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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Flish That Got Away

It's that time in the Coffey household...

Time for brown bears and red birds and yellow ducks and blue horses and green frogs and purple cats and white dogs and black sheep....

and goldflish....

Looking at us.
  According to Noah, fish isn't a word.  It's FLISH.  Always.  A goldflish.  And he could say it 100 times and without fail, it makes me smile.  Toddlers have a way of doing that to me.  I've had a lot of toddler moments. Yet, I'm always sad when they start fading away.  Noah used to call his big sister "Mally."  He couldn't quite yet his mouth around the three syllables her name took and so it became a family thing.  We all called her Mally.  The other day, he saw his sister and called her name...."Mal-wa-wee." Jamie and I both looked at each other.  He had changed.  So fast.  Why does it happen SO fast?

I have these moments thrown at me every now and then, and usually it's when I am wondering what the hell I was thinking having any children, let alone 7.  Yeah, I admit it.  There are some days I think,"oh my Lord, I can't do this.  I'm failing. Drowning. Incompetent and mental."  (But I have it on good authority it matters not how many children you have, just that you have them to experience this particular sense of despondence)  And I'll even admit I allow myself to think, sometimes, of what life without so many walking/talking responsibilities  to attend to on a daily basis, would be like.  And I'm sure, absolutely sure, I've romanticized this version of my life greatly.  I imagine sleeping a full 8 hours every single night would get old after awhile, and I'd probably eat way too much if I wasn't sharing half of every meal with a toddler who thinks my food is better than what's on his plate.  

But still, you do wonder.  Where would I be and what would I be doing?  What version of myself would exist today if I had made different choices?  Would I be sublimely happy? Or so lonely I'd struggle to make it through the day?  Where would I filter all the abilities, talents and love I have into?  Who would I be exactly?

I have to believe I'd be a pretty pathetic version of myself.  Without having a reason to become better, to do better, to be better I doubt I'd like the person I'd be today.  The truth is, I'm naturally selfish.  I want what I want how I want it, right now.  I don't like to wait, I don't like to compromise and I don't like anything out of place.  But when the choice is a perfect house with children who are afraid of you or something slighty messy with smiling children, it's no brainer.

They've changed me. 

They've shown me a flish really is a thing and a precious one at that.  And something I'll miss when that Flish gets away.  Because inevitably, they always do.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Tried, I Really Did

I promised myself I would finish one more thing before I started another.  And by finishing I meant like for real.  As in all the ends woven in and the border crocheted and I swear I actually thought I could stick to this.  I failed.  Here's why:

Let's do some math here.  This is a twin sized blanket consisting of 77 granny squares (7 across, 11 down).  Yes, half of the blanket IS behind the couch, but beggars can't be choosers (and I begged Calla to take this picture for me because Emmy was sacked out on my lap.)  Now, each of those squares has 6 rounds, each a different color, plus is bordered in brown.  That means two ends of each color to weave in times 7 rounds, so 14 ends to sew in for each square.  Times SEVENTY-SEVEN.  That brings us to 1,078 ends to weave in.  One-thousand and seventy-eight  individual strands of yarn that I have to thread into a yarn needle and sew  in as to be invisible   Now, as I went I did a lot of the ends, which made the process more tolerable, but as I sat down to do it to "finish" I just couldn't build up enough motivation to finish this.  It's so boring!! It never ends.  I can spend two hours on this and it's like nothing changes. So in order to keep from stabbing myself in the eye with the aforementioned yarn needle, I played with some pretty yarn.  Some very pretty yarn (in my opinion that is...) and am done with the body of this...

This is the Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan, but a bit modified because I'm using worsted rather than DK.  The yarn is Mosaic Moon "Malayan Orchid" on Cestari Fine.  I need to knit on the button bands and then do the sleeves.  I was going for an "Emmy for later" cardigan, but I think Mallory might get some wear out of it, unless she grows three inches in a month, which has been known to happen!

I still have quite a few WIPs in the upstairs storage area, but they are boring me to tears.  I also had to frog Jamie's sweater.  Again.  For the THIRD time.  I just can't even begin to start that again.  I'm looking at different patterns to motivate me.  I also lost my size 7 12" circulars which has me bummed.  If I find those, I will be finishing another toddler sweater I have upstairs, if not I am going to start taking some of my bulky scraps and working up some granny middles.  Just for the heck of it.

I need new yarn or something.  I am lacking inspiration right now.  Either that or it's time to toss the bins and see if something speaks to me.

Or I could, you know, work on scrapbooks.  Because I'm not at ALL behind on those (deep regretful sigh.  Don't judge me.  I totally scrapped our 2003 Christmas this week!!)

Friday is knit night and I have no idea what to bring to work on.  I would bring the sock that is still being knit, but you know, I kind of hate it and only knit on it when the alternative is just not knitting at all (I keep it in the car at all times so if I have to wait on anyone, it's there to keep me occupied.  I'm not a good sitter and waiter type person) And since I can plan in advance what to take, a sock is not my choice.   Maybe I'll bring the blanket and sew in ends.  Maybe sewing in ends with friends, wine and food is better than sewing in ends at home! If not, I can ignore knitting altogether and just enjoy the adult company.

Yeah, who am I kidding? Not knitting.  Pfffttt....

Will toss the stash tomorrow and see what I come up with....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Saying yes to something.....

Means saying no to something else.

I have struggled with this concept my entire life.  I mean, I get it intellectually   I understand that if I spend $5 on Item A I can't spend that same $5 on Item B, but I'll drive myself insane trying to get A for half off so I can get B a bit later.  I can definitely admit that I have a hard time with compromise and choosing the best out of many good things.

This is never more true than when it comes to my children.  I want to give them everything.  Every experience, every comfort, every need, desire or want, every new toy, every cool t-shirt, everything that pleases their heart, their mind and their soul.

Of course, I don't actually give them all these things and I'm thankful I don't have the resources to do so because I don't want to raise entitled little brats! Actually my children's reactions to all the material gifts we do give them is so precious and sweet it's addictive, which is worse than a gimme mentality in some cases.  If they were selfish about these things, and expected them it wouldn't be as fun to gift them.  But when you bring home a new t-shirt with a favorite character and they jump up and down and thank you a million times, you want to do it over and over again!  My children have very grateful personalities and it brings both Jamie and I joy to invoke that gratefulness from time to time!

One thing I've fantasized about giving them is a big, long, luxurious vacation   We actually had grand plans for this in 2013.  We were torn between three scenarios, each a week-long indulgence in something recreational.  But as we made our plans for this year there were other things we wanted to do more.  So we called a family meeting to discuss the priorities Mom and Dad have for the year and asked for feedback.  While we usually make the final decisions in all things financial we at least want our children to view the process by which decisions are made. We told them all the things we wanted to get done, especially to the property and we were surprised when they all agreed with us that our chosen improvements were more valuable than a week playing in the sand and surf.  Things like new carpeting upstairs in all the rooms, a playground and new musical instruments were a little more exiting to them than a new washing machine and my sewing machine getting serviced, but all in all we totally agreed.  We compromised and decided to take an overnight trip to Hilton Head, and purchase season passes to Six Flags over Atlanta for the whole family, making at least two overnight trips to Atlanta.  This works well with the family pets, as we will not have to board them to stay overnight somewhere.

But then, we called another family meeting on Sunday to discuss plans for 2014.  What kind of trip did we want to take?  I explained the options and told the kids I really wanted to spend a lot of time researching and planning for this, because 8K was a lot of money to just toss on a vacation that wasn't planned well.  I wanted to eek out every possible experience, from the touristy bullcrap to the hidden gems you can only find by really digging into what the area has to offer.  I said, kind of off-hand "When you're spending half the price of putting in an in-ground pool, you want to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck!" (Oh and here is where a lot of people try to convince me that a vacation can be WAY cheaper than that, and to y'all I say thank you for trying, but I've tried every possible scenario and everything including travel, food, lodging and the actual things we want to do, plus boarding our dogs and making sure everyone has the right clothing for the trip...well, it's not getting any cheaper than that. Not for a week somewhere.  Remember there are 9 people in our party everywhere we go.  McDonald's is a huge hit to our budget LOL!!)  Anyhow, they heard the words "swimming pool" and everyone was like "What??? A POOL?  We could have a POOL?" And Jamie explained that yes, if we wanted to build a pool our vacation money would go a long way towards an improvement like that and they all agreed that a vacation was a stupid alternative to a POOL!  Everyone started talking all at once and it got a little crazy, but I was overwhelmed by how quickly they dismissed the idea of a huge, long vacation   They were like "Meh...take it or leave it."  Here I was, thinking that this was a pivotal childhood experience, one they HAD to have, one that would cost us a LOT of money and they were over it before we even got it planned.  Calla said she felt like a whole week away from home would be stressful.  Kyle thought spending money on something that you couldn't phsycially see or touch was kind of a waste of money.  The middles thought about pool parties with their friends and we all talked about what kind of security system we'd need to install to keep Noah from ever being able to get into a pool area by himself.  Kyle insisted we needed fingerprint identification  and I asked the kids if anyone of them felt comfortable with Noah knowing he needed their FINGERS to get into the pool.  I asked them to think on that for a bit!  We decided a keypad lock would be our best bet for our not-yet-really-planned pool.

We also discussed the alternative to big family vacations and settled on the fact we are pleased with our current travel situation.  We have a tradition that our children go on one-on-one trips with the parent of their choice at least once, right around their 12th birthday.  It's actually ended up being more than that and it's worked out so well.  Kyle and Jamie took a big hunting trip while we were in New Mexico, staying in a gorgeous remote log cabin for a weekend.  Then they flew to Denver to see the Pittsburgh Penguins play  Denver's home hockey team.  Calla and I did a weekend in Atlanta for shopping, the aquarium and getting her ears pierced, and she also got to go with Jamie to North Carolina to see Earl Scruggs in concern (who sadly did not show)  We've had smaller outings with smaller groups of our chillins too and it always works out so much better to take only those who are interested to the activity in question.  The ones going feel special and get to do something fun and those that stay behind enjoy the quieter house (with treats.  There is always treats!)  We've decided that even if it's unorthodox to take separate trips, it's what works best for our family.  We are together ALL the time and these little trips help us reconnect with our children on an individual basis, doing something we mutually enjoy.  Yeah, it's a bit weird, but it works.  And if there's one thing we do well...

It's weird ;)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

White Trash Mentality

Jamie hails from a very small town in the middle of Missour-uh (Missour-EE for outsiders).  His three closest high school buddies were Nick, BJ and Pat.  His wild tales of their adventures are great comedy, but Jamie will tell you as much fun as those days were, he really needed to get out of there; that type of life didn't suit him.  Not that he's above the small-town thing.  It's not that at all.  He just felt like settling for less wasn't something he could do his whole life and so he jumped on the Navy bandwagon when it came a'calling and never looked back.  His three buddies stayed behind and unfortunately didn't do a whole lot with their lives.  Pat was killed a couple years back by his step-father, during a heated argument over some truck tools.  BJ moved to live near his parents (as far as I understand) and calls us every now and then, drunk off his arse, usually at an early morning hour.  His voicemails are entertaining on one hand, sad on another.  And Nick.  He's doing okay I guess.  He didn't finish high school and spends his days tinkering with vehicles of some sort.  Tractors last I heard.  Nick is content and happy with his lot in life.  Although not sporting a full mouth of teeth, his smile is genuine and kind.  I really liked Nick a lot.  And even though of the three buddies, he accomplished the least materially speaking, he's the least White Trash dude from Jamie's adolescent group of buddies.  He just doesn't have the mentality.

White Trash.  I hate those words, I really do.  I don't really like to think of ANY human being as refuse, but for the sake of this blog post, I'm going to be tossing these words around a bit.  Jamie always explained to me that White Trash isn't about money, or materials items, or what title you hold at a job.  He says that the definitive sign of being white trash is never accepting responsibility for anything that goes wrong in your life; that no matter what is happening you can find something or someone else to pin it on.

He's so right.  It's not a thing, it's a mentality.  There are several things I've noticed among people who, in my mind, sort of get scooted into the 'That's so trashy' column.  I was thinking about this a lot last night as I sorted through some drama I experienced yesterday.  I was completely ripped to shreds by a person who "assumed" I was attacking them.  I was not.  It was later explained to me that I unknowingly stepped on a land mine with this person.  The explanations were interesting...but they were very (you guessed it) white trash.  So in thinking about this, I've come up with a list of qualities that just seem very low-budget, low-class and white trash.

1. As mentioned previously, never accepting responsibility for any negative thing you are experiencing.  It is my (controversial) opinion that every single thing we experience, we have a hand in.  Everything.  I don't mean this as saying we actively CHOSE this thing to happen to us, but that we had a part in it.  I feel like understanding this concept is so empowering.  It moves you from victim to voluntary participant in the whole gamut of life.  I'll use the most poignant example from my own life to make my point.

My son Matthew was born with a fatal birth defect.  It was not caused by anything I did and it was not caused by any specific gene that Jamie or I passed on.  I didn't ride too many roller coasters, smoke pot, snort powder or eat non-organic celery.  In short, it was a fluke and it sucked.  So how then can I claim that I had in a hand in this happening to me?  Well, I got pregnant.  I chose to get pregnant and that choice meant that I ultimately experienced this terrible tragedy.  Did I deserve it?  No, not that I am aware of.  I don't believe in all that "deserve" nonsense because it makes no logical sense in the grand scheme of things.  I had to ask myself, "Okay, this happened.  It happened because I got pregnant. Would I have done it differently? WILL I do it differently in the future?"  Or, will I choose to abstain from getting pregnant again?  Because truth be known that would be the only way to guarantee this kind of pain would never touch me again.  It was empowering on so many levels to answer that question with "Yes, I will accept that risk again."  And now three sweet babies later, I am so glad I did.  I have no regrets.  I have a deeper understanding that just because you get two pinks lines on a stick does not guarantee a healthy baby 9 months later.  Accepting my hand in this didn't mean I asked for this to happen to me, or that I chose it.  It just meant that something bad that happened to me didn't happen out of nowhere and it happened because of a risk I took.  And that in the end, I decided the risk would always be worth it to me.  Empowerment.  Owning my decisions and how they may impact my life.  Of course, I could have said  "No, the risk is not worth it."  That also would have been a way to own what choice I made that steered my life in that particular direction and given me the power of saying "Nope, not worth it...not doing that again.

This whole idea that no matter what is going on, someone else is to blame is maddening.  "I didn't have enough money to pay my electric because my job cut my hours and I can't go back to school to get a better job because I don't have time.." WAHHHH!!!  I've actually heard versions of this and it makes me so mad.  Because I know that person has been out to the movies, out to dinner, bought this new something or the other and yet, they never make the connection that the money they spent on that stupid shit is the same kind of currency that would have paid the electric bill.

2. The second white trash mentality, the one I experienced yesterday so vividly, is the propensity to create conflict where none exists...starting an argument because of a perceived offense, one that was never intended.  My favorite (sarcasm) version of this is when someone does my favorite white trash sport known as "Shit stirring."  I'll explain how this went down yesterday to give you, the reader, a better picture.  I recently stumbled upon a really cool website that checks your grammar as well as spelling and I was kind of excited about it because I have a horrible habit of using way too many commas in my writing.  I told my husband about this site, and my best friend, and then when my sister-in-law posted one of her crazy writings, I linked her to it.  I figured she writes, I write....I bet she'll love this site too.  Wrong.  Way wrong.  Oy did I open up a can of worms.  She went ape-shit on me.  I got "I am not a professional writer, I don't care if my posts aren't always spelled perfectly" (The chick is on Facebook daily trying to get people on her e-book bandwagon...) and "I would hope that my audience would give me grace and get the basic gyst of what I'm talking about."  I was just blown away.  So I replied that I wasn't sure if she was working on a  phone, or a keyboard, but I was just learning so much about the SEO thing when writing content and so on....I was just typing like a writer types to a writer.  It never crossed my mind that she was taking this as an offense or that I was putting her down.  So then, her mom pipes in with something nasty (and stupid me, I didn't even realize it WAS nasty because I thought we were all having a normal conversation.  I can be dense sometimes, but that's because I don't assume people are being buttholes, since I'm not one...make sense?)  The thing is, her mom has (from what I understand) been a very cruel person to my sister-in-law.  They don't get along.  But she sniffs some conflict and BOOM it's ON.  What is that???  "I can put you down but if I think anyone else is putting you down, I'll cap their ass??"  I just DO NOT get that.

So basically I got ganged up on by two people who don't even like each other, over something that wasn't even happening.  Then my other sister-in-law steps in and tries to mediate, which was sweet, but the reasons given were lacking.  And I was over it.  The need for drama, at all times, is not something I subscribe to.  I like my life simple and happy, not fraught with assumptions that people are putting me down.  I understand she may have had reason because other people have been mean to her, however, when I apologized and explained instead of graciously accepting that and trying to understand my point of view, she chastised me again for explaining.  Sigh. My only regret is not saying something about her preaching the Bible so often on her Facebook page because seriously that makes all Christians look moronic.  There's something about the whole "God is so husband is a son of a bitch and I hate him..." that puts people off from the whole God thing.  I don't blame them.

3.  My third tell-tale sign that someone is playing on the White Trash playground is the "I'm Owed..." mentality.  This is pretty broad, but it's easy to spot.  I remember when my sister found out she was pregnant with her oldest son.  After she broke the news, she said something about the government paying for it.  Her words were,( and I'll never forget this) "It's my turn now..." Everyone else is getting all this free money and food, now they OWE ME the same thing.  Or more recently, a family member mentioned borrowing money from another family member and I commented that it was kind of sad that everyone was borrowing money from the oldest member of the family, the one receiving social security and on a fixed income.  The response I got "Well, she has more than the rest of us..." Just WOW.  I mean WOW.  Just because someone has more than you do, does not mean they owe you anything.  My very good friend was receiving food assistance after her divorce and so was her mother.  Her mother was in the process of applying for social security disability and finally got word she was approved, but this meant her food stamps would be lowered to a different amount based on the disability income she would receive   So she tells my friend "I'm just going to have to use some of your food stamp money then..."  GAH!!! She was SO angry when my friend explained she could use some of her actual MONEY to buy food with because in the end she was actually doing better financially with the new income she was receiving.

I know people with limited financial resources that live a life than is far from poor.  They do so much with so little and you never hear them bemoaning what other's have, that they don't.  I have been amazed and so dumb-founded at the resourcefulness of some of my friends (A whole house being moved and then remodeled on property bought with cash comes to mind, but I'll leave names out of this.  You know who you are!!)  But I also know people that think if you have more than they do, you really should give them some of your excess DESPITE the fact that your resources came from working for them, and DESPITE the fact that they are just as able to work for the same resources, but have chosen not to.  DESPITE the fact that they have not chosen to abstain from the same things you have chosen to forgo to reserve the resources you do have.  I still think The Little Red Hen should be required reading for every single adult in America, on a daily basis.

I don't care how you dress, what your bank account looks like, what kind of house you live in, or if the dog playing at your feet has papers or not.   White trash has nothing to do with worth.  It's not about currency of any kind.  It's not about being Caucasian  even.  (Although I'm pretty sure other race classifications have their own lingo to describe the phenomenon)  It's about viewing the world you live in as against you, and you alone.  It's the mindset that you owe the world nothing, but the world owes you.  You are the center of the universe and everything, at all times, should revolve around your wants, needs and desires.

And contrary to popular belief, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with owning a Banjo. :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

You've Got It All Wrong

Every few months, Jamie and I re-evaluate our finances together.  We spend time going over what we need to purchase, what we need to fix, what categories we need to filter our money into and so on.  I'm always amused at the way Jamie breaks it all up because it makes no sense to me.  His categories are so obtuse, almost vague, yet I can specify a need and he will know exactly where it falls on our list and what priority to set it to.  It's kind of amazing actually and it's something about him that never fails to impress me.  His illogical sense of order actually works well for our family.  We categorize things differently, but in the end the ultimate goal we agreed on is reached.  We don't have to agree on what the actual thing falls under, we just have to agree on the thing being on the list.  It's simple.

In our relationship, however, it's not quite as easy.  And this isn't exclusive to OUR relationship. It's about relationships in general and something I've been pondering lately.  We (as far as I know, all human beings do this) have a tendency to put a person's actions under the column intentions more often than not, even when the two have nothing to do with each other.  We take what a person does, assume we know why they do it and turn a very simple matter into something more complex.

For example, last night I did something that upset Jamie.  He was in the right.  What I did was really inconsiderate.  He was waiting to get the kids in bed and the night wrapped up and as the chaos was winding down, I went to check my email.  I got something I needed to attend to and it sucked me in.  If you would have asked me how long I took, I would have guessed 15 minutes tops.  Well, he actually was watching the time and it was 45 minutes.  I wasn't watching the clock and I wasn't paying attention to anything but the task I was trying to accomplish.  It was rude of me and had the shoe been on the other foot, I would have been very upset myself (though not as gracious as Jamie, if I were to be completely honest.  He's nicer than me)

He approached this with me this morning.  He said that something upset him and asked if he could please talk about it.  I didn't feel great hearing about my transgression, but I didn't disagree with him.  It was a crappy thing to do. However, when he got to the part about how it made him FEEL, it gave me pause.  My actions made him feel like I didn't care about him.  Wait. Stop. Halt.  The truth of the matter is that I simply lost track of time.  That I can fix.  I can make sure the next time I check my email at night, I watch the clock. I can wrap up whatever I am doing quickly , or even abstain from checking my email in the evening.  All of these things I can do, and am completely willing to do.  But the not caring part?  That's just not true.  Yes, my actions were inconsiderate, but they did not come from a place of complacency about his feelings.  Not at all.  I grew more and more upset as the discussion went on, not at him, but because I get really anxious when things aren't cascading into a logical pattern.  I need things to be cut and dry and logical.  I need to focus on the reality, not the feelings.  I need the transgression categorized appropriately, or my brain goes haywire. It should have been filed under "Lost Track of Time" not "Not Caring About Husband."

The thing is, I am completely....100% guilty of this thought pattern myself,   If a friend doesn't call me back, I feel like they don't care I need to talk to them.  The reality is, they got busy, or tired, or just can't talk at the moment.  They can change the action by letting me know a better time to call, but they can't CARE more if they already DO care.  The intention wasn't to make me feel bad.  If I am putting the missed call under the category of "Friend Doesn't Care About Me" rather than "Friend Too Busy To Talk" I'm kind of...well...wrong.  I try to teach my children that intent is very hard to prove.  We should never assume that an action a person does, even one that hurts us (by the ones we love ..I don't preach the same about strangers...totally different ball of wax there) is intentional.

I wonder how many arguments could be obliterated if we categorized an action correctly rather than assigning it an intention that isn't appropriate?  I understand that certain actions conjure up certain feelings and I'm not asking for those feelings to be ignored.  You can FEEL uncared for without accusing the other person of truly not caring.  I realize its all in the wording, but in my own relationships, this has been a stumbling block.

If a person is truly on your side, has truly shown you they love you and care about you, have been an unwavering positive in your life, it seems unnecessary to assume that an action was done for the sole purpose of hurting you.  In a healthy relationship, I feel like the assumption to be the opposite.  How much easier life would be if we took an action at face value instead of reading so much into it.

Jamie forgave me even before I knew how I had made him feel.  That's another thing I love about him.  I love that even when I'm in the hot seat, he's willing to listen and no matter how heated we get, we always learn something new about how to interact with each other better in the future.

And today, I'm a little wiser and a little more aware of how often I've assigned an intention to an action without due cause.  Hopefully, in the future, I won't be so quick to assume the worst because being on the other end kinds of sucks.

P.S. To my beloved, I love you enough to wear a shock collar ;)  That would teach me to manage my time better and who knows?  It could be hot, right?? :)  Love ya!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

But what does she DO?

My husband got asked this recently....

"So what does Melissa do?"  I mean it's not like SHE has a job.  Just children, and a house, and animals.  I mean what exactly does a lazy bum with nothing real to account to everyday actually DO?  I suppose it's a valid question.  I mean without a paycheck at the end of the week to show I've actually DONE something (oh wait, my husband, the sole breadwinner for our family gets such a paycheck and does absolutely freaking NOTHING right now to earn it...but I digress) it's hard to actually pinpoint where my hours are spent.  I guess I could make a list of every single thing I do from the time I wake up, to the time I go to bed, but that would probably be the most boring list ever.  So I'm jazzing it up a bit and comparing that which I WANT to do, as opposed to what I actually do.  Because it's more fun. And absolutely heroic....

When I want to roll over and go back to sleep, mainly because I haven't slept 2 consecutive hours in the past 14 years...I get up.

When I want to stay in comfy jammies and allow my mammary glands to flop freely in the wind....I get real clothes on, including a bra.

When I want to pour high-fructose corn syrup in yummy flavors into my morning coffee....I use Stevia and real cream.

When I want to pour a giant bowl of Reese's Puffs cereral, not once, but twice.....I crack open two farm fresh eggs and skip the toast.

When I want to bring my steaming cup of coffee to the computer and play on Facebook and Ravelry for the rest of the day.....I tear myself away after a very brief 30 minutes and do real stuff instead.  Stuff like...

Change all the diapers. Change all the clothes.  Clip all the nails and wash all the hair.

Check all the chores, feed all the mouths (including animals), wash all the clothes, clean all the floors, educate all the children and pass up all the sweets.

When I want to open a book for pleasure reading....I open up a phonics book and sit through the fifth incarnation of a bright-eyed developing reader, decoding words for the first time.

When I want to build a ginmourmous paper mache replica of an Egyptian pyramid for my "Awesome Homeschooling Mother" badge, I settle for reading about the lives of the Pharaohs, gently allowing myself to be a REAL mom instead of THAT mom who does all those cool things (or only did it once and plastered it all over Facebook as if it's a normal daily occurence)

When I want to send my teenage boy out to work with the prison buss, to pick up garbage on the side of the road....I gently remind him that his "job" right now is school and if it were a real job, he'd be fired.  If his "job" were video games, he'd be a CEO somewhere.

I do English language stuff, and science stuff, and history stuff, and ethical behavior lecture stuff.

And then I switch laundry again.  And remove three different shirts from the ninja toddler to get him in his second bath of the day, for reasons either having to do with poop or playing snow angel in the pile of hot dog condiments he has poured all over the kitchen floor.

When I want to take a nap, I stay awake and read 30 board books, fighting to turn each page because the toddler doesn't like change.

When I want to turn on a mindless TV show and settle into Zen-like knitting, I color in a My Little Pony coloring book and listen to who each Pony is and what color they should REALLY be.

When I desperately want to order pizza, or Chinese....I cook something with hamburger and mentally calculate how many paper plates we have left until payday and despise the fact that we no longer have REAL plates because they've all been broken.

When I want to call it a night, I stay awake some more, listen to Bible study on CD and beg God (it's a good  time for begging...during Bible study) to inspire my children to do their evening chores quickly tonight, instead of stretching out the quick 20 minute clean-up to two hours, just barely getting it done before bedtime.

When I want to go straight to sleep at that magic hour, I nurse a baby, pass her off to the husband, and will her to sleep.

When I want to put her in the crib so that I can really stretch out and sleep in whatever position I please, I cuddle her next to me, not wanting to risk the uncomfortable sleep I may get by waking her up when moving her body to the baby bed right next.

And when I want to nod off quickly to sleepy land, instead I think of the million things I needed to do that day, that didn't get accomplished and try to formulate a plan for tomorrow that will ensure I DO get ALL THE THINGS done.


When I want to roll over.....

And it begins again ;)  That's what I do.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New To Her?

I always get tickled when I hear the phrase, our "new to us.." something or the other because it pings my love for appreciating things others have cast off.  The thriftiness in me runs deep, not for financial reasons, but because I despise waste and over-consumption.  It's just a thing of mine.

But there are definitely times when something old is better left in the garbage, in the cast off pile, in the place where you don't ever plan on digging again.

My sister.

Yeah, I'm talking about another human being and I hate it.  My sister has surfaced again.  With more drama. With new stories of how life and the people in hers have wronged her, once again, and how it's not her fault. I honestly don't want to hear about it.  I could have recorded entire conversations my mother had with my sister 6 years ago and just replayed them for my mom today and it wouldn't be any different.  But for my mom, it's all new.  A new hope that her daughter has maybe, finally gotten her act together.  That maybe THIS time she's bringing honesty to the table, rather than a bunch of bullshit lies.

We've done this before.  Many, many times before.  And the first few times, even I fell for the "unusual circumstances" my sister found herself in.  Her "bad luck" in having things stolen, of losing money, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time.  However, after the same scene repeating over and over and over again, I got wise to it and finally had to get my head around the fact that there are people that cannot be saved by my hand, or anyone else's.

But not my mom.  She says she's being cautious.  But the fire in her voice, defending my sister to people she's never met says otherwise.  Her getting involved with the child abuse investigating people, giving them MY phone number.  Not cool.  I asked my mother today how on earth such people would even GET my phone number and she replied 'Oh I HAD to give it to them...'  No, no you didn't.  That is MY personal information and I really do not appreciate you handing it out in the midst of my older sister's drama, especially an older sister I know nothing about and have no contact with.  There is no reason for my name, my life or my phone number to be on anyone's radar concerning her.

I'm trying to look at it from a mother's point of view.  I understand my mother's undying hope that one day my sister will stop being a dumbass and will finally contribute something to the planet, rather than sucking it and all who know her dry, but as a sister, I just can't do this again.  I hope the best for her, but at this point, there's nothing left.  I really have no desire to know her.  There's nothing there.

And it makes me sad.

But not sad enough to believe again.

Or sad enough to support my Mom believing again.  No sugar coating anything this time.  This is one family reunion I won't be attending :(

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Where Ya Been?

Today is the first day I'm home alone with the kids after a blissful 11 days with the hubster home.  It was a very lazy, very slow break and I have to say, much needed.  We had a lot we could have done.  Lots of projects and house stuff, but for this particular break, we took it easy, for the most part.  I didn't blog, barely  interacted on Facebook and instead immersed myself in my family knitting.  For real.  I am so excited by what I've gotten done these past few days!

Freakin horrible picture but under those presents is a completed knitted tree skirt.  I actually finished it this year!! Yeah!!

                                    Cassidy and Elijah, doing something on the internet, with what?  What's that?  Are they under their FINISHED blankets?  Why, yes....yes they are.  Go Mom!! This just needed the ends woven in, which is a dreaded task and Eli's needed a crochet border.  I did three rounds and it took almost a whole skein of Knit Picks Brava in Bulky, but I got that whipped in under an hour!  Finishing feels as good as starting!
Woah!  This is done too?? Yes-sir-eee!!  All ends woven in and border crocheted.  He's happy!  I'm happy.  I'm kicking knitting (er....crocheting actually) butt!!

There are other projects not finished, that I've made signifcant progress on, like Calla's blanket, which just needs a few more repeats of the lace pattern, and Mallory's which just needs put together. I had the self-discipline to weave in most of the ends of her blanket already, so that will be a quick finish I think. Sadly, Jamie's sweater was frogged because the hole I found was not able to be repaired without looking like ass, and since it's the THIRD time I've frogged it, I'm thinking this yarn is demanding a different pattern to show off it's beauty.  His sock?  Hahahah!  I think it has a couple more rows on it too, since I have it in the car and make myself knit on it whenever we go anywhere together in the car.  Why do I hate these so much?  I don't know, but it's on my bucket list to make a pair of socks and I will get them done before I die. I finished the scarf for a friend's daughter, but it's not going to her as I am not happy with how it turned out.

I'm going through each UFO one by one and giving them a little love until I'm sick of looking at them, or run out of yarn, or just finish them.  For some reason, I'm not too interested in starting anything new right now.  Just finishing.

I've also torn through every single sweater I purchase for unraveling and now have a gorgeous stash of cashmere, silk and merino to morph into whatever I want, whenever I want.  Just not right now.  I'm thinking of doing scarf/hat sets eventually.

For now, I'm dreaming of putting my knitting needles up for a bit and getting back to my first love, quilting.  I have a gift to make and I'm super duper excited about it!

I hope everyone out there had a magical, wonderful holiday!! I sure did enjoy mine!