Archive for Family

Weekend Rush

A continuation of my Yard Sale Addiction …..

It has been a rainy week, and I believe it made many families think twice about having a yard sale. The forecast for the weekend was unfavorable, but I found 5 yards sales to hit. The first was a jackpot… I got a complete set of crate and barrel place settings for eight: Plates, bowls, salad plate, cup and saucer for $5.00. And for another $5.00, I got a brand new never opened pampered chef medium bar pan, a tray table, and two bags of misc craft supplies. I was practically high with elation when I drove away. My next stop was successful but not quite as good of bargains as the previous. I got my youngest a red sox coat and an Adidas sweatshirt for $12.00, Joe a Harley scarf for .50 and a DOT motorcycle helmet for myself for $20.00. Again not great prices, but all things I needed and much less than retail. I now have like $4.00 left. The next two house were roll-by’s, not even worth getting out. But my last stop was worth it. She was selling her stamping up collection and I had no money left…. I picked out three sets of never used stamps that I new I had to have. I also found two stacks of good card stock and a candleholder I fell in love with. I handed her my pile and said I had to go see how much money I had in my car and I would be back. I feverishly searched my wallet for any emergency cash I may have stashed. (I think I used that last weekend) I had nothing, only my $4.00, and then I looked up, and in my visor I had a winning scratch ticket that I had intended on cashing in when I got gas. It was a $10.00 winner. So I meekly walked over to the woman and offered her my $4.00 of cash and my $10.00 winning scratch ticket and hoped she would accept them in exchange for my pile. SHE DID!!! WooHoo!!!! What a rush….

Yes, I have a bit of a problem. I love yard sales. I love finding a bargain. I love the excitement of making deals. But most of all, I love getting stuff for my family without putting a strain on our family budget.

Note to self: replenish emergency cash stash in wallet for next Saturday

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Showing Love thru Chili

I love to cook.  Hmm… well, I love to cook when I don’t have to.  Like, I hate the routine of making dinner because I have to rush home from work and throw something together and usually rush right back out for one of the kids’ many activities.   But I do enjoy being in the kitchen, I get it from my father and my grandmother.  I have spent hours in the kitchen with both of them, and learned more than I ever could from any food network cooking show.  I will never forget the smell of my grandmother’s house after she fried meatballs for her red gravy (that would be spaghetti sauce for you non-italians). You could never leave her house hungry. She had to feed you. It was her way of showing love. And I guess I feel the same way about cooking, its my way of showing love.

I have a few recipes that I like to believe are really good.  One of them is chili.  I have gotten many compliments on my chili.  I have made it for several fundraisers, and completely sell out.  Lots of people ask if my chili is spicy, and my response is that it is very flavorful without the bite.  (which is usually followed by my favorite partner in crime snorting at me)  I like a little fire in my chili, but the northerners up here seem to be afraid of spice.  Everything is really bland.  I believe the trick to really good chili is all about the vegetables – peppers, red onions, green onions, cilantro, and garlic. 

Chili

I think that you should have as much vegetables in your chili as meat (which I do a beef/pork combo). My grandmother always told me that this rule applies to just about every recipe, “When you think you have enough onion, add some more and then its enough.” I usually make a big pot before the summer because in a couple of weeks I won’t want to heat up my kitchen. So, I showed my love to my family yesterday and made a pot of chili.

I’m Back from My Hiatus

I hit a wall.  Things in my life were not going well.  I didn’t want to talk to friends, I didn’t want to talk to family, and I surely didn’t want to blog.  Life was overwhelming, and I wanted to just be alone. 

Today, I am hopeful.

When my father married my mother, he gave her a strand of pearls as a wedding present.  They divorced when I was four, and my mother remarried when I was eight.  Her second husband gave her a strand of pearls as a wedding present (kinda creepy).  She gave my fathers pearls to her mother for safe keeping.  I found out about the pearls many years ago, and told my mother that I didn’t want to take them from my grandmother, but that one day when the time was right, I would like to have them.  I was never a child that dreamed of my parents getting back together.  Probably because I was so young when they divorced, and never remember them ever being together.  But to me, the pearls represent the love they once shared, and that was important to me.  To believe that once they were in love, and we were a family.

Three years ago when I got engaged, I called my mother and asked her if she thought it would be okay to ask for the pearls from my grandmother.  I wanted to wear them on my wedding day as my something old.  Of course she said yes.  Two months later, hurricane Katrina devastated the region where everyone in my family lives.   And at Christmas the following year, my mother cried as she told me that the pearls had been lost during evacuation.  How could I be upset?  Everyone in my entire family had lost everything they owned and all I had lost was a strand of pearls. 

My birthday was last week.  And my mother called while we were out for my birthday dinner.  She told me she had a very special present for me this year, and she cried as she told me she had found the pearls at my Grandmothers house when she visited them for Thanksgiving.  I cried too.

Today I am hopeful.

Working Mom’s Struggles

I read a post this morning by my friend Catnip who is also a working mom.  She talked about her struggles with reciprocating playdates.  My kids are a bit older and no longer schedule playdates.  But often I am confronted with an obstacles of being a working mom.  Here are a list of my gripes:

  1. Recreational sports start at 5:30.  I get out of work at 5:00.  I have to rush home, honk in the driveway and go directly to the practice.  Makes cooking dinner impossible three nights a week since each child meets at different times.
  2. After school activities.  I am so glad that my kids are involved in school.  But there is no bus service for after school activities.  Which means I have to beg other parents to give my kids rides, or I have to take off work early, or weather permitting I actually have my kids walk the mile home.
  3. Can I ride home on my friends bus and play?  I get asked this question over and over.  And its great, and I want them to play with friends.  But I work until 5:00, and if we don’t have practice, then I have a million things to do every night and cannot have extra kids over.  (this piggybacks on Catnips reciprocating dilemma)
  4. Birthday Party’s on School days.  WTF.  My daughter has been invited to a birthday party this afternoon at 4:00.  I know that I am not the only working mom.  And taking off from work early so that i can bring my daughter to a birthday party is NOT happening.  Sometimes I think SAHM’s can be so insensitive to the challenges of working mom’s schedules.

I am sure I will think of some more and add them to the list at a later date.  But I have to stop blogging and get my ass to work!

Ode to the Kids

So in following up to my last post, this is all about them!
My eldest son is in 7th grade and was selected to be in the advanced math program.  He is talking pre- algebra this year.  He is also taking French.  I have tired to encourage him to participate in other school activities, but he protests a bit.  He definitely does not want to be in band again.  He is doing fall soccer and seems that his main focus is his social life.   Which for me means carting him to his friends houses, to the movies, and coming soon…  his FIRST school dance.
 
My Dear Daughter and middle child wrote a speech that she had to read in front of the 5th grade, she was running for student council.  She had to collect 25 signatutes from her classmates to be eligible to run. Unfortunatly, she was only voted alternate.  But later we found out the girl who won had given candy out to kids to sway their vote.  This is TOTALLY against the rules.  So Monday, I will be that mom, and go to school and complain.  She has also decided she wants to be in Band, and we just purchased her flute and she starts lessons on Tuesday.  She is also doing fall soccer and is on the same team as her older brother, which mortifies him. 
 
My baby boy, not so much a baby anymore, is in 4th grade.  He also ran for student council.  He had to write a letter to the fourth grade teachers stating why he thought he would be a good candiate to represent his class.  Of course, the two kids who were selected were children of parents who are school volunteers and on the PTA BOARD this year.  Those kids who won could have said, “I want to be on student council so I can steal from the school store,” and they still would have been selected. Being a stay at home mom sure has its perks, unfortunatly I have to work.   He is doing fall soccer.  He has been saying for a while that he would like a new bed.  The one he has now is a loft bed, that he stores his toys under.  His complaint is its too high for Rocky our dog to be able to lay with him.  We finally found what we thought would be a good option for his room.  It also gives him a place for a friend if he has a sleep over, because its a bunk bead.  And now he wants to be in guitar club.  Which means he needs a guitar.   Gonna ask grandma for help $$ with that one.
After all they have been through, I think overall they are good, well rounded, intellegent children – despite the gene pool from which they came.  Quite often I get complimented on how respectful and well behaved they are.  But they are a lot of work, and take up a lot of my time.  Really, I work two full time jobs.  The one that makes me money, and the one that makes me rich. 

You and Me Against the World

I am just now starting to lurk around and read other peoples posts, and I find that lots of people write about their kids.  I have looked over my past posts and realize that I really don’t write about my kids.  I may mention them, but none of my posts are really about them.  And I started to wonder why, and realize that every moment of my life is about them, from the time I wake up in the morning, until the time I go to bed.  And this is the only place that is all mine.  And I need this avenue, to get my thoughts out there.  Sort of my own free therapy, like going to the gym.

My kids are my everything.  I did the single mom thing for quite some time after my divorce, before the fiancee came into the picture.  So I really feel like we have a unique bond, like we conquered something together.  And when I say it was just me and them, we were really alone.  Every member of our family lives in Louisiana, and we live in New England.  Geographically, I not sure they could be any further away and still be CONUS.  We only had each other, and we all worked together to make it work.  And in reading this, it sounds like my kids are older children.  But at the time of my divorce, my kids were 4, 5 and 7.  The were still babies for godsake!  But they were great, they understood when we didn’t have the money to do extra things.  And were content with the time I was able to give them, rather than the things I couldn’t buy them.

My mom and dad divorced when I was 3.  She did the single mom thing for 5 years before my step-dad came into the picture.  I remember her playing over and over on the record player You and Me Against the World by Helen Reddy (give it a listen, its worth following the link).  It was her song to me and my sister.  Today, it has a whole new meaning.  I now understand why her eyes welled up with tears when it played.  And now the meaning it holds for me, for my children.

Vanishing Weekends?

Do you ever ask yourself on Monday Mornings “Where did the weekend go?”

I know I was busy the whole time, but yet somehow I feel I got nothing accomplished and my to-do list has doubled in size.  One thing my mother taught me was to make to-do lists.  She had them posted all over the house, and still does.  I started leaving them for my kids, for when they come home from school.  One of her tricks was at the end of the day, if she completed something that was not on her list, she would still write it and then cross it off.  It made her feel like she had accomplished things even if her list did not get shorter. 

I find myseld easily distracted from my lists, mostly because I have so many balls in the air that I juggle on a daily basis.  I have a few lists going at on right now; a daily list, short term goals and long term goals.  I every much enjoy reading some of other people’s to-do lists.  Below is a funny, that I thought I would share, it has a remarkable resemblance to the chain of events of my weekend ~ enjoy!

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. –
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
 
This is how it manifests:
 
I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
 
As I start toward the garage,
I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.
 
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
 
I lay my car keys on the table,
put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
and notice that the can is full.
 
So, I decide to put the bills back
on the table and take out the garbage first.
 
But then I think,
since I’m going to be near the mailbox
when I take out the garbage anyway,
I may as well pay the bills first.
 
I take my check book off the table,
and see that there is only one check left.
 
My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the can of Pepsi I’d been drinking.
 
I’m going to look for my checks,
but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
so that I don’t accidentally knock it over.
 
The Pepsi is getting warm,
and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
 
As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,
a vase of flowers on the counter
catches my eye–they need water.
 
I put the Pepsi on the counter and
discover my reading glasses that
I’ve been searching for all morning.
 
I decide I better put them back on my desk,
but first I’m going to water the flowers.
 
I set the glasses back down on the counter,
fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.
Someone left it on the kitchen table.
 
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
I’ll be looking for the remote,
but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,
but first I’ll water the flowers.
 
I pour some water in the flowers,
but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
 
So, I set the remote back on the table,
get some towels and wipe up the spill.
 
Then, I head down the hall trying to
remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
the car isn’t washed
the bills aren’t paid
there is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter
the flowers don’t have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can’t find the remote,
I can’t find my glasses,
and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,
and I’m really tired.
 
I realize this is a serious problem,
and I’ll try to get some help for it,
but first I’ll check my e-mail….
 
 
Don’t laugh — if this isn’t you yet, your day is coming!!

REJECTION

My father called me today.  I hate to say that I dread answering my phone when he calls.  Its very unfortunate, but he never calls with good news.  When I answer, I try not to say “what’s wrong”, instead I say, “what’s going on”, but in my head that’s what I am thinking.  He started off by stating he had to fire his secretary.  That’s not the worst thing in the world, but to him it is.  He’s a lawyer.  In his business, most of his clients are going through the phone book and call him.  When no one answers, they most likely just go to the next name in the phone book, without even leaving a message.  So for him, having someone answering his phone is crucial to his business. 

But then the real reason for his call was revealed.  My brother is in his final semester of college and has applied to Law School.  Lets take a step back for a minute and give a brief history.  His Sophomore year he got his senior in high school girlfriend pregnant, had the baby, married her, and dropped out of school to work full time and support his new family.  Guess he didn’t learn from my mistakes.  A year later came hurricane Katrina where he lost his house and all of his possessions.  His young marriage, already strained by an array of issues did not survive.  Since then he has gone back to college and is in his final semester.  He only applied to one school.  His/my fathers Alma Mater.  Like there was any other choice.  My father got a letter delivered from the school on Friday, and could not help himself but to open it.  It was a rejection letter.  My dad was sick about it all weekend.  He could not bring himself to tell him, in fear it would perpetuate a drinking binge. 

My heart breaks.  I am so fearful that this will cause a downward spiral.  And he has come so far.