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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another question answered....

To continue with the questions that I have been asked so far....

The Dude asked:

Since our relationship started, what has been the most pleasant surprise and what has been the worst?

This was a hard one. But in a good way. So I'm going to answer it directly to him.

The most pleasant surprise has been the way that we have just connected with each other. It happened quickly and easily, and I have never felt more comfortable with anyone than I do with you. I feel like I can tell you anything, and our hours upon hours of conversations about anything, everything, and nothing have proven that. The kids are crazy about you, and I can see the bond growing between you and them every time that you are with them. I feel like our families are just combining into one, and it has been utterly amazing.

Now, the worst surprise....this was harder to figure out in my head, because I honestly couldn't come up with anything that hasn't been positive. Then, my mind went into overdrive and I started to panic because I couldn't come up with anything. So, then I started worrying - what if things are too perfect? Too good to be true? And we've talked about this, so I know that I'm not surprising you at all. But the worst surprise is that things are so good.

I've been telling myself for a long time - for a couple of years, honestly - that I was never going to get into another relationship again. I didn't want the hassle. I didn't want the heartache that I knew would eventually come out of being in one. But with you, I couldn't help myself. We stumbled into this and it has been wonderful and amazing. And I want to keep it that way for a very long time. I'm not afraid of this anymore.

But not being afraid of the whole "relationship thing" has forced me to change my whole way of thinking. I have to realize that I'm not alone in this crazy life that I have anymore. I don't have to do everything on my own. I can ask you for help when I need it. I've been alone for so long that this has been a huge adjustment for me. I joke around about "being old and set in my ways" but it's really true - and now my old and set ways are changing and I'm looking at life differently. I look at the future and I see you in it - and that makes me happier than I've ever been in my life.

Things aren't turning out like I had planned - I was content to be single and alone for the rest of my life, and then you came along and jacked that all up for me. But you know, if that's the worst thing that has happened since our relationship started, I think I can handle that.

(And just to make it clear to everyone, I still have no intentions of getting married again.)

We love our NASCAR....

.....but dang it if this wasn't the longest race in history!

I started out watching it with Alex and Daniel - they love to watch the races with me. We started out with Daniel laying across my lap, playing with his Jeff Gordon car. They didn't get to watch much of it since they had to go to bed, but they enjoyed the little bit that they saw.

Ever since I started watching NASCAR, I've been a Jeff Gordon fan. People either love him or hate him - I'm used to getting a hard time about it. Daniel and I had the chance to see his car in Wichita last summer, and he just thought that it was the neatest thing ever.

And here's a funny story....Daniel's birthday is June 10, 2007. It was a Sunday. I had him just before noon (or was it just after noon?) that day. And as soon as all of the birth hubbub was over and I got my lunch, I got to watch the race....from my (hospital) bed...with my beautiful newborn son in my arms.

Guess who won that day?

Jeff Gordon.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Your questions....answered!

So the other night, I asked YOU to ask ME questions, and I ended up getting quite a few so I figured that I'd just go ahead and answer some of them now. Some of them came from blog comments, from facebook comments, and a couple came from email. The ones that I don't answer tonight (and any more that come in) will be answered in the next few days.

I just had my third baby and am going crazy with the messiness what do you do to keep on top of it??.. Do you have a schedule or any tips??

This is something that I have worked on for a long time, and believe me, I struggle on a daily basis. I wrote a post on this a while back too. I make a lot of lists...very specific lists with everything that I need to do broken down into simple steps. I use a timer to keep me motivated. I'm also a member of a group of (mostly) local ladies on facebook and we keep each other accountable with our cleaning - we post before and after pictures when we're cleaning and things like that.

Also, when things got really out of hand - probably right after I separated from my second husband - I sat down and made a list of each area in the house that needed to be cleaned. I think I broke the house down into 10 areas, so I assigned each of those areas a day of the week (Monday through Friday) so each weekday, I had 2 areas to clean/straighten. I did the same with the laundry. There were 6 of us living there, plus towels, sheets, etc. I broke the laundry down and assigned 1-2 loads per day. I actually put this all on a calendar and forced myself to follow it. It really helped me to get into a routine and I got everything done. I don't follow that so much anymore, but I do try to do a couple of loads of laundry each day and at least keep the kitchen and the living room (the "visible" areas) neat.

What is the ONE thing you could not live without?

Well, the obvious answer would be my kids...

But, aside from them...that's a tough one. There's always my Diet Pepsi addiction, which I am not doing so well with fighting. Chocolate would be hard to get rid of completely too, but I think that I could survive without it....

Honestly, *right now* I think that the one thing that I couldn't live without would be my phone. Crazy, I know. But...I don't have cable, so I have limited access to TV to keep up on the happenings of the world. I don't have "real" internet - I still tether my phone to my computer to get internet access. And I don't have a landline phone, so if there was some sort of emergency, I have no other way to call for help. I use my phone to check the weather (and living in Tornado Alley, I kind of need to keep up with weather alerts), to check the news, to keep in contact with my friends and family, to do a lot of my banking, etc. Without my phone, I'm lost. It really is my only connection with the outside world when I am inside my house.

how do you stay chipper

Ha. I pretend!

Seriously, I don't think that I'm necessarily a super-chipper person. I have come a long way over the past few years, but I have my bad days (PMS, anyone?) when I am totally not chipper. But on those days, I try to just keep to myself and keep my negativity to myself as much as I can. It's not always possible, and I might snap at someone but I try not to as much as possible.

Something else that I have focused on over the few years is not worrying about things that I can't control. There are so many variables in life - so many things that could happen - but I don't have any sort of control over 90% of those. I can only control myself and what I do, and worrying about all of the "what if" scenarios isn't going to do anything except get me overly stressed and turn the rest of my hair gray. I have to consciously let go of things that I can't control, and not worry about the "what if" until it actually happens - and most of the time, it doesn't happen - so I saved myself some useless worrying!

When are you coming to PA? ..... Are you ever going to give up the "Dude's" name? Or just keep calling him the dude? Is it still for his privacy? Or because the Dude is just a cool nickname? (Because it is).... How about this one - are you done having kids? oh - and when are you coming to PA?

I love this one, from one of my blogging friends who happens to live in PA. So, to answer her questions:

We should be in PA the last week of June. I have a class reunion on June 23 and a family reunion on June 30 so the trip will be based around those two events. We may do a few things in between those two dates, but nothing is set in stone yet. I'm guessing that we'll have a firmer itinerary sometime in late April/early May, but those two dates will not change! And yes, we will get together while we're there! ;)

"The Dude" has actually been revealed through his comments - his name is Kerry. I still use "The Dude" in my blog posts just because it's fun, but when he comments he uses his name.

Am I done having kids? Uh, yeah. As I like to say "the factory has been turned into a playground". I had my tubes tied after I had Daniel. It was a hard decision, but at the time, my body (my hip in particular) could not have handled another pregnancy. Honestly, had I not had so much chaos in my life, I wouldn't have minded having more kids - I am one of those weird women who really didn't mind being pregnant, except for the pain in my hip. Now, if by some bizarre chance it happened again, after I got over the initial shock, I would be ok with it. But, the OB/GYN that did the surgery assured me that it would NOT happen again. I have tossed around the idea of doing foster care (when we live in a bigger house) and if I did that and had the opportunity to adopt a child (or children), I would do it. Crazy? Maybe.


So, those are all of the questions that I'm going to answer for tonight. I still have one from The Dude and a couple that came in via email, and I have to think more about the answers for those. They asked me some of the tougher ones!

Friday, February 24, 2012

What do you want to know?

I mentioned this on my facebook page earlier today, and it seemed to get a pretty good response, so I think I'll give it a shot.

I've often wondered what people would ask me if given the chance. I have been nothing but open and honest on this blog, and my life is pretty much an open book. But that doesn't mean that there aren't things that people might be curious about - so here's your chance.

Ask me anything. Send an email to me at non-stopmom(at)hotmail(dot)com, or if you want to stay completely anonymous even to me, just leave a comment here but change it so that your comment is anonymous (if it's not already). I will address every question that I receive - but keep in mind there are some things that I won't answer if it is something that I don't feel is appropriate. If that's the case, I'll tell you why I won't answer it.

I'm not sure when I'll post the questions and answers - it will depend on how many I get and how quickly I get them. I figure that if I just get a few, I'll do it in one post, but if I get a whole bunch I'll break them up. Maybe I'll even make this a semi-regular feature - you know, for the days that I can't think of anything to spew for your reading pleasure!

So, have at it. Ask me something.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Getting down and dirty with The Dude

After I spent the entire morning running around the house like an idiot, cleaning and doing laundry, I went over to The Dude's house. We had plans to get down and dirty.

And we did. Well, he got dirtier than I did. But I helped. A little bit.

He had to replace a wheel bearing on his van. So we went and got the part and then got to work. It was a little harder to get it taken apart than either one of us thought that it would be, and so there was a lot of swearing and yelling and sweating and grunting and growling. I helped him for as long as I could, but then I had to leave to go get the boys from school and all of that fun stuff, so he had to finish on his own.

Although he did finally get it done, some of his tools didn't quite survive. Oops.

But the important thing is that it's done. He took it for a test drive over here (with me following him) to make sure that everything was ok, so now I don't have to worry about him driving it around anymore. I made dinner for all of us (and him and his mom) and we hung out for a little while before I sent him home to get some rest. After yesterday's beautiful weather, it was much cooler and windier today, and being outside in it all afternoon was a little more than either one of us liked.

And just for good measure, here are a few pictures of the final way that I rearranged everything in the front two rooms, after I got everything cleaned today. I still need to get fabric to make a curtain to divide off my "bedroom" but I'm not too worried about that. I might work on that over the weekend while I'm stuck in the house (see below for explanation)...

And...why I will be stuck in the house all weekend...

I sort of touched on this on my facebook page and mentioned it last night in the blog, but I didn't really go into details. I had Alex at the doctor the other day to talk about the constant bowel incontinence, and it was determined that he has a condition called "encopresis". Basically, he has a really big blockage and that is creating the majority of the issues. So, starting tomorrow after school, he will be getting massive doses of laxatives to "clean him out", so to speak. I already bought pull-ups and wipes and I am prepared for the worst. But, once we get things, uh, 'flowing' again - hopefully things will smooth out. I've talked to him about it, he knows what's going to happen, and so we are going to stay home and tough it out. I'm dreading the amount of poo that I will most likely be dealing with this weekend, but I want him to feel better and to be able to get this fixed. I feel horrible for punishing him for the accidents, now that I know that he couldn't control it all along. But, we're going to fix it. It's just going to suck in the meantime.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A day in the life

Today was just another day of running around like an idiot...or, trying to while my back is still killing me.

I started off by getting all of the bills paid - always a good feeling to get that taken care of for the month. Then after I picked Daniel up from his first round of preschool we ran to the courthouse to renew the tags on the van. It took about 5 minutes and $117.50 to walk out of the courthouse with our nice new sticker, which Daniel enjoyed "helping" me to put on the tag. I despise this expense every year, but I suppose that it is one of those necessary evils if I expect to continue driving. Legally.

After I took him to his second round of preschool, I went to the grocery store to pick up a "few" things. Another $117 later and I was out the door, armed with groceries and for the first time in what seems like forever, pull-ups and wipes to prepare for "cleaning out" Alex this weekend. I am so not looking forward to this, but from what the doctor said and from the research that I've done, it should work and should help - if not eliminate - his toileting accidents.

It was an unusually warm and beautiful day for this time of the year. The temperature at one point hit 71 degrees, but I'm not sure what the "official" high was. All I know is that it was fabulous. When the kids got home from school, I sent them outside to play until I got supper ready. The day took a strange turn when a man showed up on my porch to basically accuse my kids of throwing stones over a fence down the street and hitting cars - I told him that I would address it and shooed them into the house, and then the girls told me that they had seen some skateboard-toting teenagers in the area at the same time. I'm a little perturbed about the accusation, but I haven't quite figured out what to do about it yet.

We got supper done, the older three kids went with their father to church, and I gave the younger two their baths and got them into bed. Then, when Ex1 brought the older three back, the skunk attacked. I'm not sure what happened, but the stench was so strong - even inside the house - that my eyes were watering. He was nice enough to look under my front porch before he left and he didn't see any critters, but it's hard to tell where the little creep was hiding. At this point, I'm just hoping that he hasn't decided to take up residence under my house. I suppose I'll go exploring under there tomorrow and see if there are any signs of it...*shudder*

I eventually got the kids all into bed...the dishwasher has been run, but not emptied (that can wait)...I have to flip another load or two of laundry...and then I think that I'm going to give up and go to bed myself. I have to be up at 5:30 tomorrow morning to get the kids off to school and then it will be another day of constant running and errands and cleaning and organizing and all of that other fun stuff that never seems to end.

Someday, I'll catch up on sleep. I'm thinking sometime around the year 2025, when the youngest one turns 18.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Just blah.

Today has just been one of those days.

My friend and I got up this morning and talked some more about her situation, but she couldn't stay around too long because she had to get back to her kids, who had spent the night at their grandparents' house. So once we got up and moving, we headed back down that direction. For a lot of different reasons, she's going to stay in the town where they live (about 50 miles from here) for now, knowing that they are always welcome to come here any time that they need to do so. She's really struggling with their situation, but I know that she will make it through it all - she's a very strong person and she's a fighter.

On the way back here, the boys and I stopped at the library and picked up some movies and a few books before we came home. We just hung around the house for most of the day while I finished cleaning up and reorganizing everything. I'm glad that I got the rearranging done - it's something that I've been wanting to do for a while, and now that it's done I really like how it came out.

I tried really hard to not do anything this afternoon, but of course that didn't work out the way that I had planned. I ended up stripping all 3 of the boys' beds and remaking them, washed the curtains in my now-bedroom after I realized how incredibly nasty they were, worked on my taxes, and did a few other odds and ends around the house.

We did have a little bit of excitement with a tiny little storm that came and went in about 15 minutes. The boys loved watching the hail come down, even though it didn't really amount to much.

But now, I am in a really horrible mood. I'm tired and cranky and sore and moody and I either want to beat the snot out of something or curl up in a ball and cry, but the tired is starting to take over so I think I might actually just go to bed and see if I can sleep through the night without any bizarre dreams. With my luck I'll be awake every few hours again, trying to determine if the last dream I had was just a dream or reality. (In case you haven't figured it out, yes, it's PMS time for me. Deal with it.)

Here's hoping that tomorrow is a better day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I mentioned on my facebook page that I was doing some rearranging in my house today. There's a story behind it.

Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that sometime in the next 24 hours, I will have 3 more people staying here. A friend and her kids are coming to stay with us for a bit while she deals with some personal issues. It's going to be cozy in here, but with the way that I moved the furniture around, I think we can make it work temporarily until a more permanent solution is found.

I've been thinking about creating a bedroom for me for a few months now. With the way that the "living area" is set up, I figured that I could take the front part for my room and just keep the middle part as the living room. I need a really big curtain to divide off the two rooms, but I'll deal with that later.


After. The towels under the desk were so that I could slide it across the floor without destroying the hardwood.


After...I haven't put away all of my sewing stuff yet and I need to get rid of the pile of crap on my futon.


After...just ignore the mess in the kitchen. I'll deal with that in the morning.

Before...with a body.



AFter...this is the doorway that will eventually have a curtain hanging in it.

So while it's not done yet, the big stuff is moved and it's somewhat organized. I still have random piles of little crap to get put away, but that shouldn't take too terribly long to do once I get up and moving and get the older 3 kids off to church with their father in the morning. Not knowing what time my friend and the kids are going to get here, we probably will skip church - not to mention that my entire body hurts from moving all of this stuff. I tried to take a kneecap off by dropping a nightstand on my leg, so my knee isn't terribly happy with me either.

So on that note, I am going to crash early and try to get some sleep. I have to finish the cleaning tomorrow and get the rest of the stuff organized before they get here so that it'll be easier to get their stuff in and settled. They are going to be tired from traveling to get back here so I need to make this easy for everyone.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Adventures in cupcakes

So if you follow my facebook page, you know that I've been working on making some cupcakes for the past day or so.

I can't take credit for the recipe - someone posted it on my page, and since I *love* Cadbury Creme Eggs, I had to make them.

I knew that they would be time consuming to make just from reading the recipe, and they were. But they weren't that difficult to make.

Yeah, that was a gooey process...


Egg goo + butter = the start of something good.

Should have gotten everything that I needed before I got started.

Frosting - aka Creamy Crack

Hey, I can't be the only one to eat the stuff....


So now that they are officially done, I have to get things cleaned up and get myself ready so that the kids and I can go to an anniversary party, and then after we get back here, I get to start rearranging my house (long story, I'll explain some later).

Now it's off to the shower for me.....

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I've been having some issues with Alex. My darling little redhead. The only way that I can describe this kid is that he is what you would end up with if the Tazmanian Devil and the Energizer Bunny had a child - he never stops moving and he leaves a path of destruction everywhere he goes. He wakes up at 90mph and doesn't stop until he goes to bed at night. His mouth runs constantly as well as his body.

He is super smart and he has a memory that stuns me at times. We can go somewhere that we've never been before - like to a friend's house - and if we go back a year later, he remembers how to get there, can describe every room in the house, and will tell me what everyone was wearing during the first visit. He's amazing like that (and certainly doesn't get that trait from me).

Anyway, along with his energy comes a definite lack of impulse control. He does whatever he wants to whenever he wants to do it and doesn't think about the consequences. This is something that we have been working on for what seems like forever. Lately the big thing has been stealing food. Now, the kid is not starving by any stretch of the imagination. He's a big boy, yes, but he's built just like his father. He's active and his doctor has no concern about his weight - she feels that he'll grow into his body as he gets older. But I do make an effort to watch what he eats without making a big deal out of it. I try to limit all of the junk food that the kids eat but I'm far from being a health nut.

He has also been having toileting issues for as long as I can remember - something else that the doctor thought that he would eventually grow out of, but so far no luck. He's been having accidents both here and at school almost daily. I've talked to his teacher (who is wonderful) and we have both stressed to him that if he feels like he has to go, he doesn't even have to ask permission - he can just get up and go regardless of what the class is doing. He says that he understands, yet it still happens.

So, after a particularly trying couple of days with him, I decided that I was going to start with him writing sentences. Yesterday, he got to sit at the kitchen table with a spiral notebook and write a page full of "I will not steal food."....and a page full of "I will not touch other people's stuff."....and a page full of "I will not poop my pants."

And then he stole a container full of muffins that I had made yesterday - I found them under his bed this morning. Apparently, he didn't like them because he only ate half of one instead of all 6 this time. *sigh*

I talked to his teacher today when I picked him up from school and she has been noticing that he has been acting out a little more over the past few weeks. She can't really pinpoint anything "major", just little stuff that she has been having to warn him about more than she has before. So, she and I are going to put our heads together and try to come up with *something* that we can both do with him - some kind of a reward system - at home and at school to give him as much consistency as possible. And I am going to call his pediatrician tomorrow and see if we can come up with some explanation for the toileting problems.

I've had him in counseling before too. He went for a year or so, maybe more. The counselor couldn't come up with anything other than "he's just an active boy" and let it go at that. Not that I want him to be diagnosed with anything, but I need something to go on before I lose what's left of my mind. About the only thing that is saving me right now is knowing that even with the issues that he's having, he's still doing great in school - he's ahead of the class in just about every area (which I know, could be leading to some of the problems) and he loves to go to school.

So hopefully, in the next few weeks, after talking to his doctor and working out some kind of system with his teacher, I'll start to see some improvements in his behavior. Otherwise, I might need a vacation....in a padded room.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh wait....was there a holiday today?

For those of you who expected me to be all sappy and drippy because it's Valentine's Day - forget it. Ain't going to happen. Even though I am in a relationship now (a very happy one), I still don't really like this day.

But still, for my bah humbug attitude about the day, this was still too cute. I forgot to have Alex fill out his Valentine cards for school, even though the list of names came home over a week ago. So we got up a few minutes early today so that he could fill out the cards and get them ready to take to school. He was thrilled and was even more thrilled to come home with his bag of goodies. OK, so I confess that I might have swiped a lollipop and a pack of Smarties out of his bag after he went to bed - just because I don't like the day doesn't mean that I shouldn't get to reap some of the benefits from it. Besides, he doesn't need all of that sugar. Yeah, that's it. He doesn't need the sugar......

Anyway, I might have had a better attitude about this particular day if I hadn't decided to crash and burn in my living room this morning. Yes, I fell. I was walking around, cleaning stuff up while I was on the phone (hands-free) and I stepped on a stray hanger that someone left on the floor. It slipped out from under me and I crashed. Hard. But in that slo-mo fall (in my head it was slo-mo) I realized that I was about to bash my head against the sewing machine stand and so I twisted as I went down and landed between the sewing machine and the chair. That twist proved to be the wrong move, since my lower back has been screaming at me ever since.

I took Daniel to school and made it over to The Dude's house - he wasn't in much better shape because of some issues that he has with his neck, so we ended up laying around watching some horrible zombie movie.

OK, he watched, I napped.

That's romance, right there. Zombie movies and a nap.

After I picked the boys up from school, I came back home and worked on laundry (slowly) and cleaning up around the house (even more slowly). I did manage to get quite a bit done, in between taking breaks to sit down against the heating pad.

And then I cleaned out one of my email accounts (one down, three to go)...

I think I might try to finish my taxes tonight too. Or maybe I'll just be lazy and read instead.

And hopefully by tomorrow, The Dude and I will both be able to move with minimal pain.

Monday, February 13, 2012

We interupt your regularly scheduled broadcast for breaking news...

In case you're not aware, I'm not the Non-Stop Mom.... no, not cute enough, not nearly as multitalented, not half the janitor, baker or candlestick maker that she is... instead, you good people get to be entertained by the bizarre, yet enthralling wordsmithing that only "El Duderino" could produce.

Many people have wondered just what it is that I'd be inclined to speak about here in the wonderful literary world of the Non-Stop Mom... that being said, I expect it's my duty to out some things.

How did we meet...

If I had a donut for everytime I've seen this one on the blog, facebook, spray painted on the van... ok, maybe not the last one, but I'd certainly be in Homer donut heaven...mmmm....donuts. Without further ado, Amy and I crossed paths for the very first time on a dating site called Plentyoffish.com. Such an interesting swath of humanity on that site, let me tell you. Whether it's the 5,000 "Hey, Baby" emails that NSM got or the female profiles I saw, where in the "about me" section, the writer made a point to say that she wasn't interested in booty calls, one night stands or to be treated like a sex toy... yet, that very same woman would post several of the standard "booty popping" and "breast heaving" shots. Frankly, I'm sure that NSM would agree, but it was like drilling a well with a stir straw. Now, I'd found out, that NSM didn't have her search settings programmed in such a way that a guy of my particular age group would show up in her searchings, so I found her first, go me!

There was something about her smile and her shirt "I don't do costumes" halloween t-shirt. I took a little personal initiative and read her profile. In it was a sentence or so about her running and why it was special to her, but if you wanted to know more, then ask... well, I'd hate to be the one not to follow explicit instructions like that, so I wrote her a message, which boiled down to wanting to know more about the running and her in general. That was the start, we probably messaged each other back and forth that first night until 4 in the morning, before realizing how long we'd been at it... oops.

We went through a few days of messaging, finally exchanged facebook info and met for the first time... at the Burger King... I think, from that point on, you avid NSM readers are fairly familiar with our story, including "Respecting the Line", "Wifey" and her birthday surprise.

Now, we've done a road trip/wedding together, had a minor automobile accident, taken each others trash to and from the curb, cleaned each others houses and even had Christmas dinner together, that we both worked on. We both are independent sorts, so it takes some doing to get one another to let go of that control, but we're getting there.

It's so much better from day to day, to have a significant other that you can get lost talking to, until 3 in the morning, that is willing to do little things, like grab a soda for you, load the dishwasher or simply just suspend the day's activities to sit back and watch a horrible b movie zombie flick.

We take each day as it comes, talk about the future without making the crazy longterm plans, and take one step at a time. Everyday, we teach each other how a relationship is supposed to look like, with respect, loyalty and honesty as the lead actions. One of my favorite things about this aspect of our relationship is that it stands as a direct example to her kids, especially the older 2, both girls, on how these things are supposed to work... that really makes me happy to know they get to see it.

As I draw this to a close, I hope that you've learned a little bit more about NSM and her Dude. This experiment is actually a step outside of my comfort zone, as I generally write about politics, conspiracies and the like, a little harder to write while looking inward, instead of outward, but there it is.

Enjoy and buckle your seatbelt, as NSM gives you all a front seat ride to the show that is her life, keep your hands in the vehicle at all times, do not stand up and please, for all our safety, keep the safety harnesses in place.

I now send you back to your regulary scheduled programming.

Have A Nice Day!
The Dude

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Daniel and Ozzy

I know I've mentioned on my facebook page a couple of times that we like to listen to music. And we like to listen to it loud....

Daniel loves Ozzy Osbourne. I can't help it - this song is in the movie "Megamind" and they watch it constantly. And they all sing along. I love music and listen to just about everything, so they know a wide variety of songs.

On this day in particular, I was taking Daniel to school and as soon as we got into the van, he asked for me to put in the CD and play it loud. So I did. And he sang along with it. In the original video, you could even see his legs bouncing to the beat of the music, but when I edited it to remove the bounciness, his legs got cut out of it. Darn it.

I should really video the entire herd when they're singing along with "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel - that's another one of their favorites!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What a day...

This has been one of those long, crazy, busy days...but it was a good day.

Started out by getting up before the sun to get the girls to their school by 6:30am so that they could get to their Honor Band thingamajig.

Then back home so that I could get ready to run - I did a 5 mile race this morning - in below-freezing temperatures with single-digit windchills. But it really didn't feel that bad while I was running. Had it been any windier and it would have sucked though. The Dude and Daniel spent the time that I was running out driving around stalking me to get pictures - it was just too cold for them to stand at the finish line and wait for me, and they made it a game to find me and my silly hat!

So my goal was to do the 5 miles in under 1 hour and 15 minutes (without freezing to death in the process).

My final official time was 1:13:27.4 - so I beat my goal by a minute and a half. I came in 50th out of 56 for the individual runners and 7th out of 9 for my age group - so I didn't even come in last! Woot! I'm happy with it - of course, I would like to do better, but for little to no training for this one and not a whole lot of sleep last night, I couldn't complain too much.

So after the race was over, I let The Dude drive and we buzzed across the city to stop and pick up some stuff for his mom. The driveway where we had to go was narrow - really narrow. And it was off of a busy street. And it had these concrete retaining walls along the sides of it. When he tried to back out onto the street, he goofed a little bit and clipped one of the retaining walls with my front bumper. The bumper didn't break, but it popped the clear lens out from over top of the foglight and scraped up the bumper quite a bit. He was mortified...and I laughed about it. I mean really, it's a bumper. Yes, it's the same shiny brand-new bumper that replaced the one that got destroyed in the Great Flying Boulder Incident, and no, it didn't have a scratch on it before today, but it's ok. It's just a bumper.

The Dude broke my van.

Then we continued on our merry little way and went to a friend's house so that I could peel out of the 87 layers of clothes and get a hot shower to warm up a bit. We visited with her and her husband and kids and chatted and drank some wonderful hot coffee and had a good time.

We stopped to get something to eat on the way to the girls' concert. They were taking part in an Honor Band that was made up of something like 24 schools from all over central Kansas. It started at 8am today and ended with concerts that started at 3pm - so it was a long day for them, but it was a fabulous experience. They got to learn from different directors and meet kids from other schools, and they had a great time.

So after the concerts were over, the older 3 went with their father, and The Dude and Daniel and I headed home. We dropped The Dude off at his house, and Daniel went straight to bed as soon as we got back here. I am going to go find some sweats, clean some stuff up around here, and do some laundry and see just how sore my body really is. So far it doesn't seem to be too bad, but I might just cheat and skip church in the morning so that I can try to sleep a little bit.

I still can't believe that The Dude broke my van.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I don't want to do it again - Part II

So apparently last night's post got lots of people thinking. I love the comments that I got on it, both publicly and privately. They gave me lots of insight into something that has been on my mind a lot over the past couple of years.

I've been saying that I will never get married again. I've said that I've done it twice, I've failed miserably both times, so what's the point in trying it a third time? I've said that I don't believe in marriage anymore. I've said that I'd rather 'live in sin' with someone for the rest of my life than to take the chance of getting married again.

Then today, a single comment on my facebook page got me thinking. It was a comment where I had posted the link to last night's blog and it said "Sounds more like the CHOICE of men, that are the problem." To be completely honest, at first I took that as a snarky comment and almost snapped at the guy who said it. But then I started thinking about it a little bit more and I realized that he was right.

I chose to marry those guys. And those choices turned out to be not so great. At the time(s) I thought that I was making the right choice(s). But I didn't - I was wrong.

I don't trust myself to make that kind of a decision at this point in my life.

That's it. That's my big epiphany. Seems so simple, huh?

In reality, it is simple. We, as human beings, have to trust - ourselves and others. Without trust, we walk through life wondering if we're being done wrong. And that wondering leads to questioning everything - our motives, other people's motives, everything.

I have always been a very trusting person, almost to a fault. And it has come back to bite me in the butt more times than I care to recall. Because of my unfailing trust in others, I have been lied to, cheated on, abused physically and emotionally...the list goes on forever. I have almost always totally blamed the other person, and until recently hadn't looked at myself and the role that my choices played in those scenarios.

Had I made different choices, most of those negative experiences wouldn't have happened. But now, I'm looking at myself more than ever. And I'm looking at myself through the eyes of someone who has finally realized that instant gratification isn't always lasting - just because I might think that I want something right now doesn't mean that it is something that I will want in the future.

At the same time, not wanting something right now doesn't mean that I won't want it at some point in my life. Right now, I have no desire to be married - but I think that stems more from fear than from anything else. I don't have enough faith in myself yet to even think about taking that kind of a step.

The funny thing is that when I went over to The Dude's house today, I told him what was going through my mind - that I don't trust myself enough to even think about something as crazy as marriage right now and he told me that he had pretty much already figured that out, just from reading what I had written last night. I gave him the look and he showed me in the post where he had come to the same conclusion. I don't know how he does it, but he gets me. And he still puts up with me.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that right now, my plan is to never get married again - that hasn't changed. But I will admit that at some point in the future, there is a possibility that I might change my mind. But until I know that I can trust myself to make the right decision, I'm sticking with "never".

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And people wonder why I don't want to do it again...

I keep telling everyone that I am never getting married again. And people laugh at me and say "oh, you'll change your mind one of these days".

I really don't think so.

I started cleaning out my filing cabinet today. There was a lot of junk in there that I'll go through later, but the worst part was the paperwork. There was so much of it.

Some of it - not so bad. Kids' report cards and drawings and love notes that they had written to me. Those made me smile.

But as I dug deeper, I started getting into the ugly stuff. Really ugly stuff. And I had to go through it and look at it and sort it out and organize it.

Nasty letters to and from attorneys from my first divorce. Letters stating how I was a horrible mother and shouldn't have custody of my kids. Documentation of my failings as a parent. Detailed lists of the items that my first husband wanted out of our home when we divorced. Court documents regarding the domestic violence in my second marriage. Arrest reports with sordid details about my second husband's drunken rages and his DUI arrest. Documentation of counseling that we were forced to go to in order for me to even have any hopes of keeping my kids.

I went through all of it. I sorted it out and put it in mostly chronological order and put it in files marked "Divorce #1" and "Divorce #2" and I put them in their place in the drawer before I really realized just how huge the files are. So much ugliness in those two fat manila folders. I hope that I never have to look at them again. But it seems like every time I put them away, something comes up and I have to dig them out again.

I'm not perfect - I never said that I was. But seeing it all in black and white again just brought back so many things that I had left buried in the past. And I will admit that right now, I am angry at both of my exes, but at the same time I am also angry at myself. I made some crappy choices back then and while I suffered the consequences, my kids went through hell too. They went through hell because of choices that I made - and no child should have to go through that.

But they did. We did. And while we got through it and we survived it, I don't want to risk doing that to them again. I don't want to risk doing it to myself again. I'm terrified of failing at marriage a third time. I don't want to have to add a third folder to that collection.

I know what you're thinking - I have this wonderful guy in my life now, and wouldn't it be great if.........?

First off, it is way too early to even be thinking about that. Rushing into things is just a small part of where those two folders originated.

Have we talked about it? Yep. Have we joked around about it? All the time. In fact, our favorite joke started because it seems like no matter where we go, people assume that we're married. So The Dude has taken to calling me "Wifey" - and I respond with my nickname for him: "Never". He knows my feelings on marriage - I made that clear to him from the very beginning (actually I think I made it clear to him even before our first date, just to be safe).

Am I crazy about him? Oh, hell yes.
Do I want to be with him as much as possible? Yep.
Do I see a future for us together? Yep.
Have we talked about moving in together at some point in the semi-distant future? Yep. (Don't get excited - we're talking 1-2 years from now, depending on lots of different factors.)
Do I foresee us getting married? Nope.

Maybe that's a little harsh. But honestly, right now, I have no desire to ever be married again. The first two times were brutal on me and on the kids. We've been hurt too deeply too many times by men who claimed that they loved us. At this point, I have lost all faith in marriage. Vows don't seem to mean as much as they used to for so many people. I see people in long-term relationships that function so much better than couples who are married - so why ruin a good thing by making it "official"?

Maybe, just maybe, at some point I'll change my mind. I don't know how he's doing it, but somehow The Dude has been knocking down the walls that I so carefully built and he's making me feel things that I swore I would never feel again. And for some reason, I'm ok with it. We talk about things like this a lot, and I am open and honest with him about everything. He knows what I'm thinking - sometimes before I even say it.

How he puts up with me is a mystery to me. But I'm so glad that he does. And I just hope that he will continue to put up with me (and the chaos that is my life) for a very long time - whether or not we ever decide to make it official.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The next project

OK, I know that it's way too early for me to go into pre-vacation cleaning stress mode, but I am about fed up with my desk area.

Realistically, I know that it's nowhere near as bad as it has been in the past. And on the surface, although it's cluttered, it doesn't look that bad.

However, as I've been working on paperworky projects over the past few days, this desk has gone beyond irritating me. I mean seriously, it should not take as much effort as it did to open up the top filing cabinet drawer, pull out the file that should contain the information that I needed, record it on the forms, and replace the file. It should be easy.

But, it wasn't. It was a nightmare. I mean, I found everything that I need, but not without totally pissing myself off at the lack of organization. And the thing is, that it was all totally organized not all that long ago!

So, my project over the next few days.....is to go through EVERYTHING on/in my desk and on/in the filing cabinet. Truth be told, the filing cabinet scares the crap out of me. I just glanced in the drawers - the top is jammed full of papers. The second one has some patterns, wood putty(?), an antique camera, and various other junk. The third one is mostly empty except for some crap. I have no idea what's in the fourth one because the shredder is in front of it, and I'm feeling lazy.

So hopefully, in the next few days, everything will be nice and neat and organized and alphabetized (ha - not really) and I'll be able to find what I need when I need it. If I disappear, you'll know that I got lost. Or something fell on my head. Or I bled to death from a paper cut.

I figure that if I can't control everything that happens in my life, maybe I can control the mess that is my desk. It's worth a shot, right?

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm really not hiding...

Things have just been crazy around here.

I haven't had time to sit down and think, much less do a blog post. I thought that once basketball was over, I'd have more time to myself. But, I was wrong! It hasn't been busy in a bad way - just crazy busy.

I've been trying to catch up on all of the cleaning that needs to be done around here, and well, I've been failing miserably at that. And I've been running kids around all over the place trying to get them everywhere that they need to be at the correct time. And trying to keep up with laundry. And cooking - who knew that kids would expect to be fed every. single. day.?

But yesterday and today were good. The Dude and I went to our friends' house to watch the Super Bowl and hang out for a few hours. It was nice to just relax and talk and visit and not do much of anything for a change.

Of course, their dog and Daniel were fighting over who got to sit in his lap, until Daniel finally gave up and crashed on the other end of the couch. Poor kid just can't stay up late to save his life!

The Dude spent the night last night (hush it) and I had set the alarm so that I could get Alex to school this morning. He was up and around and I asked him if he would start the van for me since it was below freezing outside, and he said that he had already planned on doing it. I laid around for a few more minutes while Alex finished getting ready and then started to get up to take him to school. The Dude asked me what I was doing, and I said that I was getting up to take Alex to school and he then informed me that he was taking him. I wasn't fully awake yet and probably babbled something unintelligible to him and rolled back over and passed out again.

By this time, Daniel had gotten up and he crawled into bed with me and we snuggled and talked a little bit, and then I must have fallen asleep again. The next thing I knew, it was 9:30am. Confused, I looked around to try to figure out what was going on and why I was still in bed. The Dude and Daniel were watching TV or playing video games or something, and Daniel had already had breakfast. I was stunned. I asked The Dude why he didn't wake me up, and he just said that he knew I was tired and so he let me sleep in a little bit.


I have to admit - I had to process that one for a while. He knew I was tired and he let me sleep in. I couldn't comprehend it at all - and I'm still working on it. I'm so used to doing it all on my own, and now I have to get used to someone helping me - it's strange, to say the least. I almost felt like I had done something wrong - I mean, isn't it my job to take my kid to school and feed my other kid breakfast? That's what I'm supposed to do - it's what I've done for years, and now there's someone here who is willing to help do those things.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. I'm trying to comprehend that he is willing to help.

And I think, deep down, that I'm trying to accept that it's ok that he wants to help.

It's weird. I mean, for years, I've done it all on my own. And yes, I've complained because it's gotten overwhelming at times. But I've always just considered doing it all to be normal - it was my own version of normal. I didn't have help - I just did it all. And now, with The Dude in my life, I have to adapt to a new version of normal - a version that includes having help with some of the daily stuff. As much as I appreciate it, there's still a part of me that fights him helping - because what if I get used to it, and he bails out and leaves? Why should I get used to having help around if it's not going to last? I mean, really, who would want to stick around in my crazy world with all of these kids and chaos and disorder? (Yes, these are the thoughts that go through my head on a regular basis.)

We talked about all of this quite a bit this morning, and he assured me - again - that he has no intentions of bailing on me. But with everything that has happened in my life, it's hard for me to accept that. It's hard for me to accept that he wants to be around me, and that he wants to stay, and that he wants to help. But bit by bit, little by little, I'm starting to believe him. I'm starting to understand that this is the way that a healthy relationship is supposed to be.

And I have to admit - I'm starting to get used to the idea.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Planning has begun

That's right. We are in the preliminary stages of planning The Mother of All Road Trips: 2012 Edition (TMOART:2012).

Right now, it is in the very preliminary stages. I have a class reunion to go to on June 23, and a family reunion on June 30, both of which are in Pennsylvania. We have a few days to kill in between those two mandatory dates, so we're tossing around a few ideas to see what all we can fit in with the limited funds that we'll have.

The nice thing is that The Dude has offered to go along this time - which means that he's either even more wonderful than I thought, or he's totally insane. I'm actually leaning towards a little bit of both. He has no idea what he is getting himself into, between my high school friends AND my family (not to mention an insane road trip with 5 kids)....but, since he's going to go along, it means that I have a driving buddy - and we can drive straight through instead of stopping along the way. That's definitely a good thing.

For just the basic trip, we're looking at 2461 miles. But I know that there will be a few more stops that we haven't planned yet. We may try to hit Virginia again, and The Dude has some friends in various places back in that general direction, so we'll be working and reworking the itinerary as the time gets closer.

All I know is that it will be fun, but yet I will get totally stressed out again between now and then trying to work out all of the details and the finances, and will probably go on another pre-vacation cleaning binge (also a good thing) and will sell anything that I don't need to get some extra cash (possibly including some children if they don't straighten up)....

And of course, you all can look forward to amusing stories while we're on the road - and since he'll be driving for part of it, I'll be able to blog along the way! This could get interesting....

Stay tuned for more details....