Wednesday, May 13, 2015

When Mama Goes Out of Town...

I had to leave town pretty suddenly due to unexpected circumstances and being the stay at home Mom type, it threw myself and the fam for a loop.  Part of my staying at home means I NEVER get "called away on business" the kids, school, this house and my marriage is my everyday business and it happens here and nowhere else.

All of a sudden my hubby had to take two days off work, the kids had to get used to the Daddy Routine (some of which Daddy has never had to be responsible for in his life!)  Add to this not only our dog but dog sitting for my parent's dog as well and this Daddy had to become the "Mommy" for a couple of days.

I imagined the craziness that could ensue with such responsibilities and feared for what I would come home to.  Did he remember to pack them lunches or just hand them a pop tart?  Did he put them in tube tops and short shorts because he didn't know the dress code?  Did they change their socks? Underwear? Take showers?  Get to school on time?  Did he remember to pick them up after school?  Are they getting their homework done?  Are they getting to bed on time?  Do they even miss me????

Now I am not one to have married an incompetent man, in fact I believe that the "jobs" around the house are equally distributed and shared.  Do I do more "house jobs" than him?  Well, YES of course I do, because we chose for our family life to be that way.  Does he have any inkling about what ALL of those jobs are?  Well maybe just a little bit, but he is completely capable.

Not only did he and the children exceed my expectations, they missed me TERRIBLY, and yet everyone still survived!
When I arrived home, they weren't here :(  BUT after looking around I can see that everything was done, everyone was taken care of and despite them telling me over and over how much they missed me, everyone did just fine.  The strongest evidence of this was in the notes that Daddy put in their lunches, (yes he remembered the notes too!):

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My First Refinish

So I was browsing through Pinterest looking for something cool to do to refinish my boring old kitchen table.  I saw a project that involved stenciling with white paint and staining over the top for a really cool effect and I was hooked.  My husband was super hesitant because the table came from his Grandpa and he didn't want me to ruin it.  RUIN????  Like any of my artwork ruins ANYTHING!

I was trying hard to be understanding while at the same time being like, "but the table is so UGLY."  I realized that if I was willing to "sacrifice" something of mine and it turned out amazing, he would be on board.  Enter piano bench from my childhood.

Oh Hey, there is a picture of cute me standing on the bench!  There is another photo somewhere of me as a 6month old baby sitting on the bench "playing" this piano.
This bench has been around as long as me and even before me.  It has made it through so many moves.  When I left for college my Dad put it on the curb as junk one day and I happened to come home for a surprise visit.  It turned out to be a rescue mission as I yanked that bench up and said, "How could you throw this out to the curb????  It is one of my earliest memories!"  Since that time, the bench has lived with me.  It has been a piano bench, a tv stand, a stereo stand, an aquarium/terrarium stand and now is an end table in our home.  An end table that was ready for a change.

I gathered my materials which were pretty inexpensive really since I already had the piece of furniture.
 I found the stencils I wanted to use.  I used a round small brush, masking tape to tape the stencil and white paint to begin the process.  As I was working on it, using the dry brush technique and waiting in between stencils (i used 2 designs) for paint to dry, my 4 year old daughter became very interested in the process and wanted to help.  You can see her playing a computer math game in the corner of this pic.

Can't lie to ya, I was nervous for her to help BUT with the dry brush technique it is fairly easy to maintain the shape/stencil without bleeding and she loved participating.  I thought it was cool that we were working a project together.  She was a huge helper, enjoyed doing it and saved my neck too.

Once I was finished stenciling, the effect was really cool.
This is a close up of the pattern and 2 coats of walnut stain.  The idea is to use a sponge brush to apply stain and then wipe it clean with a rag.  Once I was finished, I decided I wanted it to be darker so I applied another coat of stain and used the wiping technique and this is how it turned out.

The final step was the polyurethane, also applied with a sponge brush.  No wiping necessary for this step just apply as many coats as you like, the more the glossier.  I did 2 coats of polyurethane.  The actual finished product was so beautiful.
I couldn't wait to show my husband and to put it in our living room!  I couldn't wait to show my Dad who had abandoned the poor bench as trash years ago!  Needless to say, it turned out great and gave my husband the faith he needed to give me the go ahead for the kitchen table.  Don't know what I'm gonna do for that refinish but I can assure you I will share it with you all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


You will notice many changes going on in the blog lately and I ask for your patience as I revamp, reorganize and try something new.  All your faves are still here and now there will be tabs where I can share various aspects of my craziness too!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ignorant People Driving Around Town

Dear parents of children at my son's elementary school,

Now that school has been in session for a couple of months, I find it adequate time for me to bring up this pet peeve of mine and hope that you will all understand.

The parking lot is a ONE WAY parking lot with 3 parking areas and multiple parking spaces.  One lane is for parking during pick up times and the other lane is a driving lane that should always remain open so folks can get out of the parking lot.

I realize that I can't expect your IQ's to be higher than the 15mph speed limit in the parking lot but for crying out loud!!!  The instructions are pretty clear, Park on the RIGHT, use the LEFT to drive through, yet this parking lot is full of idiots who think of no one but themselves and don't pay attention to the rules let alone the children who are trying to find their parents in this parking lot.

Why have I watched the SAME dude park in the middle of the lot, get out to find his kid, block the entire parking lot and have the principal knock on your window each time you do it, to explain the process to you??!!  Are you picking your kid up while you are drunk or just plain stupid???

Yesterday I am driving up and there are 3 lanes going in the 2 lane one way parking lot.  People parked on the right (as the rules state) and 2 lanes of folks parked in the middle and along the left side blocking people so they have to wait out in the street cause you are too stupid to figure it out.  Oh and not to mention the 20 open parking spots throughout the lot!  Just park in a spot and then drive out the DRIVING LANE when it is time to go.

Next time I am just gonna avoid all of you and drive up through the grass into a parking spot while waving my middle finger in the air at all of you idiots who cannot figure out the rules.  To those of you who, even after the police visited, directed traffic, knocked on windows and told you how it works, continue to park all over the place and show no care for the rest of the parents and students at school, watch out.  I have a loud mouth and I have no shame.  I am also a Mama Bear and your ignorance is upsetting my son, who thinks I just didn't show up to pick him up from school!

I swear we are dealing with the most ignorant people at the bottom of the gene pool here and I am sick of it.  Pay attention!!!  You AREN'T the only people in the world or in this parking lot!  IF everyone would park in the spots or along the right side and use the left lane to drive through, we could all pick up our children safely.  If people could get their heads out of their asses and pay attention to how the traffic should flow and how we can all be happy with the process, maybe all of us could pick our children up in a timely manner without pissing everyone else off.  For those of you who continue to be down right stupid as hell, I will AWD over top of your ass and park on the roof of your piece of crap hoopty car that is blocking everyone else, and I will squat and take a crap on your windshield!

Get out of my way and start using your brain for something other than figuring out a way to use and abuse the system and live off my tax money, all while sleeping the whole time your kid is in school only to wake up 2 minutes before you have to pick them up, in a panic, causing you to park anywhere you want and blocking the rest of us decent people/parents out of the lot.  Get a job.  Take a shower and GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY!  Your poor children, it isn't their fault they have idiot parents like you.

One ticked off Mustang Mama

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good Day, Bad Day

You know the kind of day, (insert your name here) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day kind of day.  Starts with oversleeping, realizing you don't have time to make coffee, realizing your put on a blue sock and a black one, forgot to bring your lunch and then some idiot decides to drive in front of you at warp GRANDPA speed and now you are even later than you were when you over slept.

The kind of day that starts with dropping everything you touch, forgetting some part of your morning routine that is CRUCIAL, like brushing your teeth or putting on deodorant.  You finally make it out to the car and the tank is below empty and payday isn't until tomorrow!

It is so easy to feel these days, really feel them, and remember them for what they are.  It is easy to talk about these days and tell people you A: woke up on the wrong side of the bed, B: Nothing is going right today, C: Should have stayed in bed today or D: ALL OF THE ABOVE.  It is also easy to complain and whine about these days and everyone you come in contact with completely understands because they have had these kind of days too.

What about the OTHER kind of days?  I am not talking about the I won the lottery day, or even an I won a small fry from McDonald's kind of day.  I am not talking about big achievements like a raise, promotion or getting a new job, not weddings and graduations and parties and fun events, just the normal, smooth, things made me smile today, kind of day.

Today I had one of those.  One of those smoothly going, yet nothing super special, put a smile on my face day.  We got up knowing it was gonna be busy.  Jon has to travel this evening and Henry not only had school but after school practice as well as boy scouts and I gotta get him to do the homework and eat dinner sometime while all getting to bed early enough for school and his math and spelling tests tomorrow. Whew!

The kids made it surprisingly easy to get ready and out the door this morning and Henry even got to wear his new sweater with the skulls all over it (thinking positive despite the drastic weather changes).  Callie and I stopped by Jon's work so she could see him, as she missed him by minutes this morning.
Callie and I played with her dolls and animals and threw a birthday party for her Puppy Pinky.  We then left to go look around at some winter wardrobe for her, she has near nothing in her size and I think I mentioned the weather change earlier (see above).

It was a pouring rain day today but we trudged out and hit up St. Vincent DePaul.  I have a need to dig through that store often because they have cool furniture and nick knacks that I love to play around with and sometimes you can find a good deal on certain things.  I wasn't expecting much, which made me even more excited about what I found!  Callie and I got started in little girl clothes and hit the jackpot!  We found 5 long sleeve dresses from Old Navy, Children's Place, Osh Kosh etc...  We found 2 pair of pants, a skirt and a fleece lined sweater coat too.  Everything was cute and in good shape and blah blah blah NOTHING was over $1.49! What did she say??  Yes, I spent less than $20 and ended up with nearly half a wardrobe and one happy smiling little girl.  We had so much fun shopping and we spent forever there just looking and digging and finding goodies.

After St. Vinnies we headed out to lunch with Jon, which is a blessing in itself that he works around here and can take a lunch break with us every day.  It was also a blessing because, with no warning from the sanitation folks, they flushed out sewer stuff and filled our home with the lovely scent of POOP/SULFUR just a few hours before, making it impossible to eat there!  So we Skyline scarfed down our lunch and enjoyed the sounds of Callie singing her ABC's for us too.

When it came time to pick Henry up from school, after his practice, she was in a grouchy mood.  I wasn't sure how the rest of this evening would go, but one look at Henry and she was all smiles.  He ran down the steps and gave her a huge hug and kiss and told her he missed her.  We walked out to the car and gave him the gift we picked out for him, a conch shell that was pointy and rough, to counterbalance the smooth one he has of the same size.  He was thrilled!

We came home and Callie wanted to show him her new clothes.  Now most boys would be like, "what the, NO WAY!", but Henry was enthusiastic with a comment for every piece of clothing she took out of that bag.  "That is cute, Callie!"  "Yeah, that's my girl!"  "A girl at school has that same dress."  "You are gonna look so pretty in that, Callie Anne."

We did homework and he aced his practice test.  He let Cal do the puppeting for the Little Red Hen, while he read us the story.  No complaints and plenty of sharing.  Then, the exact moment that I thought, this is one of those days, happened.  Henry announced that he earned a prize at school today for his good listening and behavior and he pulls out a toy for his sister.  He worked hard to earn that toy and the first person he thought of, was Callie, and how she would love that toy.
One of those smooth, easy, making me smile kind of days and I wanted to share it with you and remind you to look at your own days with new eyes.  Sometimes those uneventful days are just the perfect kind of days and honestly they are the majority of our "norm" and I hope yours too.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Little Kid, Big Responsibility

I have noticed that children and mainly PARENTS of children, seem to give their kids a free pass when it comes to rules and behavior because, "they are only 2" or "they don't know any better" or even "I'm too tired to fight this battle."

While I admit that I fail sometimes in the parenting and setting a good example department, and that many times I am so exhausted that I don't want to make it a battle, I know and feel that the major way for children to learn is to be taught by their parents.  It is my job to teach them how to be contributing members of society.  It is my job to teach them respect and to value teamwork, common courtesy and kindness and it is my job to explain the Rules of Society to them as well as the consequences of their own actions.  We as parents are molding them into the adult they will one day be, and it is not a job to be taken lightly.

For example, I always wanted to be a stay at home Mommy.  I value education and parental involvement in your own child's education and I firmly believe they need the time at home, one on one at times, to begin building a basis for their education.  I believe children need to experience life and the real world in a safe and fostering environment.  I do NOT however, think this is the choice for everyone and I also do not judge those who choose not to stay home, or just don't want to be at home with the children all the time and feel they would be most productive for their family by working outside of the home.  If staying at home was all sleeping in, eating bon bons and doing nothing all day, I am sure many more folks would jump on board!

Henry was and is such a well spoken little boy and has been since he was just over a year old.  I get compliments all the time on his language and ability to have a conversation.  I think it is just because he learned how to speak by watching me and talking with me one on one when he was a little guy.  He wasn't learning from all of the other little ones running around the classroom and stuff like that.

Both of our children have a healthy love of books, which started at a young age.  How do you get them to sit and flip through books and not chew on them, draw on them and rip them up?  Well, the library has always been a weekly outing for the kids and they know the rules.  They have left the library with NO books when their behavior isn't playing by the rules and likewise they have walked up to the librarian to request books from other libraries in town when the topic doesn't seem to be covered at our main branch.  Why and How do they know these skills? Because I taught them, that's why.  I took the time to explain the rules of the library.  You must whisper when talking and not run around the library, people are doing work here and like it quiet when they are reading.  Can't find a book you are looking for because it is at another branch?  Write down the call number (with Mommy's help of course) and take it to one of the librarians asking politely, "Could you please request these books for me?"  There were tougher lessons as well, lessons involving admitting to your favorite librarian, who happens to be a relative, why you ripped up a book when you were angry or why you drew in a book that you knew you shouldn't be drawing in.  Lessons like counting out the money in YOUR bank and paying the librarian for the damage you did to said books.  These lessons were learned quickly and never have been repeated, but taking responsibility and having consequences are two very big life lessons and I am just glad they could be experienced on a smaller level.  To them, it was a very large scale lesson and is was also a lesson learned.

There are a ton of things that kids are too little or too young to handle, I can see and completely agree with that.  What I don't agree with is lowering our expectations because we deem things to be too complicated for the kiddos.  Another example of this with my own children is when they want to buy something at a store.  We don't buy toys for no reason.  Birthday, Christmas and an earned reward here and there, but we don't just go buy toys every day, even though we want to sometimes.  If there is something they really want, we open up the piggy  banks and count out the money.  When we head to the store I have them carry their own money, choose their toy or stickers or whatever we came shopping for and then I let them pay.  Would I trust them to walk around with 50bucks in their own pockets? Hell No!  There is no reason why they can't carry THEIR $5 and pay for THEIR toy and then get THEIR bag as we leave the store.  It gives them ownership, teaches them to value their own money and it makes them feel like they are super big kids too.

We may have expectations that are a little high for our children at times, but we also have children who are constantly getting complimented on their manners and behavior, so we must be doing something right.  I am no "parent of the year" and I break down and scream like a banshee at times too.  I make parenting mistakes daily I am sure, but I always have the best intentions and I have never worked as hard at any other job I have ever had...EVER.

It is hard to let go of some things and let them be "big people", from a parent's perspective.  Henry is in first grade this year and started a whole new school.  A school where I have to drop him off and he has to walk in...BY HIMSELF!!  I dreaded it and was like, "How in the heck am I gonna be able to watch him do that??!!"  Of course, after a little more than a week, he is just fine and even though it was hard for me to let go, he is JUST FINE.  I pack his lunch everyday because he is nervous about the lunch line.  It is foreign so he would rather just eat what Mom packs, but the day is coming when he will want to take some money and try it out, and I have to let him do it.  I have realized in these situations that I am just as scared as he is, but I can't let him KNOW that.  I have to put on a brave face because he needs to know that I have prepared him for this, he needs to be confident in his abilities, and he needs to know that I support his efforts and decisions.

Talk about a nearly impossible task for a Mom!!  I want to protect him from every humiliation, every mistake, every struggle.  I can cry right now just thinking about someone making fun of my boy, or calling him names and making him feel inferior.  I am terrified of the first time someone talks him into something that his head and stomach say no to and I am scared that his peers will influence him more than we have and he will make bad decisions.

These things can and will happen and all I can do is hope I have prepared him, taught him and raised him well.  I am so relieved that this is on a small scale right now, but it starts here and it starts now and I find no reason to lower my expectations of what an incredible, smart, responsible and amazing person each of my children can learn to be.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kids and Pools

I tried to think of a clever name for this post, but then I realized that this title says it all.

Kids and pools.  This summer has been pretty amazing for us as far as the pool goes because it is the year that Henry took off his arm floaties, put on the mask and jumped into the water and took off!  He is diving for sinking toys, jumping off the side of the pool, doing flips and flops and holding his breath and trying new things in the pool every single day.
This is also the summer that Callie watched her brother and threw out all of her fears and worked hard to learn how to swim as well!  She jumps off the side of the pool and swims to me, she tries to dive down and get the dive sticks and she is working hard every day to get better and better and become a stronger swimmer.

This is so great and for ONCE since I have had children, the pool is FUN!  There were years when I couldn't do a trip to the pool alone because they both needed me so much.  There were times when I would have to stay out of the sun with the newborn who couldn't wear sunscreen just yet, while someone else got to play with the other child.  I haven't had a tan in 7 years!!

So now that I can relax (just a tad) going to the pool is so much fun for all of us.  I am so proud of how far they have come and how hard they are working, and we still have several weeks left!

Yesterday at the pool we were lucky that there weren't a bunch of people there so Henry could swim around while my Mom kept an eye on him, and Callie and I could camp out on the steps practicing swimming back and forth.  It was supposed to rain later in the afternoon so we decided after an hour or so that we would take our last jumps and swims and head home.  Lots of folks were doing the same thing cause the clouds were moving in so as I am standing close to the steps and sending the kids over to Grammy to get dried off, I was watching them walk away when another Mother hollers, "Grab him!!  Grab him!!" to her son.  I turned to see where she was pointing and saw a bobbing red headed little guy right behind me.  I had to jump at him to get there quickly and I scooped him up.  I wiped the water out of his eyes and said, "Are you ok baby?" and he nodded yes and I think both of us were in complete shock.  I handed him up to Mommy and said, "Here's Mommy." and she clung to her little guy.  My heart was racing and I was near tears.  We packed up and I walked over to Mom so I could check on the little man, who was munching fruit snacks with a smile on his face.  We chatted for a minute and I told her one of my mantra's, "We Mommies have to stick together."
I cried the whole walk to the car.  Couldn't shake it for the rest of the day.

Today we headed back to the pool, finally no rain in the forecast!  We spent two amazing hours there and had so much fun.  Daddy even surprised us with lunch and spent his lunch hour watching the kids swim, for the first time :)  It was so cool.  I gave the kiddos the 10 minute warning, that we were headed out shortly, and they were getting in their last jumps and what nots, when one of the little girls from the other day walked up to the edge of the pool.  I was standing by the railing at the steps and I recognized her and her family when they walked in.  On the previous day, my Mom had commented to her mother how beautiful her curls were, so we both recognized her right away.  This time it wasn't just she her 2 siblings and Mom but Dad was along and another friend with children too.  Turns out they were there to celebrate one of her brother's birthdays with a pool party.  Mom was getting things unpacked and set up, Dad was sun blocking the older two who both could swim well and the youngest peanut was standing by the pool, gripping the railing, looking like she was headed into the pool. I said to her, "Do you swim without floaties?" Of course she is under 2 so she doesn't really say anything, but she is smiling at me.  I ask one of her siblings, "Can she swim without floaties?" and he answers "yes!"  As I said, I remember her from the other day and I am pretty sure she does NOT swim just yet.  So I let her hold the rail and take the steps and as soon as she steps off the last step and goes under, I scoop her up and she clings to me for dear life, and I to her.  I held her for a moment and walked her out of the pool, where she ran to Mom and asked for floaties.  Mom was in shock that she was soaked from head to toe and looked around to try to figure it out and of course, I walked up to her to introduce myself and talk to her.  Callie says, "Mom, it's like you always say, you Mommies have to stick together."

I am often, "in the right place at the right time" and I am ALWAYS looking out for what is going on around me especially when children are involved.  When I spoke to my Dad about this, his reaction was, "what the hell were these parents doing while their kids were drowning in the pool?"  I realize that I could have thought this same way, what irresponsible parents, this would never happen to ME, what were they doing?  BUT I didn't. Not even for a second.  I argued with my Dad that these things happen so fast.  In both cases the wee ones were following their older siblings lead.  One big bro was washing he and the little one off at the shower, while Mom packed up their gear, from the CLOSEST chairs to the shower and he decided to jump back in even though she told him it was time to go...and little brother was right behind him.
In the second case, the big siblings, who could swim reliably, took off to the pool with little sis in tow.  Mom thought Dad was watching, Dad thought Mom was watching, there were more than enough adults to the pool she went.

I am so happy that God put me in the right place at the right time.  Both of these babies were in his arms just as much as they were in mine in the pool.  I am proud that my own daughter knows that "we mommies need to stick together."  I am also humbled that these moments happen to GREAT parents, responsible parents and loving parents.  This could happen to any one of us and it is not a result of negligence in any way.

I would like to enjoy the rest of the summer without crying at the pool every stinking day!  If God puts me in the right place at the right time again and again I will thank Him. I just hope if the situation is reversed that He will put someone in the right place, at the right time for my own babies.