Friday, November 21, 2014

My amazing, hormonal, genuinely out of her mind daughter

Munchkin turned 13 this year. She's truly one of my favorite people in the world. I mean, all my kids are my favorite people in the world, but Munchkin and I have a connection that is very different than the connection I have with my boys. There's something about a mother and her daughter.

That being said, she's turning into a very difficult person to live with. She's diving hormone clouded, wrought with tears, Bath & Body Works scented head first into her teenage years. 

My wise dad once told me "Honey, there's nothing stupider in this world than a teenage girl."

And he should know - he made it through raising three of us. Have I told you how amazing you are lately, Dad?

Munchkin has always been an emotional child. But before there was a certain degree of predictability to her emotional outbursts. Like, she didn't get her way and she threw a fit. I was prepared, I could see it coming.

But now. Nope. She'll lose her ever-loving mind over the stupidest crap you can think of. 

Munchkin: Where are all the Cheerios??
Me: We're out of Cheerios, Goober ate the last of them. Do you want me to make you an egg?
Munchkin: Why does HE always get what HE wants??! I REALLY wanted CHEERIOS!!! Why does everyone in this house HATE ME!??!

Queue Munchkin storming to her bedroom in tears, slamming her door when she gets there. 

And then, the weirdest thing is that she'll come out ten minutes later, all smiles, offering to make me eggs.

This stuff actually happens, y'all. I'm not even exaggerating.

Send in reinforcements. I'm not sure I'm going to make it through the next 5 years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I sure hope he'd charge a lot more than a nickel.

So yesterday while driving home in Betsy (Betsy is my minivan), Goober said "Mommy, don't be mad if you get a call from school tomorrow."

Um, what? What could I possibly be mad at, my perfect, perfect little delicious boy? (It's here that I am channeling my inner Beverly.)

"Well, yesterday on the bus I said something and Ricky said he was going to get me in trouble for it."

What could my beautiful boy have said that could possibly get him into any trouble?

"I said 'If you give me a nickel, I'll tickle your pickle.'"

Y'all, I just about slammed on Betsy's brakes right there in the middle of the damn road.

"You said, what??!"

"Well, see, I just thought it was a clever rhyme. But then Ricky cleared that up for me. And then he said he was going to get me in trouble."

Oh, Ricky. You're messing with the wrong 5th grader, Ricky. 

"Where did you hear this phrase?" I wondered.

"Some kid at school said it. I'm never gonna look at pickles the same way again."

Neither will I, son. Neither will I.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Playing until my fingers bleed. Or are just really, really sore.

In between working on our websites and trying to navigate social media, I've adopted a new hobby.

What? You might ask - how on earth have you found the time to take up a new hobby, Beth? Surely there is no time in your life for tennis or skeet shooting or scrapbooking. You'd be right. There is no time for all that noise.

Nope, my new hobby is Guitar Hero.

Okay, so it's not exactly quite a new hobby as it is a resurrected hobby. Back in the day - you know, like 2010 - I was pretty handy with a Wii Guitar. That's right, I unlocked ALL the songs in easy mode on our GH World Tour game.

But somewhere along the way I gave it all up. Broke up the band and moved on to other interests. That was until last weekend when I did an epic cleaning of the TV room and found the disc.

Oh, my long forgotten friend. You've been drifting around for the past few years, case-less, neglected, unloved, your guitar companion collecting dust in the corner of the room.

Our original Wii actually died a little while back but last Christmas Goober received a Wii U from good old Saint Nick and so I popped that disc right in there.

The feel of the guitar was so natural in my hands. It only took me one or two songs before I was right back in that zone. That was, until the disc was unable to be read.

Halfway through Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" it just stopped, leaving me feeling desperate and wanting more. I felt lost, like a junkie who was out of crack and facing a long dry spell. We tried to get the disc to read - the Man using weird techniques he'd learned to resurrect old CDs - but it just wouldn't play any more songs beyond the ones I had already played. It was heartbreaking.

I ran to eBay for a replacement disc and hastily ordered. But it won't be here until Thursday! I have to wait DAYS to get my fix!

Luckily, while browsing the local Goodwill yesterday we did happen upon the Guitar Hero Aerosmith game for a whopping $2.99. Score! It's no World Tour, but it will have to tide me over until Thursday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Where to get the most awesome Christmas gift EVER! For real.

It's done! I think. I hope.

Our new site selling The Man's absolutely gorgeous (and perfect for holiday gifts!) signs is completed. (Oh, please go check it out. Pin some stuff! Tell your friends! Like us on Facebook! Let me know this social media thing actually does work!)

When Etsy put the kabosh on our store, we really went into high speed with finishing the actual site. It's been a labor of love necessity, y'all.

We still have products to add, and a few special things I'm still working on finishing that will need to be photographed and added to the site, but our best sellers are up and ready for ordering.

To celebrate our Grand Opening, we put our absolutely most popular sign on SALE for $10 off it's normal price! What? $10 is a lot of dough! That's TWO Starbucks Spiced Pumpkin Lattes or over three gallons of gas (you can drive for like 50 miles on that!). For $10 you could buy yourself a relatively nice bouquet of flowers at your local grocery store (stay away from those roses, we're talking gerber daisies here). The Fitzgerald sign makes a fantastic gift for your difficult to buy for in-laws, your little sister who just bought a house with her new husband, or your best friend who just celebrated her tenth wedding anniversary. Seriously, best gift ever. It's traditional and beautiful and everyone loves stuff with their name on it. It's true.

Last year we made this with my lovely sister, B2 in mind. She's a classy chick and so I knew she'd want a classy sign to grace her home. Since we made this design it has been our biggest seller of all. 

The Man is meticulous about the wood he chooses to use for this sign. And really all of his stuff - when I say he lovingly picks the materials he uses, I really mean it. You should see him in the lumber aisle of a Lowe's one day, pulling out boards, checking them for defects, laying them on the ground to ensure their flatness. It's serious business.

For this particular sign, he actually applies a strong tea to red oak and then uses a vinegar solution to ebonize the wood. After all that, he goes over the wood with a rich ebony stain to really make it as dark as possible. It's then that he carves into the piece of wood and the beautiful deep red wood color shines through.  He sands it by hand and finishes it with a wood conditioning oil and coat of sealant. The Man puts a lot of himself into each sign, y'all. It's on sale until the end of November. 

Not your style? That's cool, we do lots of other designs and The Man loves the challenge of custom orders. :) Let us know if you want something totally different. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Listen here, Laura, who posts on BabyCenter - You're wrong. And this is why.

It's just after 5 AM and I'm awake. I knew as soon as I posted about how awesome my new schedule was something would happen to screw it up. That something was me being evidently exhausted somewhere around 9 pm and falling asleep fully clothed - in my bra. 

So when The Man came to bed around 4 (yep, that's what time he goes to bed every night/morning), I was wide awake.  But that's not what I'm planning on blogging about this early morning.

I was reading this blog over on BabyCenter. I don't normally read BabyCenter as they don't have a whole lot of advice for moms of kids over 5, but someone posted it on Facebook and it was a funny read so I checked it out.

If you take the time to read the blog, it's a pretty accurate representation of what it's like to have three young kids. It does get better once they get older and their world doesn't completely revolve around you (but that's bittersweet all in itself), but reading that blog put me right back into those trenches. 

My favorite quote is this one: "And you will never really finish doing anything. Just to get the full effect of what this frustrating reality is like, stop reading this post about three quarters of the way through, and scrape something sticky off a sofa, or a rug."  

Because Someday I might show y'all all the half-written posts I've made over the course of this blog. This doesn't really get too much better when they get older. Sorry to say. I'll probably only finish this post because it's 5:23 in the morning and no one else is awake.

What struck me most about this blog was all the bitchy, self serving comments that followed it. All the moms chiming in to talk about how awesome they are and how their kids are amazingly well-behaved and their lives are just full of tender, blissful moments of mother-child bonding. Get over yourself.

The comment that really hit me the most was this one:

It seems like people who have more than one child are really unhappy having more than one child because every single blog is about how chaotic and awful their life is. I get that it’s a joke, but most jokes have a shred of truth in them – it’s what makes them funny.
Listen up, Laura. Yes, it is chaotic and yes, there are times mothers of multiple children wish they could just hit the pause button for a second to catch their breath and take a nap - but I have never been unhappy I had all three of my babies. 

My life is not awful because of my children. They are my life. They are the reason I keep going when things get hard, they are what motivates me to be better. Raising three children who are truly awesome little people is my proudest accomplishment thus far in my life. When I have the opportunity to watch one of them do the right thing - whether it be a big deal like earning 1st chair in the most advanced band at their school - or a little thing like running to open the door for the girl pushing her mom in a wheelchair at the bank - I feel a sense of pride and joy I can't even explain to someone who hasn't had children. 

I have given the world not one, not two, but three absolutely amazing people. There isn't a damn moment in my life I'll ever be unhappy about that. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello, Morning.

I was reading a post by The Happy Hausfrau (do you read her blog? you should, she's wonderful and I love her) and she was talking about how with her new job, two of her kids are now fully responsible for getting up on their own and getting out the door in the mornings. And I thought, OMG I need to tell the blogosphere that I, too, have started forcing the kids to get up and out the door in the mornings on their very own.


The boys are so good at getting up and getting out the door. Bug and Goober both get up, get dressed, and get out the door without me even opening my eyes. This is the first year that this has happened. For the last decade I have woken up at some unholy hour and driven at least one child to at least one school. Because of my night owl schedule, waking up before 8 am has always really been painful for me. So I would wake up around 6:30, wake the kids up, drive kids wherever, drive home and then go back to sleep for a couple more hours. It was so painful and so unhealthy and ended up forcing me to actually sleep more than necessary because I wasn't sleeping straight through.

But now that the boys are getting themselves up and out of the house I've had the luxury of sleeping a full 8 hours every night. It has been like heaven, y'all. I'm so darn refreshed most of the time. (And if not, a little coffee does the trick.)

Munchkin, however, sleeps peacefully until I wake her. And if I don't wake her, she doesn't wake. It's a curse that we both have - this inability to wake up in the mornings. When I was a teenager it was so hard to wake me up that my dad bought me an alarm clock that literally said "The World's Loudest Alarm Clock" on the package (and yes, it really WAS the loudest alarm clock.)

Munchkin doesn't have to be at school until after 9 am because middle school starts ridiculously late in our district (which also means it gets out stupid late, which is a whole other blog post). Since the boys are already out of the house before she even opens her princess eyes, she would peacefully slumber until noon if I let her.

So I wake up every morning by 8 am and I pitter patter across the house to wake up my sleeping beauty. It's actually really a good thing because I'm sure if I didn't have to wake her up I'd just sleep all day and nothing would ever get done around here. But this new schedule we've been on is pretty perfect. Get this, I'm even waking up around 8 on weekends. What??? Seeing the mornings is a whole new experience for me y'all. It's enlightening.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Personal Fitness, Trash Hands, Cold Fronts, and Etsy Sucks

Raising three children is a full time job. Double full time, really. In fact, I don't have time to write this post because I should most definitely be doing other things.

But procrastination is my middle name, so here goes.

This morning I learned that Bug is failing Personal Fitness. Yep, failing P.E... this is happening. Because P.E. isn't just running around the track and doing some sit-ups anymore. Now there are tests and quizzes and homework. A lot of them, in fact. And I guess Bug must think they are total BS, too, because he hasn't done many of them.

Bug has quizzes to take about flexibility and muscle endurance and what he should eat. I guess it's like Health class and P.E. all wrapped into one. His teacher says in her email this morning that Bug needs to make Personal Fitness his priority. Somehow I think his Algebra and Language Arts teachers might disagree but I'm not responding to that.

The other night raccoons got into the garbage in front of the house. Yesterday morning I woke up to little nasty pieces of our trash all over the front yard. Naturally I had the kids clean it up because, ew, I'm not touching it and if I can't get these kids to do the dirty work for me then what did I have them for?

Two minutes after the three of them were sent out to do the nasty job of picking it all up, Munchkin came in crying because Goober had "rubbed his disgusting TRASH hands all over me!!" So I excused her from doing anymore and sent her to take a shower.

The Man told me that she gets out of doing everything and I told him that if someone rubbed their disgusting trash hands all over me I'd be done, too.  Gross.

At dinner last night, Goober smiled and said it was worth it even if she did get out of picking up the rest of the trash. So I guess it was a win-win.

This past weekend South Florida experienced its first real cold front of the season. I had to put on socks and drag out my hoodie. That's cold for us down here. To celebrate we had our first fire of the season and I discovered Johnny Walker on the rocks is a nice sipping drink if it's cold outside.

Speaking of scrap wood, we had a bit of a hiccup this weekend with The Man's business. Since our primary income from his beautiful sign making business came from Etsy, we were sort of at their whim. I don't know if you remember back in the day when I was selling Fifty Shades of Grey shirts on Etsy, but they didn't take kindly to that and shut my store down. They didn't just shut that store down, though - they shut down that store and the store where I sold Girl Scout shirts down, too. Because they didn't even want to be associated with the likes of me. Geesh, Etsy.  

So when The Man started making his beautiful signs (check them out on Facebook for the time being!), we were a little nervous about putting them on Etsy. We put them in The Man's name and his bank information and for a long time everything seemed to be fine. Until we woke up Friday to a nice note from Etsy telling us to piss off. No appeal process available.

It's been a bit of a bummer, but we've been through this kind of thing before, obviously, and come out the other side even better. My Girl Scout shirts sell way better on our own site than they ever did on Etsy so we know that with a lot of hard work and marketing, The Man's beautiful signs will do just fine on their own site, too. 

So that's what we've been up to the past several days - just building our brand new site to feature our beautiful signs. It's not entirely ready yet, we still have a lot of editing to do and products to add - but it is functional and technically it all works. It's a labor of love, I guess. :) 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Where the Spaz just about reaches the end of her fundraising rope

I'm deep in the trenches of fundraising. Deep in the trenches and losing air, y'all.

In the past month I feel like all I do is peddle one thing or another to support schools, bands, trips and scouts. We're peddling candles, popcorn, nuts, candy, magazines, wrapping paper, cookie dough, and garbage bags (yep, not kidding - garbage bags). There's probably more I'm not thinking of because at least one fundraiser packet just went directly into the trash - all of it overpriced and none of it necessary for your existence... well, except maybe the garbage bags but at the price you'd hate to throw them out.

This is the time when the Girl Scouts do their annual nut and candy sale. We call it Fall Product and it's an alternative to back in the day when they used to sell calendars (something people actually needed). Typically, our troop isn't big on the fall product sales but we do sell cookies after the holidays. This is also the time when Boy Scouts are selling popcorn for the unheard of price of $10 a bag.

Though this year I'm seriously considering just throwing my hands up to all of it.

Maybe it's because I have three kids and there's a lot of fundraising to be done, maybe it's because I'm just burnt out, maybe it's because people are starting to run the other way when they see me coming - but I have had enough, y'all. ENOUGH.

I have given my weekends to sitting outside of grocery stores and banks urging my sweet little children to smile and say "have a nice day" even when people rudely avert their eyes and walk past them in their scout uniforms. I have sent out the emails, I've posted the facebook posts, I've called my friends and family.

At least with some of these products a decent amount does go back to the kids, but the worst of all returns is the Girl Scouts. GSUSA and our council, GSSEF (and please, know that this organization has my heart for what the individual troop leaders do for these girls) literally has girls working for pennies on the dollar while their CEOs take six digit salaries. Our girls barely make enough money to plan a nice field trip.

Like I said earlier, we typically sell cookies. They're kind of a tradition and yes, the cookie sale does teach Munchkin some business skills. (FYI - our girls get 60 cents out of that $4 you shell out for cookies, a 15% return). However, we typically pass on this Fall Product sale.

This year Munchkin is in 8th grade which puts her in her final year as a Cadette. She wants to earn her Silver Award this year and she, and her Silver Team of three other girls have come up with a great plan of action. Today I was told that if Munchkin doesn't participate in the Fall Product sale she won't be eligible for her Silver Award.

I'm still chewing on this big fat wad of black venom.

If I find this to be true there may be a whole other post coming up.

At any rate, if you need anything - anything at all - and you feel like overpaying for it, leave me a comment and I'll probably be able to sell it to you for a highly inflated price. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weight Loss Woes

I've been doing this diet thing.... and OMG it has sucked.

It started being the Dukan Diet. You can read all about it somewhere. Use Google. You'll pull up a ton on it.

At any rate, I started the Dukan Diet last Wednesday. If you've Googled at all, you know it starts with what they call the "Attack Phase" where you eat nothing but protein. You can have all the lean meat and fat free dairy you want. That's the basic principle.

It worked, y'all. I lost 7 pounds on the Attack Phase. Seven pounds in five days. Something definitely attacked something. My pants fit better.

So yesterday and today I moved on to the "Cruise Phase" where you get to basically do the exact same thing as the Attack Phase except every other day you can have veggies.  Yesterday I got to have veggies and then today I felt like I was being punished and had to move back to that viscous Attack Phase.

So tonight after I fed the family sloppy joes and mac & cheese and then fixed myself an egg white omelet with turkey and a cup of fat free greek yogurt for dinner I decided I needed to reevaluate.

I am miserable. I am snapping at the kids. I am feeling desperate for different foods.

You see, I have a lot of weight to lose. It's not like I can just do this Dukan Diet for a month or two, lose 15 or 20 pounds and move on - if I stick with Dukan for the full amount of weight loss, I will not get to eat a piece of fruit for the next year. Is that possibly even okay to do?  And even if it is okay, do I want to be feeling deprived because I can't have an orange for a year?


So I revised my Dukan Diet to something I can live with.

Here it is (if you care):

Unlimited lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables
Unlimited super low fat dairy (less than 2% fat)
One piece of fruit per day
Up to 2 slices of whole grain bread per day
One serving (about 2 ounces) of cheese per day
Up to 5 sugar free treats per day (Jello, a piece of gum, a diet soda, etc)
Two low calorie alcoholic beverages a week
One reasonable celebration meal per week.
Very small amounts of oil for cooking

NO LIST (except for in celebration meal - use discretion with celebration meal!):
White bread
White rice
Whole fat dairy
Starchy vegetables
Full sugar desserts

**Must drink 64 ounces of water each day**

Exercise has to be up, too. Walking at least 1 mile per day has to happen. I can also do counter push ups, crunches, and squats every day. When I've lost some more weight I plan to add in yoga. Exercise has to happen every single day. No breaks. Even if it's just a walk, something has to happen.

I'm going to ask The Man to take some before pictures and I might even post them. Later. Like - when I can look back at them and think "Wow, I've come so far."

Not now.

Let's see how this goes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I am guilty.

I spend a decent amount of time reading blogs and essays written by other moms. Moms who love their children as much as I do, moms who work just as hard, moms who would lay down their lives for their babies. Every mother can tell the story of each and every one of their babies - how they came to be, how they were born, and how they are loved. Sadly, so many mothers can also tell the stories of how their babies were lost.

Our world, as beautiful and wonderful as it is, is also relentless in its cruelty. Mamas should never lose their babies. 

I have not lost any of my babies and I feel such incredible guilt. Why do I still get to watch my children grow every day when another mother is forced to mourn her child? I am not better or more righteous than any mother. I do not deserve my children any more than anyone else. 

The other day I got to watch Munchkin as she rode her favorite horse, Thunder, during one of her weekly ride times. I don't often do this - always busy running errands or working - sometimes I sit in the car while she rides and play with my phone, calling it "me" time. My heart is always a little in my throat when she rides. She is fearless and beautiful and she amazes me as runs and sails over jumps. My head churns as I watch her. "Please don't fall. Please take care of my baby, Thunder. Please don't fall."  Because Mamas have lost their babies doing less dangerous things. 

A few months ago she was thrown off her horse and her head hit a tree. Her riding helmet cracked in the front, right where her frontal lobe is. She was a little bumped up, but otherwise fine, and just as I've always told her to do, she got right back on the horse. I'm thankful I wasn't watching her that day.

I watch all three of them take chances, they climb to the highest branch, swim past where the waves are breaking, fall off their skateboards, and do wheelies on their bikes. They are kids and they act just like kids are supposed to act. 

They are healthy, they are happy, they are smart. They have everything going for them and I feel like I hit the kid lottery with how great my babies are. They are all alive and I get to see them all every day. I get to listen to their problems and hug them and hold them and watch them grow. 

I am guilty and my heart aches for those mothers who don't get to hold their babies when they cry and don't get to watch them grow from babies to young ladies and men. Mine are healthy and happy and smart - and I am guilty.