Being terribly real…

RealOn the journey to motherhood, I didn’t pause to consider what it was going to be like after I had my daughters.  I never thought for a second about play dates, getting out of the house with two babies, or how I would live in pajamas…for a long time.  The only things I thought of were the sweet baby smell, and the adorable girl clothes all ready to put on my first baby.  It was easy for a while.  I know that sounds crazy, but it was.  She was a good baby after I got over the initial “How the heck do you breast feed right?” phase.  I was constantly tired, but it was a good tired.  One I could live with.  Until the day I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2.  The first one was only 9 months old.  Wow.  Was not expecting that.  Ha.

So fast forward to having 2 baby girls.  The struggle was real as they say.  I came up with the idea of play dates to get out of the house.  With moms I had never met before in my life.  It was wonderful, and I could reflect on that bonding experience for a long time, but what I want to get across is this point.  When we finally got past the pleasantries and being “real” with each other, it was a much better experience.  If you look past the cleaning like a mad woman before anyone came over for a play date (dumb thinking).  Making sure I had the right snacks out, and everything was prepped and ready so it appeared things were effortless.  Again, how dumb was that?  Not being embarrassed when my girls wanted to just sit and eat snacks instead of playing.  Like you can control your kids.  Hahaha.  When they are toddlers (new mom thinking is warped).

So as I have gotten older, and I visit my friends with kids, guess what y’all??  We don’t clean before anyone comes over.  We don’t.  It’s liberating.  I might be in something nice-ish, or I might be in yoga pants.  We don’t pretend that our lives are perfect.  And that the snacks float out to the table magically.  Although that would be pretty cool.  Heck, we don’t even know what we’re having for dinner half the time.  Or if there really is food in the house.  Some nights, it’s every human for themselves.  But why did it take so long to learn this?

When you meet someone, I know it takes a long time to get “real”.  Unless you quickly peel back the layers and say, “Oh there you are.  I like this you.  The real you.”  So if you are hurting and in pain because you think no one understands you, I want to ask you this, have you given them a chance yet?  Are you still the clean house, perfect food, immaculate outfits, and everything is nice and shiny, because believe me sister, life isn’t always nice and shiny.  Find the friends who are going to be there with you in the trenches and scream “Go for cover!” when the next life crisis is thrown at you.  Those are the ones who matter the most.  The ones who lift you up when life gets real.



Moody Monday…

I don’t know what’s going on over at your house as it gets closer to Christmas, but at my house, well, let’s just say we could use some positive thoughts, prayers, fairy dust, and the opposite of “If you don’t behave, I’m taking back one present a day” said no one ever.  If we could vent in some sort of “Happiness Fog” into my 13 year old’s room, I would appreciate it greatly.  So I had to take the situation into my own hands the other day and thankfully that was the day Gifts That Matter arrived at our house.

If you are not familiar with Momastery, I first heard about the catalog there some time ago and ordered one for my family.  So we sat down and went over what it’s like to live in other countries, what food costs, and what certain amounts of money mean to those people.  Later we made 8 bags, my teenager did not grumble, of emergency clothing, hoodie-style jackets, and books for children.  I am hoping to deliver to a school that one of my friends said needs the items.  Lastly, I reminded them both about the work I did in November of delivering 55 pounds of food to the Food Bank, going to the local Rescue Mission in a part of town that people pass by and probably don’t notice, and the shelter for women and children of domestic violence.

I do not want to raise children who do not understand the value of money…especially erm, since we don’t have tons of it, but we have enough to get by and that’s more than other people have.  So I want to raise children who think of others before they think of themselves.  So that’s my “Moody Monday”, and by the way, my daughter came home singing today.  Humming.  And singing.  I have done well.  It’s a great sign.

Live well

Alternatives to tech for your kids…

I suppose, to a certain degree, I am old school.  We have over complicated things in a big way.  Take Facebook for example.  I was having a conversation with my daughters last night and I said, you are not going to have Instagram, Twitter, FB or anything else for a long time.  Here is the reason why, if you are not on there, you can’t be bothered with the mess that’s there.  It simply doesn’t apply to you.  No liking photos, no bullying messages, etc.  All the stuff that’s out there designed to be anonymous like that Kik messenger.  I know parents who let their kids do these things without even understanding that some random old dude can be sending nasty messages to their young kids.  Like Snapchat or Vine.  And then I found this article explaining more…I didn’t even know about!!!  7 dangerous Apps that parents need to know about

What happened to go out and PLAY???  Is anyone else wondering about that?  I mean let’s think about this, what did we have to be afraid of?  I guess plenty, but they couldn’t find us anywhere at anytime and talk to us through devices.  That’s just plain creepy.  So here are some alternatives if you are wondering what we do ova here and how we survive.  Hahaha.  Okay, but seriously.  I was telling another mom yesterday about this life-saving pin I found a few years ago.  Seriously.  Then it occurred to me that I should pass it on.  All it was, get ready for this, was making Barbie clothes out of unmatched socks!!!  It was like genius.  It saved my kids from boredom and they got back into Barbies by designing clothes all the time.  Of course my table downstairs is covered in glitter glue, sequins, and Project Runway reject parts, but hey, I don’t really go down there anyway.  It’s the kids craft area for a reason.

We did actually loom potholders y’all…for a while.  That was a thing I brought back from my childhood.  Of course, we have moved onto those crazy loop and loom bracelets.  So we have a variety of craft materials available at any time, but I also got into this saving toilet paper rolls for a while thing.  I don’t know why, but we go through, ahem, tons of TP.  I don’t have like tons of ideas over here, ok, but here is my board:  Kids Crafts on Pinterest   You can find me over there.  Because I am not a mommy blogger per say, I tend to pin things I use that might interest my readers.  I have more recipes than anything else…and geeky things.

Bored games.  I mean board games are also used occasionally.  What can I say, I remember them being more fun.  DARK TOWER was revolutionary back in the day.  And scary.  Look what I found to show you!!  How to Play Dark Tower.  Oh. My. Gosh.  That sound would give me nightmares.  I remember trying to go into ruins…the creaky door.  The brigands.  Why was I scared??  This game was so awesome.  Watching the little demo doesn’t do it justice.  Sigh.  I am not old.  I am vintage.  Who made that a thing?  Vintage.  So we ummm have this game still.  Plus another one from my husband’s childhood that I had never heard of.  It’s called Stop Thief.  I am linking you to E-Bay if you want to check this out.  Mind you, we have it and the girls love it.  They have been playing it for a few years…so ages 10 and up are fine.

Card games are also fun over here.  One the kids like is called Gubs, and they even get their grandfather to play.   We have the other one mentioned in this link called Sleeping Queens too.  They can play these with little to no arguing.  So mother approved.  Of course, we have good ole’ Uno.  You have to have that somewhere.  If you don’t, go get it.  It’s still a fun one to play even though we only had one version and there are so many out there now it’s not funny.

What I would love to see is that parents are teaching their children how to interact with other children face to face.  Using a variety of games to also teach rules such as taking turns, sharing, you don’t always get your way, and don’t be a sore loser.  These are real life skills…I know, I was a teacher.  You could tell the children who had interaction with games, either video or “old school”, because they were patient when I told them how to play the learning games.  When they picked up the skill, they could in turn teach others to play the game at the table.  The children who lost and cried, gave up, got mad, or snatched game pieces away were really, quite frankly, used to getting their way.  That does not happen out in the real world.  Oh man, you cried after they fired you and you got your job back plus a raise?  Awesome.  Or you learned strategy by playing games…you learn to wait for the other players move.  Sometimes, it took a completely blank face to wait it out, but it worked.  So I know it’s “Motivational Monday” over here on the blog, but I hope this helped some folks with ideas for the holidays. 


Spending time

My danger-prone dachshunds…

So, if you have been following my blog for a small length of time, you might not be aware of my furry children.  This is a rather sad post here about something that happened that I had no control over.  My dog Noel.  I tried really hard to fix her, as noted in this post. 

But I just couldn’t and it devastated me to the point I have not been able to really get past it.  This is the post where I wrote a letter to her.  Don’t read it if things make you sad.

Because of all of this terrible sadness, anytime something happens to my dogs, I get scared now.  Really, really scared.  So my oldest dachshund has also had lots of problems mostly due to his back going out too, but not all traces back to that.  At this point in my life, I should have a nest egg.  I am going to be very honest with you.  I don’t.  I actually am financially worse off now than I was when I graduated college.  How can this be you might ask?  Or maybe you are just nodding your head because you understand.  When the market turned, we lost some money on our house and have never been able to dig back out.  It doesn’t matter how I guess, but it didn’t help when I started getting worse off.  The weird or ironic thing is that stress makes me hurt more and causes flare ups.  Not having money stresses me out.  So the cycle continues.  When people tell me they have no money, I nod my head.  I’m with you.  I get it.

I do have a plan, I do.  I really, really, tried to save money.  I did.  Cross my heart.  But then the accidents with my dogs started to happen.  Then the incident I wrote about last year that rhymed with bats in my attic, but wasn’t bats happened.  Then, when we got our adorable brand new black and tan dachshund girl to make me less sad about losing the other girl, we went on a vacation with my parents…the only way we can afford to go as a family, and someone left a pill.  A PILL, under a bed in the PET FRIENDLY cottage.  So what happens when my tiny new ball of cuteness eats this pill?  Can you guess?  She almost died.  SHE almost FREAKING died from someone’s negligence who had been there before us.  THIS cute baby right here in this post.

So there was the emergency out of town vet trip, and nursing her back to health the entire trip.  The cost of that was $600 or so.  Anyway, the point is, life is hard.  It does not always cooperate the way you expect it to.  It doesn’t fit into neat little boxes.  So then, that same cute baby…only she looks like the last photo now, anyway, she fell off the freaking couch while playing a game with her cream brother.  So back to the vet we went…just last month.

So then my first baby, well, he swells up in the middle of the night FOR no reason I can see.  His jaw is swollen and he starts hiding his face.  He is my first baby.

sick_DuncanSo my friends, that brings me to the Go Fund Me account I finally broke down and created.

All of the above facts are true, but if you have been following me for a while, you know this.  Thank you for sharing this blog post.

Helped you



Woe is me…

Anyone remember Droopy the cartoon dog?  Just say yes.  Okay, well, there are times I feel like that.  I thought my less than positive feelings would eventually go away when I saw things I couldn’t eat.  Sadly, this is not the case around “Pumpkin” season.  Yes, it’s a season.  I love everything pumpkin.  Everything.  I want all the mixes, and batches of cake, cookies, drinks, icing, marshmallows, candy and whatever else I am not supposed to eat.  So, ahem, last year, when I went through my Grouchy Smurf phase, I deleted and unfollowed every single person pinning CRAP I CAN’T EAT on Pinterest.  SICE for short (replace crap with well you get the picture).

However, it was all I could do not to burst into tears at the grocery store with my little pumpkin last night.  She has a birthday coming up and we always make funfetti Halloween cake.  With the orange icing and sprinkles.  I know this is dumb to some people…clearly, I can live without this, but she looked at me with her big blue eyeballs and said “I wish you could eat this.”  So into the cart it went because it’s not just about me eating it, it’s about memories.

I mean, let’s face it.  I grew up with Taco Bell, Doritoes, McDonald’s and more, and usually, I have willpower.  OKAY, I WANT A MEXI-MELT, but can’t have one.  And flour tortillas.  But whatever.  I am trying to be kind to my insides because I was sick all the time.  All the time.  So I started my business Vitalize You and I try to help others like me.  Yes, of course, I offer suggestions based on my gluten-free all-natural supplements because I know they work (the tab is up top here on the blog).  And I have lost 17 pounds even though my mom is worried I’m not eating enough.  I am. I had put on 20 pounds with my new friend Hashimoto’s.  Not some new sushi place.

But I am not that mom…the one who sits around messing with gluten-free flours and making recipes up.  I wish I was.  Trust me.  I look in the cabinet like it’s magically going to mix itself together and jump out for me to eat.  I pin things, I do.  I even make most of them…if they take like minimal cooking times.  Lately I have been eating more fresh veggies, which I love!!  It’s much easier than trying to figure out what they are magically going to concoct themselves into.  I’m not going to lie, it still takes way more work than I really want to invest in.  But I am doing mostly Autoimmune Paleo, so I mean, the cavemom had to work this hard I guess.  She couldn’t run up to Taco Bell either.  That makes Sir Mix-A-Lot sad.  Me too Sir.  Me too.

So I’m not sure if you all will get this post, but if you are a gluten-free, sugar-free, food intolerance label checker, word.



Rules are to keep us safe…

So my daughter got into a bicycle accident at a friend’s house.  I was almost there.  Almost.  There.  I got a call from a number I didn’t know while standing on the porch of her friend’s house.  Now, be warned.  We have rules at our house.  What do you get when you have a military raised dad and a teacher mama?  You get a few rules.  Wear closed toe shows at all times when riding a bicycle.  Wear a helmet.  Simple enough.

What do you get when you go to a friend’s house with perhaps not the same kind of rules.  You get a phone call.  On the porch.  Then they said come in and your child is bloody.  Not cool.  I tried really hard to be cool.  But I was so not cool.  I was way beyond not cool.  I was furious.  Furious at this other momma for letting my child get hurt on her watch because my child rode her daughter’s bike without closed toe shoes and a helmet.  Furious at my child for forgetting our rules at another person’s house.  Furious at the blood.  Furious at the toenail that was no longer on her foot.  And furious I had to do this alone because my husband was in a class all day.

It was all perfectly rational in my head.  But at that moment, all I could do was be calm.  I could only say “What happened?”, and thank you. I’ve got it from here.  We never let her ride a bike without a helmet and closed toe shoes so I am taking her to urgent care.  Thank you.  I think I did a pretty good job of being cool.

She knew I was mad.  My daughter knew I was mad.  But mostly I was worried.  Upset and worried.  I could not let that show through because there was so much blood.  When it was all said and done, my daughter’s knees were torn up.  One so bad I could hardly look at it.  Her toes were all damaged on her right foot and she was missing a toenail.  I hope you can read this…sorry.  But you have to know.  Please, please, please understand that if anything happened to another person’s child at my house I would never forgive myself.  So I had to calm down.

The momma called me later and I said, it’s ok.  She knew better.  She did.  She was upset as well, so I felt better.  I also felt better knowing the momma was going to buy helmets for all 4 of her little children.  How did they not have them already?  I have no idea.  So I extended grace because I needed to come at this from a place of mutual understanding.  She did not want my child to get hurt.  I know this.  I know how I would feel; however, she did need to remember that wearing a helmet is a law for a reason.  So maybe I saved her children’s lives.  I don’t know.  All I know is I had to be calm.  Look at my hurt child.  And tell her it’s going to be okay.  She’s going to have one heck of a scar on her knee, but we all have scars.  They help us remember. 


Motivational Monday…

One of my biggest faults, or one of my biggest assets depending on how you look at it, is my inability to keep quiet when wrongs are being done.  Whether it would cost me my job or not, which by the way it never has, but I’m just saying it could, I have made it a point to share the things that go on behind the scenes.  Why do I do that?  Because quite simply it boils down to a code of conduct I think human beings should personally hold themselves accountable to whether or not anyone is looking. 

This includes e-mail messages, private messages, cyber-bullying, phone conversations, texts and the like.  Just because you can’t see someone, does not mean they don’t have feelings.  I honestly wish I didn’t have a hard time with people being nasty…maybe I could be like the see no evil monkeys and just sit there and pretend it doesn’t happen like so many people.  But you see, that’s why the world is in the mess we are in now.

As a teacher, the desire to teach tiny people social-emotional skills was very important to me.  We are losing our HUMANITY as sure as I sit here and type this.  Parents were not showing respect to teachers, principals and other school staff.  They were not showing respect to other parents, and they sure weren’t able to teach respect to their children.  This week alone I saw friends post about children doing horrible things out in public and the parents were…on their phones ignoring the children.  The children then acted out more, etc.

So adults have taken on a kind of behavior that was not seen 20 years ago.  They think they can say anything on Facebook, post anything on social media, and it is okay.  We need to bring back social skills to our children.  We need to teach interaction with other human beings and we also need to learn the word “NO”.  No, you can’t treat me that way.  No, you can’t act a fool in public.  No, you can’t come in here on the first day of school and kick your momma.  I am going to have something to say about that.  Just as you can’t “cuss” at folks.  So teachers, hold your ground.  Hold.  Your. Ground.  As you prepare for this year, do what you know is right.  It’s okay to take time to teach social skills.  It’s okay to say no, you can’t act that way in my room.  Period.  Maybe, just maybe, the tiny ones will go home and show some of these very fine social skills to their folks.

CriticizeHold. Your. Ground.