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Monday, February 21, 2011

So, the dark pit is pulling me in a bit, and I'm struggling to "celebrate the small stuff" even though great small stuff is going on all around me.  I know it's there, happening, behind the pile of dirty laundry, past the greasy pans I used to make a shepherd's pie at 6am, and through the frozen windshield that will take an hour to thaw and scrape this morning...

My friends, let's share our bliss, just as we share our challenges... What kindnesses, amazing moments, or happy things are happening around you?  Let's notice them and share.  I feel like I need all the positive I can procure on this frozen NY Monday. How about you?

Two Little Things for Today....

~~I'm grateful for this song that I play on my MP3 every morning on my way to school...

~~I'm emboldened by the little birds, who somehow survive out there in the frozen tundra of my yard, and certainly appreciate the seed I put out for them! The thingee full of snow on the right is where I put stale bread for them...

Here's to hoping I can behave with grace this week...and not throw people's dirty laundry out in the lawn! Again!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meditation will Not Help Manage This Mess!

I'm one week into semester one.  The house is falling apart, I've lost three pounds, the dog doesn't recognize me, and several comments made by my children have nearly sent me into hysterics. I will share a few of those quotes along with photos to ensure you comprehend just where I'm coming from....

Finding balance has always been a challenge for me. I can eat a family size bag of Doritos and chow down a few whoopie pies and skip the healthy dinner I made for everyone else if I'm not careful.

The last time I went to college, balance was so far out of my realm it nearly killed me.  I was in a car wreck at 27 weeks pregnant and went into premature labor. The following semester a house fire left us virtually homeless and clothesless with three kids aged 4 and under.  

Back then I saluted God and the messages he had repeatedly sent me to stay at home with my kids, I mean, that's what fate and fortune kept pointing me towards right? Back then I thought if I waited until the kids were a little older, things would be easier. What a romantic I was. Queue forward ten years to the Me I Am Now. Finding balance is just as hard as it was when I was clipping coupons for Huggies.

I've worked full time on salary for years. What I mean is, I know what it is to have 80 hour a week obligations outside of the home. But, after spending a year unemployed and enjoying every minute of my at-home time, I forgot what that meant exactly...and life isn't done throwing curve balls...

We're a mortgage payment behind and we ran out of fuel oil last week. That means we don't have hot water at the moment. The desk top computer stopped opening anything related to Windows, and my ToSHITba has a "mylar" problem with the keyboard that isn't covered by ToSHITba's warranty and the screen got damaged when I shipped it to the Philippines or wherever the darn thing went for repair...so I'm hanging at the college using their computers more than I had anticipated.  My washing machine was busted and it took the guy a week and a half to come fix it, hence a mountain of laundry sat unwashed in the middle of "first week" and had to be hauled to alternate laundry washing locations by moi.

I bet you're wondering "Wow Becca how are you functioning without hot water?"  Well gentle reader, I'm warming up water in a lobster pot and using a milk jug with the top cut off and little holes stabbed in the bottom to give what we like to call "Bucket Showers."  In fact, one of the children has authored an adorable little ditty that goes something like:

"Bucket Shoooower! Bucket Shoooower!
It's a whole lot better than no shower at all!
How how how how I love a bucket SHOWER!!!!"

My hubs is remaining positive, and has pointed out that our current kerosene heating choice is costing us just $50 per week. Our boiler cost us $650 for three weeks. You do the math, it makes me throw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it.  He has also mentioned "I'm married to a college student" with a twinkle in his eye which is quite hot.  However, he wouldn't be thrilled to know I just told the world at large (i.e. the 12 people who follow my blog) exactly what's been going on around here!

(Thank God my husband doesn't read my blog he'd not be too happy I'm letting cats out of the bag left and right.)
It'll all be all right. Things will improve shortly, our taxes have been filed and a return is expected to bring us back up to par, however due to the government's failure to approve some creepy form we're at a stand still until the government stops standing still.

It amazes me how far and how fast things can go downhill when I have to put something for myself...ahead of the little details.  You know, the stuff that you do without thinking about it? Like, remembering to buy toilet paper, and finding people's whatever-the-hell because you cleaned it up earlier... but I have to focus on different priorities or I won't get out of college alive. 

I know we're totally out of whack right now. I know I'm barely holding on figuring out how to balance it all, but I gotta say I finally feel like I know where I'm headed. My mother and father-in-law stopped by out of the blue tonight. The house looks like crap, and for the first time in my life I didn't feel guilty. There's more to me than a clean floor and furniture with the pillows intact and not spread around the room... my identity isn't defined solely by how much and how fast I can clean up after my family. There's more to me than that.
I'm happy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

OH God What Am I Thinking? The Flys Goes Back to School

I return to college full time TOMORROW. I'm freaking out for a variety of reasons;

  1. Other than my professional work wardrobe, I own two pairs of jeans. One with a prominent rip by the ass pocket which is a humungo problemo because the dogs keep eating my underwear and lord knows nobody wants a peep hole onto my pale ass should one holey layer of fabric overlay another. 
  2. I went to the Office Supply Store and froze when I realized I have NO idea how to organize my schoolwork. 
  3. My intelligence has dropped by probably 20 points since I had kids and my weight has gone up 20 (or 30) pounds.
  4. At 34 I'll be the oldest person in the world there. Maybe even older than the Professors. It's a likely bet I will be the only one with gray hair and a battle worn Dodge Caravan in any of my classes.
  5. My hubs seems to think I'm going for a dental appointment, not preparing to attend full time college for the next billion years.
  6. The last time I spent a week away from home during the daytime, (doing alternate jury duty for a baby's death no less) my Brody Dog ate my sofa's face off. What on Earth will he do while I'm in Bio lab?
  7. The last two semesters I went to college, I had a major car wreck while expecting baby #3, and a house fire which left me with one, yes ONE pair of underwear (clean unchewed underwear are a must have of mine). This means the Rule Of Threes owes me One.
  8. I'm scared of screwing up.

Settling down young knocked the wind out of my sails for 13 years. I mean, I totally loved the lagoon I found myself in. I got great joy out of digging through poop looking for a missing penny that may or may not have been swallowed. I learned how to use the process of elimination to discover how best to remove Silly String from walls without damaging too much paint.  

When they were little, and I was knee deep in diapers, I told myself I would go back to school when they were older, and life was a little less challenging.  Well, my kids are growing up, about to hit the 12, 14, and 16 marks and now I understand...just cuz they're bigger doesn't mean the challenges get easier, it just means they can tie their shoes WHILE they present challenges.

My life and accomplishments for 13 years have been colored by the approval of my children; "mom, this dinner is pretty ok, can we have pizza Friday?" or "Hey, great you remembered to buy shampoo!"  And while I'm incredibly accomplished at ordering pizza and the dirty dog reek of a 13 year old boy's sweaty head from two rooms away because he refused to use his sister's "sweet pea" scented shampoo... has endowed me with super-memory-shopping powers worthy of praise...I'm thinking that COLLEGE may be somewhat more of a challenge than child-rearing ever was.

I had to go to Campus today, on Super Bowl Sunday.  As I parked my mother-ship (AKA my mini-van) and walked around, I felt like a total weirdo.  Like I'm invading a summer camp my kids don't go to. The students look so young...even some of the prof's look young. When did I get so old?

Surreal happenings of the day; I spent $160 on a paperback text book. I kept thinking people in the lines were talking to me, but they were talking over their phones directly into my ears.  The Registrar sent me to the school nurse who made me fill out a form listing all of my family members, she asked "do you have a physical form and vaccination record?" and I said, "for who, for all of them?"  She tilted her head like I had said something strange, and that's when I realized she didn't want my kid's records...she wanted mine. Duh. 

When I got home at 6pm I tripped over shoes by the door, was informed our natural gas tank is inexplicably empty and I've been asked what's for dinner no less than 3 times.  My husband just told me he loves our daughter's very much but if they don't stop interrupting the Super Bowl he's going to wring their beautiful little necks. 

I'm hiding in here blogging and trying to remind myself that whatever doesn't make you criminally insane keeps you out of jail. Though I hear in prison they give you "three hots and a cot" and right at this moment, that sounds quite ideal. 

My prayer for the next few years "Dear Lord, please help me stay strong and get through school so I can afford to hire a housekeeper, and send my husband TO the Super Bowl so he doesn't strangle our daughters...one magical day in my not so far off future!"

Best wishes,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Daze

My lips are frozen to my teeth.

Ahhh the coveted "snow day." For the last I don't know how many years, the mere suggestion of a snow storm had my kids wearing their pajamas inside out and filling the toilet with ice cubes. When a storm petered out or the snow fall got scraped out of the way too quickly and efficiently, leaving school in session the whining began; "doooon't make us goooo, the Superintendent doesn't care if we live or die" (cue dramatic concerned looks out the window at the waning snowfall and respectably clear roads)

Our Frozen Snow Covered Lake

We live in NY, so bad winter weather is bound to leave you stranded without electricity or flushing toilets eventually.  So yes, my kid's Snow Day prayers finally come to fruition this week. School was canceled today due to a snow storm and by 6pm the school's automated service had called to inform us tomorrow has also been declared a snow day.

Lake View Sledding Hill

Aberlee snickering at the Birds, out in the cold, 
fighting for their lives.

Brody Wondering if I'm ever Getting him Those Doggy Snow Booties He saw at Petco.

The kids were out sledding with their uncle when the good news came in. Like Pirates, hanging off of a ship's mast, challenging the Gods of the storm they began to gear up for the weather.  Immediately after I notified them, they went for pizza, stopped to buy hot chocolate mix, rented movies and began the cackling.  If my (almost) 14 year old son hadn't shoveled the whole driveway without prompting (from today's catastrophic snow load), and my 16 year old hadn't washed her own laundry (with only minor threats made on my part to throw in some of her 11 year old sister's stuff as well) I would be far less enthused about tomorrow...but something has me looking forward to the storm...and the extra time with the fam before my schooling begins again...I hope they remembered the marshmallows!

Best wishes,

My Take on the Spank

I don't have wooden spoons in my house. I use Pampered Chef spatulas, plastic utensils, or chopsticks...but never a wooden spoon. I had one too many ass whuppings from a wooden spoon in my youth. Seeing one is the equivalent of realizing the school bully has his beady eye leveled at me.

That said, I spanked my kids.  I never decided not to, so I guess I'm a spanker.  At the same time I can count on one hand the times I've spanked my eldest, in fact I can only recall the circumstances of two of those times.
  1. When she was about three and a half and ran toward the road which was a state highway and at the end of our driveway. She knew better, I was terrified, "what" spank "were" spank "you" spank "thinking" spank.
  2. She had her teeth clamped on her brother's shoulder and it appeared she was breaking his skin. "Let go" no response, "LET GO" no response, spank-spank-spank. She let go and said "YOU SPANKED ME!"  

She never ran for the road or bit her brother again, so the spankie shock (an over-the-clothes not bare a#$ spank) taught her a lesson. 

My other spanky stories include a second story open window and a 5 year old boy throwing my jewelry box out onto a concrete patio.  "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING" spank spank "YOU COULD HAVE FALLEN OUT THE WINDOW" spank spank "AND BROKEN YOUR HEAD" spank.  My son has taken a few more spankings than my daughters. He has also narrowly escaped death on more than one occasion, like the time he rolled a bowling ball down the stairs and tried to race it.

In any case, all spanks were followed by "I love you and don't want you to get hurt or hurt someone else."  A spank is worst case scenario stuff in my mind.  Frankly, as they get older, losing toys or finding games they've "worked their way up on" deleted from the PS3 has been worse punishment than the hardest whack on the barest rear end could ever be.  

A favorite torture tool of mine; how quickly unflattering photos of you can be posted to Facebook, and every aunt, uncle, grandparent and far flung friend of mine from high school can leave comments like "Oh how cute! I remember being that awkward when I was in middle school" or "don't worry he/she will grow out of that."  Even worse? I am the keeper of the passwords. If I tag them in a photo there's nothing they can do to untag themselves...until I say so.

The last thing my kids want to hear is, "go ahead, do that (thing you've been repeatedly warned not to do). I'll get you in the end."
I know there are people out there whose spanks leave bruises. When I talk about spanking, I'm not referring to that type of a "beating." I'm talking about a spankie. A spankie smarts. It isn't pleasant, but it doesn't dislocate your coccyx.

Though I spanked my kiddos, It is my opinion a spank is for special occasions, as in your kid just hit the dog with a stick and after you take a privilege away, and the little tyke says "I didn't hurt im' anyways, hittin' don't hurt." 

My sister is a spanker.  I don't say "like me" because her and I do it quite differently, and I don't think she really "gets" my take on spankietry; the study of spanking.  My sister spanks over every little slight, and misbehavior. The eye rolling around the Thanksgiving table as the little tykes laugh off her swats is pretty predictable.  I think my nephews have bums of steel. They might occasionally creep out a few tears (more from frustration or embarrassment than anything else in my humble opinion) but they don't seem overly concerned about a spanking.  This hasn't been missed by their cousins, as my kids have actually said to me, "they do stuff and ALL they get is a spanking."  Yeah, so I guess that's confirmation the handful of spankies I've delivered to their sweet little bums didn't do any long lasting psychic damage.

As a parent who has raised kids to the ages of 12, 14 & 16, I think as long as you stay calm, and make a conscious and considered choice to spank a hind end, you'll know you're doing it for all the right reasons.  The time to spank is when no amount of reasonable explanation is going to teach them what a little pain in the butt could. 

As for my little angels...so far so good!  Spankings have made their way to "remember when" status. "Remember when you kept tying the jump rope around my neck, because you were the dog whisperer and I was the dog, and mom finally spanked you? Ha ha ha, we were such dumb kids."

Good times.

Best wishes,