~my thoughts about life~

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Not Dead

Proof that I'm still living.
Anniversary time on the Boardwalk.

Although I've been MIA for quite some time, I assure you that I am not dead. I repeat, NOT dead.

I will say, however, that I have recently been closer to a nervous breakdown than ever before in my life. As hard as I try to keep up my Super Mom image, I have failed. Lately, I have felt much more like Pond Scum of the Earth Mom than Super Mom. As I write this, I am sitting alone in the dark, on the quiet back patio, enjoying the amazingly perfect weather God gave us on this Mother's Day. The kids & Hubby are all in bed, so I wandered out here to decompress. Sending my thoughts out into cyberspace seems such great therapy for me, so I'm pecking away on my iPhone to my favorite counsellors out in Blogland. Just send the bill to She Says. 

I have never felt before that having 4 kids was too much for me. Sure, I've been overwhelmed...lots of times. But I always felt like a night's rest and a new morning would make everything turn out. Not recently. 

For example, tonight I was helping Son #2 with a paper on the computer. Big Sis was quoting Bible Quizzing scriptures to me, Baby Girl was asking for food, & Son #1 was telling me a story about something random that I actually would have enjoyed hearing...if I had the time. I felt like my head was going to explode!  Hubby was down with a headache & Super Mom was just unable to find the cloning button on her Magic Bracelet. I have more kids than ears. It wasn't working. 

Centerpieces I made with photos I took.  Clever, no?
Since February, I have been so overwhelmed. It started off with the bridal shower for my great friend. It turned out beautifully, but it was a LOT of work. Her wedding was in March. Again, quite lovely...very stressful. Add in some extended family problems, a health insurance company that dropped us, and a pay decrease for Hubby....that equals stress. Then add in a sewer repair project that ended up costing $9000 we didn't have. Yikes!!

Let's move on to April, which consisted of another monthly Bible Quizzing trip, Son #2's State Tournament for Destination Imagination, and Son #1's State Large Group Contest for Band. All that was on one day!!!  Son #1 turned 15 and we had a quick getaway to Amish Country (since a Spring Break trip was no longer in the budget). Easter music practices, DI practices, babysitting, & extra Banquet rehearsals were all stirred up in the mix. 

So far in May, I had my annual Banquet that is the height of my stress for the year. That went surprisingly well, even though my first assistant is the one who just got married & my second is very pregnant!  Saturday night, we held Son #2's birthday party, which was a smashing success and a lot of work. I'm still achy. We also found out Saturday that we were denied coverage for the health insurance we applied for in mid-December. Dial up the stress meter. (I've cancelled all my doctor appointments because I can't afford them.)  Sunday was Mother's Day and our 18th wedding anniversary. See, it just never ends!  

This weekend, the boys will be gone on a youth trip. That actually might be a little, nice break for me.  While #1's attitude has improved some, #2 has been quite difficult to handle. I'm at my wits' end with him, but don't care to go into detail. I'm worried that Hubby's relationship with the boys may be permanently scarred because of all their fighting. It's definitely taken a few years off my life. 

These kids are so clever & awesome!
Remember the pay cut & the $9000 sewer?  Well, Son #1's DI team advanced to Globals in Knoxville, TN. The cost is $800 per student, plus my costs for registration, travel, food, & lodging. Hubby can't get off work, so Baby Girl & I are making the voyage together. The big kids will be in school, with my mom helping out. I'm nervous/excited. Worrying about the money though has given me an ulcer. 

#1 asked what I'm going to do for Hubby's birthday (in two weeks). I explained that I can only handle one event at a time. Then I move on to the next. The party is over (even though the mess still exists), so now I'm focusing on my last meeting of the year for my girls' group and the surprise baby shower for my assistant that's going along with it. It's tomorrow (Monday). 

But here's what's gotten me down. I was woken suddenly at 3 AM with the thought that I never filled out #2's application for National Junior Honor Society. I looked at the form to find out the deadline was more than 2 weeks ago. That's why I gave myself the Pond Scum nickname. Yes, I know it's technically his responsibility, but he's a tad immature about things like that. If I didn't stay on him, he'd never brush his teeth, shower, do homework, or stop playing video games. So I know it's my fault. I filled out the application & made him write the essay anyway. I know it won't be considered, and I didn't ask for it to be. I did write a note to the supervising teacher saying that I was overwhelmed with life but would rather turn it in late than never. If nothing else, it will help me sleep tonight. That is, if the nursing home behind my house doesn't wake me up again, like it has most nights this week. Just adding to the stress...

Sorry for this long, detailed, and boring post. Again, it was more about my therapy and less about your entertainment. Sorry. Hey, at least I didn't use the phrase "Me Time!"  (I despise that saying!)

Good night, all. I appreciate our sessions together!  Hugs!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

White French Salad Dressing

Around Christmas, my business partners and I took ourselves out to dinner.  We chose an upscale, local restaurant that has been around since the dawn of time.  They charge way too much for a tiny steak, but it's 5 minutes away and we can't afford to eat there any other time.

I quickly decided upon the Chicken Parmesan, which only came with a small side salad.  There was a wedge salad on the menu that included all that good stuff like sourdough croutons, bacon, blue cheese, and other goodness.  I had to have it.  It came with White French Dressing.  I am a Ranch girl at heart (or the occasional sweet and sour), so I asked for the dressing to be put on the side.  I asked for a side of Ranch too, in case I didn't like the White French.  Honey, let me tell you how good that dressing was!  If it wouldn't have been a classy establishment, I probably would have licked the dressing cup!  I assumed the primary ingredient was crack because it was downright addictive.

I've thought about that dressing a lot since then.  I may have even dreamed about it.

I recently mentioned that we decided upon a venue for our May banquet.  It's that restaurant.  As overpriced as the restaurant was, the banquet meals are actually quite reasonable.  When my mom and I had lunch there, we asked if the White French was an option for the banquet.  She explained that it's homemade by the chef, so she would see if he was willing to make that large of a quantity.  We told her how much we loved it and complimented it greatly.  "Oh it's just Hellman's mayonnaise...." and she started LISTING the ingredients!  My eyes widened and I tried my very best to memorize them.  I came home and Googled recipes, looking for something close that could give me and idea on measurements.  No such luck.  I decided to buy what I needed and give it a try on my own.

Today, I sat down at the computer and Googled it again.  My second hit seemed to find the perfect recipe!  It lined up perfectly with the ingredients she mentioned.

1 C Hellman's mayonnaise
1/4 C grated onion
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T plus 2 t white vinegar
1 T plus 1 t sugar

Place mayo in a bowl.  Grate onion, then mince by hand.  Measure onion; add to mayo.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Refrigerate overnight.  Makes 1 cup.

I couldn't wait for it to sit overnight, so I indulged right away.  I'm watching calories, so I tried not to use too much.  But what I had was very tasty!  If you're in the mood to try your hand at homemade salad dressing, give this one a try.  It's quite simple.

Anyone ever heard of White French before?  Let me know if you ever decide to try this recipe!

(Note:  With any recipe I make, I typically cut down on onions.  I only used 1/8 C and can't imagine using any more.  I also added a pinch more sugar.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Late for a Very Important Date

I have a situation that I would like a little advice about.

There's another mom at school whom I've become friends with due to the similarity of our children's ages.  We both have a 9th grader, a 7th grader, and a 4th grader.  I have a 5 year old and she has two more younger children.  We often joke about how crazy we both are for having so many kids and I tease her more for having five children.  She's a good Christian mom and I like & trust her husband too.  I've allowed Big Sis to attend functions at their house, which is not something I do with very many school friends.

At some point this year, we discussed that we should consider car pooling since we both have 3 kids who are in 3 different schools.  We live about a half mile from each other, so it wouldn't be too inconvenient for either of us.  Time passed; nothing happened.  She brought it up again before Christmas, so we decided to give it a try.  It was around the same time I found out I was going to start babysitting a little Autistic boy in our church.  I was supposed to have him on Wednesdays and Thursdays so pick up on those days would be very difficult anyhow.  We agreed that I would do Monday and Tuesday, she would do Wednesday and Thursday, and we would alternate Fridays.

So far, it's gone fairly well.  She's always followed through when it's her assigned day and is flexible to any change in schedule I have to make.  There's one problem, however.  Her daughter is in NO hurry to get to the car.  My son passes her on his way out the door every day while she stands and talks to her friends at her locker.  He reaches the car and then we have to wait an extra five to ten minutes on her to arrive.  When we do see her coming, she's walking as slow as molasses, looking around like she's out for a Sunday stroll.  I thought that she would try to hurry a bit when she realized we waited on her every day.  I was wrong.  I also thought that maybe her mom would realize that my son makes it to the car so much faster and would question her daughter's lateness.  Nope.

Last week, Hubby was doing pick up for me and finally called me.  "Are we picking up this girl?" he asked.  I confirmed that yes, he was supposed to pick her up.  My two boys and her brother were both already in the car.  I told Hubby I'd text her mom and make sure she didn't go home from school sick.  "Is 'Morgan' at school today?" I texted, "Because she's still not out."  A couple minutes later, Hubby replied that he finally saw her coming (walking like a Senior Citizen).  "Never mind," I replied to her mom, "Here she comes."  I didn't feel bad about it because she needed to know we were getting irritated but I didn't want to say anything.

The next day, Son #1 was walking out of the building and he passed her.  She was at a friend's locker, chatting, but she stopped him and asked which mom was picking up.  He said it was our turn.  She arrived at the car several minutes later and said to Hubby, "Sorry it takes me so long to get to the car...I have a lot of places I have to stop."  So obviously her mom said something to her.  Yet, she's lying about having obligations to fulfill.  The places she needs to stop are to see friends.  I find that very annoying.  School traffic is insane and we would like to get out of there as soon as possible.

In my opinion, we have two options.  We can either let it go and do nothing.  OR- we can tell her mom that we're going to quit the carpool and pick up only our kids from now on.  Either option is inconvenient for us.  But I've already said one thing to her mom and I don't feel like I can bring it up again.  I feel like this girl is being very rude and inconsiderate of our time.  What would you do?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Random February Thoughts

Son #1's most recent concert
Presently, I am sitting at Son #1’s orchestra rehearsal.  This has become a place of escape for me.  Now that Hubby is getting home from work earlier, I get to come alone.  There is nothing quite like sitting without kids for an hour and a half, listening to beautiful music.  For free.  No distractions.  I bring my Diet Coke and a snack and thoroughly enjoy myself.  Today, I was planning on being a good girl and working on my coupons and shopping list for next week.  However, the orchestra is rehearsing in the band room instead of in the auditorium, which another group is occupying.  So, all the parents are hanging out in the single classroom available to us.  It’s far too crowded to get out all my coupon inserts, binder, and scissors.  Plus, I forgot to bring a plastic bag for trash.  The parents whisper in a polite manner, but the various noises are a bit too distracting to read.  I’m currently one-third of the way through Pride & Prejudice and it takes a bit of special concentration on my part to comprehend the old wording.  I’m used to more shallow, easier to read literature.  P&P has been quite a treat for my mind.  :)  Since I have my laptop with me, I thought I’d jot down a few lines to catch you up on where I am in life.

My grandpa arrived home from the hospital this afternoon following a 2-day stay.  They determined that he had a small stroke 4 or 5 days prior.  Luckily, it didn’t do much damage and I think he’ll recover fine.  Some diet alterations and medication should do the trick.

I’m looking fervently for gray heels for the wedding I’m in next month.  One major problem is that I’m quite cheap, which you all know.  Most everything I find that I love is Christian Louboutin.  Yeah, that’s not gonna work.  I’m prepared to pay no more than $30.  DSW had one pair of gray heels.  No, not one style.  One pair.  Size 8 1/2.  No good.

I’m really enjoying browsing Pinterest for shower and wedding ideas.  Man, everyone who got married before Pinterest should get a wedding re-do!  I would really enjoy planning my own wedding with the resources available in this day and age.  Actually, I would probably waste an awful lot of time staring at a glowing screen if I was getting married.

Yep, he has a beard right now.
Speaking of married, I got into a whopper of a fight with Hubby last night.  Truthfully, I think he’s going through a bit of a depression.  He’s working considerably less hours, which is something he claims to be excited about.  But as my mom always says, my husband has two speeds – High and Off.  He has to be doing something.  I think he’s getting bored and he doesn’t know how to handle his extra time.  When it was nice out, he was mowing and working outside constantly.  He’s not handling being cooped up well.  He enjoyed tinkering around the house at first also, but that has worn off.  He’s not really very handy, so he will only fix what’s causing a problem.  He’s not the kind of guy to look around for things to improve.  I wish he could find a hobby, something useful to occupy his time, and be a happier person.

That draggy, mopey feeling has worn off of me too.  Mid-afternoon, there is nothing I crave more than a nap under all the covers.  That’s a horrible habit to start.  I have tons that needs done, yet I have a hard time making myself do it.  I think I’m jealous of his free time, the time he spends on the internet or in front of the TV.  I have to fight to overcome that desire to be lazy.  It’s way too tempting.  I guess it boils down to the Winter Blahs.  Unfortunately, there’s lots of winter left to go.  Oh joy.

My family’s food pickiness is getting no better, which is another thing frustrating me.  Anyone want to Wife Swap for a while?  Preferably a mom who makes her kids eat fresh veggies every meal.  Maybe my family would learn to appreciate me more afterward.

If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know about my annual May Banquet.  Thankfully, I just secured a venue for this year.  It’s a beautiful, CLOSE restaurant that we used to utilize often many years ago.  Something happened, no one can remember what, and we quit patronizing them.  My mom and I had lunch there last week and it was awesome.  The prices are about the same as the delicious, but rude restaurant we used for about 15 years.  Last year, because we were mad at them, we hosted the Banquet at our church.  Two words – NEVER AGAIN.  The best part is, while I started questioning the banquet coordinator about all the things the picky restaurant is difficult about, she didn’t have a strong opinion.  She is going to be so much easier to work with and I’ll save 25 minutes (each way) on the drive.  Looks like a win-win situation for me!  Let’s hope!

All that said, I still don’t have a theme or many thoughts about what I’m going to do.  Any suggestions?  I was thinking maybe something along the lines of Downton Abbey or the Great Gatsby.  That time period is so popular right now (even though I’ve never seen the show or movie associated with the aforementioned), and I think it will be fun.  Maybe focus on 100 years ago…calling it 1914 or something. Can I make it funny?  I guess I could do a spoof on today’s technology and say how easy life would be if you could telephone someone while on a carriage journey.  Who knows.  Some previous themes have been Peculiar Princesses, From Paris with Love, The Wild West, and Under the Sea.  One more side note- this is a production put on by a group of teenage girls.  I write, produce, and direct it.  Then I need a vacation.

I’m sure I’ve babbled long enough at this point.  My new version of Word just informed me that I reached 1000 words at this point.  Thanks, Microsoft.  I knew I was wordy…you didn’t have to call me out on it.  I just have a lot to say, hence the blog about nothing. 

Brotherly Love
And now, noticing that I have no internet connection (thank you old public school building), who knows when this will actually get posted.  Also, I have to look around for some sort of photo to accompany my wordy thoughts so it’s not too boring.  Still enjoying my Me Time though (even though I hate that term)!  Hope you all have a fabulous day and that it’s not as cold wherever you may be as it is here.  Thank the Lord for warm, snuggly sweaters.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year!

It's still technically New Year's, since it's still January.  Did you make resolutions?  I guess I kind of did.  Bettering myself is something I try to do year round, not just on January 1.  Two years ago, I committed to reading the Bible all the way through in a year.  I did it.  This year, I did it again...and I brought Hubby with me!  Last year, I did not really make a resolution, but I did end up losing 25 lbs.  That didn't happen until late summer, but it happened!  When I see an issue in my life that needs work, I try to take care of it right then.

Presently, I see my life filled with a lot of unnecessary trash.  I see that trash filling over into the lives of my children.  That is not OK.  The main thing I am referencing is media.  Is there anything wholesome relating to media?  Television is trash.  Facebook is trash.  Youtube is trash.  I'm sick and tired of it.  Yet, I've spent hours of my life staring at it.

I'm done with television shows about these beautiful, single people who live life to be promiscuous with other beautiful (sometimes single) people.  It seems like that's all sitcoms are about anymore.  People sleeping around.  Oh, and drugs.  I don't live my life that way and I don't want to watch pretend people on TV doing it.  And don't get me started on reality TV.  There's nothing real about it.

What happened to wholesome shows like The Cosby Show?  Even things like Everybody Loves Raymond and The Kind of Queens are no more.  There's nothing interesting that I can actually watch in front of my kids.  I miss those family shows.

Facebook is another thing I'm over.  Half the people I'm linked to use it as their own personal complaint platform.  I'm tired of all the negativity and I'm tired of the hidden messages where people talk about others, but pretend that they're not.  The rest of the FB people brag on themselves.  The skinny ones take photos of their belly and brag about how fit they are.  Who wants to see that?  The rich ones talk about their grand houses, their big purchases, their new stuff.  Have they ever stopped to think who they're hurting by flaunting all their stuff?  It's typically those in bad marriages who brag about how good their marriage is.  A friend once told me that the first clue that a marriage is in trouble is when they brag on Facebook how good their marriage is.  It's so true.  The popular people brag about how many friends they have.  The people who live in warm climates brag about the weather.  Come on people...you're stooping pretty low if all you can do is brag about the weather.

Every time I sign on, I get disgusted.  I've hidden so many people from my newsfeed that there's not much point in getting on anymore.  So I stopped.  I haven't signed on for about three days now and I'm feeling much better because of it.  I'm an Instagram person. I can choose who I follow and what I see.  If someone posts something offensive, it's much easier to delete them without their realization.  There's so much less drama on Instagram.

It's unreal how much time TV and Facebook occupied of my already busy life.  When I'm exhausted and can barely make a rational thought, it's so easy to plop down in front of the TV.  We've made a habit of watching it every evening.  When I have to wait for two minutes, whether it be for a ride, at the doctor's, or for a phone call to be returned, I click on Facebook.  Those are horrid habits and I'm trying with all my might to stop them.

SO....I've taken to reading.  I'm about halfway through Pride & Prejudice.  It's not easy reading!  I feel like I'm getting less dumb as I read it though!  :)  I've started that book many times, but have never made it this far.  I don't want my grown up children to recall hours of their mother watching TV.  I would much rather them remember me as a reader.

Cropped from our family picture this year.
That's my New Year's Resolution.  It's as much for my kids as it is for myself.  How can I expect them to not be addicted to media if I am?  I've been a hypocrite!  This family is moving on to things like board games, puzzles, and interesting conversation.  I know I'll never regret an attempt to make us better people who are less dependent on glowing blue screens!

What's your addiction???

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

What a difference several months
makes!  Yes, we have temperature
 swings of 120 degrees where I live!
This is literally the first time I've had to sit down and write with nothing pressing hanging over my head.  It seems like every season gets busier and busier!  I'm not quite sure how much more I can endure!

The kids finally returned back to school today, after a two week Christmas break and cancellations for extreme temperature.  How was your Christmas?  Your New Year's?  Is it just me or does it seems like the end of 2013 and the beginning of this year have been full of tragedy?  So many things have happened that I just shake my head when I hear of something new.  It's almost unbelievable.  Some examples:

  • The wife of Hubby's boss had a heart attack.
  • The grandfather of my cousins is in the hospital, about to pass away.
  • My little cousin, who turned a year yesterday, had another bad seizure and was rushed to ER.
  • A man in our church had eye surgery after his cornea separated from his eye.  This is the second eye to do this.
  • There was a fatal shooting in our community on New Year's Eve.  It left two children and their father dead.  His girlfriend survived but is permanently scarred.
  • A few weeks before Christmas, Hubby noticed a fleet of emergency vehicles on our tiny street.  It was early on a Saturday and we watched through the window to see what was going on.  The medical team brought our neighbor out of the house and took her away.  Her parents quickly rushed out of the house and left in their car.  The police officer on the call was a personal friend of ours so Hubby walked out to talk to them.  We supposed that the daughter of the home had overdosed and our suspicions were correct.  I may have even written about her on here before.  She came over to our yard sale over the summer and was totally spaced out.  I had a few conversations with her mother via text message and she blamed her lack of focus on a new medication.  Even though she tried to cover for her, I knew the girl's condition wasn't normal.  The mother often texted me from work to ask if the daughter's vehicle was in the driveway when she was supposed to be at work.  The whole thing was very sad.  The daughter ended up being in a coma for more than two weeks.  Her mom sent me a text before Christmas saying she was out of ICU but had a long road of recovery ahead.  I haven't heard from her since, but things don't look normal at the house.  I'm guessing she's still in the hospital.  I've done my part by not prying, but praying.  I left Christmas cookies on their doorstep and delivered a bag of goodies to the hospital.  For days, this incident consumed my thoughts.  This girl, aged about 20, was a beauty queen.  Well-liked and popular, she went off to college and apparently got into trouble.  She dropped out and has been working a menial job since.  Her parents are good people, great neighbors.  It breaks my heart to see her mother arrive home around 9:00 PM every night, knowing she's been sitting at that hospital.  I wonder if she's taken a leave from work?  I feel helpless, but thankful at the same time.  You can't take life for granted....who knows where it's going to lead.
Tonight is the funeral for the two youths who were killed.  We have the largest church in the community and my cousin, our pastor, is conducting the funeral.  They expect the father of the girl (everyone has different moms and dads) to cause problems at the service.  Police force will be on site to keep both him and the media out.  It's all a mess.  The woman I'm babysitting for is another half sister of the deceased.  She's scared of the entire situation.

I don't know the beliefs of all my readers, but events like this only point toward the endtimes outlined in the Bible.  People need to get their lives straight because this is about it, people.  Life is short; days are numbered.  

Of course there's good mixed in with the bad.  Those are the things I must focus on right now so that the negative doesn't overwhelm me.
  • My little cousin celebrated her first birthday.  The doctors were skeptical that she would survive this long.  She's not well, by any means, but she's here.  That's enough to be thankful for.
  • My family is well.  I'm getting my health issues under control and none of us have pressing medical concerns right now.
  • God provides.  With Hubby taking a second pay cut, money is tight.  He received more bonuses over the holiday season than ever before!  As soon as I think about complaining, something else happens financially that pulls us through!
  • I got my closet organized yesterday!  That might sound menial to most of you, but it was something I couldn't take any longer!  I store all unwrapped Christmas presents every year in my closet for a month or more.  Because of that, I couldn't get in there to properly put things away.  I buckled down yesterday and did some cleaning out!
  • My brother moved into a new home.  It is absolutely amazing!  Two of the coldest days this year, Friday and Saturday, were spent moving him out of his in-laws' home and into their brand new place.  It's easily the size of two of their old house.  They have high ceilings and ample closet space.  Their basement alone is bigger than a lot of people's homes!  I'm so happy for them!  Sadly, they are way more organized than we are!  It makes me want to go on a major organization trip!
  • Baby Girl, who has been having a majorly difficult time staying dry through the night, has woken up dry three mornings in a row!  That's a major victory over here!  I cut out all drinks after dinner and still wake her up 2-3 times a night to take her to the bathroom.  It's not ideal, but it's working.  :)
My post title was The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.  Nothing around here is ugly.  I'm thankful to be married to a stunningly attractive man.  I only gained about 2 lbs. over Christmas and enjoyed a plethora of desserts!  Look at this family....

Very blessed indeed!

Sending warm wishes your way!