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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Go With The Flow

Boy is this a lesson that I need some work on! I used to always say that I am very fluid, and in many areas of life I am. For example...if I want to spend time with someone I couldn't care if it was on the couch watching movies or out for a night, however...if you plan for a night on the town and I get dressed for the occasion I may not be very happy about kicking it on your couch in my little black dress.

This is something I would like to put some focus on. I believe it plays a role in my marital strain as well. I read a post over at Zen Habits this morning about 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow
and it spoke to the morning routine. I am kind of a morning routine zombie. I have to have it my way...or tantrums will ensue. I have to stop that. I have to be more fluid, especially in the morning.

This quote has been a sort of mantra for me lately and i didn't even know this quote was out there but I really like it. I keep telling my bestie that I am just letting nature take it's course in my relationships. I guess I need to apply that to the rest of my life as well.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” - Lao-Tzu

Do you find it challenging to go with the flow? Does being like a duck in water come easy to you?

What areas in life do you struggle with letting go of the need to control?

I am going to make a conscious effort to really truly be more fluid and see how it affects my struggling relationships.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Take In The Strays

Last Friday night I attended the high school football game with the family. My oldest son is in the marching band this year so we were excited to see him perform. I sat with a group of his friends and as we saw kids we had not seen in a while I would excitedly say "Hey, there is so & so!" as if I were his/her long lost friend. I was just excited to see all the kids back together again after a long and busy summer break where there was little time for friends.

I saw a boy who I will call Brian. I pointed him out and I said "Awe, I feel sad for him. He's walking around all alone. No parents. No girlfriend on his arm. No friends. He looked lonely. He looked sad about being lonely. I told the kids that I felt sorry for him. I wanted to invite him up to sit.

I take in strays like that.

One of the kids said "I don't feel sorry for him. He has no one to blame but himself. He chooses to be mean to others. He treats us as if he is better than  everyone else. It wouldn't surprise me if he did think he was dating "Lisa" when they weren't."

I was shocked. I never knew this boy was not liked. I knew he had found his way into some trouble last school year but I thought that was a one time situation. Apparently this kids attitude had landed him a seat on the loner bus, ticket for one.

I still felt sad for the boy. I watched him roam alone off and on throughout the night and I really wanted to say something to him but feared I would look like a creeper. Not trying to catch me some jail bait so I let it go...or so I thought.

On Monday I picked my oldest up from practice after school. As we drove away he thought he has seen Brian's parent's car. I said I didn't know why he would be there. He had quit all the extra curriculars he had been participating in. My son then tells me that he had seen Brian in the halls that day in school. I asked him if he said anything to Brian. My son said that he did say Hi to Brian. He said that Brian said Hello back to him.

My son told me that he too had felt badly for Brian. He understood why his friends didn't like him but he also knows that his friends have mistreated each other a time or two over the years and they always forgive.

I was so proud of him. I told him that we don't know what happens in Brian's house. Brian's parents are divorced. I am sure he gets shuffled around a lot. It can be a taxing situation with even the bed co-parenters.
I told my son that we have to remember that when other people are being mean that they may be having problems at home. Maybe they are being picked on at school. Maybe they are the black sheep on the team.

The reason I am so willing to take in strays is because...they need the love more than anyone else.

I suggested that perhaps my son give a casual hello to Brian every now and then, and perhaps he may befriend Brian and help show him some much needed love if he is ready to receive it.

I sure hope Brian knows how lucky he could be to have a friend like my Andrew. He's as good as gold and one of a kind as far as friends go.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Do You Do It?

People ask me this from time to time. It is all about perspective, really. I don't feel like I do it at all. In fact, I often feel like it's never enough.

The truth is...I don't DO it ALL. I do it all half arsed. Ha ha! In all seriousness though I pick and choose my battles. There are some things that I do really well and some things I skimp on, and what I am okay to skimp on you may not be, so while I appreciate the compliment I really think people should focus on being more like themselves and less trying to meet others accomplishments. Know what I mean?

With that said I do receive messages from time to time asking me "How do you cook 4 kids hot breakfasts every day, or how do you cook dinner and work every night during the school/work week" so I thought I'd post a few of my tried and true systems that I have in place. These little steps take time, but also save time where I need it most.

1. Sunday Cooking Day. This could be done on whatever day works best for YOU! I don't do anything on Sundays, and the kids do not have school or social functions much on Sundays so this day works best for me.
I brown ground beef for the weeks meals. I pack them in 1lb increments in zippered baggies and place them in the fridge. I can easily add taco seasoning, spaghetti sauce, etc. either the day of the meal or sometimes I will even just add the sauce and store it in a storage bowl with lid. It depends on if I will have time to heat it on the stove or if I will be microwaving the day it is served. Microwave=bowl. Skillet=baggie. Make sense? I usually serve 2-4 staples each week that this precooking can be done for (Spaghetti, Lasagna, Tacos/traveling tacos, Enchiladas, Sloppy Joe's and/or Chili/Chili mac.

I also pre-dice tomatoes from our garden, green peppers, onions, and shred lettuce and place it in baggies. Less prep during the week means more time with the kids and more time to clean and help w/homework,

2. Breakfast. If I make french toast on Monday morning I will make extras, bag them up in sandwich baggies and the kids can microwave it for breakfast later in the week and I can sleep in that day! If we make pancakes on Sunday morning I'll make a double batch and freeze the 2nd batch in sandwich baggies for one of those days when I don't have time to cook breakfast or if we oversleep. :)

3. Chores. I have chore charts. Not just for the kids. I have daily lists for myself as well to help me stay on task. I need reminders. I divide the kids up into days. It makes my week so much easier. Here are some examples.
-Monday is my oldest child's day. On Monday I will wash, and dry his bedding and he will wash, dry, and put away his laundry. I will dust his room. He will vac his carpet. This will be done every Monday.

I have 4 kids so Monday through Thursday each child gets a day to follow that same schedule. Friday is my day and Weekends are for washing towels, the bogs bedding, and we vac the other rooms of the house.

If you want to know more you can check out some posts I made on my old blog Simplify Your Crazy Life

4. It's the little things...It's hard to stay on schedule when things are not working. Things like dead cell phones and home phones make me come undone. Every night I make sure all phones are charging, my work camera batteries are charging, my camera memory card is in the camera, my work reports are together and ready for the next day, and in a place where I can find them and they will not get buried in the morning.

I make sure car keys are hanging up and everyone has school clothes socks and shoes laid out for the next day, and all backpacks are packed, all school forms are signed so the morning is all about eating, brushing teeth and hair and spending time with each other instead of hunting down shoes and work things. I do get to bed later than would like to most nights but in the morning it is worth the peaceful rhythm we can have together without the chaos.
5. Lastly is you have to make time for YOU! You have to have a coffee break, or a chocolate break every once in a  while. I will tell the kids mommy is stepping outside to tend to the garden and I can spend 5 minutes harvesting, weeding, or just sitting with a Dove chocolate. 5-15 minutes can make a huge difference in your productivity.

In closing, I don't do it all. Ever. I strive to do it well and when it doesn't go smooth i try to be a duck and go with the flow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I dislike people using pejoratives very much. There really is no reason I can think of to use them. It makes my blood boil. Oftentimes people don't even realize what they are saying is offensive.

I was at a high school football game last night. I wasn't shocked by the number of teens walking around cursing. "Oh shit, I dropped my damn purse. The effin' pisses me off. Son of a bitch."

I mostly rolled my eyes at their attempts to squeeze every curse word into one or two statements. I am no saint. I curse. Sometimes I curse a lot. I try to not curse around children. I'm not perfect. What I am is respectful. At least that is why I aim for and what I teach my kids.

These kids were talking about drugs, and sex, and all the same crap I thought was cool at age 14. What did I know? Nothing. Guess what? Knowledge is power. My children know a hell of a lot more than I do! I try to teach them in all the ways I feel I should have been taught. They understand respect. They know what manners are. They, for the most part, behave in this department.

The thing I just really do not get in this day and age is the use of pejoratives by teenagers. I really really dislike people calling each other gay, as if this is a negative personality trait. It's like calling someone who is uneducated blond. Only worse. It suggests that a group of people are all acting a certain way.

So children...don't use slurs like this. Be better than that. Lift yourself up and choose to not say words that have negative energy attached to them.

...and parents...teach your children that calling people gay, retarded, fag, etc. is unacceptable behavior and that there are consequences for choosing to use such words. Set your child up for success. Give them the tools to be a better person.

That's all I got. It's simple really. If your friend acts silly call him a fool, not a fag. Call him goof, not gay. Hell, call him stupid if it means you wont call him gay.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's all about the nails...or little things

There are many things that I sometimes allow to unravel me throughout the day. Electronics that are too complex. Things that do not work the way they are supposed to. Bullying. Hate. Too many to list.

One of my biggest peeves is things not being where they are supposed to be. I'm one of those "Everything has a home." kind of weirdos. Now...when I say everything has a home I willingly admit that I may go a tad over board. In my "perfect world" things would have a home, and the home is clearly labeled. If I weren't worried about people thinking that I am finding out that I am crazy...I'd probably even outline where the shit belongs on the shelf. Serious about that.

Today I was cleaning the cabinet doors in the kitchen when I noticed that the lazy susan door is barely hanging onto the piano hinges! This is the type of thing that I would ordinarily tell my husband needs a fixin' and he'd get around to it in 2012 when the cabinet door had long since fallen off. Instead I went straight to the garage to get a few screws to go ahead and fix it now. When I went out to the workbench what do I find?

A pile of nails, and the drawer that holds them lying on the counter next to the organizer that the drawer goes into.

Now...I will admit that I am a pain in the ass (with a capital A) to live with. I know I am quirky, at best. I also don't know anyone who loves me that would tell you that I am not worth it. ;)

Anyway...I am standing in the garage while staring at this pile of nails and I feel the inner rage bubbling up.

This alongside 1,000 other little teeny tiny things in life are where I struggle. People may think that I am petty...I think that about myself from time to time...but it really is the little things in life that matter. They add up to big things.

So, I did what I always do. I picked up the damn nails, placed them in the drawer that was clearly labeled "Lg nails"...you know...the one right next to the pile of nails...the drawer that they were dumped out of? I put them back in the drawer and placed it back into the organizer and said to myself "Self, you will not allow yourself to be undone by a box of nails today" ...and I wont.

I wont because that pile of nails had been there at least since last weekend and it's the first time I have come across something like this all week. Usually I come across things like this every 5 minutes of the day.

Now, please let me assure you that I am not perfect. I am on the far end of the perfection spectrum. I know I am guilty of leaving things laying around. The difference is this. I do it occasionally, when I get distracted. It could be because I have 4 children to tend to and pick up after. It's a wonder my brain isn't mush to be honest. Some people more extreme. Some people rarely puts things back as they should be, and with seemingly no excuse beyond pure laziness. No one wants to pick up but I do it because we're adults and I don't want to be on the next episode of hoarders.

It is things like this that cause friction between my hubs and I, amongst many many other issues and until I figure out how to accept and love my husband, lazy ways and all, or until hell freezes over and he decides to learn how to man up...we just can't live together in harmony.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I am tired of recycling!

I sure hope that a trash fairy didn't just lose his wings somewheres by my admitting that I am tired or recycling. I was cleaning out the fridge today. You know...that monthly task that we try to postpone every month until there are fuzzy things growing up the wall? No? Just me? Mkay.

As I started to empty the contents of my refrigerator I found an absurd amount of condiments that were expired, or that we would never use. I'm not even sure where some of them came from!

I started the recycling dance and as I rinsed, and scrubbed all whilst listening to some Kenny Chesney and I said to myself "Self, I am tired of recycling. The never ending scrubbing and rinsing of cans, and jars gives me dish pan hands and that kind of brings out my inner rage." and to myself I say "Well then...stop buying so much processed and prepackaged shit. You have no one to blame but yourself. Self."

I know this may be hilarious to you or just plain stupid but it really is as close of an inside view into my brain that I can give to you. I really do talk to myself like this and usually on an hourly basis.

So, after rinsing enough glass and plastic jars and metal lids to fill a 13 gallon trash bag I have made a commitment. Since I am so sick of recycling, and am too much of a goody goody to throw away perfectly recyclable stuff....I am going to focus on reducing for a month. I'm challenging myself to use less, and buy more fresh. Who needs a budget, right? Ugh. I'll be curious to see how this little experiment goes.

By the way...anyone know what the hell Oyster sauce is for? Found a jar of that in my fridge too. Looked like 1 tsp. of it had been used. I have no idea what it was for, but it sounds pretty nasty to me. I'm guessing based on the photo on the label that it was used for stir fry. The thought that Oysters have juice gives me the jeebies.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Just Hair!!!

I'm going to get real with you people. If you are offended by my writing...that is your issue. I cannot control how you react to the things that you read on the interwebs. With that said...apologies in advance if sailor Lety comes out.

Last night I took my daughter out to go school shopping. I have a stock pile of school supplies but what she needed was OFFICE supplies to stock the teachers desk. Yes, I am bitter about buying post-it notes and scotch tape but that's a whole other post.

As we were checking out my daughter was asking when we could get her hair done. She decided she has grown tired of the ying yang color scheme and with Cross Country starting up she didn't want to be running 8 miles a day with long hair. She was ready to get her hair chopped off. I glanced up and saw the Wal-mart salon was empty, and it looked as if the stylist had a current hair style herself so I pointed to the salon and told my daughter to go for it. Off she went to the counter of the salon to check in.

She decided on a super short, and super cute pixie cut. The stylist gave me lots of grumbles and mmm-hmmm's about her age, her bleach job, etc. etc.

Here's the thing. I really don't give a shit what anyone thinks about the choices I make for and with my children. Any of them. My daughter happens to be an artsy spirit who loves being an individual. She doesn't want to look like your typical blond hair cheerleader. So what! Why do people care?

My child is in all advanced courses in 7th grade, as she has been in previous years. She received good grades, has zero behavioral issues, and keeps her legs closed. That's more than a lot of moms can say and while I certainly do not strive for mediocrity I will settle for better than average because I think teaching children to strive for the best is setting them up for failure. You can't always be the best. Ask the executive who took his own life because working to be the best was killing his spirit.

Anyway, a friend commented on a picture of my daughter's new do that I posted on Facebook and it got me thinking yet again about why people care so much about these things. She said that she loved that I was a cool enough mom to let my daughter do what she wants and while I think that is a very sweet thing for her to say...

I'm the most uncool mofo up in this place. IMO.

So, my point is this. My daughter is 12. She is in 7th grade. She has boobs. I don't see what the big deal is with cutting and dying her hair.

It's Just Hair!!!

 Above is a front view of the new cut and color
 Above is a side view of the new cut and color
Above is her before look, and I think it is safe to say that her spirit is always beautiful and radiant no matter what color her damn hairs are!