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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not exactly what I had planned...

OK, seriously, when your day starts off with a sunrise like this, what can possibly go wrong? Really?

Wrong question to ask.

My plans for the day were fairly simple.

Get the kids to school. Come home and clean and whatnot. Get the kids from school. Make supper. Have The Dude come over and watch the kids for about 2 hours while I go to a meeting. Come home. Hang out. Put kids in bed.

Easy, right?


I got the kids to school. I came home and putzed around and didn't do much of anything for a while.

Then, it happened.....*cue ominous music*

The Dude called me from work to ask me to bring some ibuprofen or something to him because his back was hurting. I had just gotten a shower so I finished getting ready and ran across town to give him the medicine. I could tell that he was hurting - badly. But he had to wait for his boss to get there before he could leave so I came back home.

He called me again a little later. And it's one of those calls that no one ever wants to get.

"Babe, can you come and get me and take me to the ER? I can barely breathe because it hurts so bad."

I took off and got him from work and he was miserable. We got to the hospital and it was all he could do to walk in the door. It was busy but luckily they got him in fairly quickly - and then we waited. I had to leave to get the boys from school so I took off across town. As I was driving, I called a friend of mine to see if she could watch the boys for a couple of hours, and luckily she agreed so I told her that I would be there as soon as I got them. I hung up and called Ex1 to explain what was happening and to ask him if he could just keep the older three kids instead of bringing them to me, and he agreed. I got the boys, dumped them at my friend's house, and got back to the hospital about 30 minutes after I had left.

He had gotten the xrays done by that time and was even more miserable than when I left him half an hour earlier. The doctor came back and said that things looked ok on the xrays and that it did not appear that his lung was collapsed (wait, what? you mean you thought that was a possibility???) and that it was a severe thoracic strain and the muscles were spasming. He got a couple of shots in the butt and a handful of prescriptions, and we left.

I dropped off the prescriptions and then we went back to his work to drop off the doctor's note and to lock up his truck since we were leaving it there, and then I took him back home and poured him into his bed. Then I left to go back to pick up the prescriptions and bring those back to him.

At that point I realized that if I rushed I could still make the meeting that I had planned to go to, so I raced home and changed my clothes and went to the meeting. While I was there, Ex1 called to let me know that Emily had forgotten some stuff she needed for school but not to worry about getting it to her since she was the one who forgot it. We touched base about a few other things and then I went back to the meeting.

After the meeting, I went to my friend's to pick up the boys, back over to The Dude's house to get some money, ran out to get him some food, and then took the food to him - and then finally got the boys home. They ate a late supper and fell asleep on the couch.

Emily texted me about the stuff that she forgot - apparently the lines of communication got crossed and she thought that I was bringing it to her tonight. I talked to her and Ex1 and we decided that there was no way I was doing it tonight (25 miles round trip at bedtime for the boys? I think not...) but I would bring it out in the morning after I drop the boys off - but only because if things hadn't been so crazy tonight she would have been able to get it and would have had it for tomorrow.

And then to top it all off.....

I had gotten a message while all of this was happening that the blankity-blank-blank Tooth Fairy letter had been posted on cheezburger(dot)com. I didn't worry about it too much at the time because, well......I was busy. I looked into it tonight, and sure enough it's on there - under the "Parenting Fails". And yeah, that bugs me. It was just a silly letter, and it's totally being taken out of context and it's driving me nuts. And I know that it shouldn't bother me, but it does.

But it's also a good reminder that judgmental people suck.

Monday, January 28, 2013

One of those days...

It's been one of THOSE days. You know the kind.

First off, the weather was AMAZING. Beyond amazing. 70+ degrees worth of amazing. Of course it didn't start out quite that warm first thing this morning, but it was still nice enough that I finally forced myself outside and managed to get in a 3 mile walk.

Seriously. 70 degrees. In Kansas. In January.

Crazy stuff.

The Dude had to do some work on his truck today, and he needed my hacksaw (don't ask) to do it - not to mention that it's easier to do it in my yard than it is to do it in his, so he came over this afternoon.

We got to spend a little bit of time together before I had to go and get the boys from school.

It was so nice outside that I basically told the boys that they were NOT allowed to come back inside until I had supper ready and on the table. It's so rare to have days like this, and they needed to be outside to burn off some energy and get some exercise.

I was working on supper and was standing at the kitchen sink doing some dishes, and I looked out the window. The view was so incredibly amazing, and I realized just how awesome my life really is - even though I don't always admit it.

I mean really - right there, outside the window - there it is. The love of my life, working on his truck while the kids played nearby. Granted, it would have been better with all of the kids here (and if he wasn't working on that blasted truck) but still - it honestly took my breath away and I just stood there and watched and smiled. And when supper was ready, they all came inside and we sat down and we ate... and then The Dude went home and I got the boys in the tub and ready for bed.

It's definitely not the life that I had planned on having. It's crazy and chaotic and there's a lot of drama and stress at times. But it's my life, and I love it.

It's been one of those days.....that shows me just how lucky I really am.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


So I've been having issues with my dryer. When it works, it works great. But it's gotten to the point that it just randomly stops working. It'll be in the middle of the cycle and just quit.

In its defense, it's getting old. Ex1 and I bought it toward the beginning of our marriage, so I would say that it's probably about 12 years old. And let's face it - with the amount of laundry that I do on a daily basis, it's probably more like 175 in NSM years.

Anyway, I tore it apart today. I took the back off of it and found that the power cord was actually a little loose, and for some reason the ground wire was not attached to the body of the dryer like it was supposed to be. I have no idea how that happened. But it did. So I removed all of the wires, cleaned all of the lint out from the contacts, and put them all back together again - tightly this time.

And then I took the top of it off and cleaned as much of the lint out of the body of the dryer as I could. I don't know if that helped or not, but it certainly didn't hurt it.

I played around with the door switch a bit, and that seems to still be working fine from what I can tell - but at least if that needs to be replaced it looks like it'll be simple to do.

Anyway, I put it back together and I turned it on. And it worked. I ran a load of laundry through it, and it ran through the whole cycle and I didn't have any problems with it - although I'm quite sure that Daniel got tired of me asking him to go stand at the laundry room door and tell me if he could still hear it running or not.

Then I did another load of laundry and tossed it into the dryer. Cautiously confident, I turned it on and walked away. I went back in about 20 minutes later - and it had shut off again.

Colorful language was used. A kick was thrown. And I turned it back on again in the hopes that it will actually continue to run long enough to get that one load dried tonight.

In the meantime, I took the next load out of the washer and put it on the foolproof dryer.

I have one more theory about what might be wrong with it, and I'll deal with that tomorrow. And if I can't get it fixed, I will give up the fight. But I won't be happy about it.

On a positive note though:

Goal for the week: 15 miles. On foot. Walking with maybe a little bit of jogging, depending on how my toe feels once I get back out there again. I need to start focusing on getting ready for the next half-marathon and that is NOT going to happen if I don't get up and get off of my butt.

And now that I have the confirmation and I know that I'm officially registered, I have no choice but to get moving. I should print that out about a dozen times and hang it all over the house - especially on the refrigerator door.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Races and ball games and all sorts of Kansas-y stuff

Last night was the Pinewood Derby for Scouts. Alex raced as part of his pack and Daniel raced in the Outlaw class (non-Scouts). Neither of of them placed, but they had a great time and it was a great experience for them. After the races were over, we spent the night there as a "camp out" - which consisted of tents set up in the church basement and boys staying up until way after midnight.

But they had a blast.

Putting the finishing touches on his car.

Very proud of his first car.
(That's not dirt on his face. That's chapped skin.
Gross. I know.)
He had to show off his toy too.

Our very own indoor tent city.

Basketball games on zero sleep.

Kansas Day is coming in a few days, which is the anniversary of the day that the state became....well, a state. A local museum had some festivities to celebrate, and since I only had Daniel today we took full advantage and went and spent a few hours playing around.

We're sunflowers!

Beanbag toss.

Using an antique tool to make a mess.

Making box turtles out of egg cartons.

Of course I found a quilt. Duh.


I so wish I had the patience to do this.

Using an old-fashioned gadget to get
the kernels off of the cob.

Making real kettle corn.

Feeding the goats.

Ready to work!

He loved that popcorn!!!

Oh, lookie! Another quilt!

And we got to take a wagon ride.
This is only a small fraction of the pictures that I took over the past 24 hours. I took so many that I literally killed the battery in my camera and couldn't take any more until I got home and got it charged up again. Ooops.

After we got done there, we grabbed a bite to eat and then came home - and Daniel promptly fell asleep in my lap at about 5:30. I fully expect him to just sleep right through the night. Of course, I might have dozed off a bit while I was sitting here at the computer too......kind of odd to have the house this quiet so early in the evening. But I'm definitely not complaining.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A little ironic?

Today was my payday. The one day each month when I sit down and pay every single bill for the next month. I get it done and it's out of the way until the 4th Wednesday of the next month. As much as I hate to sit and do it, it's a necessary evil. And the timing worked out really well because for some odd reason I have been attacked by a nasty case of vertigo (that I haven't had in 6 years) and sitting on my butt was the best thing that I could have done today.

Anyway, along with the normal bills that I paid today - you know those pesky things like rent and electric and gas and stuff - I put a "fun" one in the mail.

Remember a couple of years ago when I did my first half-marathon?

And then last year I did my second one in the pouring rain?

You guessed it. I'm officially registered for my third one. The check is literally in the mail.

I might not be able to walk around the house today without running into walls, but I'm registered.

Time to get to work. For real. I have to break that 3 hour mark this year.

Monday, January 21, 2013

You're NOT my DAD...and other craters in the minefield of dating a single mother.

     Hey folks, it's me again, his Dudeness.

     It'd came up more than a few times that folks were interested in another round of "wisdom", such as it is, from The Dude and while it's taken awhile, really... who I am I to deny the public at large?

    There's been some suggestions, a few good ones too, but I thought, man, wouldn't it be cool if I fired off some things I've learned by trial and error for folks to key on in their own domestic situations?
After some thought, I bring you:

 You're NOT my DAD...and other directions in the minefield of dating a single mother.

          Fellas, pay attention to this first bit, because it's important to remember when you begin your courtship of your particular single mother of choice. Like it or not, you are the outsider. Stop... read that again, let it sink in, because letting that particular factoid sink in will save you from some hurt feelings. This one I figured out by watching friends of mine, so I personally have avoided the bruised ego that will follow if you're not aware by now that it takes time to be accepted as an insider by the young ones.

   Now that you've absorbed that bombshell lets talk about a few things. Being the new man in Mom's life takes some adjusting to. Some things I've done pretty good at, some took time and others I'm still working on... and NO, I will not be sharing which ones. (If I remember!)
       System shock will happen in some areas. Let's just get it out there, Intimacy, once on a whenever you want some schedule, just found itself on a "after the kids are asleep" schedule. You're also going to have to understand in a quickness that the crazed howling at the moon kind of intimacy, well... maybe when the kids are in school, if you're lucky! (Yes! You now need a parents permission to read this blog!) Be prepared to learn how to keep an ear open for child originating noises while doing whatever it is that you're gonna do. Now I know some dudes are like "Pshh, I do what I want..." Really? Do you want to be responsible for that kind of permanent mental scarring? DO YOU?
      All funnies aside, guys, you're going to be walking a minefield. Take this for instance: You have a fine line to walk between, not necessarily best pals, but a friend and an authority figure, unless of course two children throttling each other into unconsciousness whilst producing glass splintering screams is more your speed. However, most guys aren't going to sit by and watch a co-pay produce itself.  Since everybody is different, it's going to take trial and error to define how far each way you can go, but I'm telling you that it's important to define those roles, as a priority, because the longer you take the more you risk your moments as an authority figure being taken as unimportant or even as a joke. I'm not saying you want to install a police state whenever you come over... just know that there are times that you'll be the nearest or only adult and must control those situations. (Ain't no playstation game for that, ya'll!)

      You're going to find that you're wanted and even expected to start attending the kiddo related functions. Really, planned on that Dr. Dre recites Dr. Suess concert? New paradigm, you, minus the Dr's. plus a 8 am Saturday morning basketball game or music program. If you're planning on making Mom a serious part of your life, it can't just be her you're interested in, Mom's a package deal and you'll need to redefine your priorities in order to work the kiddo's interests into your time.

    Handing out punishments can be a challenge because "You're NOT MY DAD!"

    You'll just have to figure out how to make that work anyways, all parents do things differently and your Mom of choice is no exception... what you grew up with or think is normal, she just might find abhorrent. Fellas, sit down with your Mom of Choice and ask her what her normal punishments are, what she's comfortable with you dishing out when the situation arises. There are the inevitable stubborn children who are going to push the envelope with you to see what they can get away with. Once you have your Mom of Choice's preferences, stick with them. Once the kiddo's see the united front, you might not always see the best behavior, but they'll know that you're not going to let them get away with things that they shouldn't be doing.

      Finally, realize that these kids are not necessarily used to sharing their Mom's time with anyone other than the potential siblings. That they give you 5 minutes alone is a gift from them and you should take it as such. That said, be prepared for that quiet night watching movies to become a family night watching movies, learn what's on the kids menu at your favorite diner and for all things holy, take it all with a sense of humor. Again, YOU are the outsider and you are in fact, NOT THEIR DAD! So be thankful these kids are willing to share their Mom, your Mom of Choice, with you. Be glad that She chose to see you as good enough to place in the same room as her offspring and above all go with the flow. You don't have to lose yourself or change everything about who you are, dudes, it's just a new equation.
       You + Your Mom of Choice + her kiddos... What that will come up to is completely up to how you adapt, how they take it and of course, Your Mom of Choice.

      Have fun guys, take any of that how you want to and maybe I'll be back another time...

     Oh, I should mention that I'm proud that MY Mom of Choice decided that I was good enough of a person to be introduced to her kiddo's and for the rest of that story, well... you'll just have to keep coming back... won't ya?

     I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's all about Alex

So today was Alex's 7th birthday. It's hard for me to believe. In the grand scheme of things, I know that 7 isn't old, but he's getting older!

And if he's getting older, that means that I am too. I'm not crazy about that idea.

Anyway, I'm honestly just not in the mood to sit here at the computer tonight, so if you want to read his whole birth story you can. He probably has one of the most interesting stories out of the 5 kids, so to me it's worth reading.

Today consisted of basketball (both Emily and Jared had games) and then lunch at home...and then a few hours at the park....and then frozen yogurt....then home, and supper, and cake. So nothing amazingly wonderful, except for being able to run around the park for a few hours wearing nothing more than jeans and tshirts and being comfortable - how does that happen in mid-January in Kansas?

A few pictures of the birthday boy....

Trying to keep him amused at one of the games.

Couldn't get a picture of him standing still to save my life.
I can play too....

The cake had issues. But it was good.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

You asked for it....

So every now and then I like to have the people on my facebook page to ask me questions, and I answer them. I did that tonight and although they were being a bit goofy, I decided to go ahead and answer all of them anyway.

So there.

Bruce asked: Why is The Weather Channel reporting from VA about a minor snow storm? And...how will we survive the blizzard? 

To the first part, I can say it's because y'all are a bunch of flatlanders, much like the people in Kansas. That, or it's just a slow news night. I'm pretty sure that YOU will survive your impending blizzard with your guitar, maybe some alcohol, and your beautiful wife by your side!

Alice asked: Will you still love me tomorrow? 

Always, my dear. Always.

Melissa asked:  Why does Nicki Minaj look like a Muppet from outer space?...

Ummmmm......who? Honestly, I've heard her name, but I really have no clue who she is. Am I showing my age, or my total lack of disregard for current pop culture? Or both?

Brown, black.
Plastic, wood, paper.
Crooked, straight.
My wall, my rules. :)
Rebecca asked: Why can't brown and black frames (on a wall) coexist? Is there some sort of frame law against such tyranny?

Oh, now that's a simple one for me. They can coexist. Very nicely too. But then again, I've never been the type of person to stick to decorating (or fashion) rules. I say if you think it looks good, and you like it, then go for it. Create your own style. Do something different. Think outside of the proverbial box!!! And then show me pictures, because I want to see. Seriously.

Jenni asked: I'm loving the questions! Lol. I have 1! Are we there yet?!

You would. Brat. And the answer is no, because we haven't gotten together for our day-long Bizarre Places of Kansas Photography playdate yet. We need to do that.

Then Jennifer decided to hit me with questions......so here are all of hers:

Jennifer asked: Well, you have been smoke free for six months now. Congrats! Do you still crave them? Also, I thought you re giving up caffeine. What happened toto that.

Toto went back to Oz. ;)

Seriously though, yes, I still crave cigarettes every. single. day. Especially when I'm around people who still smoke *hint hint*. It's hard. Extremely hard. But I do feel better without them and I really want to never pick one up again. Never ever.

As for the caffeine....yeah, well, I did really well until we went on vacation, and then I had to have some to drive. And some led to more, which led to more, which led back into the full-fledged addiction again. It's next on the list of things to go. Again.

How early is too early to send your kids to bed for misbehaving?

Honestly, as far as I'm concerned, it's never too early. They get warned, sometimes too many times. And when they've reached that point, they go to bed. It's been as early as 6:00pm around here a few times - and usually that child is asleep within a few minutes. I try not to use the going-to-bed thing as punishment unless I have to do it and I know that they are truly tired. I don't want bedtime to be turned into a battle because they always look at it as punishment, so it's used very sparingly.

Would you ever consider getting your kids cell phones for emergencies?

Well.....the girls had one that they shared. Ex1 and his wife were able to get one added to their plan for nothing (or next to nothing) so they did carry it on the few times that they were alone, or to practices or other events when they would need to call for a ride home. They proved that they were responsible with that, so we actually went together and got Sarah one for her 13th birthday. Ex1 and I both pay for it, so she has to follow our rules with it at each house. She's gotten it taken away from her more than once here for having her nose glued to it, but for the most part she's been ok with it. She does have certain expectations with it, and so far it's been ok. I'm not crazy about the idea, but in this day and age I do feel a bit more comfortable knowing that she has it. Emily still uses the other one when she is at activities, but she does not carry it with her at all times.

What is the first thing you would do if you won a massive lottery?

There isn't ONE thing, but a few things that are all kind of lumped together. First off, pay off all of my bills and The Dude's bills. Get us in the clear as far as debt goes. Buy us both dependable vehicles so that we wouldn't have to worry about that anymore. Build our dream house in the town that we are trying to move to so that all of the kids could be in the same school district. At that point, we are set - we are debt-free, we have transportation, and the kids are all in the same school. Those are the major hurdles that we are facing right now and once we clear those, we can figure out the rest of it as we go.

If you weren't with Dude, what celeb would you date if the oppotunity arose?

Do I have to pick just one?

Sheesh.....there is always my first love - Jon Bon Jovi. First celebrity crush, and yeah, still crazy about the man. Have you seen the picture of him in the Versace ad? Oh, hello........

There's also Denzel Washington. I don't know what it is about that man..... The Dude actually humors me and occasionally brings over a movie with Denzel in it for us to watch. He's so good to me.

Dierks Bentley. Love his curly hair. And his voice.

I think those are my top 3. For today.

Would you ever consider getting lasik (spelling?) surgery?

In. a. heartbeat.

I've been asked a lot recently if I would consider getting ads or sponsors on my blog in order to make money and I keep telling people that I'm really not interested. I'm not looking to make money or get freebies from doing my blog. However, if a sponsor were to come to me and say "hey, we'll do lasik on your eyes for free if you'll let us advertise on your blog" I'd be all over that. No questions asked. My vision has gotten so much worse over the years, I hate wearing glasses with a passion, I don't want to deal with the hassle of contacts (been there done that) and I just want to be able to see. Not to mention that I want to wear really cute sunglasses. Not dorky clip-ons.

Have you ever thought about making a daily chore list for the kids?

All. the. time. But have I done it yet? Nope. Why? Too many distractions. Life keeps getting in the way. However, it's something that I've been thinking about more and more and it's something that I want to do, but I'm going to have to do it slowly because otherwise they're just going to rebel against it. I need to figure out a time that I can sit down with all of them - possibly individually - and talk to them about it and my expectations of them. Things have gotten out of hand around the house, and they need to do more to help me. I know that.

What some people don't realize though is that as a single parent, it's hard. I can't be in two places in the house at one time. I can't be making sure that the boys are doing one thing and making sure that the girls are doing their thing at the same time. I can be watching over the boys while they do their thing, and the girls are getting into a fistfight behind my back, or vice versa. It's hard and it's stressful. Lists need to be made, but at the same time the kids need to have some input into them or it's never going to work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Using it to my advantage...

So Alex is in Scouts. And part of being in Scouts is doing all sorts of little activities in order to move up the ranks.

I admit that we've been pretty lax in getting things done. Life is crazy, and it's hard to remember to do things like this all of the time. But I went through his book earlier today and discovered that two of the electives that he could do at home could definitely be used to my advantage.

One was helping in the kitchen, and one was helping to make a snack.

Can't have too much cheese....keep adding!
I knew that this could either be a good thing, or be a disaster. Patience and listening are not two of this kid's strongest qualities. But, we gave it a shot tonight.

If you were to ask him, he would say that he made supper all by himself. He'd be close to right. He did pretty much all of the work, with me telling him what to do and only helping him when he needed it.

After we got supper made, he helped me to make some banana bread too. Of course that was more fun because that involved smashing things and breaking eggs.

Smashing bananas.
He actually had a good time helping, and did better with it than I really thought that he would. Like I said, he's not the type of kid who will sit and listen and follow directions, so I thought that he would get distracted after a few minutes and want to go and do something else, but he stuck with it.

And he didn't get into quite as much trouble as he usually does.

Maybe I've found something that will actually keep this kid occupied. All I know is that if it works, he will be my permanent helper in the kitchen.

Breaking eggs - and not getting into trouble for it.
Making brownies for his birthday
treats for school tomorrow.
 So now I get to go finish a couple more loads of laundry, get lunches packed for tomorrow, package up the brownies to go to Alex's class in the morning, and maybe get some sleep. Tomorrow involves getting the kids to school, going to a geography bee, getting The Flu-Ridden Dude to the doctor, and about a million other things, as usual. Yay.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Looking back...

If you pay attention to my facebook page at all, you might have noticed that I've been working on cleaning up my computer - I've been going through the past 5+ years of photos, deleting the crappy ones, and transferring the good ones over to flash drives. It's been a long process, and I'm nowhere near done yet. But I'm getting there.

Before I started...
Where I am now...
But of course, in order to do this, I have to go through every single folder of pictures and look at every single one. Luckily they're already pretty much grouped in order by what day I uploaded them from the camera, so I have just been going through them one day at a time.

I've been trying not to dwell on the content of the pictures so much. I'm a very sentimental person, and I can look at old pictures all day long - so I know that I have to really focus on the end goal here or it's going to take me forever to get this done. So far, I've gotten 2008 and 2009 off of my computer (except for a huge rogue folder of 2008 that I just found this morning, but I haven't touched that one yet).

Those were 2 very interesting years in my life. (If you're not familiar with the story, this post will explain a lot of it, and there are links in there that can lead you to other stories. Or you can just ask me. Seriously.)

In 2008 we were living in my old house and I was still married to my second husband. So there are a lot of pictures of him. I wouldn't say that I get sad looking at them - but I have caught myself saying "I wonder what would have happened if....." several times.

In 2009, I kicked him out. And my life fell apart in so many ways, but I didn't admit that for a long time. I don't think that even my closest friends realized how bad it was for me.

But you know what? Looking at those pictures from that time frame - wow, was it ever obvious.

This house - this little ghetto-esque house that we live in now - it gets messy. It gets dirty. It's not always clean and neat and organized. But for the most part, it's decent. We got rid of a lot of stuff when we moved (moving into a house that's less than half the size of your old one will force your hand in that department) and I do my best to keep it organized.

The pictures of the old house? Holy wow, how did we ever live like that? Seriously, it was filthy, and it was so obvious in those pictures. I mean it - I let it get dirty. And that's how it would stay.

Every now and then I'd go on a massive cleaning/organizing binge, and it would look good. For a day or two. And then I would just let everything slide again.

It's funny. I don't always think that I've come that far...but then I start looking back - really looking back - and I see the progress that I've made. I'm still not perfect. The house can still be a disaster at times, but the main difference now is that it might only be 2 or 3 days' worth of disaster, instead of months' worth of disaster. Seeing the actual photographic evidence of the change was truly eye opening for me and has really gotten my brain going back into overdrive again (oh yay).

I think I gave myself a virtual kick in the butt. If I could come this far already...... hmmmm...... might be time to go back to the notebook and write down some more plans.

Monday, January 14, 2013


~~ I don't know how long it's been since I've been out for a run, but it's about to kill me. I need to get out and get moving again for so many reasons. However, I made the mistake of yanking on what I thought was a tiny little piece of dead skin on my big toe, and *ouch* - instant hangnail/swelling/pain. So I've been babying that thing like crazy trying to get it to heal because right now it hurts to even put a shoe on that foot. But, it's getting there. Another couple of days, maybe.

~~ I really need to remember to take the trash out tonight. And to dump all of the *ahem* leftovers-disguised-as-science-experiments out of the fridge first.

~~I can really make a mess when I cook. But my philosophy is that the bigger the mess, the better the food. And yes, the food was good last night. The mess was all that was left of it by the time we were done.

~~ Another reason to get out and start running again is because I am determined to do the half-marathon again this year - and to significantly reduce my time (not just by a few seconds again). I want to do it in under 3 hours this time, and I will do anything in my power to make that happen. I have until May 5 to get ready for it...but I need to get registered before the end of the month.

~~ That silly letter from the Tooth Fairy now has 3000 shares off of my page alone on facebook. 3000 shares. Really? Of course, I've also found about 10 different radio stations that have swiped it and posted it as their own and gotten hundreds (if not thousands) of shares on it as well. It just blows my mind.

~~ I find it kind of funny when people tell me that they admire me for "keeping it all together all the time". If they only knew how chaotic things really get around here.....they would change that opinion really quickly. My kids are far from being perfect kids, and I am far from being a perfect mother - but somehow we make it work, most of the time.

~~ I really hate this house. I hate it more and more every day.....as I pull on a second pair of socks to keep my toes warm. I can not wait to get us moved out of here and into a better place.

~~I wonder if the ghost will move with us when we do find a new place.

~~ I really wish that I would have wiped that gigantic glob of spilled toothpaste off of the front of the bathroom sink when I saw it earlier. But on the plus side, my dirty laundry now smells minty fresh and I have on a clean pair of sweatpants.

~~I just realized when I looked at the ticker on here that I have been smoke-free for 6 months. Woot!

~~I still have a million things that I need to get done tonight, and I'm not getting any of them done while I'm sitting here complaining about having to get them done.

Brain dump complete. Carry on.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another project done....

Just a quickie update.

Remember the quilt row that I was working on? It came to me from a woman in Tennessee.

Well, I just finished my row. So now it will go out in the mail (probably on Monday) and head to Florida, where the next participant will add another row to it.

The next row (which is now actually 2 rows) has already been mailed to me, so once I get that, I will add the third row to it. I should be receiving that in the next day or two as well.

So now that I finished that, I'm going to clean up my mess and head to bed. I only have to deal with one basketball game tomorrow morning, and then we have absolutely no plans for the rest of the day. Hopefully we can actually keep it that way - but I'm not going to count on it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Time to update the (not quite a) bucket list

A few months ago, I wrote a post with a sort of bucket list. I was having a crappy day week and needed to get some stuff off of my chest. In the process, I came up with a list of things that I wanted to do before my birthday, which is coming up in *cough* 3 days.

A reader asked me tonight if I had finished everything on the list and I went back and looked at it, and realized that I've hardly done anything on it. Oops.

I'm running out of time to finish my list, don't you think?

So, here's the original list - and what I have or have not accomplished:

1. Run a 5K. Not walk 3/4 of it. Run it. Or at least jog it. Nope. Not even close yet.

2. Get to the point that I can go out and at least walk 13.1 miles (a half-marathon) a couple of times a month. Ditto.

3. Go on a date with The Dude. Alone. With no kids. Just me and him - out somewhere, in public, together. We don't get to do that nearly enough. I think - technically - we've managed to do this once or twice. Maybe a few quiet lunches together. So yes, we've done it, but not quite what I had in mind yet, so I'm not crossing it off yet.

4. Get a manicure. Not a do-it-myselfer. A real one. Nope.

5. Read a book. From start to finish. Yes. I have done that. And you should too. Go and buy this book and read it. Because I said so, that's why.

6. Cook a meal - for me. Whatever I want with no complaints from anyone else. I actually do this on occasion. Not very often, but I have found myself actually making a real lunch for myself when the kids are at school.

7. Go bowling. I haven't gone in years, and I miss it. (Maybe combine with #3?) Nope. Not yet.

8. Actually finish one of the many quilts that I have started. I did do this. There's even a picture to prove it.

9. Volunteer at the homeless shelter. Not yet.

10. Actually take one of the quilt designs in my head, put it on paper, and then make it. And finish it. Gah! Why have I not done this yet???

11. Save enough money to get a new digital camera so that I don't have to use my crappy phone for all of my pictures. Thanks to a wonderful friend, I did not have to do this. They had an amazing spare camera that they sent to me. I love my friends!

12. Lose 25 more pounds. Yeah. We won't even go there.

13. Get new sneakers. That's going to have to happen within the next couple of weeks. No choice there. Done.

14. Make a charity quilt. That's actually started - but I need to finish it. *sigh* Still not finished.

15. Go hang out at the coffee shop once in a while, just to get out of the house. Done. Not very often, but done.

16. Get the bikes fixed, and go for a bike ride. That one will necessitate getting past some fear, but I want to do it. Ran into financial difficulties with this one.

17. Get my kitchen chairs fixed. I keep putting it off, but it needs to be done. I want it to be done. Two of them are actually getting fixed. Now that I think about it, I need to call them and see if they're done yet.

18. Go through all of my clothes and donate what I don't wear or need. An ongoing process, but one that I plan on working on tomorrow in conjunction with my own personal "pay it forward" mission.

19. Get out and walk/jog at least 3 times per week - regardless of the weather or how crappy I feel. Yeah, I've really slacked there.

20. Find and try at least one new recipe every week - whether the kids like it or not. Slacker.

21. Start cooking ahead and freezing meals - if for no other reason than to reduce my stress. Yes. I have done this. Not as often as I want to, but it's a matter of getting into a new habit.

22. Make the apron that I've designed and redesigned in my head at least a dozen times now. Oops.

23. Actually buy, fill out, and send Christmas cards this year. Did. Totally did. Honest.

24. Use the weights and exercise CDs that I have sitting around collecting dust. See #12.

25. Learn how to knit. Or crochet. Or maybe both. I'm really beginning to think that I suck at this particular list.

26. Start making my own laundry detergent again. I've gotten lazy. Lazy is as lazy does....

27. Organize the garage - because it really needs to be done. Hey, it's cold out there.

So. Yeah.

Not very impressive, and since I only have 3 days left, I don't forsee many more things being crossed off of the list. However, this gives me a good starting point to create my new list. And it's going to have 43 things to accomplish before I turn 43 - so that will give me a whole year to get everything done.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We need to turn it around...

I went into the beginning of this new year full of hope and excitement. I really do think that there are going to be some wonderful things happening for me and my family this year. I was anxious to get this year started for so many positive reasons.

But then the new year started - and it didn't start well at all.

I found out on the second day of the year that one of my friends was going through a personal hell, and as a mother, it hit home for me.

On the third day, we got more devastating news that again, hit me so incredibly hard.

The Dude has been having problems with his truck. My "service engine" light was on. He has to get two teeth pulled tomorrow afternoon.

It just hasn't been a stellar start to the year. But at the same time I know that it could always be worse.

We spent part of the afternoon today working on his truck. Although we didn't get it fixed, we have now narrowed down the problem and are about 98% sure that we know what's wrong with it. He can drive it for now, for short distances, but it needs to be fixed. Of course that doesn't come for free, but we can get it taken care of in the next couple of weeks.

My "service engine" light? I had a sneaking suspicion desperate hope that it was something stupid - and it was. Turns out the gas cap wasn't on tight enough to make it happy. Stupid thing. But the light's off now, so it's good.

Tonight, however.....tonight was hard. As I mentioned the other day, a little boy who was the son of one of Sarah's mentors was killed in a horrible accident last week. As a mother, I can't even begin to imagine the impact of losing a child. I just can't wrap my head around it. After the kids got home from school and basketball practice tonight, Sarah announced that she wanted to go to the boy's viewing. I wasn't sure that it was a good idea, but she and I talked about it and she really wanted to go. I told her she would have to check with her father, since she was supposed to go to church with him tonight. He agreed that she could go, but only if I went with her. So plans quickly changed, Ex1 came and got Emily and Jared, I took Alex and Daniel over to The Dude's house, and Sarah and I went to the viewing.

It was so hard. So incredibly hard. Seeing the little boy's parents and sisters there, and the other mourners...looking at the pictures and the videos from his short little life....my heart shattered so many times tonight. Seeing the pain in his mother's eyes as she hugged me and thanked me for coming....I have tears running down my face as I'm typing this.

All I've been able to think for the past few days is "something's got to give" - there has been too much bad stuff to start off a new year. Way too much. It needs to change, and somehow we need to turn it around. So I started thinking - always dangerous for me to do.

Tomorrow, January 10, 2013 is my 2 year blogiversary. It's been 2 years since I started this crazy thing.  And Sunday, January 13, is both my 42nd birthday and the 2nd anniversary of the day that my 2nd divorce became final.

I need to celebrate. I want to celebrate. I want to be happy. While I can't forget about the bad stuff, I can't focus on it - and I don't want anyone else to focus on the bad stuff either.

So what do we do?

I know what I'm going to do. I've always been a huge fan of the "Pay it Forward" movement (as is my good friend over at Mom-troversial) and I'm going to start making a really conscious effort to pay it forward as much as I can and in as many ways as I can. I have a pile of stuff sitting by my front door already that needs to be donated - and it's going to go out this week. We have toys that the kids have outgrown or they don't like or whatever. Guess what? They're going out the door too.

I've made up my mind that I am going to do as much as I can for two of my favorite local organizations too - our homeless shelter and our women's safe house. I have my own personal reasons for choosing those two in particular, but they're going to be getting some of my time, my money, and any of my "stuff" that they can use.

So - for my blogiversary and for my birthday, this is the best gift that anyone could give to me (*cough* along with a pair of warm fuzzy slippers so that I don't have to keep wearing The Dude's that are 18 sizes too big for me *cough*). Go out and do something for someone. Donate something somewhere. Be nice to someone. Donate something that you don't need anymore instead of selling it. Volunteer your time. If you have the cash, make a donation to a local organization that needs it. There are so many ways that we can make someone else's life just a little bit easier, but we overlook those things so often in our hurry to deal with our own lives. Pay it forward, people. Please.

So go and do it, and tell me what you did. Leave it in a comment here, post it on my facebook wall, send me an email, whatever. Tell the world that you did it, and maybe you'll inspire someone else to do the same thing.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The now infamous Tooth Fairy letter.

Holy crap.

That's about all I can say right now. Had I known what would happen when I posted a picture of a letter that the Tooth Fairy wrote to Emily at about 1:00 this morning, I might have thought twice. Or not.

The letter.
I thought that a few people would get a chuckle out of it, and that would be it. Now, here I sit less than 24 hours later....and there are almost 1900 likes on it on facebook and it has been shared almost the same number of times. More than 300 new people have come to my facebook page and have 'liked' that as well.

Really? It was just a silly letter to try to get my kid to clean her room.

I would say that well over 99% of the comments that I received and/or saw on other pages were positive - something that shocks me. It seems like even the most innocent share can trigger the haters and trolls to come out of the woodwork - so I got really nervous when I saw the numbers exploding after I posted it.

There were a few questions raised, and rather than attempt to answer them through comments on facebook, I figured I'd just address them all here. It's easy. And I might have a lazy streak in me at times.

The most common question related to the "bodies" in the bed. Yes, Emily is 11 years old, so no, there are no boys in her bed (unless one of her brothers sneaks in there during the night). The only other live body was that of her 13 year old sister, who insists on sleeping in the bottom bunk with Emily more often than not. And it irritates me to no end - whenever they sleep in the same bed, they end up fighting over the covers or who kicked who in the face or whose breath stinks the worst or whatever. So I hate when they sleep in the same bed. Plus, there were several inanimate bodies in the bed as well as a bunch of extra pillows and covers and all sorts of crap that made it next to impossible to find the tooth pillow under her pillow.

Tooth pillow. What's a tooth pillow? I saw that comment somewhere. If you look at this post you can see a picture of the tooth pillow. I got it when I was little, and the kids have all used it. It makes it much easier for the Tooth Fairy to find the tooth under the pillow in the bed if it's in this, and then the money gets stuck in the pocket so that it doesn't get lost either.

One comment that really kind of ticked me off annoyed me caught my eye was on one of the shares, where someone said something to the effect of me being a horrible mother, and my kid was going to be scarred for life. Uh huh. Whatever. I'm pretty sure that not getting her buck for her tooth until her room is clean is going to put her in therapy. Get over it.

There was another that wanted to know why she had to ask THE MOTHER and not THE FATHER. Too bad that was on a share too, so I couldn't comment and tell that person that there is no father in this house. I'm a single mom. I have The Dude, but he doesn't live here, and he's not their father. That one kind of bugged me too, but I just chalked it up to someone not being familiar with the story.

Probably the most common question was "did it work?"

The answer to that is yes. And no.

Let me start off by saying that I do take responsibility for some of the mess in this room. We rearranged a month or two ago, and I had to take some of their shelves off of the wall in order to do it, and things kept distracting me and I didn't get the shelves put back up. And well, it's hard to put things away when the shelves aren't there. However, that has nothing to do with the dirty laundry all over the floor, or the garbage in general that was spread out all over the place.

They definitely started out strong. They got in there and they really started working. I got the shelves put back up (busted out some power tools to do it too...hehehe) and got some other shelves anchored to the wall and they got a lot of stuff put away. We had to stop to take Sarah to the school for open gym, and then we came back and worked some more, and then we had to stop again to take Emily to the school for basketball practice, so we kept getting distracted.

I thought that things were going really well in there, and it was starting to look really good, but then they dug into a huge tub (the green one in the 'before' picture) that was full of old artwork. It had been stored in cardboard boxes before, but the boxes got broken down over time and so we tossed everything into this tub. And they dug it all out and started going through it, so more of a mess was created. But, we got rid of a bunch of it, so that will help in the long run.

So yes, it worked to a point. The room is not clean by any stretch of the imagination, but they put in a good effort. So I may go ahead and allow the Tooth Fairy to come back tonight - especially since they'll be at their father's house for the next couple of nights. However, considering that it's after 11:00 and I can still hear them, I may cancel it again tonight.

Now....for something really funny. While Sarah was at open gym, I took the other 4 kids to the convenience store to get drinks. I left Emily and the boys in the van and went in to get what we needed, and then realized that I didn't ask her what she wanted. So I went back out to the van with drinks for me and the boys, and sent her into the store to get something for herself. She came out with a bottle of Jones soda.

If you're not familiar with Jones soda, they have little sayings under their caps. Keep in mind that we got these in the middle of the cleaning spree - and this is what Emily got:

(*Edited to add: In case you're wondering about how Emily has handled the hubbub around the letter, read this post - especially if you're one of the people who has something negative to say about it.)

(*Edited again regarding the hateful comments and judgment that I've received about this thing.)

(**Edited again to add: Emily has written her own post about this thing. If you'd like to read that - and you should - you need to click here.)