Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our Line Dancing Experience

One of my best friends teaches line dancing every week. I rarely go but I do enjoy it when I do. For a variety of reasons, I decided to go last week. I knew Babe would enjoy it and Bud was excited about the prospect of running around on the auditorium stage. 

This is the outfit Babe wore when we went... 
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Babe inherited her ability and love of dance from someone else, no question, because she did GREAT for never having done it before! But, as expected, she got a little tired of it after about 3 songs and went to play with Bud. 

But this post isn't really about line dancing, nor about my daughter's stellar outfit choices. It's about Bud. Because what happened when we were leaving is when the real story began. 

I finished dancing and went to round up the kids in the gym. They had been playing with LC's niece (Oh, I should mention that LC is what I will use to refer to my boyfriend) so they had played an invigorating game of tag and all sorts of other games that left them hot and sweaty. When I went in both kids had their shirts and socks off. It was an especially attractive look on Babe with that crazy skirt! As I walked in, Bud saw me and, being the monkey he is, scrambled up some mats that were rolled up in the corner. I WISH I had my camera to record what happened next...but I didn't so you'll have to settle for my awful reenactments using a drawing app on my iPad.

So I walked into the gym to find him like this...
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And because his effortless climbing skills always amaze me I started to fumble for my iPad so I could tell him to do it again so I could catch it on video. I wrestled my iPad out of my bag, got the camera up and ready, looked up and Bud was GONE! WTF? Until I realized...
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Yeah, he was IN the mat!

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As soon as I got to the mat, I knew the only way to get him out was to tip him over. It was a big mat! (Please note: my drawing-to-scale skills are nonexistent) So I told him what I was going to do, reached up, grabbed a hold of the mat, and tipped him over. 

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As I let go of the mat I told him to crawl out...but what I didn't count on was that the heavy mat would compress...effectively squishing him inside and FREAKING HIM OUT!!!
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So I quickly struggled to picked the mat back up and rested it on my knees and told him to slide out of the bottom. Except that he was in full panic mode and all he kept saying was I'm stuck! I'm stuck! HELP!!! So I told him to give me his hands. You know what? He was STUCK!! Because he didn't have a shirt on and was sweaty, and now panicky, he was completely stuck to the inside! I pulled and pulled!

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And I FINALLY got him out and I said to him...

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They both can't wait to go back next week!


Friday, March 21, 2014

When is it OK to forgive the unforgivable?

For privacy sake I’m not going to go into full details, but what is helpful to know is that I used to be best friends with someone until she completely betrayed my trust in one of the worst possible ways. At the time I really wanted to put it behind us and remain friends. I tried, but I just couldn’t. It was too raw and even though rational me said it was ok to forgive and forget, emotional me was all “Nut uh girl! She best be steppin!” 

It’s been almost  a year now and I’ve seen her a time or two but it was in passing and that was it. The hard part about this whole thing is that her son and Bud are best friends. Best, best, best friends! And this year they aren’t in the same class so they barely see each other at school and they don’t get to hang out outside of school either. As hurt as I was that still made me feel bad for the kids. They can’t control any of that and I hated to see them pay for it.

No one has ever faulted me for ending the friendship, in fact people thought I was crazy to even try to make it work. But, last night I saw her at the local ice cream place (ironically, the same place we met for the first time several years ago) and we chatted for a bit. I felt like I was meeting a past lover who I never got over. I realized how much I missed her! She’s fun and spontaneous, but also a planner, and we get along so well with no effort at all. 

I think I want to try to start up our friendship again. Part of me is excited at the prospect of having her as a friend again. The other part screams that I’m an idiot and if she could hurt me that badly once, she’s not going to hesitate to do it again. Am I just setting myself up for more pain? Or should I forgive her and move on? Maybe I’ve already forgiven her. Her actions were a catalyst for other things but they certainly weren’t the “reason” things went down the way they did. Maybe I should even thank her, because really everything has worked out for the best. I think maybe it will be easier to forgive than forget. But I think it might be worth a shot. I’m pretty sure we won’t ever be as close as we once were, but I think that’s ok. It will just be nice to have an old friend back, and someone to take excursions to the zoo with, and all the other things that I’m so bad about doing. So I think I’ll try to forgive…and if I’m lucky, even forget. 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Anyone know a good bookie?

Bud is obsessed with money. We play Monopoly in every spare minute and all he wants to do (and all he does…the little jerk) is land on free parking. He constantly talks about how much money he has saved and what he can buy with it. We had a conversation in the car about who was on what bills. I, shamefully, didn’t know very many so when we got home he asked if we could google it. Did you know there is a $100,000 bill? He said he wanted it. I told him so did I! He asked if we could play the lotto, and then quickly added that if we win I should give all the money to him because it was his idea. Money, money, money, money, money.

A couple of weeks ago when my mom was up for a visit, he asked her to play bank. He was “buying and selling” cars and was giving pretty accurate values to my mom. But the piѐce de rѐsistance was this weekend when he went to a birthday party at the local, in-door mini-golf place. I dropped him off, and like any good mom, I hightailed it out of there so I didn’t have to socialize. When I went back to pick him up the birthday boy’s mom informed me that Ryan had a dollar in his pocket for winning a round of mini-golf. I didn’t think much of it and I told him I was proud of him for playing so well that he won a prize! Until we got into the car and I got the full story: He challenged the mom to a round of mini-golf and bet her money that he could beat her. They got done, after he sufficiently whipped her, where she proceeded to try to give him a “gold doubloon” (fake gold coin) as his winnings. He told her that he meant the bet to be a real dollar…not fake money! (The very notion!) He went on to say that he was glad he won because he didn’t actually have any money on him, but he felt good about the bet anyway because he was pretty sure he’d win. Bud…coming to the a local OTB near you!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Because you can never have too many pictures!

Being away from my blog for so long, I’ve accumulated a lot of pictures that I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle of life, so I’m going to post them here. So here’s some things that have happened in the last few months.

Bud has been in to muscles and working out and fitness lately. It's extremely funny while also awesome! He started watching You Tube tutorials of different workouts and was asking me questions on different types of workouts. I taught him how to do a plank and he got to the point where he could hold it for 6 minutes! Have you ever tried to hold a plank for 1 minute?? I have NO idea how he made it to 6!!! But, it was hilarious afterwards because his core was so sore! The next day he said he was still sore and he informed me he would NOT be holding it for 6 minutes anymore! I told him I thought that was a good idea!

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Here's him in a montage of You Tube guided awesomeness...
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Note the appearance of the snowman blanket? The wood floor was too hard and my exercise mat was at work so he improvised! He's doing leg lifts. He increased the difficulty by being up on his arms, as described by his You Tube tutorial!

But my most favorite story...and I SO WISH I had a picture of it...is from a few weeks ago when I took the kids to volleyball with me. They were so good playing on the sidelines and just hanging out. We were in between plays and I looked over and Bud was doing push ups on the sidelines. He didn't realize we were all watching him and all of sudden, very nonchalantly, he lifted up his left arm and put it behind his back and started to rep out ONE-ARMED PUSH UPS!!!!!!!!!! WTF????????? It was AMAZING! We were all going nuts watching him but he still didn't know we were paying attention to him. He did about 5 before he went back to two-armed ones. It was insane! The boy's got some talent! 

Speaking of volleyball, a couple of months ago I brought my camera to one of our games and had Boyfriend's nephew take pictures as we played. He captured one of my favorite sequences of me and Boyfriend. You can see I was going for the ball before he called me off...

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Now let's get to a little Babe. Her facial expressions and mannerisms are so expressive and hilarious! Never a dull moment for sure! She wanted me to play school with her but I was cooking dinner. I asked if we could play in the kitchen and she thought that was a great idea as she could take the opportunity to teach me how to cook!
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That last face is my favorite!! "Any questions?"

And finally, like much of the country (except for my friends in the Northwest that NEVER get snow accumulation), we have been dumped on by snow. Most of the snow has also been accompanied by bitter cold temps so we really haven't had much chance to take advantage of the accumulation. But a couple of weekends ago we got a fresh dump and we took advantage of it! We went to the skate park right near our apartment and we had a lot of fun!!

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Love these two!!

I will leave you with my favorite video of Babe EVER! Just an impromptu dance party in Wal-Mart! There is no music playing anywhere...she's just got her own beat going!



Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Vacation" Day 4

I didn't have all three girls today so when I got out of my class I picked up Babe and we went to Bud's school to surprise him and eat lunch with him. It was really fun to sit with him and to see his friends and have them call me Bud's mom the whole time. "Hey Bud's mom, I'm eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!" "Hey Bud's mom, I have the same name as Babe but I'm a boy!" (That last one makes for some very interesting conversations when Bud gets home and talks about that boy but we think he's talking about Babe.) I so rarely have a day off when the kids are in school so it was really great to be able to stop in and surprise him like that. I think it meant as much to him as it did to me! And I know Babe liked it too! 

Bud was excited to show me how things worked in the cafeteria and he strutted around like he owned the place. I don't often get to see him in that capacity and it makes my heart swell. He's still quiet and unassuming, but he's also confident and smart. Since I don't get to see him at school or very much with random kids, I just have to trust that he gets along well and handles things the way he should. And he does. He has a lot of friends and he's nice to everyone. It really makes a mother proud!

And as I sat there and watched Bud interact with his classmates, it really hit me how grown up he is getting. He's also letting his hair grow out and it makes him look much older than when it's shaved. He's 7. When the frick did that happen? I vividly remember second grade so how is it possible that my offspring is now in that grade, when I just finished it not too long ago? It was just the other day, wasn't it?

This was definitely a special day and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to make it happen!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Things I've learned in the last two days

I am on "vacation" this week so I can babysit my nieces and Babe while their grandparents (their normal babysitters) are on a much needed vacation. Please note the italics and quotes on the word "vacation." I am NOT cut out to be a stay at home mom. It really has gone well these last two days, I really have no complaints...but these last two days have made me realize some very important things:

1) I am supremely grateful that I stopped after two children! 

2) I DO NOT want to have another baby. <-- I fully understand this may change if I end up getting married again, but right now...praise the Lord that I don't have to consider it!

3) I could NEVER be a stay-at-home mom. I think it takes a special kind of person to do it and do it well. I can handle it this week because I know it's not permanent, but I'm a better mom when I'm not home with them all day. I don't think this makes me a bad mom, I just know my limitations.

4) So glad I'm done with diapers!! Yay for fully potty-trained kids!!

5) I'm really grateful for these days I get to spend with my nieces. As they grow, and as time creates distance between me and my ex's family, I'm really glad I get to spend this time with them and appreciate them. I really, really do...even if it involves changing diapers.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why hello there!

Oh hello! Fancy meeting you here! No, I didn't die, although it seems my blog might be on the verge of visiting the here-after. I'm mainly posting tonight because I have a paper due on Thursday and major writers block. Lots going on in my head and I can't focus on my paper at all. I figured if I can't be productive there, maybe I can be productive here! I've been having the urge to post something lately so why not now when I'm in the middle of procrastinating! Oh, that reminds me! I couldn't resist this Procrastinate Now sign in the store this weekend. 

Can you see it, just above the mirror?

Fun, right? It's perfect for me! Oh, and don't mind the candy canes in the bowl. Not pictured is my Christmas tree stand in the box over by the couch. Did I mention that I am a master procrastinator? I am!

So, shall we catch up? Thank goodness kids are like weeds and grow even when you aren't looking. Not that I'm not looking. In fact, lately I think my mom-status has grown exponentially. It's amazing what you can do when you are happy! I know this sounds terrible, but last year at this time I was just trying to survive day by day, barely "living" and only just "surviving." It wasn't their fault of course, but they certainly had to deal with it. I know they loved me then, and accepted me for all my faults and lackingness (I enjoy creating new words), but now I can honestly say, without my fingers crossed behind my back, that I'm a GOOD mom! I know most mom's might not understand, and for that you should be very VERY thankful, but I wasn't the mom I should have been. But now I am. Now I can be! 

In case you have forgotten, last year at this time my life was on the cusp of falling off a cliff. And fall off the cliff I did! Thankfully, beyond the rocky bottom was a trampoline and I bounded up past the old cliff and landed on a new cliff that has loftier views and much more fresh air! Oh the fresh air!! I'm down a husband and up a happy life! I don't want to rag on the ex too much though. For as awful as our relationship was, and as awful as this divorce process has been, I have to admit that I couldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for that time in my life. And, most importantly, I have two awesomely beautiful, wonderful, amazing, fantastic kids because of it. So despite all the sadness and stress and anguish and heartbreak, I can't say that I regret it. This whole thing has given me an amazing appreciation for the life I have now. It's not easy, I'm still struggling to make ends meet and balance kids and work and school and my boyfriend life! Oops, did that slip out? Yeah, it's really weird to say that I have a boyfriend. It makes me feel like I'm 16 again. But he definitely has made this whole process much easier! I don't know how I would have survived without him. He's been my escape when I needed it and an ear whenever I needed it (I've needed it a lot!). I don't feel like this is the right platform to go on and on about him, but I'll quickly say that he allows me to be myself, he appreciates who I am and the struggles I'm enduring, and knowing that he supports me and my dreams and endures my craziness rather well, well he's just what I need. I think I'd better stop there, otherwise that part where I said "quickly" will be more like "10 pages later." 

So yeah, I'm happy with things right now. We're in a little apartment right now but I'm signing a lease on a house in a couple of weeks and I think it will be a great move for us. Right now we have two bedrooms for the three of us, no tub, no washer or dryer, we live on the second floor with an elderly couple below us that likes to go to sleep early and complain about the jumping and noise from above. The house will be all ours, no need to worry about the kids jumping around and being KIDS! We'll have a tub and a washer and dryer! We'll have our own washer and dryer! Did I mention we'll have our own washer and dryer?! No more trips to the laundromat! Actually, the laundromat isn't as awful as I expected it to be. I kind of like that I can do all my loads at once and be done with it. What I don't like is shelling out the god-awful amount of quarters each week! Renting the house is more expensive but the money I'll save on the laundromat alone will make it a cheaper option! Crazy! And have you ever tried to give a four year old a shower in a shower stall that is too small for you to lift your arms up to shampoo your hair (this is not an exaggeration)? I'm not a big person, I take up very little room, and yet I cannot wash my hair without hitting my elbows on the walls. So I can't get in the shower with Babe, I have to stand outside of it with the detachable shower head and hose her down like she just got done playing in the pool. Have you ever tried to wash a four year old's hair with one hand while you hold the shower head in the other? I can't let the shower head go because it spins all crazy and will get water everywhere. I also can't give Babe the shower head because SHE spins all crazy and will get water everywhere. Shower-time is a very interesting part of the night! Thankfully Bud is old enough to shower himself so I only have to be there to hand him his washcloth and make sure he doesn't stay in so long that his entire body turns into a prune. I'm really looking forward to a tub! And did I mention that there'll be a washer and dryer in the house? Because there will be and I may be a little excited about it. 

In other good news, I got another promotion a few months ago! That makes two promotions in four months! Yay me! It means a butt-load more responsibility but I say bring it on! I've been in the office for 7 years and I'm so very ready for more responsibility! I got the second promotion at the expense of my very dear friend leaving, and that makes me very sad, but I am happy for the opportunity to keep growing. It fits in well with my determination to grow personally. So adding in "growing professionally" just makes sense! 

Ok, I think this is it for now. I don't want to go overboard on my first post back. (Am I back? I don't know. Please don't hold me to anything.) 

I'll leave you with a few pictures from this weekend. Visiting my parents is always a good time and this weekend was no exception!

A great day for a fire-side tea party!

Mom! Mom! Did you get the fire in the picture?! Make sure you get the fire!

Last time we ate Dinosaur BBQ Bud told me "I'm your little carnivore!" This is an accurate description! He enjoys himself some ribs!!


Friday, November 29, 2013

I guess it was bound to happen, I just wish I'd been prepared

Have you ever been in a room full of people who are welcoming and genuinely glad to have you there but have never felt so lonely in your life? I'm thankful for a lot of things, most of all my kids and my family. But that's what makes it so hard to know that I just am not a part of a really good one anymore. 

I had the kids for thanksgiving, but for a variety of reasons it made the most sense to spend it with my ex and his family. His family are some of the nicest, most welcoming and caring people I know. In fact, they are a big part of the reason I chose to marry him in the first place. I like being a part of their group. And today was no different. Except it was. I've already mourned the loss of my marriage but now I'm struggling with the loss of his family. They are nothing but supportive of me and again, always welcoming, but it was very obvious today that I can't be a part of it anymore, no matter how much we all think I can be. I didn't expect today to be quite so difficult. As in any divorce, things aren't always pleasant, but we've made a really solid effort to keep things civil and nice, particularly for the kids. So while I knew it would probably be a little awkward, I didn't expect to have such a strong emotional reaction to the day. 

My ex's girlfriend was there for part of the day too (which I knew ahead of time so I was prepared - I thought). I like her, she's been a family friend forever and so I know her and her kids pretty well. She's a great mom and I think they could have something really good. They just go well together. But that's just it. It's like they already have this nice little family unit going and I'm just excess baggage. I know my kids always need me and I'm their mother and all that comes with it. But my ex and his girlfriend are able to provide that sense of family that my kids are so desperately missing right now. My ex is living in our family home, and while my apartment is comfortable, I can't provide that family feeling. All that I have here belongs to my ex. This is his territory and all I've ever been a part of up here has been because of him and the people he knows. I've never felt that as strongly as I did today. My family lives far away and I never made friends with anyone while we were together (well I did, but that's why I'm not married anymore - but that's besides the point). Because we don't get to see my family very often it makes it special when we get to see them, but I can't provide that on a constant basis for my kids, and I don't get to experience it for myself either. And it all leaves me feeling hollow, inadequate, and unbelievably sad. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so happy that my kids have my in-laws to love and care for them and provide them with the sense of family they need and deserve. And I am thankful that my ex has found a person that will love and treat my children they way they should be treated. But I can't help but feel I'm being left behind and I'm not good enough. 

I'm counting my blessings today, but I'm also mourning the loss of what it felt like to be a part of my family. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Family Learning Factor

I learned today (actually just a few minutes ago) that a friend of a friend recently started a new parenting blog and I’d like to share her with you. It actually comes at a great time because just last week one of my favorite bloggers posted about structured learning at home. The general consensus was that supplemental structured learning was overkill for our babies, but we also want to make sure we are doing what we can to enrich their learning experience in everyday life. I think TheFamily Learning Factor is a good mix from an experienced teacher. Her posts are honest, real, and in my opinion, motivating. Read her first post here. I think she does a good job explaining her philosophy and her purpose for her blog. I haven’t read every single post (give me a break, I got the link about 20 minutes ago!) but I like what I read and I think her enthusiasm is refreshing. I think her posts are a great talking point and could lead to some really great discussions. 



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My son

My son. I love this little boy more than I can even say. He's such a person and a boy and it makes my head spin to think how fast he is growing. He loves Minecraft and Skylander Giants and he's so smart I can't keep up with him. He gets frustrated like me and deliriously happy like me and has a personality all his own. Those crocs on his feet in this picture? He has worn those shoes pretty much every day for an entire year (and they are still in decent condition...way to go crocs!) He loves those shoes! Even though they are fur lined he wore them all summer. He wouldn't wear flip flops, he didn't want to wear his sneakers. I don't think I could ever look at those crocs and not remember how he, all of sudden, grew up in them. He must have the bathroom door closed now when he goes, and won't change in front of me...or says "Don't look!" if I'm in the room. He's not really a little boy anymore. He's most definitely a child, and he's still just a little peanut, but this boy is only just beginning to show what he is capable of. Sometimes it's hard for me to grasp that he's not just an extension of me. That he's having his own experiences and shaping his own life independent of my own. Sometimes I forget. But then I see him working things through, learning how to understand things from his own perspective. When he's trying to understand something he furrows his brow and goes very quiet and you can almost see the wheels turning in his head. He'll talk with me if I prod but otherwise he just sits with whatever it is he's thinking about. 

His grandma took this picture. I wasn't there and I don't know what was happening or what he was thinking, but I love this. This is so BUD! And his underpants sticking out of his jeans? They kill me. This picture is just so perfect. This child of mine is just so perfect.