back to top html arrow button

Think sometimes Moms have to learn to say "No more."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Well, today we packed the kids up and off to school for the beginning of week two!  Yippee!  The first time my hubby and I have had the house all to ourselves since I became an unemployed mom.  So, do we romp all over the house like newlyweds?  Um.....not so much.  There is always something that comes up.  My dad called and asked if my hubby could come look at his truck.  It wouldn't start, and he was going out of town, and my poor excuse for a brother, and his even sadder excuse for a wife wouldn't have a way to get to work.

My husband is the best.  He agreed to go and look at it, on his day off.  We had things we needed to do today, but, we trucked on over and diagnosed and repaired my dad's '93 Frod Explorer.  It had a bad starter.  We  took it down and had it tested and that was the problem.  Funny story.  My husband and the auto parts guy are chatting it up about the starter, the cylanoid on the firewall, that we also purchased for the truck, and changing out the lead on the starter where you attach the power wire.  So my husband says to the auto parts guy, "Maybe I will just change out the cylanoid first and see if that fixes the problem.  I can bring the starter back if it does right?"  Auto parts guy "Yeah.  As long as you haven't tried to install it you can return it."  I look at both of them, stare in disbelief for a moment.  I say to my hubby "'ll be kinda hard to determine if that fixes the know, given that the truck currently has no starter. They both kinda laughed and said..."oh yeah, that might be difficult."

We finished at my mom and dad's and were off to do some shopping for necessities at Wal-Mart.  I truly dread going to Wally World, truly!  But, today, I was amazed.  Seriously, first time, EVER, that I have gone there, finished my shopping needs and checked out without having to wait in a long line.  Not only did I not have to wait, there were several lines open with no waiting.  Strange.  I am going during school and work hours from now on!  I will let you know if it was a fluke or not next time I go.

While we were there we ran into my mother's best friend.  She asked if I had seen her recently and I told her I had.  She commented on how terrible my mother looked this morning when she saw her.  "I know", I agreed.  There certainly is no denying the rapid deteriorating state of my mom.  It is a sad thing to watch.  In the last two years my mom has gone from walking three miles every evening to being on a walker, and sometimes in a wheelchair, with an oxygen tank in tow.  Doctors aren't sure what has caused the health decline.  She has gained probably 60+ pounds, she can barely function.  She is on so much pain medication that I rarely get to have a sober conversation with her.  Every once in a while I catch her and I get glimpses of my mother, but mostly she is in a fog.  It's depressing to see her like this.  She has lost her sight completely in one eye, and the other is not too good either due to Glaucoma.  At least she was able to get disability because of the legally blind stamp the doctor gave her.

The list of ailments my mom has is long and painful, diabetes, hyperthyroid, fibromyalgia, rhuematoid and osteoarthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and list just keeps going. She has had those health problems for quite some time, but she was doing well.  She lost about 70 pounds going to Weight Watchers, and she was able to quit taking her blood pressure medication and her diabetes meds as well.  She was able to go out and do just about anything she wanted.  Then, my brother and his wife and their baby moved in.  The decline was almost immediate.  Can you say STRESS?

Her doctors have told her that she needs to remove stress factors, and she will not relent.  She and my dad allow my brother to stay.  He and his wife are the worst sort of free loaders.  They lie, cheat, STEAL and abuse their way through life.  Ugh!  It is awful to say that about someone you are related to, but hey, truth is TRUTH, right?  I can admit it, I have come to terms with it.  Why can't my parents?  You know, my mom tells me I don't understand, you can't just turn your back on your children.  But, I am a mother.  There is no way I will subject myself to the abuse that my parents do.  My parents weren't like that when I was growing up, really they would have never put up with this even 10 years ago.  So, why are they putting up with it now?

I have had the "tough love" conversation with my mom repeatedly.  She doesn't listen, and always says she doesn't want to talk about it.  My brother and his wife come up with the most outlandish and ridiculous stories about why they have no money.  They have more BAD luck than is humanly possible.  SERIOUSLY!  Any normal person would reason out the lies, but for some reason, hook line and sinker, my parents buy it, and everything else they need.

I will continue to have the TOUGH LOVE conversation with her.  I will not change my mind.  He is not welcome in my home.  Sad, I know.  But someone has to stand up for my parents, even if they will not stand up for themselves.

Think dreams are sometimes silly....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So, funny story. As most everyone who knows me well knows, I am a real and true "Foodie". I love to cook. I love to develop recipes. I love to try new things with food. I love to go to my favorite resteraunts, find new ones and try all sorts of things on the menu. AND, I love the Food Network.

I have a deep and fine appreciation for all the personalities on the Food Network and have learned tips and tricks from all of them. BUT, there is one, one who I favor above the rest. Tyler Florence. Isn't he dreamy? I tease my husband that Tyler is my next husband. :) He knows that I just kid, but Tyler is so hot in the kitchen, and he could cook for me, and make dessert, and....well ya know. A girl can dream right?

So speaking of dreams. I have been watching Food Network forever. Tyler used to have a show called Food 911. Viewers would write in with their kitchen challenges and recipe disasters and Tyler would come to the rescue and teach them how to make the disastrous dishes the right way. So I watched everyday he was on. I was a Tyler show stalker of sorts. (Still kinda am, but he is married off now too.) So one afternoon I fell asleep watching Food 911, and you know how whatever is on in the background has a tendency to bleed into your subconscious? Well, I began to dream about Tyler.

Ok....get your minds out of the trash bins!! So Tyler arrived at my house, and I decide, being the accomplished cook that I am, that I want to cook for him. In steps my husband...he says "You can cook for him, but all you can make is Ramen Noodles!" What? RAMEN NOODLES? I can't make those things taste good. I try to make them in the microwave and they just come out mush. YUCK! I awoke being, one, mad at my hubby, and two, laughing at my silly silly silly dream. How dare my sweetie tell me I couldn't cook anything but Top Ramen for TYLER FLORENCE?

I relayed my dream to my hubby and he thought that was one of the funniest things ever. Not that I was dreaming of Tyler, but that he had "laid down the law" in my dreams. :D It is still a running joke in the house. Anytime one of the kids pulls out some Ramen Noodles we all get a snicker about my silly dream!

Think it's time to introduce the clan...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

These are my boys. From left to right, Michael is 11, he is my step-son. In the middle is Kooper, 10, and on the right is Kamden, the baby who is 7. When they get together on a Friday night it is what can only be described as pandemonium. I thought about capitalizing that, but the definition when the word is capitalized is Hell. And while it can be that on occasion, mostly it is just wild uproarious behavior. Michael is gifted, Kooper is ADD and Kamden is highly gifted and ADHD. So you could say that boredom is a constant, and that keeping them entertained is a 24/7 job. We try to make the most of every minute that Micahel is with us. He loves being here and we don't want him to feel like he gets left out of family functions when he is with his mom. As you can probably gather from the boys shirts, video games are pretty important to them. They love, love, love video games of any flavor. We have a ridiculous, and I really mean ridiculous amount of electronics in this house. Each time we acquire a new gadget I think to myself..."self, this has got to stop. just quit already. enough is enough." Then I put that shiny new object on the counter and jump for joy at my new toys. The boys new toys. My husbands new treasures. I know, I know...I should stop. I can't. I have to have them. Let me tell you how bad it is, then you can tell me that therapy is in order. We own a PS2(third one I think, the others died), a Wii, an XBox360(third iteration of that one as well), and two PS3s. You heard me right, I said two. But really, they are Blu-Ray players and that is the reason for two. When I purchased the second one it was only $50 bucks more to get the game system than the DVD player so why not? Oh yeah, we also have 4 Nintendo DS Lites, a DSi, three iPods, and an iTouch, two home computers, three laptops, HD receivers in three rooms of the house and three flat panel televisions that are at least 37" or larger.
So, I know that we have a problem with regard to our "obsession" with electronics but there is some good that has come from having to have them. Kamden is a little computer "genius". He has a real gift. He has already begun to make movies on our home pc. Additionally, he learned to read playing games on the computer. I like computer games. The word games, puzzle games and any picture in picture game I can find. Kamden started playing the picture in picture games with me as soon as he was old enough to figure out what the pictures were. By the time he was three, he was already associating pictures and words. Now he reads everything. His vocabulary is something else. His teacher last year said she had never had a student in all her 30 years of teaching that had such an accomplished vocab, and was also able to put words in alphabetical order at the second, third, fourth letters and so on. For example: most 1st graders can put apples before books, Kamden knows that able comes before apple, and further can alphabetize back, bait, bake, bead, beat...and so on.

I have heard my fair share of criticism on the playing of video games and content. Believe me, everyone has an opinion on this one. Two years ago on Black Friday, I was standing in line at 4:00am at Sam's Club for my chance to finally get the Wii. I had been in multiple lines throughout the entire year searching for my chance to pick one up. This was my last chance to make sure Santa was able to get that one thing that was on all our kids lists. The lady in front of me and I got to chatting because we had time to kill waiting for the store to open. She was also getting a Wii for her son, 15, who she told me had never been allowed to play video games in the past. She was going on and on about the evils of video games and how she was not raising couch potato children and how terrible people were for allowing their children to play them for hours on end, and blah, blah, blah... She said she was finally going to allow this system because it was interactive and required you to get off the couch. I listened to her droning on and on and it made that hour long wait, in the freezing cold seem forever longer than it was. When she finished her soap box rant I simply said "My children have all the systems.' I smiled politely, I guess it was more of a smirk, and told her "I believe that everything in moderation was o.k."
I balance exercise and the outdoors with things that they enjoy. Anyway, she is only one of many who shared their "unapproval" with me.

So back to the kiddos. This is Mykenna, aka Kenna, aka Sissy. She will be 18 in just a few weeks. She started her senior year yesterday. OMG! I am getting so old I can't even believe it. This one is also quite the little smarty pants. She has a class load this year that is so stacked it isn't funny. AP Calculus, AP Art History, AP Literature, AP Economics/Government, Law Studies and Court Procedures, and an elective history class called Sixties Studies, which basically is the Vietnam War. Craziness right? She wants to be a CSI investigator or work as a profiler for the FBI. We shall see. College may find her going in another direction, almost everyone I know changed majors.

So, that is my bunch. Our his, hers and ours bunch. We are a bunch of misfits and we love it that way. We all have nicknames and will answer to almost is just a sampling.
Adrien: Big Daddy Cain, Daddy, Master Daddy
Me: Mommalicious, Hot Mama, Mom, Momzilla
Michael: Michaelangelo
Kooper: Koopster, Crapper John, Lydee-Bo, Bo-Bo, Peanutbutter, PB, Koop and Buddy-Roe
Kamden: Kamalamadingdong, Cranberry Melonhead, Cranberry, Kamee, Jelly, Jellybelly, Christina
Mykenna: Kenna, Sissy, Myke Jones, Lucee, Ken, Missy Muffet and Mickalena

Think this is a good product...

Monday, August 24, 2009

If you are like me when you get a new computer it is the best thing ever. You go and download all your old favorites, you add everything you think you need. Then, your brand new fast as lightening computer starts to bog down, and before you know it, it runs just as slow and sluggish as the old one you just upgraded from. Then you start uninstalling all those old programs and think that will do the trick....RIGHT? I think not.

I am a pretty technical person, kind of a technology junkie you might say. I have been selling complex UNIX systems and storage for years. I can talk speeds and feeds with the best of them. BUT, don't ask me to fix a desktop, it's like trying to get those lights to quit flashing on the old VCR unit. Never could make that work.

So, I evaluated a Registry Cleaner. You heard me who only knows where the on button is, and my answer for everything on the pc is reboot it.

This product had a promise of easy installation and repair. I installed the software. I scanned the registry. I had 680 errors. The scan took approximately 7 minutes, not too long with that many errors. Then I had the option to repair. The remediation took seconds. I did encounter one issue, I have Trend Micro protection and I had to change a permission setting and run the program again to resolve 26 remaning errors.

I had uninstalled something recently that caused my DVD-rom drive to stop working. I ordered a new drive assuming that would resolve the issue. Waited patiently for days for it to arrive. Installed it. Nothing. I spent $130 bucks to get a new drive, and I didn't need anything but this 1 click Registry Cleaner. Immediately following the utility I installed my new DVD drive and what do you worked! My computer is running faster and I don't have to wait for hours for my programs to load!

I highly recommend this registery cleaner. If you are experiencing system crashes, the BLUE Screen of DEATH, programs loading really slow and web pages loading unusually slow try it out. It worked for me, and if I had found it sooner, I would have kept the $130 bucks I ended up spending on a new DVD drive.

Check them out:

Think I am a little raw...

Friday, August 21, 2009

I have had a rough last ten days. I have, in the course of the last two weeks, had major changes. I got laid off. Great, one more thing to add to the plate of my life. Fabulous. As if four children, their futures, a husband and my four dogs weren't enough, now I am unemployed too. Not that that diminishes my worth, I know logically it doesn't. However, it feels like I have failed in some capacity. If I think about it, I know that feeling that way is ridiculous. I have not failed, I am still a great mother, great wife, and a smart and talented sales executive. However, the overwhelming need to be an overachiever is there, every minute of every day. Damn, this whole Type A personality thing is a drag.

My customers have called to let me know that they miss me, that the attempts to keep their business is futile at best. Does that make me feel better? No. My husband reassures me that I am still perfect in his eyes. Does that make me feel better? No. My children still look at me with the same adoring faces. Does that make me feel like less of a failure? Not really.

I have this drive, this insatiable need to do better. To be better. Where the hell does it come from? It isn't enough to just be who I am. I want to be all that I can be, which certainly is not to say I want to be in the ARMY. But on the other hand, am I willing to get up and do what is required? Not right now. I am in a funk. But, I know I can't stay here. I have children. I have a husband. My dogs need me. Damn! Why can't I just take some time off to mourn? Why can't I curl up in a ball, for a day or two, or twelve and be depressed that I lost my job? A job I loved. One I was good at. A job that loved me, as much as I loved it?

Oh, I know why I cannot take time off. If I show even the slightest hint that things are not perfect, things go south in a big hurry. My husband, the eternal pessimist will have one of those "the sky is falling" moments. His moments seem to last forever. My kids might think the world as we know it, is coming to an end. But my dogs, they will be just fine. Got to love them. They love me no matter what. They will crawl up with me on the couch and lay with me, and love me.

So I am having one of those life moments, where you reassess. Is this what I want to do? Is this what I want to be? Is this where I see myself in ten years? Perhaps I should've been this introspective years ago. But, I wasn't. I have always been a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. Roll with the punches. Take it in stride. You name the get the drift. I am not a planner, just an over achiever. Anyone else sensing my problem? Crap! What do I do now?

I have assessed. I have found the problem. It is my lack of planning. Great. I can fix it. Wait! That means I have to change the fiber of my being. I am flexible, I am fun, I am ready for the world. I am NOT.

I need to sleep on this. Perhaps tomorrow will bring some clarity. For tonight, since the kids, the hubby and the dogs are sleeping...I will allow myself this one deep and guilty pleasure. I will be depressed. Even if just for a moment, by myself....I will....allow myself to grieve the loss.

Tomorrow is another day. One with hope for something new. One with hope for a renewed sense of purpose. Perhaps even one where I decide to allow myself to believe that I can write the book that everyone keeps waiting for.

Think the differences in children make things interesting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I was answering a group forum post from a mom group I am part of for highly gifted children and found myself really thinking about my children and their diifferences. One of the moms was having issues with her child and bedtime. So many of the answers were cut and dry. 8:00 p.m., lights out, no exceptions.

For me, it isn't that simple. I mean, I can try, but the same bedtime simply doesn't work for every child. No more than you could expect to discipline children with such drastically different personalities the same and get the end result you were hoping for. My daughter Kenna for example, is almost 18 years old. She will be a senior this year in high school (man does that make me feel old). She is, and always has been, an early to bed, early to rise person. She is in bed almost every night, and sleeping I might add, by 9:00 p.m. My sons, well, we try to get them in bed every night no later than 8:30 p.m. However, Kooper who is 10, that works o.k. for, he does require quite a bit a sleep to function well, and he for the most part is another "morning" person like Kenna. Kamden, 7, is a whole other story. He requires very little sleep. He is also cursed with the "night owl" syndrome. Have to say, he gets that honest. He is just like his mommy, ADHD, doesn't sleep, doesn't like to sit still, insomniac, night terrors, DRAMATIC, silly. You name it...we are two peas from the same pod.

I was so entertained this evening watching Kooper and my husband watch television together. They are so similar it is scary. They were watching, some inappropriate content for Kooper, RAMBO, but I let that slide. Both of them were laughing and in awe of the bodies flying this way and that way. I snickered to myself hearing the two of them and their gutteral laughs and "oh yeahs" in all the most gruesome parts. Then they changed the channel and to watch a recorded episode of Chop Shop. They watched while Kamden and Michael were engrossed in an on-line game on the computer. Neither Kamden, nor Michael was interested in the movie, or the car show. Nope. They are nothing like daddy that way. Just Koop. Funny how that works.

I love the personalities of the little people in my house. Kooper is fun loving, caring and compassionate just like his dad. Kenna is a teenager, and well, that's probably enough said. But, she is smart and witty, and we will love her personality again in a few years! :) Michael is a tough one. He is so hard on himself. Sometimes he forgets to have fun and be a kid, but that makes him who he is and we love him just the same. Kamden is a pickle. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth. He marches to the beat of his own drummer and it's typically a tune noone else has ever heard. Makes for a crazy life and there aren't too many dull moments in The Romano home.

Think the definition of appointment needs to be redefined...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So today was the day I dread every six months. Both of my boys are on ADHD medication and require bi-yearly check-ups to make sure the medication is not causing adverse effects, is working properly and so on. We have to monitor closely to make sure that the boys are not losing weight due to appetite suppression, sleeping regularly (or as regular as can be expected from hyperactive children), not having emotional side effects that require some type of remedy. It's all quite a pain. Since the medication is a Class "whatever" narcotic we have paperwork that is required to be filled out, blah blah blah.

So back to the dread. Why is it that when you schedule an appointment at a doctor's office the time is merely suggestive? I arrive on time, as I do for everything. I sign in, and I wait for my name (or child's in this case). I wait, and wait. I watch other people called back ahead of me, who arrived later than I did. I go to the desk to see if I have been forgotten. I get the standard issue response, "No, we are just running a little behind today. It's been a crazy day." So I ask you, is EVERY day that crazy in a doctor's office? And who exactly educated these people? A little behind? A little behind is 15 minutes. 20-30 minutes tops. An hour behind is not a little. This happens every time I take the boys for regularly scheduled visits.

Now, if they are ill and I call, and the office says "Come on in and we will work you in", I expect to wait, and wait and wait some more. Even with sick little ones, you are prepared. However, when I schedule weeks in advance, I do expect the courtesy of prompt service. Is that really too much to ask for? I don't expect that I should be taken back at the exact appointment time, but within 10-15 minutes does seem reasonable to me. I know there are exceptions, there always are, but it seems to me that doctor's offices do not place much value on our time. And really, who when healthy, wants to be sitting in a room full of sick people?

So, I ask, really why is it that appointments are merely suggestions? It's not just doctor's offices when you think about it. You schedule appointments for your children to get their pictures taken. That is almost always a NIGHTMARE. You go to get your nails/feet done, you wait. You go for a haircut and your hairdresser is running late. However, if you arrive LATE, even the fifteen minutes to any of the aforementioned "appointments", you are often told you will have to reschedule. REALLY?

Why have we, the consumer of services gotten so used to the constant "We are running behind" line that we allow our time to be trivialized. Our time is not important? The whole appointment time, and the blatant disregard for my time being valued, when I pay for services, really chaps my hide!

Think simple food is sometimes the best!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My mother is a great southern cook. She learned from her mother who was quite the accomplished cook as well. Southern tradition was women cooking all day everyday. Every meal was an event. My grandmother used to cook breakfast everyday that consisted of eggs, bacon, grits, toast or biscuits, potatoes of some form but most noteably fried, just like the eggs that were most often covered by the grits. I remember as a child one of the things all of us grandkids looked the most forward to when going to Granny and Papa's house was the ridiculous breakfast I just described.

Lunch was just as overdone and dinner, well, that was some sort of fried meat, a starch or two (always rice, but sometimes mashed potatoes too), at least two sometimes three vegetable sides, some sort of bread, be it biscuits or cornbread. Every day. What? Can you imagine trying to do that today? There aren't enough hours in the week, not to mention the day for me to pull that off. I cook for days to serve the aforementioned sides and a Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

I learned many many recipes from my Granny and my mom. I treasure all the time I spent in the kitchen watching them cook and learning their secrets. But, as a working mom with three, and sometimes four (stepson) children in the house, a long commute to/from work, homework, karate, social schedules, etc...I learned to cut corners and update those old recipes. Not because there was anything wrong with them, although I did cut out the frying everything because, well that just doesn't make sense for anyone. I learned to add flavor without spending days on end cooking a singular meal, and really...thank God for Food Network.

So, here's the thing. I enjoy cooking. It takes me back to a much simpler time, childhood. It is somewhere I can escape to. Even if just for the 20-30 minutes I spend making dinner for my family. On weekends I often cook meals that require more time, but weeknights, I find sometimes the simplest things are what my family enjoy the most. Take tonight for example. My daughter and I spent the majority of the afternoon shopping for school clothes. Once we got home, I spent 15 minutes tops assembling dinner. I sliced onions and potatoes, added baby carrots to the bowl. Salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Neatly placed six pieces of aluminum foil on the counter. Each piece of foil got one sirloin hamburger patty, a pat of butter, a sprinkle of steak seasoning, topped with equally portioned vegetables from the bowl. Roll the aluminum foil up and throw those Hobo dinners in the oven for 30 minutes. Simple. Tasty. EASY! Way cheaper than drive-thru and better for them!

Thinking out loud

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I tell people all the time that you should think before you speak. Some people, obviously, should pause, think and then rethink. You know those people, we all have that one friend who needs a filter, or a family member that causes a visible cringe in the room every time they open their mouth. Now, don't get me wrong there is a time and a place for the unedited version of everything, but why exactly is it that people choose the most inappropriate times to speak without thinking about it first.

People, if you are out in public, there are children listening. You go to the grocery store and you overhear the bag boys talking about "banging chics", which prompts a car ride home conversation about why would those mean boys would hit baby chickens with hammers? That is just one example, I have too many to recount, but you get the idea. Why as mommies are we always having to come up with explanations for someone else's inappropriate public behavior? And then how do we teach our children to do better?

Thinking out loud in public is something we have all come to know and love from children. It is a hoot when you hear something funny and less than appropriate from the mouth of a babe. Until it is your babe, and you want to crawl under a rock because you are mortified that your seven year old just asked "how come that man is so fat?" loud enough for the 450lb man standing not 10 feet from you to hear.

For my mommy readers: Remember next time you are thinking out loud, children repeat everything they hear. We can't expect more from little people if we don't edit ourselves.

For everyone else: Please THINK about who is around and listening before you swear, or discuss your sex life, or your bathroom habits, or your prescription drug high, or so on and so on....

Think about when it was new....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh the woes of young love. When it's new, it's fabulous. The skies are bluer, the sun shines brighter, chocolate tastes better, and nothing can kill the happiness. That has been the last two weeks with Kenna and her boyfriend Tyler. Oh, but then in an instant, the clouds roll in and the sun will never shine again, and food has no meaning or taste. Ah...puppy love, ain't it grand?

But that newness, remember that? I think too many times in long term relationships people lose sight of what it was like when you met your soul mate. Remember those butterflies, the anticipation for the next touch? Remember how you couldn't wait to see him again. Every second apart was almost painful. The longing to be together. It's so exciting when it's new, so wonderful. The world truly holds more joy.

Not that the world hold less joy once love isn't new anymore. But, once you get married and have children, and the bills roll in, and the job sucks the life out of you and you are just too tired to enjoy staying up till the sun comes up just talking about your dreams and aspirations, joy is less on the forefront of every thought. I am truly blessed in my life with a husband and soul mate that I enjoy every minute with. We still enjoy each other's company, we still kiss and touch like newlyweds. We tell each other that we love each other everyday, every time we talk. Many of our friends joke that we are "sickening sweet".

I think that the secret is we still date. We still work at keeping the newness alive. I'll be honest, sometimes we have our moments, everyone does. But, we are best friends. That is the secret to our happiness. We tell each other everything. There aren't things that I run and tell a girlfriend first. We are that one person that the other thinks of each time we experience happiness, each time we work through sorrow, that one person you want with you through every moment, good, bad and ugly.

The cliche that opposites attract is not the case for us. However, we do balance each other very well. My faults are his strong points, and vice versa. I am fly by the seat of my pants, he is organized. I procrastinate, he gets it done immediately. I am an optimist, he is so not. But, we enjoy the same things. We are both funny and quirky. We laugh at all the same parts in movies. We watch the same television shows. We love cars. We like the same music. We play video games, together. We enjoy collecting things, albeit different things. I do believe, in order to have a successful and life long partner, that not enjoying the things that you will spend time doing together is a deal breaker.

My husband is the kindest and dearest friend of my life. I love him with all my heart and couldn't ask for a better friend, father for my children, lover and husband.

Think it's time to brush up on those first aide skills

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Today the hubby and I were brainstorming on what do with the kids. All of the boys were wired and I was bored, which is a bad combo anyway you look at it. We love to be outside, but have a hard time finding things to do in FL in the summer time that won't burn me to a crisp and wilt my youngest. We were also looking for something inexpensive. At first we were going to take the boys on a picnic to a local park, but Kooper, 10, and Michael, 11, are getting a little too old to enjoy the swingsets and monkey bars for more than about 30 minutes. We looked at taking a quick trip to The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, but it was already after noon so that was a bit pricey given that it would be around 1:30pm or later by the time we made it down there. Then I checked the trusty tool I love the most, the internet, to make sure that one of the FL State Parks we used to frequent when I was a kid was still open for swimming. Several of the lakes we used to go to when I was little are no longer swimmable. But, sure enough, Goldhead State Park was still open and ready for us.

We made a quick trip to the grocery store and picked up some drinks and ice and charcoal. We packed the cooler with the liquid refreshments and added some burgers and dogs along with the applicable condiments, and off we went. A quick twenty-five minutes down the road and we paid our $5 entrance fee and headed back to the lake. The boys ran down the beach and splashed and played for about and hour. Then we made our way back to the picnic area and Daddy fired up that charcoal. Quick tip: take some aluminum foil to the park when you go. Those grills are not exactly cleaned well. The boys played on the slides and swings in the playground area while the hubby and I got lunch prepared. Once we ate the boys were ready to head back down to the swimming area. I took a drive around the park while the boys were swimming and saw that there was an old Mill and trail and we passed an overlook and trail to view the Ravine on the way back to the lake. I circled back and we got the boys dried off and changed and loaded everyone in the Jeep.

The Old Mill was a disappointment. It was long gone and there is only a trail and some cabins for camping there. We made our way back to the Ravine and got out to walk down the stairway trail. It was there that the excitement for the day was encountered. We happened upon a snake. Kamden, my youngest had walked ahead of us and past the snake without seeing it. Kooper, my practical jokester yelled "Snake!" We all looked and there was a collective, "No way." He exclaimed again, "Yes, I am not kidding, it's right there" and pointed out the snake. All the boys were "Oohing and awing", except Kamden, who was a little distressed. My husband was typical guy, "Let's catch it." Me, I was reeling through those Girls Camp memories trying to come up with the phrase that I couldn't remember. Was it red on yellow friendly fellow or red on yellow deadly fellow? Crap! I had no idea. Since I couldn't remember, I made the boys turn around and we left the pretty red, yellow and black snake to his habitat and took our happy little selves right back the way we came. We made a stop to look out over the Ravine at The Overlook and then we made the quick trip home.

As soon as we unpacked the Jeep and got settled, I did what I do best when I cannot remember something. I Googled it. Red, Yellow, Black snake. Results: Red touch Yellow deadly fellow, Red touch Black friend of Jack. Yep! Mom was right to turn and leave that coral snake to his habitat. But that got me thinking, I really need to brush up on all those first aide techniques I learned 20 years ago, but have forgotten with time. Time to learn those phrases, those tourniquet, sling and wrapping wounds techniques again. Perhaps I should take a CPR refresher as well. At least the seed was there, at least I knew enough to remember that while beautiful as it was, that snake could possibly harm my babies.

All in all it was a great day. We enjoyed nature, together as a family. We got in some great exercise. We learned the difference between a Coral snake and a King snake. And I was inspired to brush up on those first aide skills that might come in handy with three little boys! They are my most prized accomplishments and I will remember our day for years to come.

Think love...Do not teach Hate

Friday, August 7, 2009

I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, albeit in the very deep South. The South where bigotry dies hard and my mother went to high school at an all white school. I wouldn't call my parents bigots, but I also wouldn't say they were progressive either. I was never taught hate, but love and appreciation for all of God's creatures. But, tolerance for all men is something that the stereotypical Christian home doesn't exactly embrace. While Christians believe they are doing the "right" thing by preaching The "Word", they often pick and choose which verses apply and which don't.

My husband asked me earlier today what I was going to blog about today and I wasn't sure. You never know where as a writer your next inspiration will come from. Then it happened. Something a friend posted via Facebook, and I knew. It was immediate. It was inspiring. It was something I needed to get off my chest. It was exactly what I wanted to share about my family. The way I raise my children. What I teach my children. It was a poll. 'Do you support gay marriage?"

My answer wasn't something I had to think about. It was something I feel so strongly about that I can't believe it is something that The United States of America is so divided on. We believe in religious freedom, we were founded on it. We believe in freedom of speech. We believe all men were created equal.....really? That is what we say. Do we believe it? Not so much.

I believe it. I have taught my children tolerance for ALL. For everyone. That is ALL INCLUSIVE. That means, it doesn't matter who you love, what the color of your skin is, if you believe in God, or Santa Clause or The Boogeyman. We love everyone. Why? Because it is the human thing to do. Regardless of your religious beliefs, and especially if they are Christian, God said love everyone, and forgive everyone, and vengeance is Mine.

That doesn't mean I don't think you have the right to your opinion. We all know the old addage about opinions. I believe that I am responsible for me, my actions, my deeds. I am not responsible for the morality of others. Nor are you. I know, I know, preach My word and all that. Fine preach all you want. State your case, state your belief, state your opinion. But, remember this, you live in a country that was founded on, and by those, trying to escape religious persecution.

We have seperation of Church and State for a reason. It is unamerican to try and mandate morality which is derived from religious beliefs.

We have experienced our share of bigotry in my house. We live in the proverbial "Bible Belt", and we live in a very "white" township where it is not at all uncommon to see a Confederate flag flying in the front yard, or back of a 4 X 4, loud and proud. My son was in second grade and developed a friendship with a little girl in his class who was "brown". She was Indian, that is not to say she was Native American but that she was from the middle east, specifically India. He came home and told me the boys at school were being mean to him to the point it escalated to pushing him down and kicking on the playground.

But, we will not be deterred, we will not give in. We forgive those who trespass against us, and we love our neighbors, regardless of age, creed, color or beliefs.

Think it's time for a change

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I am one of those parents that has always believed in bedtimes for children. Perhaps because I have always struggled with normal sleeping patterns. I am an insomniac and have been as long as I can recall. My mother says as an infant I slept all the time, it was like not having a baby. She recalls that I would get up in the morning and eat, play for 30 minutes and go back to sleep, this routine followed throughout the day, and evening. I was on a schedule like that until I was around three. Then, I "woke up". I haven't slept like a normal person since then, not that sleeping that much was normal. As a teen, during my high school years I remember days on end when I would not sleep. If and when I did, it would be afternoon naps after school. Two hours in the afternoon and I would be up for days. I experience night terrors or such vivid dreams that I remember upon waking, that I do not feel rested in the morning.

This summer has been the first time as a parent that I have been so relaxed with my children and their bed times. I am unrecognizable as me. We have not required them to go to bed at any hour, never mind a reasonable one. My daughter Kenna is 17 and she is the only one who continues her routine. It is rare when she is up past 9:30 p.m. The boys are a different story all together. My step-son Michael, 11, and Kooper, 10, both went to visit my husband's parents the Monday following school letting out for the summer. They were gone for just over three weeks. During their vacation, Kamden (my baby), 7, and I spent many a sleepless night up together. He like me, slept his infancy away and had an "awakening" around 2. He is my little ADHD ball of fire and I enjoyed him so much I did not fuss with bedtimes and the like. The older boys returned and it was Kamden's turn to go spend his time with Gramma and Grampa.

Koop and Michael were on Gramma and Grampa's sleep schedule when they got home, which is wee hours of the morning to bed, and around noon to rise. Once Kamden returned, along with the bad habits he picked up from me, his schedule was the same as both of his big brothers. So you see my dilemma. What to do, what to do?

School resumes in two and a half weeks. Time to undo the damage. Back to schedules. I will make bed times earlier and earlier until we get back to some resemblance of normalcy.

My husband and I believe bed times for children are also a key to a happy marriage. Children of course need the sleep and the structure, but parents need the adult time too. We enjoy having adult conversations, watching our favorite television shows together and just simply cuddling without constant chatter and pitter patter of little feet. It's a good tip...always make time for one-on-one time with the spouse!

Think first...then Blog

As a mom of a teenager I am often horrified at what teens today blog about, tweet about, post on their mySpace and FB pages. YouTube video posts are the most terrifying. I remember as a teen trying at all costs to keep what we were doing secret. We did not want our parents finding out where we were going, who we were with or what the plans were. Teens today will post the photo play by play with editorials to boot.

Which leads me to the title of this post..THINK first..then BLOG. As a parent there are just some things that we do not need the visuals on. Don't get me wrong, I do not want to be one of those parents who sticks her head in the sand and pretends that her child is not out there doing those things. However, I do not need to see the pictures of TEENS gone WILD either. Nor do I need the "colorful" commentary they are so fond of posting.

I am eternally grateful that as a teenager I did not have a digital venue to record my every mindless move.