This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I have a friend that is losing her son. 

He is 10 years old and was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma when he was 5.  I cannot imagine facing the death of a child. Staring it down, day after day, watching him get sick, having your hopes raised when he feels better, and feeling his pain right along with him when he gets sick again.  They have been doing this for FIVE years.  Things have been bad before, but now they seem to be going downhill faster than ever.  The cancer is gaining momentum.  The chemo isn't working, the meds aren't working, and he's in so much pain that he can't walk at times.  All she and her husband can do is watch it happen. 

God. Can you imagine? My friend is watching her baby suffer, and although he knows exactly what is happening, he doesn't understand why it is happening to him. And you and your husband can't explain to him or his little brother why it is happening to him because you don't understand it either.  You are all terrified and no one has answers.  You want to fight but you're running out of weapons to use and the doctors are telling you that there isn't anything else that they can do but to "make him comfortable." 

Their lives consist of regular visits to St. Jude's, doses of steroids, side effects, mood swings, chemo, experimental drugs, trial applications and rejections, and loss of function of limbs only to regain them the next day.


Sometimes things seem to be going well and you allow yourself to forget the cancer, forget the inevitable that the doctors keep telling you about, and just slip right into a sense of normalcy.  But in the back of your the back of your mind it it ALWAYS there.  If your child has a pain or an ache you always wonder if it is the cancer.  If his dinner doesn't sit well, you wonder if it is the cancer.  You live in a constant state of fear.  You exist on the edge of panic. 

As a mother, your first thought in the morning is of your kids, and they are your last thoughts as you drift off to sleep at night.  The mother of a child with cancer is no different, but her thoughts are clouded with fear, worry, pain, and uncertainty.  My friend is an amazing woman.  I would have crumbled years ago.  My faith would have been shaken, possibly destroyed.  Not her.  She is literally the STRONGEST person I know.  Her faith in God is unwavering.  She is a woman of prayer.

Please join me in praying for Melissa Thomason, her husband Andy, their son Adam, and their son Evan, who is fighting this horrible disease.  I believe in the power of prayer.  Pray for a miracle.  Pray for strength to deal what comes.  Pray for peace to accept God's will.  Just Pray.  Please.

**Also, if any of you are (or know) State of Alabama teachers, Melissa is going on catastrophic leave as of September 6th. She has used up her leave caring for her old son and could use any and all leave donations. Her job is NOT something she should have to worry about when she is caring for her son.


I found the following couple of paragraphs that I wrote about Melissa a little more than a year ago for a class I taught at church, and I thought I'd share it here.

"She handles all of this with such an immense beauty of faith and strength -- I am in awe of her resolve and the persistence that she musters daily to be diligent in her walk with God while being EVERYTHING to Evan. She is his chauffeur, his nurse, his activities coordinator, and his mom. She never puts him in harm's way and she never lets him make excuses. She always has the knowledge of what is going on inside his little body in the back of her mind, and yet she still allows him to be a kid and she ENJOYS him. As a mother, I cannot imagine being able to do that -- I would want to keep him safe even if that meant never letting him go. She is someone that I have known for over 20 years and ever since I was 14, there were talents and traits that she had that I WISH I did, and the way that she handles her child in the face of this awful disease has revealed more of her amazing character, and made me want to be more like her than I did as an adolescent. 

Faith is something that I strive for in my own life and when I struggle with the day to day, and I remember what her day to day is like, I am humbled by her faith and her strength.  I hope that she knows that regardless of how we have moved on in our lives from the intimate friends that we once were, I think of her and Evan every day. I pray for God to heal him, to keep him happy, and to comfort him when he faces all of the things that no child should have to deal with. I pray for her -- I pray for her peace of mind, for her strength, and for her faith to continue to sustain her. And I give God thanks -- I thank Him that Evan has been able to have the quality of life that he has so far, that the disease has been so slow to progress, and that he has her and Andy as parents to help him through this."

(Sigh) More Voting (Sorry!)

So you may have noticed these new little badge things over there on the right above the "Vote For Me On Top Mommy Blogs!" button.  They do not in anyway negate the "Top Mommy Blog" ranking thing, by the way, so go ahead and get THAT voting over with please.

Apparently, I have been nominated for 3 Blogger's Choice Awards. Yay me!  I'm moving up in the world!  Who knew that after the sneaky hate spiral yesterday that all I needed was to be nominated for some sort of an award to make me feel better?  Voting is a hassle though, so I am a little bit worried about the results. I am up to 8 whole votes in each of the categories but 1 of those 8 votes is mine & 1 is from my husband.  So that means that I am solely responsible for 1/4 of my current votes.  I do not have any idea what if any prize is involved in this contest, and as much as I think it would be cool to win, it would be even cooler to not suck and be embarrassed.  Unlike the "Top Mommy Blog" thing that is a vote every day kind of deal, this is (from what I can tell) a one and done thing.  However, to vote, you have to go here: and register to get a user name, and then you have to find me in each of the 3 categories that I am nominated in: Best Parenting Blog, Best Humor Blog,, Hottest Mommy Blogger. (Hangs head in embarrassment)  With 8 whole votes, I am just about 280 off the lead in humor, 200 off the lead in parenting, and 205 off the lead in the "Hottest Mommy Blogger" category.   And since I do not know if there ARE 200+ of you guys reading this since I know some of you follow by email and some follow anonymously, please ask your friends to vote too. 

Now, see I really kind of wish that I hadn't known about these nominations because now there is all of this pressure to be funny about parenting and to look "hot" while doing it.  I am not even sure that is possible.  I haven't shaved my legs in a week....can you be "hot" with prickly legs??!  Should I go put on some make-up?  Maybe I'll at least comb my hair or something.  And really, my kids have not done anything "blog-worthy" in the past 2 days.  They have done some funny things, but nothing to make an entire post out of.  I feel like when I used to get hiccups in Sunday School and the teacher made me stand in front of the class and commanded me to hiccup.  I couldn't do it.  I feel the same way now -- like I am incapable of being funny. 

The husband says that it is because I am trying to force a post.  Usually when I write a post it is because I have something funny to tell and it just happens.  I rattle it of like I am talking to my friends.  And now that I WANT to be funny, I cannot make it happen.  He's probably right.  (He usually is, but don't tell him.)  So this is not really a post as it is a "How To Vote" tutorial.  Seriously, go and vote.  All you need is an email address and I REALLY don't want to be near the bottom of the list.  And who knows, maybe by tomorrow my kids will have peed on something or flashed a neighbor or volunteered me to be their room mom and I'll have something funny to write about.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not a Good Day

This was not the post I intended to share today, but the one I was working on isn't finished and I am not in the mood to do it.  I have the mother of all "sneaky-hate-spirals" going on today so this post fits my mood a little better.  I will return to my normal hilarity next time -- I have some emails from people that NEED to be discussed, some need to be ridiculed, but not today.  Today I am in a pissy mood.

Did you ever feel like the world is against you?  See, I knew that I wasn't the only one.  Don't get me wrong, in general I have an awesome life -- I have a husband who loves me and would do just about anything for me, 4 healthy and happy kids, most months we can pay all of our bills and have a little left over for an occasional treat.  But lately....I dunno, the little things have been piling up and making me feel a sneaky-hate-spiral snowball effect.

In case you're new here, let me re-cap a few accepted facts for you:  My husband works a job with crap hours where they (in my opinion) treat him like a second class citizen even though he is awesome at his job.  The money is good, but that is about the only positive aspect of his job -- horrible hours, poor morale, and sub-par benefits.  We live in a rented house in Texas 13 1/2 hours from our closest relatives in Alabama.  We get to go "home" twice a year -- once at Christmas for about 2 weeks and once in the Summer for about 2 months.  We really miss Alabama.  We hate Texas.  Our kids are in a nutshell awesome little deviants who keep things interesting.  I am a stay-at-home mom who wants to get paid to write, but so far all I do is write this blog and an occasional children's story and I have had zero luck getting published.  I spend my days cleaning up half-eaten Pop Tarts and refereeing fights over who called who a "poophead" and making meals that prompt at least one kid to ask for peanut butter and jelly.  Because of the husband's work hours (10-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week) I do a lot of the household stuff on my own.  I am constantly trolling job sites for a "better" job for him that is closer to our families.  This last fact is one of the things that has me feeling like nothing is going our way.

My husband works in manufacturing.  Specifically, he works in Food and Beverage Manufacturing.  His official job title is "Packaging Team Lead III" which is just another way of saying "Packaging Supervisor."  This is the first problem.  In this industry, there is no standard for job titles or duties.  What is a supervisor at this company is a manager at another and something completely different at another.  These positions may all sound the same but they all pay drastically different salaries.  This makes it a little difficult when searching for a new job.  With 4 kids and a wife that wants to stay home and write in her PJ's, there is a certain level of income that has to be maintained.  A $40,000 difference in salary isn't workable regardless of the difference in cost of living.  Also frustrating is some employers insistence upon certain degrees -- my husband has a bachelor's degree, but it is in Spanish and not manufacturing.  He is very good at his job and has been doing it for nearly 13 years.  Before that, he owned his own business.  He is smart, hard working, and dependable and he's willing to relocate to anywhere within a 200 mile radius of North Alabama.  Finding another job closer to our families should NOT be this difficult.  I get frustrated with requirements like "MUST have industry specific experience."  I mean, I get it.  It is ideal to have a manager who is familiar with your industry.  But isn't it better to have a GREAT manager and spend a couple of weeks familiarizing him with your industry than to get a mediocre manager who knows a lot about your industry?  After all, before working at his last company my husband knew nothing about sausage and before working at his current company he knew noting about beer.  He can learn the product -- he knows people.  He is an excellent manager who can accomplish what his superiors want done without pissing off his crews.  When he left his last job, his crew pitched in their own money to get him a going away present.  They collected enough money to buy him a very nice leather jacket and gloves.  This was a crew of less than 20 guys who were not wealthy by any one's standards -- many of them were immigrants.  That is how well my husband was liked and respected.  So one thing that has me down of late is the job hunt.

Another thing that is annoying to me is our inability to accomplish some fairly simple financial goals.  We are debt free.  We own our cars outright and we rent our house here in Texas.  But the cars that we own outright are falling apart and despite setting aside money every month we have not been able to save up enough to replace them.  I do not want a NEW van, just a newER van.  But it is a constant dance of two steps forward and three steps back.  We will save up a good $3-4,000 and then have a repair bill of $1,500.  Or the husband will get kidney stones, or one of the kids needs tubes in their ears, or SOMEHTHING that we hadn't planned on will happen and we will have to dip into that money to take care of it.  It's great that we are able to take care of those things without incurring debt, but my van is going to need a new transmission soon and I'd really like to replace it before that happens.  Just this Summer, I had to spend about $1,000 on tires and other repairs on my van.  And we will have to replace the husband's 1997 Buick soon as well.  Good times....

I also wish we had more family time -- more time and more money to do things together.  We have never been on a vacation as a family except for when our parents have taken us somewhere.  We wanted to take the kids to San Antonio for a long weekend, but we don't know when we will have the money or when the husband will be able to get the time off.  We'd like to do things like take our kids bowling, or to play laser tag, or putt-putt  but the same problems apply -- when can dad go with us and how much is it going to cost?  It is a good week when we can go to church together, so finding time for extra activities is very difficult.  I feel like our kids miss out on a lot of the fun of childhood because we cannot afford it and because dad is constantly working to afford the basics.  I know that there are many things that we can do that don't cost anything, and we do try to do some of those things, but it is difficult for ME to do those things with the kids alone.  Also, many of the things that are free and fun are outside activities and when it is 112 degrees, you just can't be outside in that very long.  Frustrating isn't an adequate word.

So, yeah, I'm in a pretty bad mood.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for.  I know that I am very blessed.  I get that.  But I am just ready for something to go our way.  If I played the lottery, I'd say its time for my numbers to hit.  I promise to work on getting over this funk and post something more light and comical tomorrow.  Today I will wallow in my self-pity.  And maybe take a nap.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Guess What?

You'd be amazed how often I'm wrong when people say guess what.
And by people, I mean my kids.  I have been in a death-match battle with a nasty virus for the last few days.  This is always a great time for my kids to play the "Guess What?" game with me.  I have spent the past several days lying in my bed (I had to be within a certain number of steps from the bathroom to avoid hurling all over the place).  Since Thursday night, I have had some very interesting "Guess What?" moments with my kids and while I can't share them all, I thought I'd share one per kid that sort of defines them -- and it is a nice little in-between post while I am working on the one for tomorrow.

The William moment:
"Hey mom, Guess What?"
"I dunno, what?"
"I was watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars on the DVR, and blah, blah, blah. And then Gues What? General Grievious blah, blah, blah.  And on the next episode, blah, blah, blah...."
He recounted 3 whole episodes.  I lay there all clammy and pale listening to him until I had to jump up at one point, push past him, and hurl.  At which point he looked at me and said "Hey, are you sick or something?" 
As I brushed my teeth and stared at him in disbelief, he went back to recounting the Star Wars show.  I have no idea what he was talking about.  But his compassion was overwhelming. 

The Bella moment:
"Hey mom?  Guess What?"
"I dunno know, what?"
"Cooper threw up upsatairs and I am NOT cleaning that up.  Do you and him have the same thing?"
This was of course followed by me dragging my butt upstairs to clean up dog puke that seemed to be a result of the dog eating Lucky Charms cereal that someone no doubt spilt onto the floor.  While the act of cleaning this up made me sick in a way that had nothing to do with my virus, I was at least able to take comfort in knowing that I would not have to clean up the spilled Lucky Charms since Cooper had obviously already handled that.  Again, the concern that my kids have for their mother really touches your heart.

The Lorelei moment:
"Hey mom!  Guess What?"
"I dunno know, what?"
"I am a big girl now because I sleep in underwear without pee-peeing in it and I can climb the door all the way to the ceiling and I'm not tired did you know that mom? I'm sorry your sick, mom.  But Guess What?  I'm not sick am I mom?  Nope, 'cause big girls don't get sick do they mom?  Just mom's get sick.  When I grow up I hope I don't get sick like you mom, 'cause I don't like being sick. Do you like being sick mom?  Well, at least you get to sleep a lot huh. mom?  Can I see the shots in your butt, mom?  I HATE shots.  Don't you hate shots, mom?  Why did you let them give you shots mom?  When I get big I'm never getting shots anymore.  I'm gonna lay down with you mom, okay?  Do you like it when I lay down with you?  Just don't get me sick, okay mom?...."  Occasionally she'd stop for breath, but she rarely let me answer any of her thousand and twelve questions.  Still, she was trying to keep me company....

The Jackson moment:
"Mom, Guess What?"
"I dunno know, what?"
"You're sick."
Well, thank you Captain Obvious.  But he did follow up this profound statement by laying down to cuddle with me and he promptly fell asleep.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Freaky Familiar Visitor

So if you are my friend on Facebook, then you already know what today's post is about.  My kids freaked me out last night -- I mean REALLY freaked me out.  It all started when the 2 youngest refused to go to sleep.  After going in there and telling them to knock it off about elevendy times, I was peeking around the corner at them and realized that they were not, as I had so naively assumed, laughing and talking with each other.  No, of course not.  See, THAT would be normal, and nothing is ever normal in our house.  They were laughing at and talking with someone...or some THING, that I could not see or hear.  Little kids have pretend playmates all the time, it is perfectly normal and healthy and it piqued my interest to see where this was going. 

So I stood there and listened for a few minutes. 

This is apparently a shared experience that they are having.  They are seeing and hearing the same thing.  Well, they're 3 & 4, so there's a lot of giggling. But the gist seems to be that they're being entertained by this....whatever. I heard "Do that again!" followed by squeals of delight, and several "I don't know" and "yes/no" answers to unheard questions.  If it weren't a SHARED experience, I don't think I would have cared. But they BOTH seem to be seeing/hearing the same thing....and I couldn't see or hear anything.  Could 2 very different kids share an imaginary friends?  Was that even possible?

All of my kids have done this at some point.  They had imaginary play dates with "people" who weren't there, but never TWO of them at the same time!  (Actually, I'm not sure if Bella ever did....)  William had an "imaginary" friend who he called "Powder" when he was younger.  He used to offer Powder food from his plate and talk to him when he was alone in his room, and while it was a little disconcerting, I let it go.  I had no reason to believe that it was anything weird other than an imaginary friend.  But he was the only one who saw him.  Now both my kids were talking to someone (or something) that I could not see, at the same time.  And it seemed that this....whatever....was talking back.  The freak out was starting. 

So I did what anyone else would do.  I went and got on Facebook and asked everyone what they thought.  Most of my friends had similar stories of their kids talking to imaginary friends, passed relatives, and the like.  I was told repeatedly to let it go, that it was normal, and that they'd outgrow it.  Normal.  That had been what I had hoped to hear.  It was normal.  There was nothing disturbing about a 3 and 4 year old child carrying on a three-way conversation with some unseen entity.  I am simply doing what I always do -- letting my imagination run away with me.  That cough when William was an infant that I was convinced  was TB was allergies, the rash Bella had at two that I was certain was a result of some toxin she'd been exposed to cleared up on its own before I could even get to the doctor with her -- I have a long history of letting MY imagination run away with me and imagining the absolute worst scenarios.  This was normal childhood imaginative play.  This was not some kind of toddler schizophrenia.  But it was still bugging me.  I went back into their room, half out of curiosity and half because it was super late and they really did need to go to sleep, and I asked them who they were talking to.  They both looked at me and in unison said "Powder."  Whoa.

To my recollection (or my husband's, because I asked) we have never discussed Powder with the kids.  It was one of those things we just didn't make a big deal about with them, thinking that the less attention that we gave it then the quicker it would go away.  Well, apparently he/she/it is back.  This morning before school, I asked the older ones if they remembered Powder.  Bella said "Kinda" and William said "You mean the kind of invisible guy that used to live with us in Georgia?"  (Gulp)  Yeah, that's the one.  I asked him if he'd ever told his brother and sister about Powder and he said no, that he didn't think so.  I was really hoping that he had....and recently, which would have explained his reappearance last night.

This is a new problem.  This isn't a mess that is easily cleaned up.  Whoever or whatever Powder is, my kids like him/it.  Were we talking ghost?  Angel?!  Demon??!  Or had my 3 and 4 year old somehow heard the story about Powder and were using it in their own little game?  Or to freak their momma out?  I didn't know.  I have a pretty open mind when it comes to the supernatural.  I believe in angels and demons.  I also believe that traumatic events can leave "echos" in certain places that are not really ghosts.  And I think I can accept malicious ghosts -- I believe that the righteous go to heaven at death, so I have difficulty believing in a "good" or a "friendly" ghost.  I have a hard time accepting that the God I know would allow a soul bound for the eternal glory of heaven to be "trapped" on Earth.  I don't know if He gives out weekend passes, but I was unwilling to take the chance with my kids.  If this was a supernatural problem, then I only had one course of action.

So laugh if you must, but I mustered my faith and prayed over my kids and their rooms early this morning before they woke up.  I asked God to protect them and watch over them.  If this was a demon or a ghost, I want it out of my house.  If it wasn't then my prayer would have no effect on whatever it was.  This was a real situation where praying was all I could do.  I know that not all of my readers have faith.  I know that a lot of my readers will think that my prayer solution was silly, unnecessary, and/or pointless because they don't believe in God, or they don't believe that this was anything more than 2 kids flexing their imaginations.  I hope that my kids' imaginations are that awesome.  I hope that some specter has not followed my family from Georgia to Texas and haunts my kids.  But I know that God will protect them if there is anything threatening from Powder. 

This morning when Lorelei and Jackson woke up, I asked them about Powder and their visit with him last night.  Neither one of them seemed to know what I was talking about.  I do not know if this was the power of prayer, if they're playing with me, or if they will remember him/it later.  And even if the prayer did nothing for the kids, it made me feel better. Hopefully we won't be seeing Powder anymore.  Time will tell. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reality? Really?

GO AHEAD AND VOTE PLEASE!!! Just click that brown button right over there! ---------->

I have been spending a lot of time lately watching reality TV.  This is highly abnormal for me, but seriously, it is like a train wreck -- you just can't look away.  In an effort to save at least some of you from my fate of recording all of these shows to watch late at night after the kids are in bed, let me just sum them up for you so you can pick which ones you want to risk addiction to.

One of the shows that I have become addicted to is on Lifetime and it is called "Dance Moms."  Really, if you haven't seen this, you need to watch it at least once.  These women spend over $16,000 a year for their daughters to be on a competition dance team with this overweight and psychotic woman named Abby, who dresses them like "prostitots" and has them gyrate on stage like they're trying to make the rent.  I am not what I would consider a prude, but no, I would not let my 8 year old put on a metallic blue bra, bootie shorts, and thigh-high stockings and dance on a stage.  Not even at gun-point.  Ever.  And I would pull my kid out of any school that promoted that type of dance and give the "teacher" a serious tongue-lashing regardless of how many titles and trophies she had won.  The moms on this show, raise their eye brows, talk among themselves about how it is inappropriate, too sexy, and too skimpy, but they always go with what the nutcase says because "Well, she knows what wins."  Look, YOU are the parent.  It is your job to raise your kids up in the way they should go, and unless you want them swinging on a pole by the time they're 20, you're doing it wrong.  Don't get me wrong -- being a professional dancer on Broadway is an admirable profession and I am sure that some of these students make it that far but all of them won't.  And if your 8 year old spends more time in the dance studio than she does at school, then you're not giving her any other option than to be a dancer.  When she doesn't make it on Broadway, what is she supposed to do instead?  These "Dance Moms" need a reality check.

Another show I have started watching is "Outrageous Kids Parties" on TLC.  This one is about these parents who throw parties for their kids that cost more than most cars.  They have original songs composed in their kids' honor, they hire dance troupes to do dances to said original songs, and they invite hundreds of other kids to bear witness to the performance.  They rent bounce houses -- plural -- for the party, they hire caterers, order specialty cakes and treats, they have party favors that would rival my kids' Christmas haul, and they act like this is normal.  The tab on one episode I saw for a pre-school graduation party was over $30,000 -- and that isn't a typo.  It also isn't the most expensive party that has been featured.  I guess since society isn't doing a good enough job making kids think that life is all about making them happy and about them being the center of attention, these parents feel the need to greater inflate their kids' egos.  Seriously, everyone cannot be the center of attention all of the time -- it is just not possible.  I have to be very careful not to let my kids watch this show.  Since we have moved to Texas, my kids haven't really had a birthday party at all.  There are rules at the school about inviting everyone or no one and since I don't have room for 30 kids at my house and I can't afford to take 30 kids anywhere, we just haven't had any parties.

Another TLC show that I have to keep from at least one of my kids is "Toddlers in Tiaras."  My daughter Bella did a pageant when we lived in Georgia.  It was a small, local pageant that benefited the PTA.  She got 1st place.  She was three.  She has wanted to do another pageant ever since.  I showed her this show once to let her see how absolutely nuts the pageant world is and to deter her from wanting to do another one.  It didn't work.  Now, she not only wants to be in another pageant, she wants to be on this show.  Neither one is likely.  I am NOT a pageant kind of mom (in case you couldn't tell).  I wear make-up on Sundays for church, or for rare occasions like dates with my husband, but glitz and glamour really aren't my thing.  One episode of this show will have you wanting to call child protective services.  The moms are INSANE and the kids are all brats.  I most likely be banned from the pageant circuit for giving most of these moms a piece of my mind.  Or for physical violence towards one of the moms or "pageant coaches."  First time I saw some mom hand her 4 year old a foot-long pixie-stick and a Red Bull I'd probably lose it.

Not all of the reality shows are full of crazy parents.  Some are full of just crazy people.  If you get a chance, check out "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" on TLC Wow. That's all I'm gonna say about that one. Just wow.

I love watching "Say Yes To The Dress" and all of it's variations on TLC.  There are some normal people on these shows, but there are also a bunch of nuts.  I am guessing that a lot has changed since I was married nearly 13 years ago, because no one I knew spent anywhere close to $5,000 on their wedding dress, but this seems to be normal now.  There is nothing wrong with wearing a $5,000 gown (or a $30,000 gown) if your budget allows it and the dress is worth it, but I have a hard time wrapping my head around when that would be exactly.  My wedding dress was less than $500.  Granted, it fit off the rack and it was on sale, but still, I have a hard time accepting that in 13 years, the average wedding dress cost has increased that much.  Then there are the dress styles.  When I got married, I wore lingerie under my gown.  It was a white lace corset-like thing that was very uncomfortable.  These days, brides wear that corset with a big poofy skirt and put some crystals on their boobs and that is a couture wedding gown and sells for $13,000. 

After "Say Yes To The Dress" I continue the whole wedding thing and watch this competition show called "Four Weddings" where 4 brides agree to attend and judge each other's weddings and the winner gets a free honeymoon.  The wedding budgets on this show range from $10,000 (which I can totally understand) and $100,000 (which would cause me to elope and use the budget to buy a house).  The best thing about this show aside from the outrageous weddings themselves, is watching these catty brides go all "Judgey McJudgerson" on each other's weddings.  I may not like to participate in conflict, but watching it can be pretty entertaining.

I am not by anyone's definition a "fashionista" but I do enjoy watching the wedding shows and one more TLC show -- "What Not To Wear."  If I wasn't absolutely convinced that they'd tell me that I had to either start going to yoga class or throw away all of my yoga pants, I'd nominate myself to go hear what Stacey and Clinton think I should be wearing.  In fact, one reason that I wear yoga pants all of the time (aside from the fact that they are the most comfortable clothes in the world) is that I don't know what I am supposed to be wearing.  I have a hard time finding clothes that fit everywhere and look right on me, and I figure if I am going to look "wrong" then I might as well be comfortable.  So I sit in my t-shirt and yoga pants and watch as they set other fashion faux pas prone people on the right path (some who are even worse than me).

Now, I love to save a buck whenever possible and I am in awe of people who can go to the grocery store and get everything that they need for next to nothing, so I was pretty excited when I heard about "Extreme Couponing" on TLC.  After I watched it though, I was disappointed that it was less of a "How-To" and more of a freak show.  No one needs 873 bottles of salad dressing.  These people clear out store shelves of products that they do not need or will ever use because they are free or because they actually make them money.  Do they donate the excesses to local shelters or churches?  NO!  Of course not!  They have to add it to their "stockpile!"  They are very proud of these stockpiles.  Their stockpiles often have their own rooms.  Sometimes they spill into every room in the house.  I saw one episode where a lady kept her stockpile of barbeque sauce in her 3-year old's room.  (I really wanted them to leave a hidden camera in there for when the 3-year old discovered the barbeque sauce and figured out how to open it.)  They have enough detergent to last them 2-3 years, so much ketchup that even if they had burgers everyday they could not possibly use it all before it expired, and enough toilet paper to roll the white house from tip to shrubs.  They have shelves of cat food and they don't have a cat, stacks of diapers and no kids, or wall to wall soda and they're diabetic.  They spend 40 or more hours a week planning their trips, stealing their neighbor's newspapers, and cutting and organizing their coupons.  I want to hire one of them to shop for me.  They're doing all of this prep anyway, and they have all of this stuff that they don't need or use.  Instead of me dragging my 4 kids to Kroger every week and to Costco once a month, I'll give them $500 a month to keep me stocked on the stuff I need.  They'll make money, and I'll save money and everyone could be happy.

Some reality shows are worse than others.  I have noticed that the ones I am usually in shock and awe over are the ones that showcase parents and kids.  Lifetime, which until the last few years was better known for its cheesy movies than anything else, is home to the highly addictive and REALLY inapropriate "Dance Moms," but most of the reality TV I watch is on TLC.  After watching these shows, I have decided that TLC needs to change their name from "The Learning Channel" to "The Lunatic Channel."  It would be much more accurate and apropriate.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Okay.  Here's the deal:  I have received an email from what seems to be a reputable website asking me to apply to be a regular contributor.  It would be sort of free-lance, but it would PAY.  As in, legal tender.  The kind that I could use to buy things with, or pay bills with, or give to my kids to buy things with.  The kind that would make it completely unnecessary to give into Google's repeated requests for me to allow them to put ads on my blog. (Which I have considered, but since I have no control over WHAT they advertise, it freaks me out). 

I have until noon on Monday to narrow down my 88 posts over the past 18 months into 3 posts.  I am working on narrowing the list, and I am listing some of my favorites and front runners.  PLEASE comment, private message me, send up smoke signals, whatever you need to do to let me know which ones you think are the best representation of me, my writing style, and my ability.

1)     Hey! Teacher! Leave My Kid Alone!

2)     Don't Ever Agree To Be The Room Mom. EVER. 

3)     I LOVE You! Chocolate is My Favorite!

4)     Seriously? Yep, Seriously. 

5)     It's Okay


7)     Growing up at Central

8)     Letting Go 

9)     Toomer's Corner

10)   Not Me

11)   Judgey McJudgersons Suck 

12)   The Finger of God

13)   Counting My Blessings

14)   I LOVE My Kids. So Back Off.

15)   "Sloth Mom"  

16)   It's NOTHING Like Preschool On TV

17)   Haters Gonna Hate 

18)   Truth in Advertising

19)   What the Heck Happened??!

20)   Shut Up, You're Not Perfect Either

21)   I'm Going To Murder My Bathroom Scale 

22)   Total Freak Out

23)   I am Not, Nor Have I Ever Been, THAT Mom

24)   Trail Mix

25)   Imagine All The Crazy...

I know.  This is pitiful.  I should have been able to narrow it better than this.  But, I didn't.  So as you can see, I need your help.  Lots of these, you may not have read before.....especially if you are new here. And if you HAVE read them, please re-read them.  Let me know which 3 you would pick.  I am trying to show that I can be funny, poignant, sentimental, edgy, sarcastic, .....well, you get the idea.  If I can get it down to 5 selections, I will put them in a hat and choose 3.  This is why the walls in my house are all white.  I suck at making decisions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Imagine All The Crazy...

So, I'm doing better. I'm up to #49, but I still need for you all to vote -- so go ahead and get it out of the way by clicking on that button. (If you're on your phone, scroll to the bottom and click "View Web Version" so you can see the button and THEN click on it.)

I don't really have a post in my head today, so I have no idea what I am about to write. I hope that you all have your coffee because there is no telling where this is going....

I was told recently that I have an amazing imagination. A friend who has known me for more than 2 decades told me that she wished that she had an imagination like mine. I told her that she didn't know what she was wishing for. My imagination gets me into trouble. I've been thinking a lot lately about the many things that drive me crazy, give me gray hairs, and make me paranoid -- besides my kids, I mean. Here is what I have discovered: I am unreasonably paranoid about things that are beyond impossible, and it is because I have an awesome imagination. I have a number of completely irrational fears. I do not sit around obsessing over these, but when I have too much time on my hands, or if faced with certain situations, or if I am trying to make myself fall asleep…they crawl out of the corners of my subconscious mind and I can’t stop thinking about them.

For example, I am afraid of forgetting something important. I don't mean something like a PIN number or a password. Those can be reset. I mean like, I sign up for a class and forget to go. Or I forget to pick my kids up somewhere.  Or I'll get invited somewhere like a State Dinner at the Governor's mansion and I'll forget about it until I see the pictures in the morning paper the day after.

I am afraid of sharks. I live in Texas, no where near the coast, and I haven't been to the beach since 2007. Yet, at least once every couple of weeks, I have a nightmare about sharks.

I have a fear of picking things up that require me to curl my fingers under an unseen edge. I am certain that there is a brown recluse, a black widow, a tarantula, or a roach hiding on the underside and that I will put my hand right on top of it.

I am also afraid of contracting a weird disease. I am afraid that I will get some kind of undiscovered disease and all of the doctors will think I am a hypochondriac because they have never seen it before and won't recognize it. Or worse, I will be dying of something that I don’t recognize as a reason to go to the doctor until it is too late. (Seriously, the kid in Kindergarten Cop that said “Maybe it’s a tumor?” Yeah, this fear is completely his fault. I cannot have a headache without a whisper of the thought of tumors and aneurisms and tiny alien robots attached to my brain stem).

I am afraid that I will throw my gum away by wadding it up in a winning lottery ticket, or that I’ll be in the shower when the Publisher’s Clearing House people come to the door.

I am afraid that I will forget to put on a vital article of clothing before leaving the house. I mean, I am not (by anyone's definition) a "fashionista", and I don't care if I match, but I do constantly have to make sure that I am wearing a bra and shoes when I hit the front door.

Every time that I am driving and get stuck on a bridge or overpass in traffic, I have a fear that some catastrophic event will cause the structure that I am sitting on to collapse and I will plummet to my death in my mini-van. Similarly, if I am UNDER a bridge or overpass, I am convinced that it will fall on top of me.

If I am in a public place, specifically alone, and it is NOT crowded, but a stranger positions themselves close to me, I am certain that they are there to kill me. Like, if I go to a movie alone and there is virtually no one else in the theater but this random guy walks in and sits directly behind ME? Yeah, I gotta move. He’s quite obviously a serial killer and has a piano wire coiled up in that tub of popcorn.

One of my fears is that I am crazy….no, I mean REALLY crazy, like “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” -- NUTS. Sometimes I will be out with a friend -- laughing and talking -- and all of a sudden a wave of anxiety will sweep through me. I will catch a weird look from a complete stranger, and have a momentary panic. The thing is; I wonder if my friend is real. Am I just standing here by myself, laughing and joking around with a phantom? I immediately start looking for a reflective surface just to make sure that I am not standing alone. (I blame this one on “The Sixth Sense.”)

Along these same lines, I sometimes fear that I will wake up one morning and discover that I am only about 13 years old and that the past 24 years that I thought I have lived were just a very vivid dream I was having because I ate bad Chinese food or something. Or that I will wake up and find myself in a hospital and discover that I am an old woman who has spent the past quarter of a century in a coma, and that I was never married or had kids.

On the flipside of that, I am afraid that my entire life is being broadcast somewhere and that people are watching me (like the movie “The Truman Show”).

I am afraid that in another dimension, there is a better version of me. Her kids are all perfect and she is at her ideal weight, she has been published multiple times, her laundry is done, her house is clean -- she is everything I wish I was sometimes.

I have watched enough cop shows to have a fear of home invasion. It is not like I live in a fancy neighborhood, own anything anyone would want to steal, or have aggravated any mob bosses or drug cartels, but I still make sure that all of the doors are locked even in the middle of the day. (Someone might get the wrong address).

The sad thing is, these aren’t even all of the things I fear. There are other things that I am afraid to mention out loud to anyone because you will all think I am completely nuts (if you don’t already). Not to mention the fact that I have enough completely rational fears without imagining all of this. I am afraid of something happening to my kids, of being a bad wife or mother, of becoming THAT mom, of getting stung by a bee and not having my epi-pen, or that my kids will turn out just. Like. Me.

So, be careful what you wish for. My imagination is awesome….most of the time it is fun. I can make it through boring parent/teacher conferences by imagining that the teacher I am talking with has purple skin and that my kid is in an alien academy for the extremely gifted. I can stand in line at the grocery store and imagine that the items the person in front of me is purchasing are for the family of Oompah Loompahs she keeps captive in her basement. It makes the ordinary, the mundane, and the boring parts of my life far more interesting. However, when lying in the dark trying to go to sleep, or when left alone too long, my imagination concocts the irrational, the paranoid, and the crazy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

School Days, School Days....Crap.

School starts next Monday.  While I am kinda looking forward to days NOT filled with arguments over who gets to watch what on the big TV, who called who stupid, and who hit who first, there are MANY things about school starting up again that suck.

I took all 4 kids back-to-school shopping for the 2 oldest.  Not for clothes (yet), but for supplies. 

When I was a kid, I loved to go back to school shopping.  I was certain that this purple Trapper Keeper with the unicorn and the Velcro closure was going to ensure all A's.  I just knew that the glitter #2 pencils were going to positively influence my test scores more than the boring yellow ones ever could.  Then there were the myriad folders and notebooks in every color of the rainbow, with pictures of Smurfs, or Bugs Bunny, or Michael Jackson, or Kirk Cameron, or whoever or whatever I was obsessed with that year.  There were the pencil boxes and pouches, the crayons, the markers, the protractors and rulers, the notebook paper, and the book bag and lunch box.  It was awesome.  I think one reason that I loved it was because it was all NEW and it was all MINE.  Supply shopping was one of the highlights of the back-to school process.  All of my shiny happy new school supplies distracted me from the fact that it WAS school for about a week or so.  Along with the new clothes I had picked out for the first few days of school, these items made me look like the cover of the JC Penny catalog for at least a little while.  It was exciting and a lot of fun to pick out your stuff for school. 

I will tell you that this is NOT the case when you are the parent. 

We went to shop for our school supplies and immediately I began getting irritated.  It wasn't my kids (for once) that were the problem, it was the supply lists provided by the school and the teacher.  My kids are in 2nd and 4th grade.  I didn't even get everything and I spent over $150.  The lists were a little ridiculous.  I'm looking at the lists and I am convinced that the reason that I have to buy a lot of this crap is because there will be kids whose parents can't or won't provide these items for their kids.  Otherwise, why would I need to buy TWO identical boxes of crayons?  Or TWO rulers?  Or 24 #2 pencils?  I am also required to supply 5 red ink pens -- I am certain that these are for the teacher to mark up my kids papers all year, and a 4 pack of dry erase markers.  So I am not just buying supplies for my kids and their classmates, but also for their teachers.  Also annoying is the fact that the school lists are specific to the quantity and brands that they want you to buy.  "90 sheet single subject wide ruled spiral notebooks (4)" -- great.  They make 70 sheet and 120 sheet single subject wide ruled notebooks, but no 90 sheets (at least not at the 3 stores I have been to).  "Plastic folders with pockets and brads, six, all different colors" -- really?  I found 5.  Not 5 colors, 5 total folders that fit that description in 3 different stores -- 2 black, 1 gray, 1 pink, and 1 purple.  If I could, I would just buy the paper ones (which were EVERYWHERE) and laminate them and call them plastic.   The fourth grade list includes "Four packs of 'Map Pencils'" -- what the heck are "Map Pencils??!"  I had to ask.  I found out that they are just colored pencils, but WHY does he need FOUR packs???  Just how many maps do fourth graders draw??!  They need specific brands of erasers, specific brands of writing tablets, specific brands of glue, etc.  Not just a 2-3 inch three ring binder, but a FABRIC three ring binder that ZIPS.  Not just a ruler, but a flexible plastic ruler with holes.  It is like some sort of sick, twisted scavenger hunt.  Oh, and then there are the dry Clorox Wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, paper towels, and Ziploc bags (in 2 different sizes).  Apparently us parents are supposed to supply the cleaning supplies, the grading implements, and the classroom supplies for the entire class for the entire year.  And I STILL don't have it all.  I will have to finish school shopping this weekend because school starts next Monday, but I am going without the kids.  When they were with me, I had to buy Justin Beiber and Star Wars notebooks.  I have enough requirements from the school without trying to accommodate the minions.

As bad as all of that is, the worst part about school starting up is that I have to get myself and the kids back on a schedule.  I don't like schedules.  I like to stay up late and I loathe getting up at anything close to a decent hour.  Last week I stayed up reading until 4 am.  Today I slept until noon.  My kids have gotten very European this Summer -- we eat dinner around 9:00 and then party afterwards.  We spend days in our PJs.  I had 8 kids in the house Friday night and not one of them was asleep before 2 am.  I do not like schedules, but the school system is really serious about theirs so I have to adjust despite my rebellious tendencies.  They do not accept excuses like "I am sorry my kid was tardy this morning, but there was a "Dance Moms" marathon on last night and I couldn't look away, so I overslept this morning."  Also, I am worried about my kids' teachers this year.  I ended the year with the 3rd grade teacher on a bad note (see "Hey! Teacher! Leave My Kid Alone!") and I don't know what she may have told the fourth grade teachers about me and my son.  I have had several suggestions from friends that I homeschool my kids.  I look at these "friends" with a sort of sad amusement -- they obviously don't know me at all.  Anyone who knows me knows that any attempt to homeschool my minions would result in court ordered therapy for all of us.  However, I AM fairly certain that no one will be asking me to be the room mom this year....I guess that's something.

Friday, August 12, 2011


So after an all-time high ranking of "7" on "Top Mommy Blogs," I have sunk to a new all-time low of "89."  It's like I haven't posted in a month or something.....
And after all of your "loving" emails about where I am and why am I not posting and how you are going to quit following if I don't post soon (some with more colorful language than others), I want to point out to you all that I don't get paid for posting, and while I'm really glad that you have missed me, seriously, I was ON VACATION.  But I am back now, so go ahead and start voting again. 

I've been "home" in Texas now since late Sunday night, but I've been busy with unpacking, laundry, catching up on the overflowing DVR, grocery shopping, going through 7 weeks of mail, oh, and with the "Roach Wars of 2011."  The husband had told me that 50+ days of no rain and extreme drought conditions here had made their apperances in the house more frequent, so when we arrived on Sunday night we did a preliminary sweep for them and found none.  However, word must have gotten out that the crazy, parnoid, bug-phobic lady was back, because Monday there were 2 in the house and today there was a third, huge, granddaddy of all roaches in my bathroom.  His antennae alone were at least 3 inches long and he was hiding on the backside of the towel that was hanging on the shower door.  Of course, I was sitting on the toilet when I saw him so I peed in record time.  Despite the kids trying to help, emptying an entire can of Raid, and trying multiple times to stomp on him (missing every time), we are unsure that he is dead.  We can't find him.  Which means that I have closed the bathroom door, shoved towels up under the door and must now pee in the hall bathroom until husband gets home.  All three of these demons appeared in the middle of the day, when husband was at work.  This reaffirms my theory that they send in suicide roaches to mess with me.

Tuesday night I wrote a fairly awesome post, scheduled it to post Wednesday morning, and went to bed.  It not only didn't post, it dissappeared.  So I will try to recreate it, and it won't be as good because my writing is always a little better when it is off the top of my head and then I go back to make sure that all the words are spelled right and that it makes a little sense.  If you remember, there was a story that I wanted to tell you all, but I was waiting for permission from the person that it involved.  Well, since the situation is still on-going, with new developments, my friend has asked that I sit on it.  So I am sitting on it both because she asked me to and because I want the whole story when I tell it.  Its a shame, really, because it was among the most interesting things that happened this Summer while I was in Alabama and it didn't even happen to me.  Well, there is one thing that happened this Summer......

I quit smoking.  The fact that I smoked at all has been a closely guarded secret.  But once my kids figured it out, I knew I had to quit.  It still took me a year to actually do it.  It's not like I hadn't quit before, I've quit 5 or 6 times over the past 20 years but never stayed quit for more than 9 months or so.  I will not lie, I LOVE smoking.  I love the way it feels in my throat, the calming wave that washes over me with that first inhale, basically everything about how it makes me feel.  I smoked through colds, the flu, and even pneumonia once.  I never smoked around my kids or with my kids in the car, but I loved to smoke while driving.  I never smoked in my house -- ever.  There is one very good reason for that:  I HATE the smell of stale cigarette smoke.  I can't stand it on my hands, in my hair, or my clothes.  It has been easier to smoke here in Texas because the air is so much drier.  See, when you smoke in humid conditions, the smoke just hangs in front of you, stuck in the heavy air, clinging to you so that you, well, stink.  But when the air is relatively dry like it is here, the smoke is wafted away and doesn't cling to you, so you don't stink...or at least you stink less.  You would think that all of that would make it easier to quit.  It doesn't.  You would think that after 4-5 weeks of no cigarettes, the cravings would go away.  They don't.  In fact, at the moment that I am writing this, I'd throw the kids into the car and run to the convenience store and buy a pack, but I know that the husband would kill me and the kids would tell on me and I'd be disappointed in myself.  Besides, I did not go through the torture of getting nicotine out of my system those first few weeks just to have to start all over again.  But still.....I REALLY miss it.

As a result of quitting the smokes, I have gained about 10 pounds.  I didn't have room for 10 more pounds.  So now, without my celebratory cigarette, I must force myself to exercise.  I loathe exercise.  I used to go to the gym with the understanding that I would get a coke and a cigarette when I was done, now I will have to figure out another reward system.  Maybe I will let myself converse with a treadmill Barbie, or call a headroom mom, or write an editorial for every week that I make it to the gym at least 3 days.  (If you do not "get" that, then you need to go back and read my old posts).