Thursday, June 27, 2013


Everyone has several titles that are assigned to them in life. I am wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and granddaughter. I have realized that it is difficult to explain that Grandma is also Mommy to Uncle Smug-Bro to my very inquisitive Smug-Baby! I am also realizing that titles aren't as cut and dry as I once believed them to be.

I used to get somewhat offended when my sister would use the term "Aunt" when referring to a close family friend. That was MY title and it was special just for me!!! So I stopped using the "Aunt" at all with my nephew, because if it wasn't going to be special and anyone could be "Aunt So-in-so" then I would just be me. I was OK with that, but it still hurt that the title was given out willy-nilly.

Last weekend, we had a family wedding in town and all my family was here and we had a big cookout and pool party at my sister's place. I was surrounded with my aunts and uncles and cousins when it hit me. My cousin's have children now and they are also cousins. Try explaining that to several 2-5 year olds!!

My cousins, sister and myself came to the conclusion, that, in the eyes of the children, adults would be aunts and uncles and the kids were cousins. It didn't matter if the title didn't match the technical definition because it was something the little kids could understand.

That is when I started thinking maybe I had been wrong to feel slighted in regards to my "title" Family is family and it doesn't really matter the title that one has, because "family" is the only title that matters. My family is very close and my cousins are like brothers and sisters and my aunts and uncles are like parents!

When it comes to small children, they need simple explanations for life and calling someone "Aunt" tells the child, without having to explain it, that this person is special and is a adult to be listened to and is someone who loves them very much.

It would be very cumbersome to try to keep track of who was my great-aunt and I certainly don't call her "Great Aunt G"!! I don't call my cousin's child "Second Cousin P" for goodness sake! Family is family and an aunt is a loved adult and a cousin is a loved child. That is all it needs to be!!

As I have gotten older, I realized that the closeness of my family is not something that everyone has. I got some odd looks when putting in for time off to go to my cousin's funerals. These people were not some distant related person, these were children I grew up with and knew well and felt close to. Their passing was not a small blip on my radar, but a life altering change! Not everyone has that kind of closeness with their "extended family" and I can't help but feel for those people because they are missing out!

This weekend we stayed up talking until after 2am, my cousins and myself. We have done that many times, but this time was the first for me since I've had children. I normally go to bed when the kids do, because I know I'll be up with them in the night. But this time, I threw caution to the wind and had a margarita and some laughs! I noticed how much has changed, we all have children now and the talk was more family focused than when I was a kid. But, I also noticed how little things had changed too. My comedic cousin is still just as funny and I am still the goody-goody who doesn't break the rules and thinks everything through.

My daughter is so close with Smug-Niece that she has started to refer to her as "sister" I had been correcting her until I realized that it too didn't matter! She feels the love of a sister for this person and has decided that this is the title deserved. Who am I to say different?!?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello Monday

Today is the day! It is Monday and it is the start of getting my shit together! I am going to do everything on my "to do" list today! I am going to take my vitamins and drink my water and exercise! I am going to get all the laundry washed, folded AND put away! I am going to end the day with the house in order and the kitchen cleaned! I will not forget anything major!!

The weekend was very nice. My cousin got married to a really lovely girl. They got married in her hometown, so we all made the trip to the wedding. I think that overall I am very glad that we all went, Smug-Baby and Little-Smug both had a lot of fun and it was a really beautiful wedding. However, the traveling is never easy with the children and I think Smug-Baby was sick.

It was really strange. I thought she was getting pinkeye on Thursday so I treated it aggressively all day Thursday and Friday and she seemed 100% by Friday afternoon. Then, suddenly Sunday morning, her eyes were all goopy again and she felt warm! She was incredibly fussy and melting down over everything. She slept most of the drive home and slept over 13 hours last night! She has woken up seemingly fine and has been eating and playing like she is totally normal so I hope that whatever it was has passed. I am going to keep her home today and doing mellow things until she is fever free for 24 hours just in case.

Little-Smug has been a true joy! So excited about playing in the dirt at the wedding and proudly showing his dirt covered fingers to all passersby. Everyone commented how sweet he was and on his wonderful curls! Today, he is full of adventure, climbing up on everything he can and trying to follow Smug-Baby and do everything she can do.

I have already had the first of my 3 waters, taken vitamins and had a healthy breakfast of chocolate oatmeal (oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder in it) and I have gotten all the trip stuff unpacked and put away. I have made the bed and cleaned up the breakfast dishes. I still need to wash diapers, make up wipes and do several loads of laundry. I would like to get the bathroom cleaned and the kitchen floor swept and workout! Wish me luck! Happy Monday!

Monday, June 10, 2013


My mom used to make lists. Like, a LOT of lists. Lists for the year, the month, the week, the day, schoolwork, meals, groceries, errands - you name it! If it was part of life, it had a list. I hated these constant lists when I was growing up. I vowed that I would never make a list beyond one for grocery's (and frankly, even that was pushing it) and I would not be ruled by lists so help me God!!!

Little by little I started allowing lists into my life and before I knew what was happening I was making lists of New Year's Resolutions and a list of the exercises I wanted to do at the gym. It was list that grocery list was a gateway drug into a world of constant list making.

Now, I am finding that I am floundering without a list to go by. So I surrender to the disease that I come by naturally and I have decided to embrace my list making gene!

I have made lists of the stuff around the house that I would like to get done, stuff that needs to get done soon, upkeep items, daily tasks, Smug-Baby's activities, and personal stuff (exercising and drinking water) to keep me on track.

I think that what I failed to understand when my mother was making all her dreaded lists, was that once you have so many balls in the air (house, kids, bills, etc.) the brain simply can't keep up with all of them. So, it has become a necessary evil.

I always find that I can accomplish a whole lot more when I have a list than I can when I am winging it. I have fallen off the list wagon in recent weeks and I am drowning in a sea of things that need to be done that I can't find the time to do. I was talking about all this with a friend and she was commenting about the same thing and I mentioned that sometimes I tell myself I am just going to clean the kitchen for the 3 minutes it takes my lunch to heat in the microwave and I am shocked that I am actually able to get it all cleaned up in that amount of time and I wonder why I put it off all day!

The lists that I have been working on, make it totally doable to get most of the things done that I want to get done and still have time for the park and play dates and rolling around on the floor with the kids.

I have typed up most of the reoccurring lists and on the advice of a friend, will put them into clear sleeves so I can use a dry erase marker to check off things as they are complete and then wipe the sheet clean to have it ready for tomorrow! I am excited to get back into my routines and stop wallowing in this self pity that I have been allowing myself to be consumed with lately. Its time to get back to being the true, list making me!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

1 Year Old

My dearest Little-Smug,

Today you are turning 1 year old. I can't believe how this last year has flown and yet, I can't believe it has only been a year since you made our lives complete. There was a time when your daddy and I considered only having 1 child and now how silly that seems. You have brought us so much love and happiness and we can't imagine not having you.

Your sister loved you from the first moment she learned that you were going to be coming to live with us. She hurts you sometimes because she is loving on you so much! She wants to play, but plays too rough and you want to play and can't keep up. If she is climbing on it, you want to be climbing on it too!

You took your first wobbly steps at 8 months and by 9 months were fully walking everywhere. By 10 months you were able to stand up on your own without pulling up on something. You now only crawl if you fall over while Smug-Baby or daddy is chasing you and don't feel like you have the time to get yourself standing again before getting caught!
You have 7 teeth at the moment, but number 8 is just on the verge of poking through. You cut the first 6 all within a month and then had a nice long break. The most recent tooth just popped up about a week ago. You have been a champ with the whole teething process thus far. You wear your amber necklace so you don't deal with a lot of drooling, but you are more fussy (which means, you are fussy at all, since you hardly ever cry), you have green poo, your nose runs a little and you rub your little face a bit.

You like to try to eat everything we are eating and love green Kefer smoothies, avocado, potatoes and almond milk. You hate baby food! We have been getting WIC to help us out some while mama looks for a job and they provided us with about 10,000 jars of baby food and you can't stand it! I can't blame you!! I tried to put it into smoothies, pancakes and anything else I could think of, but you were right, its horrible!!

You love to share! You love to squish some food around in your mouth and then lovingly stuff it into mine! You love to hand me the phone or the remote or other toy. You clap, you laugh and you love playing games.

You love pat-a-cake. You love chasing your sister and being chased in return. You love climbing back to where the electronics are and pulling the wi-fi plugs. You love turning on the cable box and love even more turning it off while we are all watching something!

You hate having your diaper changed and don't like getting dressed. You love water and taking a bath.

We have adjusted nicely to having you as part of our family and you make waking up each day a beautiful thing. You wake up, your eyes open and turn to find me. Our eyes meet and you grin at me with so much love I fear it will expand my heart to the bursting point. Then you sit up and search the bed for Smug-Baby and Daddy. You climb on top of them and with open-mouth kisses and babbles of happiness, you wake them up.

 Happy first birthday to my son, my light, my love and the sweetest boy I have ever laid eyes on. My hope for today is that you feel all the love from my heart, bask in the love from your daddy and glow in the love from your sister. I hope that you can feel all the birthday wishes and love from your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and everyone else!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feeling Excited

Here I sit, in what is quickly becoming "my spot" at Starbucks, working on some applications, dealing with some emails and working on my newest project. I am feeling really excited at the prospect of helping a friend and it is getting all my business admin. juices flowing and I am feeling happy to have something besides laundry to focus on. I love the idea of helping a business succeed, especially when I feel so strongly about the service they provide!

I am talking about Shining Star Family Center in Roanoke, VA. They offer a wide variety of classes for children and adults, ranging from baby ballet and adult yoga to homeschooling academics and bible study. Most of the classes are $5 to join and are taught by fabulous instructors who are dedicated to helping provide quality instruction at a fair price.

I love that my daughter can be introduced to ballet and tap and jazz and maybe tumbling and gymnastics in the future all at a price that I can afford. She isn't a focused student, all into technique at this point, she is 3 after all; however I do want her exposed to all that these classes offer. She isn't just learning about tapping, she is learning to listen, follow the instructor and follow the rules as well as learning about music and rhythm and the movement of her body. She is learning that being physical in life is important and fun.

They are going to offer a more structured class this summer for her age group that will focus on learning colors, numbers, letters, and basic writing. This is like what she would be learning in pre-school, except that she is in a comfortable environment with instructors and assistants that she already knows. This class will teach through play and I will be able to be as involved as Smug-Baby needs me to be until she is ready to be on her own without me.

I have been giving a lot of thought to her upcoming education. Starting with kindergarten and working back, I'm trying to figure out what I need to do to make sure she is ready, both emotionally as well as academically when she starts full time school in 2015.

I was home-schooled and there are a lot of aspects of that style of education that appeal to me, but there are also things about my youth that I would like to change for my children, so I spend a lot of time thinking about what is best for them, what we can make happen for them and so on. This parenting stuff isn't for the weak I tell ya!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lifestyles of the Poor and Sleepless

Smug-Baby is not sleeping these days. She is 3 and should be sleeping I think!!!! She will often have weeks at a time where she sleeps in her own bed all night or comes into our bed and goes right back to sleep and sleeps soundly. But then, there are weeks like the last few, where she is up for hours and hours, tossing and turning and unable to go back to sleep.

Last night, she went to sleep at 7:15pm, in her own bed and slept 6 hours before coming into our bed a little after 1:00am. She proceeded to toss and turn, whisper to herself, lay across the foot of the bed, lay with her feet on the pillow, try to hold her sleeping brother's hand, pet his face and talk to me, until after 4:00am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then, Smug-Hub took her (crying, mind you) back to her own bed and she ended up falling back asleep there sometime between 4 and 5. I had had it with her!!! I kept telling her that if she couldn't go to sleep, she needed to go back to her own room and let momma sleep, and she would lay there, quietly for a good long time, like 20-40 minutes, before tossing and turning again. I haven't been back to sleep since 1:16am this morning and I am ready to die!!! How is it possible for her to lay there for so many hours without falling asleep?!?!?!?

How am I supposed to get/keep/go to a job at 5 or 5:30 in the morning and function with 3-4 hours of sleep?!?!?!? I have been sleep deprived for years now and I keep wondering when I am going to reach the breaking point and lose my mind for real!

I love the idea of the family bed and I love those mornings of snugging all together and everyone is warm and squishy and cuddled up together and I don't want Smug-Baby to feel like everyone is welcome in the big bed except her, but something has to change. Frankly, I have no ideas on what to do here, because she does sleep well some nights and those tend to be the nights Little-Smug is teething and he is tossing and turning and restless. Or they both are sleeping great and Smug-Hub forgets to put on his mask or has it on, but it squeaks and wakes everyone. I can't win and I am seriously thinking that I want to run away and get a hotel room and sleep all by myself for a week!!!! Not seriously, since Little-Smug still needs to nurse at night, but as God is my witness, as soon as he weans, I am taking some Advil PM and locking myself in my room!!!!

In other news, I am still getting phone calls from all the people we owe money to and they are so confusing! It's like they think I might be kidding with them and keep offering me things, like lowering the payment from $340 to $250, like I might have that lying around! Then one guy asked if I was thinking about bankruptcy and when I told him that I guessed it would have to be an option at some point, he asked if I would like him to turn my account over to their bankruptcy department. When I asked him what that meant, he said that since I had told him I was thinking about bankruptcy, they had another department who might be able to help me more. What the heck does that mean?

I haven't heard back on ANY of the applications I have submitted - not one!! I just can't believe that there isn't something out there and I am feeling very defeated at the moment. Not that I could work a job in this sleep deprived state of madness!!

OK, end the post on a good note.... My husband picked flowers from a friend's rose bush for me last night. Just because he loves me and thought I would like them. So, I guess life is pretty good after all :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Long Time!

Here I sit, in Starbucks... alone... for the first time in as long as I can remember. I am without my children and I have been applying for jobs :)

It has been a year since I was laid off and finally, the money has run out and we are facing the possibility of bankruptcy. I kept thinking that God would provide and something would present itself... I would be shown the way! Well, it hasn't and all the "leads" that I have thought would pan out haven't. It is time to be more proactive and think about ways to earn money that I haven't thought about yet. So, here I am applying for positions with the local fitness clubs and Starbucks and food service and everything else I can think of. I want to work the same hours that I used to work when I was with my old company. I loved having those hours in the adult world and I loved the bond that was created between Smug-Baby and Smug-Hub from their time together.

I am willing to do almost anything to avoid either returning to work full time or filing bankruptcy. Full time work would mean putting both kids in daycare and that just makes me sick! I want to raise my own children and I will scrub toilets if I have to in order to keep being their primary care giver.

The plan is to spend the next few weeks leaving the house in the mornings more and more often to get everyone in the family used to mama not being there, so that when I do get a job, it won't be traumatic for anyone. In all honesty, I am probably the only one who will have any real issues with this new chapter. I do have a complex that life can't work without me there to manage it :)

I think that I was grieving for my old job and my old company for a long time. I was holding out hope that they would call and want me back and I guess I still hope that. I loved my job and my co-workers and the hours and the fact that I'd been there forever and met my husband there. It was my home and my family and it still hurts not to belong anymore.

I also think that I was holding onto this notion that we would be fine on one income and frankly it is baffling to me that we can't! We don't have a huge mortgage and in fact, pay less than a lot of people pay in rent! We don't have expensive cars, we don't buy diapers or wipes or formula or pay for daycare. We don't leave lights on outside at night, water the yard or wash the cars. We don't go to clubs, concerts, movies or even out to eat often! How is it that every bill we have keeps going up - food, gas, insurance, electricity, etc.!?!?!

Or well, I guess I was just hoping that something would drop into my lap that would be the perfect thing. You know, like God was sending me something and I just needed to be open to it. Well, that didn't really work and now we are in a world of hurt and I need to find something to do to bring in money... fast!!

In addition to applying for every morning job I can think of, I am having time to myself. I didn't realize how much I needed a few moments to gather my thoughts. I need to write down/blog about my life and get things off my chest and with the little ones wanting to "help" mommy type, it isn't possible. However, having this quiet time in the morning has been rejuvenating to my soul and I have been more patient and loving with my sweet babies.

Wish me luck! The Wal-Mart web page just finally loaded so I'm off to apply for a deli position - I could make cakes and chicken salad at 5am!! Until tomorrow Blog-land!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Flat Iron

"Have you ever straightened your hair?" she asked. It took me a moment to realize that the lady at the mall kiosk was talking to me. Not only is my hair stick straight, I was walking along with a baby strapped to my chest and my arms full of shopping bags, purse and diaper bag. Once she had my attention, she guided me to a chair and started combing through my hair almost before I realized what was happening. Then she ran the flat iron through a section of hair and demonstrated how soft and shinny my hair instantly was. She showed me several curl options and showed me how even vigorous brushing wouldn't deflate the curl. Then she asked me if I wanted to buy it for $120!!!!!!! After my gasp of shock, she offered some additional items, like 5 free styles and free shampoo and dropping the price to $90. I walked away and didn't purchase it, mostly because I didn't have a credit card on me! I wanted that flat iron!!! I wanted it bad!!!

Why? Why would I want a flat iron when I rarely style my hair? I am lucky if I get a shower and I never have time to blow dry and would never have time to add another step of straightening my already straight hair. So why was I wanting to buy it so much?

I think that I really liked the idea of feeling good about myself again and I am really anxious to look in the mirror with something other than disgust! I don't feel good about myself, my face, my body - nothing! I have had two babies and they are my focus and I don't have issue with that. I am staying home with them and not going out in public much and I don't have an issue with that. I don't go out without my children and my Ergo is a featured part of my wardrobe and I don't have an issue with that either. But I don't feel good about myself either! It's been MANY years since any member of the opposite sex has taken a second look and years since I was carded at the grocery store and I feel like I look old and flabby and very unattractive.

That flat iron wasn't just a flat iron, it was a chance to look better and feel better about myself and it was a chance to recapture my womanhood and be less of the puke covered mommy I have become.

Why can't a mommy be a good full time mom and still be a woman too? Is there really not time in the day for both? I haven't found it.

I made a conscious choice to be mommy for now and put woman on the back burner, but now I am wondering if that wasn't the best choice. Is there a way to fit in both time for my kids and time to start feeling better about myself?

I realized that my husband has also noticed my lack of self awareness. I don't feel like a woman and a wife, I only feel like a mommy. I realized that he needs to help me reclaim some of the wife I left behind more than 3 years ago. He needs to help me take 30-60 minutes each day to workout. He can give me this time to help me lose the flab and start to feel stronger and fitter and more like my old self.

There is a mental component to exercise and while I think it's fine and even preferable to put my family first, I need what exercise gives me. I don't need a flat iron, I need my self-esteem back, I need my womanhood back, I need ME back.

Happy New Year to everyone and happy new beginnings to me!

Here is to a healthy, fit and overall happy 2013!!