July 31, 2010

"your 6yr old will not remember your problems..."

Read a very touching blog post the other day, and I wanted to share it.

You can find the author over at his blog, RagamuffinSoul, or here is a direct link to the particular post that I'm talking about.

I feel the message in his post goes hand in hand with my previous post, I'm THAT Mom.

It's a message that gave me goosebumps, put tears in my eyes, and a giant smile on my face.

It's a message I hope we can all take to heart and incorporate into our lives ... our children deserve it.

Here it is ...

My 6 year old looked at me in the eye today and asked me if I would go out on a date with her.
I told her yes.

In the back of my head all I knew is that I have a flight to catch and 55 phone calls to make.
2 hours later there are 55 people mad at me for not calling them back and I am late to my flight…
But she…


…is in love with me and they never will be.

When you work for yourself, are behind on the mortgage, have sickness in the family, have a client waiting for something, are a lonely stay at home mom, or any other “grown up” problems…
Your six year old will not remember those problems, just that her dad said “I’m busy”.

If you appreciate that post as much as I do, hop on over to his site and let him know!

July 29, 2010

I'm THAT Mom...

Joining in on an impromptu blog carnival

I'm that Mom ... who wakes her kids up in the middle of the night to go splash in rain puddles or dance in the snow.

I'm that Mom ... who leaves good morning love notes in the bathroom for her kids to see when they wake up.

I'm that Mom ... who will start an impromptu water fight in the middle of the house, and not worry about the massive mess we're making.

I'm that Mom ... who, if you come over to visit, has a basket of laundry in the living room, books on the floor, dust on the furniture (since we moved in, ha), dinosaurs hiding around corners, toothpaste on the sink ... and happy kids running around. I'm that Mom who realizes these precious years with my children will be gone in the blink of an eye; the cleaning can wait, the basket of laundry will be there tomorrow, and the dinosaurs, well, where else are they going to hide?!

I'm that Mom ... who enjoys having "sleep overs" with each of her kids, separately. We stay up late eating snacks, watching movies, playing games, talking, painting toe nails (yes, I have all boys!). And when they fall asleep, I color a "thanks for the memories" message on them (instead of the funny mustache and pointy eyebrows, lol)!

I'm that Mom  ... who encourages their clever creations in the kitchen. Some of their crazy concoctions really do taste amazing (some, not so much)!

I'm that Mom ... who brings her children out in public wearing mismatched clothes that are inside out and upside down, one sock on one sock off, two different types of shoes on the wrong foot, etc ... simply because they are free to express themselves through their style with no unsolicated advice from me.

I'm that Mom ... who will quickly do her kids' chores while they're outside playing; just because.

I'm that Mom ... who will already have all the blankets torn out of the closet, and the fort built, when her kids wake up.

I'm that Mom ... who encourages jumping on the beds.

I'm that Mom ... who gives back rubs and foot rubs to the boys simply because I know how good they feel!

I'm that Mom ... who sees her child fall down, and instead of accessing the wound, and assuring the kid that "he'll be ok" ...  gives kisses, comforts, and listens to how they feel about their injury, big or small. I don't speak for them.

I'm that Mom ... who does still loose her shit all over her kids once in a while, but is always, always quick to apologize. I'm not perfect; I don't try to be.

on the same token: I'm that Mom ... who doesn't expect her kids to be perfect. We all make mistakes, we learn, we move on. I don't have any crazy ideas of my kids learning from my mistakes; they're free to make and learn from their own... with the comfort of knowing that I'll always love them and be there to help them through their difficult times.

July 25, 2010

That's not a twig ...

We went for a walk in the woods tonight hoping to find some blackberries. (ch ch ch ch, ah ah ah ah)

The sun was setting, so even thought we hadn't yet reached the berries, we decided to turn around and head back. Didn't want to get lost out there in the dark! (insert climactic horror music here)

About half way back (now dark), Tatum veered ahead of us on the trail, and I think our eyes all saw it at the same time...
"Ummm... that's not a twig" (ahem, about 500 yards back or so I had a little scare with a snake looking twig!).

A RATTLESNAKE!!! (though, Nick thought it was a type of cottonmouth at first)

Tatum was ON TOP of the snake. I mean, seriously, literally, standing RIGHT over the thing. The snake was frozen. Didn't move an inch as Tatum backed over it and came back to us. Wow, right? She is one lucky pooch! If it were Morgan over there, I think we'd have one dead dog on our hands right now. Where Tatum is calm and peaceful ... Morgan is spastic and "all up in yer business".

We leashed up the dogs and got a closer look.
As soon as Nick got closer to the tail he realized it was a rattler (I thought rattler right away ... perhaps that's just due to my ignorance, because every snake that has that coloring is a rattler in my mind, lol). Once he saw the tail, he looked at the pattern again, and guessed it was a Timber Rattlesnake.

I was busy taking photos and talking about it with Owen.  He kept walking in front of me as we circled around with the camera, putting himself between me and the snake. I had to keep scooting him back. As scared as he was, and as much as he didn't want to be standing there, he wanted me to be safe! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE that kid! Nick was checking out the snake as well... taking note of where his head was aimed. After a minute, Rylan wanted a quick closer look, so he went to stand by Dad. They talked about it for a minute, and after Rylan had enough and moved far back, Nick was stalking up behind it. Right as I was saying the words "You shouldn't creep up behind it, it's going to attack y..." the snake rattled it's tail, took a strike at Nick (it was CLOSE), and slithered into the trees. We could hear the rattle for atleast the next 5 minutes!

When the thing coiled and struck, Owen took off running screaming at us to "get away, get away, get away"! As soon as he saw that his family was all safe, the fear of what happened really kicked in, and he started crying. Poor little sweetie.

Rylan really didn't want much to do with it right from the get go. He got his little look, and he was ready to move on. "Come on guys, we should go. We should leave him alone. We should really really really just stop bothering him".

Larson wasn't able to get get too close a look. He was holding the dogs back while I took some photos, and then we were going to switch. We didn't know Dad was going to scare the poor thing away, ha. Larson is a trooper though. He was only about 10 feet away from it, so he was able to see it pretty well anyway.

We got home and looked it up in our books and online. Turns out he was a Leaf Colored Timber Rattler (nick was right!) ... very pretty!

I wasn't able to get "THE photo" ... you know... the one where you say "I got what I need, wrap it up".  You might not know exactly what you're looking for, but as soon as you see, you know you got what you want. I was working on it, but hadn't yet gotten it. Bummer. I did get a few close ones, though ...

July 24, 2010

I Got It From My Mama

I touched on some childhood stuff in my last post, and I wanted to elaborate a little bit on one particular part... My Mom.

It's true, we didn't have a very healthy relationship while I was growing up, but I have long since moved forward from that. The emotional issues still creep back when facing a similar situation, but I don't associate/blame the experiences and feelings I am facing in my life right now to/on my childhood. I make a comparison in order to give a more complete picture of my life. I record the feelings I had back then because they are a part of me. I'm changed for life as a result of them... but they're not the cause of the turmoil and struggles I face today. I am a lot more sensitive, my buttons a lot easier to find, but those old wounds are healed. As healed as they can be, anyway.

My Mom didn't have the easiest of lives, either. She had me when she was really young. She was in a bad place in her life, and she made choices that weren't good for either of us... but I don't judge her for that. I used to. I used to harbor a lot of resentment, and judgement about the the life she had given me, given us. I used to feel robbed, jilted. I used to feel it was her fault I was as fucked up as I was (promiscuous, anorexic, bulimic, suicidal, etc, etc...), but I don't anymore. I grew up. I took control of my life. I forgave.

And honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. My strength grew unbreakable from my childhood experiences. My unyielding compassion and empathy for other people is as fierce as it is because of my childhood experiences. I have a level of understanding that runs so very, very deep because of my childhood experiences. My heart is so open and my forgiveness so wide because of my childhood experiences. I am the woman I am today because of the life I have lived, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

My Mother has taken control of her life as well. Moved forward from the past mistakes she made. Forgave herself. Apologized to me. And she's doing good now. WE'RE doing good now. Not without struggles here and there, but please, who is?!

I love you, Mom!

photos, top to bottom, are from 1979, 1994, 1997, 2009, 1999

July 23, 2010

How Do You Cope... part one

I was asked this question recently, and it kind of threw me.
How could I answer something that I don't see myself capable of doing?

It's no secret that I harbor a lot of insecurities; I have since childhood. My life has been a very constant test of strength and endurance, and my self talk very often consists of berating comments of being weak, incapable, useless. All the no good mumbo jumbo we tell ourselves when we lack a sense of reality and confidence. You see, I can look back at all the trials and tribulations that have been hammered at me since just a child... I can see my strength overcome all of it. I can see that I'm not weak. I'm not a quitter. I'm not useless. However, my heart has a hard time accepting that, and since I am so completely built to "live from the heart", that negative view wins out... 10 fold.

On being hammered with harsh life lessons since a child. It was very early on in my life that I was put into a caregiving role. Really, it's all I've ever known. When the most important person in my life then, my Mom, was not in a place in her life to really take care of me ... I took care of her. Through drugs, and alcohol, and abuse ... I was there to pick up her pieces each and every time. When I wanted to play a board game, or color, or go to the park, but she needed some cold water and a nap ... I put the toys away, gathered her drink, and sat on the floor next to her while she slept on the couch. I would watch her while she slept, and silently pray that she would wake up (because I lived in fear that one day she wouldn't). I would clean the house while she was at the bar, hoping that when she returned she would be happy. Happy that it was taken care of so she wouldn't have to do it (I always wanted to do everything for her). And also happy with me. Maybe if she was happy with me she would want to play with me. She didn't. She would come home too sick or too tired or too preoccupied with a friend. I would cry in my room, wishing for a different life, but the second she called to me, I would go running. So excited to see her. To be with her. To help her with whatever she needed. I loved her so much, and I wanted to do everything perfect so maybe she would love me just as much as I loved her. I was convinced that if I would have just cleaned a little better, or had her water ready a little sooner, or had brushed my hair a little neater, that maybe she would love me enough to want to be with me just as much as I wanted to be with her. Since she was always leaving me, rarely wanting to play with me, constantly telling me what I was doing wrong ... I was convinced that I wasn't trying hard enough. My efforts weren't good enough. My love not strong enough. Determined to do better next time... determined to be perfect... if I could just give her everything she wanted, she would be happy, and that's what I wanted. Her to be happy. On and on went the self talk cycle of "you didn't do it good enough ... do better". No matter how low or worthless I was feeling ... I kept working at it. Kept taking care of her. I couldn't fail her, I loved her and she needed me.

Years and years of working through childhood issues (I gave you the tinest tip of the iceburg up there), and I was finally making progress. Through a lot of acceptance, forgiveness, and leaps of faith ... I was seeing myself in a new light.

And then my husband returned home from war... forever changed.

In his ptsd, depression, and brain injuries ... he has been lashing out at me. All of my insecurities resurfaced with a vegeance. He made a habit of blaming me for everything that was going wrong. Blaming me for all of his actions. Blaming me for all his careless words. He pushed every body out of his life. There was no one left for him to vent to but me ... and that venting so often led to yelling at me, blaming me, and pushing the guilt onto me. I took it. In my efforts to help him, to not make things worse, to protect my kids... I took it. He needed a place to explode, and I was afraid (gravely so) what he might do if he didn't have that outlet, so I let myself be the target. My head remained level. I could see the reality of the situation. I knew none of what he was speaking was true. I knew there wasn't any validation to the blame and guilt shifting he was doing. However, my heart was taking a severe beating, and we've already discussed how my life is completely ruled by my heart. I again, just like when I was a little girl, started feeling that if I didn't say this, or hadn't done that, or worked harder on this, or tried more for that ... maybe he wouldn't have done or said xyz. Maybe he wouldn't have gotten mad. Maybe he would have remained happy. My head knew better then to fall victim to an abusive situation My head knew not to let the words hit me on a personal level. There was no truth to them. But my heart, my sweet sensitive, ever emotional heart ... it was tattered. I again didn't feel good enough, capable enough, strong enough ... I was broken again. But, no matter how broken I was, I kept trying. I couldn't fail him, I loved him and he needed me.

It's a struggle I work on on a daily basis. Sometimes I make great strides, and gain the self esteem and confidence that I deserve to see in myself ... and sometimes I fall flat on my ass, and end up sliding down the hill several miles. Either way, I keep plugging along, hoping that one day it wont be such a struggle anymore, and instead I will naturally and instinctually see myself as the strong, capable person that I am.

So I guess that's the most important thing I do to cope. Convincing my doubting self, on a daily basis, that I am strong and capable. That by having faith in myself, I can get through anything. I tell myself that quitting is not an option, if for no other reason then being a good example to the three most important people on this planet to me. My want for them to have a great positive role model in their life, one that feels both strong and determined in her body and mind to not only stand up to the obsticles in life, but to hurdle right on over them ... my want for that far exceeds my feelings of wanting to crawl under a rock and quit. No matter how many times I fall down, quitting is not an option I am willing to accept. I might see myself as a quitter, as a failure, but more then that, I am a Mother ... I don't think anything can trump the feelings of Motherhood.

July 15, 2010

Spiders, and Roaches, and Vomit ... Oh My!

Had a late night picnic park date with my teensy 6yr old sweetie pea, Owen (he likes to call it our "privacy time"). What came of that privacy time are memories that will leave us in stitches for a life time!

We packed up some food from home, and then stopped off at EarthFare (health food store) for some special treats. As most of you know, we're mostly raw vegans. (*mostly* means we're probably about 95+% raw w/the occasional non raw (but always vegan) item thrown in here and there). We picked up a healthy baguette, and a small pack of vegan chocolate chip cookies.

Onward to the park!

The sun was all but set when we got there, and by the time we got everything out of the car it was dark. We layed out our spread and dug in! Midway through our meal Owen had to use the restroom. The park was empty, so after a quick stop at the car for the flashlight (no lights in the bathroom) we headed off to the potty. He finished his business, washed his hands, and we trekked back to our picnic. Thank the universe we were still holding the flashlight (no lights in the park, either ... we were using the glow from the street lights waaaaaay over there to aid us in our picnic eating prior to the potty break) because the scene playing out ON our picnic was one we wouldn't have seen without the extra light...


If you know me, you know my nemesis is the roach. I.CAN.NOT.STAND.THEM! Seriously, the little fucks cause such a hyperventilating, nauseating, dizzy, sick, panic that chills my spine kind of feeling in me ... I HATE THEM! I wish them no ill will. Don't want them wiped of the face of the planet or anything (I'm too buddha zen for that); if they would just stay the fuck out of my path, that would be super, thanks!

So, to see them all over our spread... again, OMFG!

The baguette was closest to me, with it's end kind of hanging off the tables edge, and a roach sitting on the end of it. My gut reaction consisted of a simultaneous scream with fierce karate chop. The bread, roach and all, went flying. Another scream escaped as I ducked my head; afraid the airborne roach would fall into my hair!

Lots more screaming as I frantically ran around the table knocking each one (along with whatever food item it was sitting on) to the ground. Owen was standing on the picnic table bench, stunned at the pace in which I was moving, lol. It all happened so fast! As soon as we were pest free, Owen was still hungry, so we went through the food to see what hadn't yet been opened... what was still edible. Not much, but we made do.

In my hyped up panic and super vigilance, I was extremely jumpy (it takes a lot to scare me, but when you do, forget about it ... it's over. my nerves become shot, and I'm an easy target). I was yipping and yelping at anything that moved (ie, the air). I was jumping and whacking my weapon (the flashlight) at anything that made noise (ie, the air). I was cussing at and cursing anything that seemed suspicious (ie, the air). You get the idea ... I was paranoid! I was running flashlight patrols all over our area. Back and forth, back and forth, over and over. I spotted a GIGANTIC spider under the table next to us, and let out a GIGANTIC scream to match ... Until I realized the spider was in the corner of her even bigger web, hunting, and I realized she was on my side ... she was after the roaches!!! Ahhh, allied forces!

Owen finished eating what he could, so we cleaned our stuff and got up to leave. I saw something big, getting bigger, coming at us. The loudest, deepest, most horrifying blood curdling scream came out of me, and Owen let out a little squeak, grabbed my thigh, and jumped behind my leg. His movement around me made me realize that the big growing figure that was approaching us was MY SHADOW!

OMFG! Seriously, nerves shot. Shot all to hell!!!

We decided to get the heck out of the picnic area, and headed down to the playset to eat our cookies. Owen only had 1, me only 2. They were good, no doubt, but something about them didn't sit very well in our bellies. The sugar? The cooked factor? The soy milk? Not sure. We played on the equipment a little bit, but Owens belly was hurting, so we decided to just head home and play a game of candyland. On the way to the car, I felt my stomach churn. Oh No! Here it comes!

I made it to the dark bathroom just in time for my projectile vomit fest to start. Between my shot nerves and that cookie ... I barfed, and barfed, and barfed. I barely ate anything, I don't know WHERE the hell it all came from. Being a recovering bulimic, my gag reflex is sooo sensitive. As soon as I start, my body doesn't let up until every drop of anything is out of me. I was making some god awful sounds, and my throat felt like it was on fire. Owen was SO freaked, it took all I could to tell him, between heaves, that he could grab my phone to call Daddy if it would help him feel more safe. He did! I could hear him saying that Mom's puking sounded like monster noises! lol. It was awful! Holy crap!

As soon as my stomach emptied itself of all it's acid (yum), my body relaxed, and I felt better. Cleaned my face, hugged my sweet boy, and assured Nick that I was ok and we'd be home in 5. As I was buckling Owen into his seat, his poor little face was so tense. I smiled at him, and told him that I really enjoyed our privacy time. He grimaced at me. I told him that we would probably be laughing about this very soon ... karate chopping cockroaches, screaming at shadows, projectile vomiting ... it WAS pretty darn funny! He looked straight into my eyes, face as serious and still as a stone, and said "No, Mom, this ISN'T going to be funny to me, EVER. You were puking A LOT, and I care about you TOO much".

Is he the sweetest thing or what???

By the time we got home (about a mile away, lol) ... he was already cracking up, and I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my face.

Hands down... the most memorable privacy time to date.

July 9, 2010

My Hoop'n Hunny

Nick is undergoing radiation today.
He'll be quarantined in a room in the hospital for 3-4 days.

It's a procedure that I (personally) feel is not worth the risk ... but it's not my body. My life isn't the one at stake. I fully support his decision to go forward with it (though, I fear this entire decision, from surgery to radiation, was very heavily swayed by the military. He doesn't have much control or many options in his health care. In working toward his medical retirement, anything that the military deems an "appropriate course of action" must be followed. If he refuses any of it (drs appts, meds, surgery, etc) it's considered none compliance, and will screw him out of his earned retirement. They'll go as far as handing down an order (much like they did with the surgery), leaving him with 2 "options" ... either obey the order and have the surgery, or decide that he's not ok with the procedure and opt out of it. The latter would be disobeying an order, and he'd get kicked out dishonorably. It's a threat they have hung up over his head, and remind him of often. Makes me sick with rage!)

Buuut, I'm not here to talk (any more) about that today. While he's being pumped full of toxic poison, I want to send my light and love to his speedy recovery by talking about something more uplifting ... My Hoop'n Hunny!

I've been intrigued by hoop dancing for a couple of years, but it wasn't until recently (ahem, sara talking about it endlessly on her blog ... even setting up an entirely new blog dedicated JUST to hooping!) that I decided I was going to finally make my own hoop and give it a go.

I'll talk all about our family hoop making day later ... this one is just about the hubs.

He's a great hooper! Really, he's fantastic. He picks up the tricks so quickly, it's amazing. I have such a difficult time learning new tricks by seeing them online. I'm a much more touchy feely kind of learner. I often need in person demonstrations before it will CLICK. Knowing not another hooping soul in this big ol city I live in had left me high and dry in the in person hooping help ... so I recruited my hubs.

I'm good at breaking down the movements in order to show him how the trick works. He picks it up SO quickly, and then is there to teach it back to me in real time. We're quite a team!

I love watching him. Hard to remember him ever appearing sexier to me ;-)

July 3, 2010

Happy 9th My Dreadlets!

9 months seems like such a short amount of time, but I feel like you've been with me far longer then that number depicts.
You feel so much a part of me.
Like you've always been there.

You, dear dreads, have only been on my head for 9 months;
I've *technically* been a dread head for one year;
& I had had the dread dream for over a year before knotting up.

All of which means you've been a dream of mine for over 2 years, but I think you were born into me far before that. A seed planted inside of me long ago; you just took a while to fully form. Waited for me to be ready and accepting.

You picked the perfect time :-)