International Language of Love

This week was a bliss filled week for our household….vacation week!! Rarely are we all together for any amount of time, let alone an entire week. I was nervous at first…how long could we all stand to be together without total meltdowns, but I am happy to say, that it is the end of our vacation and we are all dreading the thought of going back to “normal” tomorrow. Yes…total bliss this week.

Vacation Photo

All smiles in her new dress…The Teenager doesn’t smile, but was there – that’s all that matters!

Anyone who has followed our family for any amount of time knows that The Wild One and I have had our ups and downs. And while the last year has been really good…only a few typical Wild One moments thrown in for good measure…I have been a little nervous about whether we were actually over the bad years, or if they were just lying dormant for a season. Well, being together this week, I have been able to see the promise of a new day!  Early in the week, I decided that I was going to learn to sew. It’s a skill that I have always wished I had – so, with the gift of a hand me down sewing machine and some time….it was going to happen now. My mom and I read instructions, threaded needles (then re-threaded needles the correct way), and low and behold – pillows were made!! And then, because I constantly feel the need to overachieve, I felt like I should be able to make a dress. No problem, right…I had just sewn 4 straight lines….what’s in a dress?? The Wild One had picked out some adorable fabric when we were prepping for sewing day, so I cut out 2 pieces and decided to make her a shift dress. And darn it, if it didn’t actually work! Now Vera Bradley doesn’t have to start shaking in her shoes or anything just yet. My seams are a little uneven, the neckline may be slightly crooked, but The Wild One can wear it….and wear it she has!  I even made a matching headband(I know, sometimes I can’t even stand myself).  Now, what is the beauty of this little dress you may ask? Well, let me tell you….she has wanted to wear that dress everywhere. And since it is an adorable fabric, and with a matching headband, little ladies all over have stopped her to tell her how cute her dress is. And every time, she looks up with such pride and says “my mommy made it for me!”.  She just can’t wait to tell people that I made it for her…and while I have worried slightly that this admission may make these ladies look a little more closely at the seams, I can’t tell you how much this has meant.  She is actually proud of me! This is a big deal in our little world.  My mom mojo is back, and it feels so good!

What has amazed me the most about this little dress, is that I didn’t even realize how much I needed her approval, her pride, her love.  I have lived on eggshells for so long – just knowing that I had screwed up this whole motherhood thing with her, that this week has just given me a renewed love of being a mother.  Isn’t it an amazing thing – this Mommy stuff – in no other avenue of life do we let someone else determine our happiness, but our kids – from the moment they are conceived – control our entire worlds with every word, gesture, and expression.  And it isn’t just a certain “type” of mother that gets to feel this way. During a trip to a local amusement park during this week, I witnessed first hand all of the “mommy love” out there.  It didn’t matter if the family was Asian, Latino, Black, White, Multi-cultured, poor, wealthy, hipster, rocker, tattooed, or none of the above….when the little kids got off of a ride their faces were lit up running to their mommies, and the mommies were so excited to see them and hear about how much fun they had.  You didn’t need to speak the same language to know what was being expressed in their conversations…..motherhood really is the true international language of love.

They Share the Same DNA?

We all talk about it…those of us with more than 1 child anyway…how can our 2 children be so completely different?? I mean, really…my two have the same parents, have been raised by said parents, had the same set of rules(oh who am I kidding, the lack of rules…) and yet you couldn’t find two more different children on the planet. And I know that we are not anomalies in the family world..I hear this all the time from mothers of two children.
So, if it’s so common…what’s the point of this post, you might ask? Well….the one thing we, as parents, miss so many times is that, yes, our children are different, so guess what – their parenting needs to be different too!  I have been witness to so many parents trying to enforce rules on their kids just because it’s “the rule”. I have always known that The Wild One needs different things than The Teenager, but it is never more apparent than at report card time.  The Teenager has always had a fairly easy time with grades…shoot, he has an easy time with life. He gets straight “A’s” without even trying…one year, I even got a letter from the board of education saying that he couldn’t miss any more days of school or he would be considered truant…yet, straight “A’s”! He started getting a “B” each term about a year ago…know why? He doesn’t turn in all of his work! I mean, the only reason the kid gets a “B” is because he is too lazy to turn in a paper! Now, don’t think for one minute that he studies, reads a lot, does extra credit…nope, he just is “The Teenager”(that is said with a golden aura floating around it). I’m so proud of him, but push him every term to get his act together because he needs to get “A’s”.  Now, The Wild One, on the other hand…to say she struggles with life is an understatement. Well, let me rephrase that…she does fine, I am the one who struggles with her life! Since my “career” change which has led to a much more consistent schedule, this girl has been amazing…to say the least! So, now her stories will be more of her crazy, mixed up personality coming through than her constant need to push me to the limit. Just as funny, trust me…she is nuts…but so much more humorous to me! Anyway…report cards just came out and this is the first year that The Wild One has had “letter grades”…up through 2nd grade they just get those little notes like “sometimes, often, always…” I never did figure those out. Well, I am nervous to look at this report card for the first time…because, well, you just never know with this child.  And, she has had a great year, so I am expecting the best! What do I find…”C’s”! Not all “C’s” mind you…there was an “A” and a “B”, but there was also “C” ….right there in bold print. I hesitated for a second…waiting for what my “gut” reaction would be, and guess what…I was proud! So, proud! She may never get straight “A’s” but this is one smart girl! She has issues that keep her from being able to process information like you and I…or The Teenager. But she succeeds where others fail…she can make a friend in a room of one or one thousand…and not just a friend, but a BFF. She is a risk taker and a rule breaker…and in the words of Sheryl Sandburg…a “leader”…not bossy. The Teenager went out for football this year and I encouraged him every step of the way….The Wild One, I will discourage from daily or even weekly practices for a sport or activity – she just can’t handle it. Yet, the Teenager has thrived.  So, while grades aren’t the only thing they don’t have in common…but what they do have in common is us….their parents. So, how do we, as parents, parent two completely different children. Do we worry about one wanting what the other has? Sure…worry is what we do as parents, right? But for all of the talk about individuality, we have to practice it, too.  Will you get it right all of the time? Hell, no! We ARE parents, after all! But I am encouraging each of you to stop worrying about what your children will think or react to how you deal with each of them….parent each child the way they need. Let your heart and your faith guide you to what the best way to parent your children will be, and it will be different for each child. But it’s our love that they need….and love is shown through multiple avenues; discipline, cuddling, reading, giving them space, etc. So, the lesson? The love should be the same, but the method may be different. Don’t get hung up on keeping the rules the same for each child…help your child reach for goals, never settle, and help them work at a level that meets their needs…not yours.

SAHM..WAHM..WTF?

So, I haven’t written in a while (I know your lives have felt overwhelmingly empty!), and I am going to try to explain myself. But,  don’t expect any major words of wisdom today, I have to get back in the swing of things. Man, I  didn’t realize how much I missed my little blog until I sat down tonight to write….wow, the ideas are rolling – so you may get sick of my little “not so simple life” tales before long!
You will first notice that my format is back to the original blog…although don’t get too comfortable,  when I have some time, I desperately need to pretty this thing up. I had started my website and was working on that…but that became pressure in and of itself! I mean, sometimes I have to really think about what to write, but with having to worry about Web design, hosting,  and all of the extra stuff,  I was so bogged down in the technical side of the blog that I wasn’t able to just sit down and write…so I shut it down (I keep telling myself that it’s only temporary). My only regret is that I lost all of my posts from the site..but I guess I can live with that. And who knows, they might all be there when I reactivate it-see, the technical side is not my strong suit!
So, on with the story…..when we last left off, I was leaving my full time job to be a SAHM (that’s stay at home mom for all of you non homebody’s). My schedule was chaotic and The Wild One wasn’t coping with life very well…which meant that I was coping with life very well! It was fine…for about a week! Then I looked for ways to be a WAHM (work at home mom-no, really, I’m not making this crap up – it’s a real thing). I worked about 2 days a week for a great family that have two small businesses.  And it was nice. ..for about 2 weeks. Then, the kiddos went back to school- and the shit hit the proverbial fan! I was nuts! I am not wired to be an “at home ” anything! I Love Working! I like being around people and having goals and ambitions that are career related.  I have mentioned this to some SAHM’S and have gotten the stink eye! Mom’s who love being home with their kids and taking care of the house have a tough time understanding why any woman would choose work over family.  But that’s just it – I am not choosing work over family…I am choosing sanity over drooling in my cheerios! So-yes, I went back to work! I had the luxury of choosing where I work and not settling for any job- and this us where I really lucked out! I found a phenomenal company with a huge core of values that are totally in line with mine. The company was built on the basis of faith and is amazingly successful – shoot, they’ve been voted “Best place to work” in the state for multiple years!! So, yes, I am happily back to work.
And, yes…this is just the beginning….again!
But please don’t worry – even though The Wild One has been amazing -she still has the best stories! And you will never believe this, but The Teenager has turned into a jock! Stay tuned for the successes,  failures, and total craziness of the “Not So Simple Life”…

The God Who Pokes

NotSoSimpleLife:

Loved this blog about God’s “poke”!

Originally posted on Laptop on the Ironing Board:

God from The Creation of Adam (poking)

Part Two

So if you don’t already think I’m nuts for homeschooling my daughter this year, you might when I tell you why.

You see, I was resisting the idea a lot.  It was a stupid, harebrained scheme.  Who homeschools?  How would I even begin to explain this to people?  How was I going to cope with it all?  Would the school be upset with me?  But God kept poking me.

What is a God poke?  Well, it’s not like I hear the voice of God and he tells me to do things in a deep, rich baritone, or there’s this big thunderbolt and I fall off the horse I’m riding and the statue of Mary gets all weepy and the fish poke their heads out of the water to listen to me preach and it starts raining flowers.  It’s kind of like this persistent gut feeling every time I pray.  And…

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Easy Dinner = Happy Mom

I have never been a good cook, let alone a “foodie”. Nor would anyone call me “Susie Homemaker”. But, tonight I hit it out of the park with dinner! And it was so easy, that I just had to share my success…you know, to help the less fortunate in the kitchen…like me! So, what was it that made me a happy mom and actually had my kids EATING their dinner????   CORN DOG MUFFINS! Now all of you moms out there who are Pinterest addicts like myself, you may have seen these. And for all of you moms out there who really ARE great chefs and wonderful homemakers, please don’t shake your head at my minor success….I mean, THE TEENAGER actually ate dinner tonight! This is HUGE!

My kiddos love corn dogs, so I pinned this a long time ago and thought it would end up in the black hole of pins that I call my Pinterest board. But I pulled it out tonight when I found some hot dogs in the freezer that I had completely forgot about, and truthfully, just didn’t feel like cooking dinner! So, very simply, here is the recipe…

Mix up a batch of cornbread mix(I used a premix pack that you just add an egg and milk!)

Cut a hot dog into three pieces

Pour muffin mix into baking cups

Place hot dog piece in the muffin mix

Bake!

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Wa La!

Now, based on my “recipe”, you now understand why I will never be a food blogger! But, I have to tell you, they took 10 minutes. I threw a salad together and my kids were stoked! They both ate dinner and didn’t fuss at all! Clean up was easy and dinner was done.(I even caught The Teenager sneaking a leftover one when he came downstairs after his shower!!) And he was very impressed that I didn’t burn them…not even a little!

Check out the actual recipe that I pinned here. Check out some of my other quick and easy meals while you are there! Now, before I wrap up, I couldn’t resist sharing this picture…..I was teasing my dog, Scooter, with the muffins and her inner zombie came out!

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Special Education Awareness Week???

ImageHave you seen this Facebook post circulating?  Well, I have…but I have radar for anything that says ADHD, since The Wild One(and in turn, our family) is affected by this.  What really got my attention today, was that I have seen this post multiple times over multiple weeks…so I thought..hmmm, what gives? Turns out it is not actually Special Education Week & Autism and ADHD awareness month right now….ADHD awareness is in October, Autism is April, and Special Education week is March(I think…that one was harder to find) I found this out when I Googled it to find out why I felt like I had seen this post for way longer than one week.

Disturbingly, I ran across this Hoax-Slayer site that gave the explanation that it is, in fact, false. It says, and I quote “There are Autism and ADHD months, but they do not generally occur at the same time. Posting this foolish and misleading message is counterproductive. It is certainly not an effective way of raising awareness of special education requirements or of the needs of children with Autism or ADHD.” Now, while it is factual that this is not Special Education Week, I strongly disagree with the fact that it is “foolish” and “counterproductive” to share this post on your Facebook page! Facebook is social media, so it is well, social! And every time someone posts this and I see it, I think how nice it was for them to post this and wonder if they are affected somehow by ADHD, as is our family.

Being a parent to a child with ADHD is very lonely at times.  A lot of people feel the right to judge.  They judge you because your child is not behaving, that they can’t control themselves, they speak out of turn, etc. and of course it is all your fault, as the parent.  But then when you seek help, therapy twice a month in our case, or turn to others for a listening ear – you hear that you are overreacting. ADHD isn’t life threatening, so why do you talk about it so much? Why does it affect you so much? Why are you running to doctors and therapists? ALL THEY NEED IS DISCIPLINE! Then there is the whole “to medicate” or “not to medicate” debate where EVERYONE has an opinion and is not afraid to tell you. I guess because ADHD is not a visible or life threatening disorder, people feel like they are more justified to give you their opinion(judgement!).  And what is worse is that most children with ADHD also have other issues(rage in The Wild One). And quite frankly, all of this leaves parents of these children exhausted and alone, afraid to bring it up or talk about it for fear of judgement.

So, in a nutshell…..continue to post and share these ADHD awareness pictures, whether it is really ADHD month or not. Because, every time one is posted, there will be a mother out there who feels your camaraderie and feels a little less alone in the fight.

In the Middle

Happy New Year!  I am still in shock that yet another year has descended upon us! You know by now my hatred of resolutions, yet am succumbed by the ever present need to make goals and resolve to, well, maybe stick to them!  This year is no different, but as the tone of my recent blogs(ok, not too recent!) my goals are not more, but of less.  I am tired of being tired, tired of doing too much, trying to be too much, and expecting too much of those around me! I just want to be able to find joy in everything…that’s my goal! Joy! This goal took me to realize that I have no f-ing idea what “joy” really looks like! Maybe some happy here and there, some laughter and good times, but Joy? I always think of angels singing, a light following you around as you walk, a permanent smile on your face, and hugging everyone around you! Well hugging is just creepy in my opinion – just ask my friends…they lean in for a hug and pure terror grips me!  I don’t know where this came from, but affection is not my strong suit. So where does Joy come in to the life of someone affection allergic like me?

Well, leave it to The Wild One to answer that question! Was there ever any doubt. This little chick of mine can, and will rule the world one day…she may have to beat up a few people, myself included, but there is not doubt she will do it!  She asked me how old I was one day, about 2 weeks ago and my response was “old”. 

                             “No mommy, really how old are you?”

                              “37”

                             “Well, you are older than me, but younger than mom-mom. So, you are in the middle!” And what is the best part of a                                cookie?”

                             “The middle?” I responded

                             “Yes! And what is the best part of a ham and cheese sandwich?” She coached

                             “Yup, so mommy you are the best part…the middle!”

Needless to say, this mommy had no problem with affection at that very moment!  And I have to tell you that I felt what joy really feels like. The Wild One and I have had a roller coaster this year, but for her to be able to turn that around, feel what I felt, and make me happy…well, JOY, that’s all I can say! And I do love being in the middle!

                              

Oh, Phil!

I have held my tongue(or typing fingers) for a few days on this one. My beloved Robertson family is under attack. Granted, Phil may have brought this one on himself, but they are under attack nonetheless. As is Free Speech, Christianity, the gay community….the list goes on! I have been torn on this one because I adore the Robertson family and their ability to bring religion to the forefront BUT I also am a proud, outspoken supporter of the gay community and equal rights. Then it hit me, while baking cookies(yes, I even overthink while I am baking!). I don’t have to choose a “side”….isn’t that what this entire controversy is about anyway? Judgement. If anyone who watches Duck Dynasty, or follows the Robertson family didn’t think that this was what Phil Robertson believes than I have to ask if you pay attention at all! Phil has never been quiet about his beliefs and the fact that he is a traditional, southern, redneck Christian….and his belief on homosexuality is right in line with that. I personally don’t share the same belief as he, and…gasp!….I am Christian too! Shocking that two people could interpret something differently, right?!? I recently read an article, that I wish I had kept so that I could quote and give author credit, but, anyway- the author made the point that they believed homosexuality is a “test” from God, not the act of, but the judgement of. We are put on this earth to love, not judge. If you believe that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made…then who do you believe “made” people gay? Well….God…..duh!
So, while I won’t take a “side” on this, I will say that while Phil’s comments may have been crude( I mean, did you have to bring in vagina and anus, Phil!), they are his beliefs-controversial as they are. But what his family has done to bring the discussion of faith and Christianity to the mainstream throughout the course of their careers, well-I can’t see anything controversial about that!

Women!

Yes, it has been a while. It’s not like I haven’t had plenty to say, trust me, I have. But, every time I sat down to write, something just came up…like a nap, or a snack…you know how it is!  It took my mom asking me today, when I was going to write again to get me back in the game.  Pretty sad, huh, almost 40 years old and still need my mom to kick me in the butt sometimes to get me back on track! Thanks, Mom! Really, I just feel bad for her….she said that I needed to write something new because she has read my last post a million times. She doesn’t know much about email, RSS feeds(I totally lost her with that one!), or anything techie…so she logs onto WordPress every day to see what I have written.  I have yet to tell her about all of the other bloggers out there that she could be reading….baby steps.

So, on with the show…..I have had an idea for a blog post for a while, but as noted earlier, the naps got in the way.  Now, usually when I think I have an idea about something I want to write about, I forget it, literally. I am usually wandering around for a few days trying to remember the great idea I had, but finally chalk it up to a casualty of the “mommy brain”.  But this one has been rattling around for a while, mainly because every day I keep getting more proof that it is something I need to say.  A few weeks ago, I read this blog post that was circulating on Facebook that seemed to be pretty popular.  It had been shared by some friends, so I though that I should absolutely read it….Well, I did, but then I got ticked off!  It was a blog from a mom who claimed that she was not putting her kids at the center of her universe.  The title was meant to be provocative, but it was the content that got me.  She went on to talk about kids who are the center of their parents universe are never taught how to take care of themselves and grow up with this entitlement complex.  This just got me going, I mean who is this woman to say that just because a parent makes their children the center of their universe means that they are  not being taught how to take care of themselves, to earn what they get, or basically teach them the lessons of life. It was just another generalization about parents meant to boost her blog ratings, I guess.  This is what I call “Accusatory Parenting”.  It is very reminiscent of the working mom/stay at home mom debacle.  You know…”I am a working mom, so stay at home moms are wrong” or “I decided to stay home with my kids, so you working moms don’t care enough about your kids”….I mean, haven’t we gotten past all of this crap yet?!? So, you don’t want to put the sole focus of your life on your kids? Fine. Just don’t tell other moms that because they do, they are wrong!  Parenting is a crap shoot at best! We are all doing the best we can.  We recently had a new member join our team at work. I heard that she home schooled her children, and since we have considered that as an option for The Wild One, I wanted to pick her brain. She ended up being a wealth of information, and so willing to help…but I felt bad that, at first, she said that she usually doesn’t talk too much about it, because people are so judgmental and outspoken when they don’t “believe” in homeschooling.  Why should I be made to feel bad, or wrong, if I choose to make my kids the center of my universe, homeschool my kids, work or stay at home? It has just made me realize, even more, why my co-worker doesn’t open conversations with the fact that she homeschools her kids. Someone is always there to tell you that you are wrong.  Men don’t seem to have these issues…I recently joked with my husband about his Facebook page, prompting him to read through his timeline because it is a long list of one line, no punctuation, bad spelling and grammar devoted to the fact that the Broncos are winning, the Ravens are losing, or that he just needs a beer. Ah, such a simple existence! I suddenly am reminded of an old redneck saying that used to make me mad….”Women, you can’t live with ’em, and you can’t shoot ’em!”

Yes, Wild One there is a Santa Claus!

Those darn 2nd grade vagrants have struck again! The Wild One came home from school the other day claiming that one of her friends at school told her that there is no Santa Claus.  My initial reaction was to be slightly perturbed…oh who am I kidding… I was silently working out a plan to find the kid, hang them from the monkey bars, and well, maybe the rest of my plan shouldn’t be put into writing in case there are any future incidents.  While I was silently plotting the child’s death, I mean discomfort, the Wild One finished her story.  In case you were wondering, there is no reason to worry about my girl. She basically said that this kid is so “stupid”.  She said that she was told that it was really mom and dad that leave the presents, not Santa. “So, here it comes” I thought. “The question”. Am I going to lie? Am I going to come out with it? But, this IS The Wild One we are talking about. Never does she do what is expected. Instead of asking “the question”, she said, and I quote, “what kind of person believes something dumb like that!” Shew…off the hook!
This would be the end of the story, for any normal person, but I am not normal by any stretch of the imagination.  I started wondering why this question bothered me so much. With The Teenager, I remeyoda-logomber being relieved when the Santa jig was up.  It was nice not to have to sneak around, worry about what we said around him, and let’s face it, I was tired of this fake Big Guy getting all the credit!  But, with The Wild One, I was shaking in my boots.  So, as I do, I analyzed the situation.  Why did it bother me so much to find out that Santa IS mom and dad?  She isn’t any younger than The Teenager when he found out.  Yet, bother me, it did.(like that little Yoda like sentence there-it just came out that way!) Is it because she isn’t all that innocent about a lot of things? She has never been a “little girl” in the normal sense. She has always been a little more brash, a little more curious about the world, never settling for the “just because” answer for any question.  I kind of felt like, if this little secret came out, that there was nothing left to her childhood. Now, I know that is a little dramatic….but dramatic, I am(Yoda, again!) With all that I deal with for The Wild One, she is still my little girl.  She still has a lot of little girl things left to do. We butt heads, scream at each other, and sometimes just plain don’t get along, but I can’t imagine the day when she is all grown up and heading off on her own…….although there are those days when that sounds like the greatest moment ever!!

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