It's been a crappy night, yes. But it's not the end of the world. It happens. Instead of freaking out, I'm going to enjoy a glass of wine and some "baby oranges" (in a very worn and nasty looking - but clean - bowl) and listen to some music and play around online, and then I'm going to go to bed knowing that tomorrow is another day. And with any luck, it'll go smoother than today did.

Awesomeness. Lots of it.

The past few days have been crazy insane, but in such a good way.

I went to Oklahoma City and ran a (slightly more than) 5K leg of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday. It was an amazing experience. The marathon itself is a fundraiser for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum that honors the victims of the bombing there 20 years ago. With over 25,000 runners, this was by far the biggest race that I've ever participated in, and it was incredible.

 I ran faster than I've ever run before, and amazed myself with what I accomplished that day. I ended my leg of the run with a smile on my face, and didn't stop smiling for the rest of the day.

But more on that later....

I got a ton of stuff done outside today. I mowed the grass (always a huge job), finished weeding the huge front flower bed, got some more flowers planted, watered stuff, got some more seedlings transferred out to the garden (hopefully these actually, you know, survive), planted some more flowers, watered stuff....you get the idea.

Baseball season officially started tonight for Daniel. We rode our bikes up to the practice field and on our way back, we got to see some wildlife that we don't get to see very often - at least not sitting still.

But probably the best part of the last few days....

Remember that memorial quilt that I was working on? It was for my friend's mother-in-law, whose husband passed away in January. I was given a bunch of his work shirts and pants to use to make a quilt. My friend gave me a basic pattern idea, we talked about various details, but for the most part I designed it as I went along. I was terrified that the mother-in-law wasn't going to like it.

After we got done running the race in OKC, my team and I went out to eat. We were sitting in the rocking chairs in front of a Cracker Barrel, waiting for our table, and I scrolled through my facebook newsfeed. There I saw it - my friend's post with pictures of her mother-in-law seeing the quilt for the first time. It was all I could do not to burst into tears right then and there.

Right there. It just doesn't get any better than that.


I know I've been nagging on my facebook page, but I'm going to do it here too just in case you missed it. This coming Saturday is the Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis. I am participating in that to raise money for research for a cure for this horrible disease that directly affects our family. If you would like to make a contribution, you can do that here.

But wait! There's more!

In order to encourage people to donate, I've agreed to do a couple of things.

For $1000, I will dye my hair purple (not the wash-out kind, either) AND I will get rid of my ugly rainbow-colored crocs that everyone loves to hate.

Seriously though - please help if you can. It would mean so much to me.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Could be worse....

Could be worse.

Those three words have been a sort of mantra for me for many years now. Funny thing is that it started as a joke on my first date with Ex1, because we thought we were going to see a country band and it turned out that we were wrong and it was some weird 50's band - but we decided that it "could be worse" and went with it.

Funny.....in so many ways. But I won't go there.

Today though. Today was a day.

It started out with my "low tire pressure" light coming on in the van. I didn't think much of it because I knew that I had a slow leak in one of my back tires. I went to the gas station, put some air in it, thought that it was odd that it wasn't really low enough for the indicator to come on, and continued on my merry way - about 30 miles.

I met up with a friend to go running, and when we were done, she looked at my van and said "um, you have a leak". I looked, and sure enough, my other back tire was almost flat. She followed me to a gas station where I aired it up, and then I stopped at another friend's house to pick up a sander, and then I went to the closest WalHell to get both back tires repaired.

As it turned out, neither tire could be repaired. The one that had the slow leak had a nail jammed in it too close to the sidewall, and the one that was almost flat this morning?

Ha. Yeah. Not sure what it is, but it's metal and it destroyed my tire.

I kept it as a souvenir, because I realized quickly that I was lucky to have driven as far as I did with that thing in my tire. I'm lucky that the tire didn't blow. I'm lucky that I didn't get a flat while out in the middle of nowhere with the kids.

Could be worse.

While I was waiting for them to replace both tires, the lady behind the counter and I chatted a bit. She made a comment about me being lucky, and I agreed as I was checking my credit card balances and doing mental math to figure out the best way to pay for the new ones. Then she said something that - I swear - it was like she was in my head.

"You're lucky that you can afford to replace both of them on the spur of the moment."

I looked at her and said "you know, a couple of years ago, you would have been scraping me off of the floor if you had told me that I had to replace two tires, because I couldn't have done it. I wasn't prepared to spend the money today, but I'm so grateful that I can even it it means things are going to be tight for a few weeks."

Seriously. I sat there, holding that piece of metal in my hand, flipping it over and over again, and instead of being angry or upset about it, I was grateful.

Could be worse.

Tonight..... we had Scouts. We left the house early (with our two shiny new tires) and got stuck by trains and/or malfunctioning railroad crossings 5 times. FIVE TIMES. It was insane. We ended up being about 10 minutes late for the meeting, but we got there. The boys all went outside to play while the adults took care of some business, and long story short - a window on the church got broken.

There were several boys - including mine - who were involved. There was chaos and panic and disorder and finger pointing and drama, but in the end, other than a slight bump on one head there were no injuries. It turned out to only be a storm window, and not one of the 100+ year old stained glass windows. There will be consequences and punishments for all of the boys involved, but in the end, they were all ok. Damage was minimal. A major learning experience was had.

Could be worse.

I seriously think that I'm going to take this piece of metal, drill a hole through it, and turn it into a key chain that I can keep with me all the time, just to remind me.

Could be worse.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Keyboard Warriors

So last night, that silly Tooth Fairy letter resurfaced in a really big way. A page on facebook with almost 4 million fans posted it, but of course - without the backstory. Without a link back to my page or my blog. Without my permission.

It happens all the time. All the time. I should be used to it by now, and for the most part I do ignore it. I'll read a few comments, throw the link to my blog up there, and let it go.

This time was different. This time, the comments were mean. Hateful. Judgmental. Way worse than usual. Sure, there were a few positive ones, but they were quickly buried under the ones touting my inept parenting skills.

Of course, since the letter wasn't credited to me, people didn't know who they were insulting. They sat there behind their keyboards, casting stones at someone who wrote a letter to an 11 year old girl as a joke. Even after they read the blog post, they continued.

Emotional violence. She should be ashamed. What a horrible mother. That woman doesn't even deserve to have her kids. She should take parenting classes.

The ones that hurt the most were the ones who insinuated that I was a horrible person for raising my kids in a broken home:

(This thread of comments on the post has since been deleted. I think.)

Broken home. No father figure.

The last thing that I ever wanted was for my family to not be "normal" with a mother and father and kids. I never planned to get divorced, and certainly didn't plan to do it twice. I fought like hell to keep it together, to keep it from being broken, and so I stayed.

But staying wasn't worth it. Staying wasn't safe, for me or for the kids. We had to get out. I had to "break" our home in order to keep them safe. I had to get them away from the violence.

Yes, we lived in an "icky" house for 3 1/2 years. But that icky house meant more to me than just about any other place we've lived. I learned more about myself in that house than ever before.

I know that the hate and the judgment and the Mommy Wars will never stop. As long as there is an internet, there will be keyboard warriors who get their panties in a wad and think that they are better than everyone else and believe that they are entitled to pass judgment on other people without knowing the background. It's never going to stop.

I tell my kids all the time - you can't stop other people from being jerks, but you can certainly control your own reaction to it.

Same thing applies to adults. Don't feed into the anger or the hate or the judgment - it's not worth it.

Sometimes I need to remind myself of the same thing.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March Madness

So apparently there was some basketball game on today. And I guess that there were a couple of teams from Kansas playing against each other. People seem to think that it's a pretty big deal.

I missed it. But I'm not upset about it at all.

Because if I would have sat in front of a TV all afternoon to watch a game, I would have missed out on a lot of other stuff.

The smell of a load of laundry hung outside on the line to dry in the breeze.....

Watching the boys playing made up games out in the yard for hours upon hours....

Finding little hidden gems around the yard - they might  be weeds, but they're still beautiful.

The first bouquet of the season, picked just for you, Mom!!!

The gorgeous sky.

The excitement as the boys discovered yet another crystalline rock in the yard....

Seeing the first blooms on the flowers that I planted last year....

I wouldn't have gotten more of the garden area tilled....

I wouldn't have heard the birds chirping in the trees that are just starting to bud...

I would have missed the sunset....

I would have missed the sheer joy on the boys' faces as they sat around the firepit after they got baths.

I would have missed the first glimpse of the moon.

And I would have missed the opportunity to make a wish on the first star of the evening.

So, no. I'm not too terribly upset that I missed a basketball game. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On Sweatpants and Divorce

Sometimes, I really wish that those stupid "trending topics" on Facebook wouldn't catch my eye - but unfortunately they always do. Occasionally, there will actually be something interesting or informative or even amusing there, but most of the time I'm amazed at what people consider important enough to share so often that it starts to trend.

I'm not a reality show fan. I don't follow the lives of many celebrities. I'm not a very political person (much to The Dude's dismay). Gossip doesn't really impress me. You get the idea.

But today...... today, this one just won't go away.

The first time I saw it, I thought "what the......?" and ignored it. But it stayed there, taunting me.

So, I in my sweatpants-wearing glory, clicked on it and read the article. Honestly, I have no clue who Eva Mendes is, although I gathered from the article that she is the girlfriend of Ryan Gosling (and I do know who he is) and she has a baby who is apparently still rather young.

I read the article several times, and honestly, I can't tell if she was joking by what she said. “You can’t do sweatpants… ladies, number one cause of divorce in America, sweatpants, no!”

I hope she was joking. I really do. And I really hope that she clarifies that she was joking.

I've been through two divorces, and I can guarantee you that my love for sweatpants had nothing to do with either one. Out of my friends and family members who have gone through divorces, none of them mentioned sweatpants as a cause.

Domestic violence is a cause of divorce. Infidelity. Financial stress. Not prioritizing what needs to be prioritized. Lack of communication.Addiction. You know, important stuff.

But a woman choosing to wear sweatpants as the sole reason for a divorce? Seriously?

Maybe she wears them because they're *gasp* comfortable. Or maybe because it's laundry day and they're the only thing clean. Maybe her jeans are a little tight because she's put on a few pounds (as most humans do at some point in their lives) or hasn't quite lost all of the baby weight yet. Maybe she doesn't have a ton of spare time to do laundry and is saving her cute jeans for when she plans to leave the house to run errands tomorrow. Maybe she just wants to wear sweats because they're comfortable and she doesn't have to worry about whether or not they get dirty when she's working around the house.

And maybe she's doesn't give a rat's ass about what other people think about what she wears.

Monday, February 23, 2015

All That Distance

It's such a simple little note. But it tore me to shreds when I found it.

The little boy who wrote this - the amazing, smart, funny, clumsy, aggravating, loving, sarcastic, lovable little boy with the huge blue eyes - hasn't seen or heard from his father in a year.

His father told me a year ago today - as we were in the process of moving to our new house in a better school district with less crime and more room where our son could finally have his very own bedroom for the first time in his life - he told me that I couldn't expect him to drive "all that distance" to see his boy.

All that distance. Those words rang in my ears as I told him flat-out "if you can't make seeing your son a priority in your life, that's YOUR problem, not mine".

All that distance. He can't drive it to see his son, but he can drive it to play in a softball tournament. I know he did, because I saw him that day, right here in the same town where we live now.

All that distance. He can't drive it to see his son, but his wife can bring their other two kids to town to go swimming in the pool that's less than a mile from our house. I know about that because a mutual friend saw them there and mentioned it to me later.

All that distance. He can't drive it to see his son, but he can drive triple that distance to have a birthday party for his daughter and not even bother to invite his son. I found out about that one when another friend shared some pictures with me.

All that distance. In this day and age, distance doesn't really matter, does it? There are cell phones and computers and Skype and FaceTime and emails and texts just to say hi or to send a funny picture or to find out why his insurance company is suddenly getting bills for emergency room visits and plastic surgeons and allergist appointments.

All that distance, in reality, is 15 miles. FIFTEEN MILES. That's how far it is from my house to the town where he (supposedly) lives. I say "supposedly" because I have no idea, honestly. I know he moved, but the last I had heard he had only moved a few blocks away from where he had been living - but I was never given an address. Thanks to my phone getting run over by a car one day, I no longer have his phone number so I can't just call him - but even if I did, why should I? He's made it clear that all that distance is too much for him. He's pulled this crap before (although not for this long) and always comes crawling back with a bunch of excuses about how he was oh-so-busy and just didn't have time to make contact. I've tried to force the relationship, and it just didn't work.

And that sucks.

But you know who it sucks for the most?

Him. He's the one who is missing out. He's the one who missed the baseball games and the soccer games and the basketball games. He missed the parent/teacher conferences and the open houses and Christmas and birthday and Thanksgiving and everything else. He's the one who may be a willing participant in fatherhood with his other kids, but who has made the choice to walk out on this one.

For this amazing little boy though? He's going to be just fine. He has a mother who loves him no matter how much trouble he gets himself into, he has siblings that can't wait to hang out with him and goof around with him, he has The Dude to show him all of the necessary manly stuff, he has teachers who can't get over how smart (and mischievous) he can be, and he has friends knocking at the door almost every single day wanting him to go out and play with them.

All that distance that he's put between himself and his son is only going to hurt him in the long run - because we are just fine.