It was a little over 10 years ago that The Man and I discovered we were going to be parents. Well, not me. I already was a parent to Bug and Munchkin. The Man, however, was just getting his feet wet when it came to dealing with kids.
It was early February 2003 when I took a home pregnancy test that I was positive was going to come up negative. I had an IUD put in shortly after Munchkin was born and had full faith in it's abilities. Maybe that's where my faith went to die?
So after that little pink line showed up bright and clear and I shocked The Man with the news that he was going to be a real, bonafide, biological dad - we set about making a plan.
The first part of that plan was that we needed a house. A big one. So we started looking and found that we could get a lot more house in our price range if we bought in the boonies. So that's what we did.
I remember so clearly when we decided on the house we eventually bought. The Man loved it because you couldn't see it from the road and I loved it because it had a great big back porch (that we never use) and hardwood floors and a fireplace (that we also never use). The first time we decided to drive out to see it without our realtor, just by ourselves, we drove and drove and drove and looked at each other with one of those looks like "What the hell are we thinking buying a house this far out in the boonies?!"
A lot of people wouldn't have even considered it the boonies, either, but to The Man and I it certainly was. We had a small plaza right up the road complete with a Winn Dixie and a pizza place. Our road was paved, though it was pretty much only one of two around that wasn't dirt. The closest gas station was 10 minutes in either direction and we were about 1/2 hour to our closest relatives, my parents.
From the end of our driveway we could look across the road and see orange groves for what seemed like miles and the smell of their blossoms the winter after Goober was born took my breath away. People on horseback rode in front of our house on a regular basis and my kids loved to walk across our little road and feed the pony and donkey that lived in the little pasture there. We learned to get what we needed while we were "in town" and how to take care of our well and septic system and how to defend our trash cans against small woodland creatures.
And before we knew it, we were loving our "country lifestyle" and marveling over the stars at night and how people smiled at our little grocery store and waved when passing on our narrow dirt roads. Our kids started school and made friends and just like that we really had built a life out here in the boonies.
It wasn't long after we moved in that another plaza was built not too far away with a Publix and a Burger King and a Dominos Pizza - and then a Walgreens across the street and a public library around the corner. I can't say I haven't enjoyed these new amenities. I shop at that Publix and have been so thankful for a pizza place that would deliver to us and a 1 hour photo lab just up the street. My kids practically live at that library. But if those things had never come, I'd have been okay.
Several years ago those beautiful orange groves were damaged by some terrible fruit tree disease and our area was hit with hurricane after hurricane that pretty much put those groves right out of business. A huge developer has bought that land and has proposed a development far beyond the scope of anything our little community could have ever imagined 10 years ago. Zero lot line homes and retail and apartments and a spring training facility. Within spitting distance from the end of our driveway.
Just a few miles away in either direction, two more huge developments are being proposed on agricultural lands that are no long being used agriculturally. It's all happened so fast I feel like my head is spinning.
But I was never one to go quietly into that good night. So I'll be fighting and gnashing my teeth and attending meetings and doing whatever else needs to be done to keep development at bay. Maybe we can fight them off for just a little while longer. Long enough for me to send Goober off to college while there's still cows in the pastures and horses trotting by our driveway.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
It was a little over 10 years ago that The Man and I discovered we were going to be parents. Well, not me. I already was a parent to Bug and Munchkin. The Man, however, was just getting his feet wet when it came to dealing with kids.
Monday, September 30, 2013
I haven't had coffee yet this morning so forgive me if I'm not as coherent as usual - but when a blog post strikes me I have to drop everything and type. They hit me so rarely these days.
Today I want to talk about political correctness. I was reading back through one of my favorite blogs when I stumbled upon a post where one of my favorite writers lamented a purchase of pans that she found on the Target clearance rack for a ridiculously low price. The problem was that they were made by Paula Deen.
I completely understand the hesitation, but frankly I would have had maybe a millisecond of pause before I would have been running to the checkout with those pans at that price. I'm fairly sure that Paula doesn't donate any of her money to the KKK and even if she does, Paula had already gotten her money from those pans and my bloggy friend's purchase off the clearance rack wasn't sending any messages to Target to reorder those pans.
So, in that instance, I say throw politically correct caution to the wind and buy the damn pans.
But then I was reading through the comments on that entry and I read a quote that said "Political correctness is not making our world a better place."
And that's where I had to disagree. Perhaps political correctness is not making our world a better place for white men between the ages of 24 and 60 - but it's damn sure making it a better place for everyone else. Have you ever watched an episode of Mad Men and found yourself horrified? Political correctness has gotten us a long way, Baby.
I'm not saying things don't go overboard - because they oh-so-often do - but I'd much rather have people overly concerned about saying the wrong thing than not concerned at all. Remember what Thumper's mom told him? "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all."
So yes, occasionally this hyper-sensitive politically correct movement kicks us all in the ass and someone gets crucified in the media for an insensitive comment they made years before (sorry Paula) - but for the most part, it keeps us on our best behavior. It keeps us actually thinking about the words coming out of our mouths and off the tips of our fingers. And that is absolutely making our world a better place.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Here's my own take on teenage girls - a little "personal experience" follow up from my post last week responding to Mrs. Hall.
I don't care if you post selfies or if you wear low rise jeans that show your coin slot. I don't mind if you wear a bikini to the beach. These offences, while IMO not the smartest moves you can make, will not keep you from knowing or dating my sons.
However, if you decide to string my sweet and sensitive son along because he's nice to you and pays you attention, while claiming some other boy is your boyfriend - you will most definitely NOT be allowed in my son's life, if I can help it. That's called cheating, young lady, and I'm not going to stand idly by and let you use my son as your entertainment while you're away from the boy you're calling your boyfriend.
My sons are amazing boys and they are growing up to be amazing young men. They deserve better than that and I won't stop meddling until they know it. I wouldn't let some boy do that to my daughter and I certainly won't let some fast little girl do it to my son.
I hope these girls soon learn that they don't need to keep several boys on the hook to prove that they're worthy of love. Think better of yourself than that, young ladies, you don't need to stoop to that level.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
They'll get over it.
Bug has a girlfriend again. I think this one might be a little more serious than the last ones.
We heard hints of her last weekend when Bug clutched his cell phone happily in his hand the entire weekend and we heard the constant "bling bloop" of his text messaging. Then on Tuesday it poured rain and he received a text from her that she was walking home from her bus stop. Bug immediately grabbed a poncho to bring to her and rode off on his bike. Chivalry is alive and well in my Bug. Yesterday Bug was at her house after school, meeting her three little piggies (for real... she has piglets... three of them) and her dogs. Today there is no school and Bug has gone off once again to see her.
He is 13.... but still a baby to me. When he was not quite two I can picture him dancing in the kitchen with his Aunt B2, his head on her shoulder with a sweet smile on his face. He was so happy to be held and loved and close to other people.
Munchkin and Goober could never wait to be free and running, but Bug wanted to be loved and cuddled. I can still smell his warm baby smells when he would climb into bed with me as I groggily slept off his sister's 4 AM colic session.
He's still sensitive and sweet and wears his heart on his sleeve so I have to stop myself from trying to protect him from heartbreak. He runs off to see his new love interest with such a big smile and I worry... What goes up, must come down.
I can only be here for him when it happens, I guess. Even sweet, sensitive boys like Bug need to learn how to handle a broken heart, I guess.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
There is a blog post going around (you can read it here) in the form of a letter to teenage girls who post sexualized selfies on Instagram and Facebook.
As a mom, I can tell you I am 100% against sexualized selfies of teenage girls. You know the ones, we've all seen them. Wide eyes, pouty face, and a hint of cleavage. They're all over the place and if/when I ever see Munchkin has posted one somewhere you'd better believe a talk will be had (but not before I demand she deletes it and we pray it isn't saved somewhere in someone else's control).
But will I scroll through Bug and Goober's feeds and demand that they unfriend or block any girl they know that has posted one? I think that's a little counterproductive.
And I'll tell you why.
Because this is my blog and that's what I do.
First, it is up to Bug and Goober to view girls and women in a responsible manner. There will always be sexualized images. There will always be women walking around with not enough clothing on. There will be pool parties and girls in bikinis and low rise jeans and bare midriffs. This is the world we live in.
It is not my job to hide their eyes from every scantily clad girl in the world. It is, however, my job to teach them how to view a woman - no matter what she is wearing. It seems to me that Mrs. Hall from aforementioned blog needs to spend a little less time shaming teenage girls and a little more time teaching her own young sons that all girls and women, regardless of her minimal dress or decision to post a selfie on Instagram, deserve their respect and good manners. Even girls who make bad decisions with boys who don't respect them, even girls with a reputation, even girls who don't seem respectable - they all deserve their respect.
Wasn't it not too long ago that the country was in uproar because of a certain group of abhorrent young men who molested an intoxicated young girl and then decided to brag to all of the Internet about it? It is our responsibility, as parents, to make sure that kind of thing doesn't happen again. On both sides. Our girls need to be taught to respect themselves and our boys need to be taught to respect.
Secondly (that's right, there's a secondly), teenage girls are - oh, how shall I say this - typically lacking in good judgement. That's not to say this is true in all cases, but the vast, vast majority. I know this because I was once a teenage girl and I remember. Caught somewhere between wanting to be loved by everyone and wanting to express themselves, teenage girls need special guidance from their community. They must know that they are liked and accepted by their peers and sadly, they will do just about anything to receive that affirmation. Making sure they know they have it before they do something desperate to get it, is our mission as a community.
Having my boys or anyone's boys block them or unfriend them only fuels this fire. It only makes it worse, it is causing the exact opposite reaction. Self-esteem is such a delicate flower for a young girl and sadly, it seems there are so many people (young boys, young girls, and grown adults) just waiting in the wings to put our young girls down. And then we wonder why they run to the first boy who pays them any sort of attention.
It is a great responsibility to raise children to be kind and respectful and to know right from wrong even when everyone else is doing something different. It is the most difficult job I have ever taken on and also the most rewarding.
In our family, we focus on elevating our own moral compass and we try to bring others around us up with us, rather than stepping on their heads in our own self-righteousness.
Edit: I had to include a link to this post, which said it better than I could and made me laugh at the same time.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The other day my dad remarked on how little I've been blogging lately.
"You should probably just scrap the whole thing because no one is reading it anymore."
He doesn't mince words.
So tonight, as I sit here with my laptop in the family room with Bug, Munchkin, and Goober wrapped in blankets and watching Rango way too late for a school night, I've decided to wipe a little dust off the blog and see if I can't get this baby rolling again.
I know, I've made similar proclamations before.
The busier our family gets, the less I blog about it. Which is silly because it really just means there is more to blog about. And heaven knows I need to keep my brain writing if I ever want to finish one of the hundred or so novels, short stories, and novellas I've begun. So here we go again.
For the past month or so it's been all about football. Goober and Munchkin are BOTH playing this season.
Wanna see something freaking adorable?
Thursday, June 20, 2013
I started this blog back in 2007 and one of the most pervasive themes in it is that I have needed to get my crap together. Forever.
Before I had kids I was not nearly this disorganized. Or perhaps, it just didn't matter quite as much. Before kids it's easy to swing by the seat of your pants. You can pick up and go at a moments notice, no big deal. And stuff! Before kids I had so much less stuff. I could pack all of my belongings in a 1995 Mitsubishi Mirage and still have room for someone to sit comfortably in the passenger seat.
Those days are long gone, but my organizational skills have not improved. Nowadays I'm juggling a very messy house, a t-shirt business, another t-shirt business, a brand new sign business, three busy kids, all their various activities, a loving - and demanding - partner, and the seemingly impossible task of feeding them all.
As the kids get older, the necessity of being organized gets more and more pressing, but unfortunately, my skills do not get better. I've purchased planner after planner, attempted to use Google calendar and Outlook and whatever new and improved app I might be able to put on my phone. But alas, I am no more organized.
The other day I was perusing some blogs and found this free printable planner for bloggers. Now, this wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it really sparked my brain to rethink the typical planner. The way planners are divided into weeks or days and not both on the same page, the way life is divided into several different categories that are all important and need to be thought of simultaneously. It gave me the push to come up with a system that I think might just work for me.
Then on the right, I have an area to write my To Do list for the day and a small area at the bottom to write what I'm planning to do for dinner for that day. My favorite part of the To Do list is that there are seven of them stapled to each weekly planner page. So I never turn the page and forget what my weekly goals are, I just make my To Do list for the day and then when the day is up, I tear it off and forget about it, while never losing sight of what those weekly goals are.
This was one of the biggest issues I've always had with every other organizational system. Either it was organized by week and I never had enough space or a decent enough template to deal with the way my life really worked, or it was organized by day and once that day was over I lost focus on what still needed to be accomplished. Make sense?
I printed up a bunch of these, sliced my little To Do lists with a paper cutter, stapled them on to my weekly planner pages, three hole punched them all, and stuck them in one of those standard pocket and prong folders you're forced to buy in bulk every August before school starts. I'm fairly sure those pockets are going to go to good use as well.
And just because I'm a super nice girl, I thought I'd go ahead and let you download and print it up as well. Maybe you can use it? Maybe you can't. Maybe it will spark your brain to create a planner that suits your life even better!
For each week, you'll need one "planner" page and three "to do" pages, each having two lists on the page. Just trim the edges on those To Do lists and staple them into the spot on the planner page making seven To Do lists per week (including the one that's already on the planner page). That's right, SEVEN, because life doesn't stop on Saturday and Sunday.
Planner Page - PDF
To Do Lists - PDF
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I failed so miserably at that last attempt to blog about my kids. I didn't even make it through three kids. Damn.
I did start on Bug's post. I started and stopped, started and stopped. Because Bug is more of a challenge to me. Bug is so different than the other two. Munchkin and Goober are ready to take on the world, head first, while Bug is reserved and cautious. Munchkin and Goober have little fear of failure while Bug would rather stay safe in his comfort zone than possibly fail at something.
Bug has always needed more nudging than the other two and he is quick to quit things if the going gets tough. And that's partially my fault.
I've heard people say that your first child is your practice child and as much as I hate to admit it, it's really true. I have grown up with Bug. We've learned so much together. When Bug started playing flag football at 6 years old I let him quit. It was such a nasty, wet, humid, stormy, muddy, dirty summer and neither of us wanted to go to practices. Bug would cry that it was so hot and I couldn't help but agree with him. So I let him quit.
Then when he was in cub scouts we found ourselves in a pack that was sadly more concerned with the politics among the parents and den leaders than about the kids. Bug wasn't having any fun and I didn't want to deal with the ridiculousness, so we quit. We could have found a different pack and tried again, but instead we just quit.
I haven't often forced Bug to stick with things and that hasn't helped him much. I have made many mistakes with him.
Bug is my genius. His brain is amazing. The way he thinks is so different than my other children. He understands principles of physics - things that make my own brain hurt - and he gets it. He has theories and invents things and wonders how things work.
But Bug can't be bothered with all those other subjects our society deems to be important - like English and Social Studies. Trying to get his brilliant brain to focus on something so tedious as grammar and the capital of Peru has been our biggest struggle. So much that I got a call from his Language Arts teacher about a week before school was ending to let me know that Bug would not be passing her class.
Sadly, on the Monday after school was out and most kids were going to the beach or sports camp or vacation, I was driving Bug to school to start summer school.
I don't know if any of you ever had to take summer school. I did. I had to repeat Algebra II before my senior year of high school. My Algebra II class was held in a classroom at another high school and taught by a teacher. For 6 hours every day we learned Algebra and took tests. It took a full two weeks, Monday through Friday, to complete one semester, or four weeks if you were unfortunate enough to have to repeat the whole year. We were allowed to miss one day per semester in case of illness.
Things have changed. For Language Arts they put Bug in front of a computer and he had to go through all the lessons on his own. He had 8 days, from 8:30 to 3:30 to complete it at his own pace.
At 2:30 on day 2 (TWO) I got a call from the front office at the middle school letting me know I could come pick Bug up because he had passed Language Arts with an A.
I don't even know where to go with that. Is he a super genius or is summer school a joke? Either way, he's on to 8th grade in August.
Bug's struggles with the public school system is really fodder for a whole other post, or book. It is with Bug that I have realized that the school system, while great for most kids, really doesn't work for certain types of children. My Bug is one of them.
I'm trying to correct my mistakes with Bug. Recently I encouraged him to get back into Boy Scouts and so far he really enjoys it. My own qualms with Boy Scouting needed to be put aside for the betterment of my child, (I'm sure you can guess what my own issues might be) and I'm pretty sure I've made the right decision. It's great to see him find some success and some good friends and feel like a member of a group that encourages him. His new scout leaders are great people and his fellow boy scouts all seem to be great young men that are going places and proud to be themselves.
We'll get him through school. My brain is flooded with the possibilities for him. He is exceptional.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
This weekend our Girl Scout troop is hosting an All Scouts Day where we plan on giving our girls the badges and fun patches that they have earned this year (providing we don't get rained out - South Florida is proving to be a rainy lady for the past few days). I'm super excited because Goober's Cub Scout pack will be doing their crossover ceremony at the event, too. I love it when scouts get together in harmonious scout love.
At any rate, yesterday one of my super awesome co-leader's (we have 3 leaders for our troop and we really do need every one of our heads to make it work) went to the dollar store and bought these adorable little green tote bags to give to each of the girls with their awards.
The three of us communicate with each other frequently in a little facebook chat, so yesterday this was part of the chat that my co-leaders had when I wasn't looking.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
It's about time.
We've been working on our site for custom Girl Scout troop tshirts for what seems like forever. Every time I would think it was done, there was more to do. But now, finally, it's up and functional and running and all the bugs are worked out (I hope). I've received orders and fulfilled them and people are happy. Our facebook page is working (go like it! I'll wait here) and I've even got coupon codes and stuff (you have to like the facebook page to get them - I told you I'd wait). Fancy, huh?
I can't tell you how happy I am. :)
To celebrate, I'm offering freebies! Scrapbooking freebies, that is. I bet you didn't know that one of my hidden passions is digital scrapbooking. I sort of love making pretty photo collage style things with them and I've made a few sets.
I do sell a few on the site, but I also made some freebie bonus sets that are completely free to download and use. Get them here (and check out the rest of the site, yeah?)
But it doesn't stop there. Bridging season is upon us. That's right, right now (well, probably this weekend and next), all across the country, little Daisy Girl Scouts are becoming Brownie Girl Scouts and little Brownie Girl Scouts are becoming Junior Girl Scouts. Sassy Junior Girl Scouts are becoming Cadette Girl Scouts and dedicated Cadette Girl Scouts are becoming Senior Girl Scouts. It's happening everywhere.
But enough with the mushy stuff. I made free printable certificates for those super-fantastic girls! They're high resolution and can be printed at home or professionally if you're feeling ambitious. There's a couple to choose from and you can get them here.
And go check out the site! We don't plan on stopping with just Girl Scout shirts, either. In the future we plan on adding more athletic designs and youth group designs and pretty much anything people want.
It's gonna be fun!