Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas musings

With a half hour on the oven timer for the spice cake I'll be bringing to mom and dad's house tonight, I've got a little time to blog.

There hasn't been a lot of time for that lately - but here on Christmas Day, I've shockingly found a few moments.

We've only just begun our tribute to American consumerism today - we still have The Man's aunt's house to visit this afternoon and my family's Christmas tonight - and I'm already a little sick about it.  We have lost the meaning of Christmas.

This is not a Christian household, but The Man and I were raised in Christian households and raised with good old fashioned Christian values. We are trying to pass most of those values on to our Bug, Munchkin, and Goober. But I think that so far, we've failed in teaching our children the meaning of Christmas. And though I don't believe that the story of Jesus is a true story, I love the meaning behind it and the beauty of Christmas. 

The story doesn't tell about how Baby Jesus anxiously awaited his presents and tore into brightly colored packages with wild abandon, throwing gifts aside only to gluttonously grab the next lovingly wrapped box and do the same until they are simply left with a pile of Hasbro's latest gimmicky toys, overpriced electronics, and ripped foil paper. 

No, that's not the story. In the story of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus in the manger - three wise men make a great journey to visit the baby and bring him simple gifts. It's about the giving. We never hear about the receiving - because that's not the point.

In the story of Saint Nicholas, the focus is on the giving - not the receiving. It's the selflessness, the desire to help others, the love and care behind the gifts given to those that needed them.

That's what we need to teach our children.  Earlier this week when I sat wrapping presents for my children, The Man and I got to talking. We made a decision about next Christmas. Next Christmas we won't be giving our children gifts. We will be giving them the money we would have spent on those gifts. But they won't be spending that money on themselves - they'll be choosing a method of giving to some children that are less fortunate than themselves. Our children need to learn the amazing feeling that one gets when they give. 

Last night we discussed this with the kids and they're all on board. Of course, we'll see how they feel once Christmas gets closer. :) But for now, I think they understand. I think this might be the best gift we've ever given them. 

Merry Christmas to anyone reading this - whether you're Christian or not - this day is about giving and family and love. And everyone can appreciate that. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's been on my mind....

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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Today's blog post was brought to you by the letters P and C

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

Evidently I'm THAT mom.

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

Some day I think the kids are going to kill me for this blog

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

FYI (if you're a self-righteous blogger)

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

New Beginningness - and other made up words

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?

Holy jeez, is that not the cutest damn thing you've seen all day? It is. Admit it. There's nothing cuter than a 9 year old boy in pads and a helmet.

Goober is playing on a team with boys he has played with since his first flag game and one of my very best friends has a son playing on the same team. Let's call them Squirrel and Little Hulk for anonymity's sake. Squirrel lives for football. Little Hulk is her pride and joy running out on that field. Her husband, Big Hulk, is one of the Assistant Coaches and built like an NFL linebacker. Big Hulk is always keeping a special watchful eye on Goober on the field and I feel secure knowing that one of our extended family is out there making sure he's safe. 

Last Saturday, in the super early morning, wet, humid, scorching heat that we have here in South Florida, Squirrel and I discussed our game preparation strategy with each other. 

Spaz: "We had Goober in the car on the way to the game and told him to close his eyes and quiet his mind and envision how great it would feel to win the game."

Squirrel: "Oh, that's nice. I woke Little Hulk up by shaking his bunk bed. I screamed 'CRUSH SOME SKULLS!!! KILL KILL KILL!!!"

Whatever works, right?

So far we've had two Saturdays of games and Goober's team has won both of their games. Munchkin's team has not put any points on the board yet - but the season is just getting under way. We've got lots of time.

She looks super cute in her uniform, too.

In addition to getting the football season underway, we've just finished up our second week of school, our first scout meetings of the new year for all three kids, and the ball is really starting to roll again. Our calendar is filling up with birthdays and meetings and games and shows and field trips and camping trips and more. As much as I get totally overwhelmed with all the running around and scheduling and lack of time, I know that I love this part of the year.  This part of the year always feels full of possibility and newness. Even more than January 1st, the beginning of the school year is a fresh start for a family of school-aged kids. It's the time when everyone gets to vow to do better, experience more, try something new. And we're doing all of that right now.  We're a-twitter with new beginningness. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Free Printable Planner for Disorganized Moms Like The Spaz

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.

I used the monthly calendar from Beckie's aforementioned planner on Infarrantly Creative but changed the planner section up a bit. I didn't need the blogging stats stuff and I wanted my planning sections to be more defined to keep me on track. Since I have four basic areas of my life that I'm always juggling, those four areas are on the left side of my planner page. Home, Work, Family, and Self. In these boxes, I will list my goals for the week and any notes pertaining to those goals.

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

Better late than never - here's a post for my Bug

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

Spaz vs The Machine

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.

That's right. I recently purchased an embroidery machine. 

It all started because of scouts (everything in my life seems to start because of scouts). The kids uniforms looked like crap. Goober's Cub Scout shirt had stains on it from where I bled my own blood while attempting to sew on his numbers, Munchkin's vest was empty with a ziploc baggie of pretty patches attached to it, and Bug had nothing on his shirt at all. It was $2 a patch to have someone else sew them on (with three kids that adds up super fast) and even though many of my fellow scout parents had volunteered to help out nothing had ever come to fruition.  So I told The Man that I needed a sewing machine.

When we started looking at sewing machines and realized that so many of them now come with this cool embroidery function, we decided that it might just be a wise investment to add on to my growing t-shirt business. Embroidered stuff is desirable, yanno?

So we purchased a fancy schmancy sewing/embroidery combo and a bunch of thread.  Immediately upon getting the machine home, The Man set out to learn everything and anything he could about the machine. Before I knew it he was using scrap fabric I had lying around to embroider hearts and flowers and everything else the machine had already loaded in it.

But me? I stuck to sewing.  The embroidery thing intimidated me. You had to use a screw driver thing to change it from a sewing machine to an embroidery machine and you had to trap the fabric in this modern day fabric torture device and it was just plain scary. So I avoided it.

Until yesterday's message.

I had to get over the hump.  It was for the girls.

So I let my co-leader know she could come over with the bags and we'd embroider them.

Y'all... from the get-go the machine and I battled. The Man decided that last night was the night to get me to figure this all out and offered only guidance but wouldn't do any of the actual work. First, trying to get the thick woven material into the scary torture device (I hear it's called a loom) was a nightmare. But once I figured that out, then I had to do the programming to actually put the name on the bag in the right position. 

After way too long figuring that out, the machine was ready to go and I pressed the magic green button.

Almost immediately the machine threw the needle right out of the damn thing toward my face. It was trying to blind me.

What I have done to piss this machine off, I'll never know. 

I figured out I was using too wimpy of a needle and had to beef it up. Luckily The Man had the foresight to have already purchased some beefier needles. So we changed the needle and tried again. 

About halfway through embroidering the first name, the needle flew out at me again! Hah! You missed me, machine!

I had forgotten to tighten it in with the screwdriver thingie. 

This time I tightened it nicely, and started on another bag. 

The next three bags went off without a hitch. I was starting to feel comfortable. The machine felt me relax and struck again.  

This time, the thread by the bobbin was all a mess and stuck up in the machine in all sorts of places and I had to use the jaws of life to actually free the bag from the machine's thready clutches. Two bags down - good thing they were only a dollar.

After freeing the same bag from the machine three times, refilling the bobbin, winding thread on the underside of where the bobbin sits to wind it instead of actually on the bobbin, and destroying yet another bag, I finally completed adorable embroidery on 5 out of the 8 bags.

Later today I'll have to run and pick up some more bags from the dollar store to replace the ones that were damaged. 

In last night's lesson I learned a few things - one being that you should only attempt embroidery with alcohol readily available - and I think I might be getting the hang of the machine. Eventually I think I might be able to actually do some neat stuff with it.

For today, though, I think the machine and I will give each other some space.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Girl Scout Scrapbooking Freebies and Bridging Certificates and TShirts, too!

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.

Our troop isn't bridging this year - our girls are entering their 2nd year as Cadettes - but I know lots of girls who are and we are so proud of them all! Every time a girl recommits herself to Girl Scouting for another year my heart swells with happiness. There is truly, nothing a girl can't do.

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!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Goobsday

Following yesterday's theme, today is all about Goober. That's right, Tuesday Goobsday. (Bug's day is going to be Sunday - so don't think I'm neglecting him when there's no post until then.)

Goober is 9 right now and will be turning 10 in September. Being the youngest in our family, I often forget how much he can do and he surprises me daily with his personality. 

When my children were babies and toddlers, I always felt like I knew them inside and out. They were from me, they were a part of me.  And then they all started to develop their personalities. And Goober has quite the personality. 

He's a constant joker and he loves to mess with people. Around our house we constantly call him "The Troll" because, much like an Internet troll, he will say things with the sole intention of getting a rise out of someone. He will act clueless about the simplest things in order to drive a person crazy with questions and then laugh when his victim realizes his questions are so ridiculous that he absolutely must be messing with them. He always has a snappy comeback to every situation and his mouth never stops.



From the moment his eyes open in the morning his mouth starts going. He's telling stories, he's making sounds, he's asking questions. I'm not sure how his teachers at school ever get a thought across to the rest of the class. 

This year Munchkin and Bug are both going to middle school which lets out a full two hours after Goober gets home. So every school day this year, I have enjoyed two hours of uninterrupted Goober time with just the two of us. I've learned more than I ever cared to learn about LEGOs, really tall buildings, and his world traveling third grade teacher. 

Goober wanted to build a special creation for me to feature on the blog today, but I didn't give him enough time. There's always next week.

Goober has more LEGOs than any kid should have. I almost feel guilty that there are underprivileged kids in this world who have never seen a LEGO and my 9 year-old has two 18 gallon bins overflowing.  But he loves them so much and he never asks for anything else. Every birthday and Christmas since he was 4 has been a LEGOfest. He says he wants to be an architect when he grows up (after his NFL career is over), so I feel a little less guilty considering we're starting him down a career path. 

He's just finishing his first year as a cub scout and will start his first season of tackle football this summer. 

I'm thinking Tuesdays will be my easiest blog day because Goober never gives me a shortage of material to work with. Tune in next Tuesday to see what LEGO masterpiece Goober comes up with. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Munchkin Day

I was trying to think of a way to get myself a little more blog inspired. I mean, really, where did my motivation go? Perhaps it was leeched from me along with all of the energy I used to have in my 20s. Can I get a caffeine drip up in here?

So anyway, I decided to get back to why I started the blog in the first place. It was an outlet for me to write and express myself and a place for me to document my children as they grow.

With that in mind, I've decided to devote one day a week to each of my three children, starting today. Monday will be Munchkin's day. Monday Munchkin Day.

I should probably come up with a cute graphic. Hold on a second.

There we go. That's much better.

Munchkin is currently 11 years old. She is an enigma to me. She is somehow so much like I was at her age and yet so very different.

Munchkin loves horses. In fact, as I type this she is there, at the barn, shoveling manure and riding and immersing herself in that world. I loved horses when I was her age, too, but I didn't have the same moxie that Munchkin has. Munchkin has no fear. She'll walk straight up to the biggest off-the-track Thoroughbred in the field, throw a halter on him, and show him who's boss. She amazes me.

On Mothers Day this year, Munchkin rode in a local show and won Grand Champion for her classes. I knew she had improved over the past year that she's been showing, but Grand Champion? This means she had the highest overall score of all of the riders in her category. I cannot think of a better Mothers Day gift.

Munchkin doesn't stop with horses, though. Munchkin never stops. She will try anything and she's GOOD at everything. Enigma, I tell you.

She's just completing her first year of middle school and decided she wanted to play the alto saxophone with the band. I prepared myself for needing earplugs on a regular basis in the house while she practiced, but the girl can actually play a tune. She's no Sonny Rollins, but I really don't hate listening to her practice. Next year she wants to try out the tenor sax and I'm sure she'll do great with that, too.

Munchkin's next challenge is that she has decided to play flag football with our area's co-ed league. The Man and I are looking forward to many hot, sweaty summer days at the park watching our little girl rock a football.

I really can't tell you how proud we are of her. She's seriously an unstoppable force.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Internet is my sinkhole.

I'm bubbling with words, y'all.

So much thinking going on in my head and I want to get it all out on to the page - but I just can't seem to put it together coherently.

The inside of my head is like one of those houses on hoarders. It's all covered in broken appliances and trash and cat poo.  But in between all the ten year old pieces of mail and receipts for groceries that have long ago rotted, there is real gold in there. Real thoughts that need to be spoken.

I have this fantasy that I go somewhere that there is no Internet, no TV, no radio, no distractions. Just me and my computer and my words. How on earth do people turn out books these days? How do they keep themselves from being distracted by all the shiny squirrels running around? Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and YouTube and Ellen DeGeneres and men who get swallowed up by sinkholes and snowstorms and the latest dumb drama going on in that Facebook group they lurk in.

Every time I start to have a thought that I think might really be valuable, another damn shiny squirrel goes running by and I'm clickety clicking away.

I need a retreat. The Internet is my sinkhole.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Maybe I won't have to drive anywhere between now and Monday....

My drivers license is expired. It expired on my birthday last week. I fully intended on getting it renewed before my birthday, but evidently I can't renew it online this time so I have to go to the DMV to do it.  Which doesn't sound so bad... except it is that bad. Down here, we can make an appointment to get our license renewed, or we can go wait in line all day long with all the other procrastinators who didn't make an appointment.

I hate waiting in line. Waiting in line is quite possibly the most irritating thing in the universe to me. It's time suckage.  Not that I always use my time wisely or that I'm even very productive... but being forced to spend hours waiting in a line forces me to think about all the things that I could be doing if I weren't waiting in line.

I have thirty loads of laundry to do. I'm only exaggerating that a little bit. I might not be exaggerating it at all. I'm not sure.  I could be doing laundry if I weren't waiting in line. The kitchen could really use a good cleaning. It's probably getting dirtier while I'm waiting in this line. There is probably some sort of bacteria growing rampant right now in my kitchen sink on a dish that was left in there overnight. It's going to be out of control by the time I get out of this line. I probably have some things I need to ship. If I weren't in this line I would have shipped them. Customers would be happier if I weren't in this line. All of my problems would be solved if I just didn't have to wait in this damn line!

So I decided to make an appointment. I didn't even really procrastinate that much because it was late January when I logged on to make an appointment to get my drivers license renewed. I didn't think that was procrastinating, but I guess it was because the earliest appointment they had was March 4th. But by March 4th my drivers license would have already been expired.  My only other option was to wait in line.

So I weighed my options. Wait in line for hours, driving myself crazy, and get it renewed before my birthday; or make the March 4th appointment, pay the $20 extra fee, and pray I don't get pulled over for the 9 days that my license would be expired.

So my license is expired.

Now, if you're a deeply committed Domestic Spaz reader (and if you are then you actually probably should be committed) you might remember back in 2008 when I was last at the DMV they had me take a little eye exam. And I failed it. But due to the nature of the safety measures put in place by the lovely people at the DMV, they just let me have my license anyhow.

This time, I thought that maybe, just maybe, they'd probably make me take that little eye exam again and maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't just let me have my license anyhow.  So I figured it was probably about time for me to go ahead and get my eyes checked.

Have you been to an eye doctor lately? I hadn't before yesterday. Times have changed, y'all.  There was this little box I could check on the paperwork that said something like "If you don't want to stumble around blinded and crying fluorescent yellow tears for the next few hours, check this box and we'll just take a picture of the back of your eyes instead of dilating them." 

Yes, please.

So they took a picture of the back of my eye and my new awesome eye doctor took the time to show me the picture on the computer. He pointed out the dark spot that showed where my vision was actually focusing and why I couldn't see correctly. He told me how beautiful and healthy my eyes were. Shucks.

Then he showed me all kinds of other messed up eyes. Scarred eyes, diabetic eyes, eyes with glaucoma, eyes that were practically blind. He took the time to show me all these pictures and explain them to me and I was all "This is the coolest thing EVER."

And then my new awesome eye doctor gave me contacts and I could see. Like, perfectly. 

So now I'm all ready for my appointment on Monday. Except for the myriad of paperwork I need to track down between now and then to prove I'm really me. Good thing we only have to do this every 4 years.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Things are never quite as scary when you have a best friend - Bill Watterson

I'm really lucky to have a lot of best friends.

Remember when you were in grade school and you had only one best friend? It may have switched around from one person to another, but it was an elite position that could only be held by one special person who shone the brightest of the bunch.

Thank goodness all that garbage is over.

Nowadays I have lots of best friends and I cherish every one of them. 

Some of those friends I talk to on an almost daily basis. If I don't hear from one of them for a couple of days I start to worry. These are the ladies that run in my circle. We're in the same place in life - married (or in my case, permanently partnered), raising kids, frazzled with messy houses and car repairs and busy schedules.  

They're the ones I talk to when Bug throws an apple through Munchkin's bedroom window, shattering it all over her bedroom (yes - this happened).  They teach me to laugh at life and hold my hand as I step through the inevitable disasters that come from being a mom.  I cherish these friends for so many reasons. When I lose my mind, they're there to pull me away from the insanity, hand me a drink, and make me laugh until I cry. Every girl needs friends like these bitches. ♥

Some of my best friends are more distant, but just as loved. They're friends I've collected over the years. Some from childhood when I was learning how to be a friend, some from those tumultuous teenage years when everything was so full of importance and passion, and some from the years when I was learning how to be on my own.  Out of all the girlfriends that have walked through my life, these are the special ones that I will never let go of. 

I don't speak to them every day, sometimes I don't speak to them for a month or more. But they are no less important. They are anchors.  These are the girls who I would drop anything for and rush to their side in times of sadness. They'd do the same for me. When their name shows up on the Caller ID it might just be because they're checking in, but it's more likely that something important is going on and they're calling for support and love. 

They are lifers. They are the ones I'll be playing bridge with on an oceanfront balcony when we're in our golden years. 

When I think about all of my besties, I feel so full of love and fortune. I can't imagine my life without them. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

May the fork be with you.

About a year ago The Man and I found ourselves in a bit of a dilemma. We were out of forks. And spoons. Butter knives, we retained.... but forks and spoons were nowhere to be found.

"But where could they have gone?" we asked each other in disbelief. Even after the entire kitchen had been cleaned and all dishes and silverware washed, dried, and put away we would stare, baffled, at the empty slots in our utensil caddy where forks and spoons had once been.

Did the fork really run away with the spoon? All 12 of them? Had some cutlery obsessed thief been sneaking into our home and stealing them? What could have possibly happened to all of them?

Eventually we turned to the kids. Of course it was the kids. Those sweet darlings who might sneak a bowl of ice cream into their room, leaving the bowl and spoon stashed under a bed or in a drawer so no one would know. Perhaps Munchkin had brought all of our forks to the barn stashed in lunch boxes and they had been lost forever in piles of muck.

At any rate, we were out of forks and spoons.

After a brief period of using only disposable plastic forks, The Man and I ventured out to purchase some more silverware. But this time we were a little smarter.

We bought two sets.  One nicer set for The Man and I... and one $9.99 set with 24 forks, knives, and spoons that were just barely dishwasher safe. I cleared out another drawer in the kitchen, put a silverware tray in it, and we instructed the kids that they were only to use the silverware in that drawer.  They weren't to touch our nice, new, fancy silverware.

Here it is, about a year later, and you might guess what has happened.

The Man and I have plenty of nice silverware that we use on a regular basis.

The kids? They're down to one fork, three spoons, and a plethora of butter knives.

They're now using a box of 500 forks I purchased from Costco for a birthday party. When that's gone I think I'm going to encourage them to make their own silverware out of rocks and bits of wire they find while scavenging the neighborhood.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance - and other P Words.

So yesterday's blog post was fun. :)

The feedback I received from it was along similar lines - that it was a private affair I should keep between me and my ex (which implies I communicate with him).

I don't think it's out of line at all for me to bash my ex a bit on my blog. I've shared a lot of personal details about myself and people in my life in my posts and I don't think they need to be limited to when I'm feeling warm and squishy about someone.  If I had named him and posted a link to his facebook page that might have been over the top, but I took it way easy on him. Way easy.

But that's the end of the blog real estate that he'll be getting. On to better and more interesting topics.

Since it's the beginning of 2013, we're going to talk resolutions. This year I noticed a lot of resolution hate on the Internet and I was surprised. What's with all the negativity toward setting new goals for yourself in the beginning of the year? Sure, the chances of keeping a New Years resolution is pretty slim. When I look back at the resolutions I've made over the past decade or so, they're all just the same resolutions over and over. Which means I haven't kept one of them yet. But this year will be different. (I've said that before, too.)

I love New Years. It's in the running with Halloween for my favorite holiday. It's a holiday that celebrates friendship and forgiveness and hope and optimism. And champagne. It's a day off from work with no obligation. It's a free day. Is there a better way to start the year?

Every year I make resolutions. This year was no different... except that I narrowed my list down to one. One single resolution.

My mother will be so proud. I'm going to stop procrastinating. Procrastination is like a dirty word to my mother. She is the antithesis of procrastination. When I was growing up, our Thanksgiving table was set the week before Thanksgiving. Things were planned, calendars were filled, we never ran out of toilet paper or milk. If there was a task to be done, my mom had it done before anyone else even knew that a task had been thought of.

Oh, the apple fell so far from the tree with me that you might as well call it a lemon.

I've been a procrastinator my whole life. Why do today what I can put off til tomorrow? Perhaps the problem will just go away on its own?  Why study for that exam a week ahead of time when I can party all week and fit in a cram session the night before the test?

And we wonder why I didn't do so well in college.

So this year, I'm really going to work on procrastination. It's going to be a journey. It's a 35 year old habit that I'm trying to break here so I imagine it's going to take some practice.

And on that note - I'm off to put the laundry in the dryer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Here's a big giant middle finger for my ex-husband - and oh hey, I'm gonna blog more.

I stopped blogging for a while, did you notice?

For a while I thought I was going to scrap this blog. Completely. Never to return again.

But you know what? I like it. I like having my very own soapbox and I like having a place to write. I just hate feeling like I have to censor myself. Censoring myself makes writing, something I love to do, so unenjoyable. It makes it a task on the to-do list instead of a hobby I'm passionate about.

So why would I censor myself?

The most recent reason boils down to my ex-husband. Through the grapevine I learned that not only is he reading the blog - but he's taking the pictures I post of Bug and Munchkin and posting them on his own facebook wall like he's father of the year.

So let's get something straight. Bug and Munchkin don't know him. At all. Not even a little bit. And they don't ask about him, either.

The last time we saw him Munchkin was about two weeks old.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to paint a picture of myself sitting at home crying because my husband walked out. That's not the case. I'm the one who left. I left because he was a cheater and a liar and a manipulator and there was no way in hell I was going to raise my children to follow in his footsteps. I left because I was tired of sitting at home taking care of a child, trying to pay the bills, and making a home for us while he went out with friends and spent our money on fun.

But I'm not going to turn this blog into a lynching. Suffice it to say, he wasn't there for us in the way we needed him to be so I left him.  And he put on a show like he cared for a little while. But in the end it was pretty obvious that he was just fine with being single again and that whole "being a dad" thing was kind of putting a damper on his social life.

By the time Munchkin was just a few months old, he had completely stopped even trying to contact us. Neither of the kids have ever once received so much as a call on their birthday from him. Nothing.

And to be quite honest, that's fine with me and as far as I can tell it's fine with them, too.

But for him to post pictures of my babies on his facebook page like he's their dad and he has something to be proud of? It infuriates me.

He has nothing to be proud of. He has no reason to brag about how awesome they are, how beautiful they are, how talented and smart and funny they are. He had no part of that. None. They are amazing in spite of him.

The best thing he ever did for them was walk far, far away. And I hope he keeps on walking.