Friday, December 21, 2012

Imperfect and Stress Free Christmas?

The holiday season is here. It's a strange time for me. I process so many different thoughts and emotions and I just don't know what I really believe in. 

I was raised in a Jehovah's Witness home. Well, up until I was 8. I had my first Christmas then. I never really felt that I missed out on anything by not having Christmas, but my brother and sister probably did. They were older, I was pretty young when it all changed. I never knew the fascination with Santa or the anticipation of gifts. For my first Christmas, I had to learn to keep my beliefs to myself and pretend to believe in Santa for my step-brothers. That was strange.

Now, I have children of my own. I openly admit that I go overboard at this time of year. Perhaps making the holiday more magical for my kids, makes it more magical for me as well. Yes, Santa visits our house every year and the kids are all excited right now. I look forward to Santa's visit just as much as they do. But, it's different.

Santa isn't about the naughty or nice list in my house. Santa isn't a creepy stalker that watches them while they sleep. Santa, and the Spirit of Christmas, is all about selfless acts. This is the time of year that we give without expectations, in fact we don't go seeking credit for any of the gifts we give. This is the time of year that I might buy coffee for the guy behind me in the drive thru more. This is when I will go out of my way to snuggle on the couch past bedtime, just to let the kids watch that Christmas special that is on at the worst time ever. (Who really thinks that it's right to START the show at bedtime?? Darn TV networks!) 

Santa gives. To everyone he can. And it's not just about necessities, it's the luxury items that we don't get through the year. It's a reminder that everyone deserves a little bit of happiness. We can be serious and hard working all year, but at Christmas we take time to enjoy the extras. 

My kids are spoiled. They rarely want for anything and I am thrilled that it can be this way now. It hasn't always been. But, my kids also understand money. They work for things they want. They know that we can't just shell out cash at every store, every day. They understand priorities and can sort needs from wants. They are smart, and because they normally don't whine for things, they get a lot more given to them. They are spoiled, but not spoiled brats.

Christmas isn't commercial here. Christmas is about the family time. One of the best things, the thing that the kids and I enjoy and remember most each year, is that Christmas day is the only day where we purposely try to stay at home in PJ's all day. We could rush out right after presents to visit everyone in the family, squeeze in multiple dinners at relatives. But we don't. Christmas day is mine. Instead of tearing into gifts and tossing them aside to leave, perhaps rush off to the next house and next set of gifts, we play. We share. We giggle. We build. We watch movies or sing songs. We savour the morning. We love when people come to visit us too, but it's really the only day of the year that we all try to just stay home and stay together. 

Macboy is almost 13. I know I don't have much of this time left. Soon, he'll want to go to friends or (yikes!!) even girlfriends homes.... So I will enjoy every second I can.

I don't think I could give up Christmas and go back to the religion I was raised, but I do know that I don't celebrate Christmas like anyone I know. Except my brother and sister, they are pretty close too. We're different and we're all okay with it. 

This year really proves it all. It is almost Christmas Eve and my tree still isn't decorated. In fact, we just picked it up a few days ago. We've got only half of our decorating done and about 3/4 of our baking done. I still even have shopping to do!! This has got to be the most imperfect and disorganized holiday we've ever had in this house. But, oddly, I think this is the most peaceful holiday I've experienced so far. I am not frustrated or stressed about being behind. We've had a lot of fun that has taken our time away. Why force things to happen in a certain way? 

Who cares what your tree looks like if the kids love it. Who cares if you even have a tree at all! Not one person has come into my house and said "Wow, you haven't done that yet?!?!?" Truthfully, everyone here is just waiting for the time off from school and work! We will finish everything just in time for the Big Man. And he won't decide to leave less in the stocking because I have less decorations up.

My gift to you, to anyone who reads these words, is a reminder that Christmas isn't about rushing or stressing, it is not about getting gifts or buying expensive stuff, it's not even about charity and giving to the less fortunate. Christmas, my dear friends is about love and sharing. So, stop stressing. Start loving. Bake imperfect cookies WITH your kids. Forget the nitpicky village on the mantel - you know the one, that big thing with fake snow that gets dragged all over the house, the one with the awesome looking pieces that the kids aren't even allowed to PLAY with - who will judge you for not putting it up? Volunteer or donate somewhere because you love your neighbour, not because you need to 'give back.'

Put yourself in a giving mood, look through the eyes of your children and remember what really matters right now. It's all the same things that are important year round.

So breathe.... and embrace imperfection. 
That's what makes it all special!.

Enjoy your holiday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Spirit of The Season

Another year is drawing to a close. It's amazing how fast this year has gone and how much has changed. I think we don't realize the passing of time in quite the same way until we have children. Not to say that you have to have kids, but it sure drives the point home! Looking at the complete change in clothing, since they've outgrown all the clothes they wore a year ago, is amazing. The subtle changes in their faces are awe-inspiring. My little people are turning into grown ups before my eyes. 

Even Angel Baby. She was so painfully shy a year ago. Now, she is a chatty little girl. She still gets overwhelmed from too many visitors, but she is opening up to those that are close to us. She is learning, oh my is she learning, all kinds of things. She can name her letters and numbers. She can almost count to 20 without help. She is writing some of her letters. She has a defined sense of humor that I just adore. She is definitely not a baby anymore, she is my big girl in all ways.

Art has really come into his own. Being on his own at school this year, since Macboy has moved on to junior high, he is truly becoming more independent everyday. He is a sensitive boy, but is learning better ways to cope with his frustrations. He is sporty and attentive and organized and so, so smart. He's also grown a few good inches this year. He amazes me, and I tell him that often.

Macboy.... I can't even begin to tell you the changes he's shocked me with. It is enough that I want to scream at the teachers of the past "Look at him, he's doing exactly what I told you he could. If you would have just listened to me and pushed just that little bit!!!" He has gone from modified school work and lower expectations to exceeding the expectations of all of his teachers. One has even told me that he taught her a few things already this year. His self esteem is skyrocketing, simply because his teachers don't just demand things and not follow through, but they truly believe in him. I am so very proud of him. His Tourrettes is barely visible now, which is a great indication of lower stress within him. I am .... there are just no words for how I really feel. Inspired is one, but it doesn't say it all.

I transitioned from working at home to just being at home. I've had a few little odd jobs and spent more time writing. I am getting my home in order and taking care of myself and my marriage. Two things that definitely lost my focus while I was trying to do too many things at once. I have my english degree in sight and am working towards getting to full time university. September 2013, I will be starting school along with the Angel Baby. For all of those people of my past who have told me I'm crazy, or that I can't do it, I will. I have had three wonderful reasons showing me that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. 

Unfortunately, I know I can write but no one else really does. I have buckets of words to share, but I'm not quite at the point of making a living off of it. Many items I wrote for work belong to the company, not me, so I can't really use the materials in a portfolio. I feel I need something behind my name to prove that I CAN. 

My goal of my novel by Christmas hasn't worked out well, and Nanowrimo just didn't work for me this year either. But... I am not giving up. Ever. I look forward to the day that I hold a book in my hands that has my name on the cover. It will happen. Even if I only publish one copy, just so I can hold it myself. I will see it happen.

So much has changed this year and has filled me with gratitude. And that is the spirit of the season. Being thankful and giving back. Helping those I can, because I've had help more than once. I am surrounded by love, another part of the spirit of the season. There is peace in my home unlike ever before. I look forward to another spectacular and challenging year of growth and change in my life.

Thank you, for spending another year visiting my little blog. I'm humbled by how much the community has grown without any real efforts on my part. I'm just doing what I feel I need to do for myself.

Do you feel these wonderful things in December? Or do you feel the stress of the Christmas season and expectations? I wish for Peace for all of you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rain Snow Sleet or .... I'll Stay Home

It's Halloween Hangover day! I was explaining to the family last night, the belief I hold that November 1st should be a day off. I suppose it's partly due to having had my first Halloween when I was 8 years old, so I'm a total dork when it comes to these holidays. When Halloween falls in the middle of the week, no one ever gets to bed on time. Here, it was pretty cold last night so even if we didn't break into any of the goodies, it took quite awhile for everyone's cheeks to warm up.

I was tired. I'm already over extended since Angel Baby pinched a nerve in her neck over the weekend and has been feeling crappy. I'm over exhausted from waking up so many times and then from my late night costume building extravaganza the other night. Then, Art started complaining. "Every thing hurts." And after the extended exercise and cold air last night he had a cramp on top of being tired and cranky.

This morning was painful.

There is not enough coffee anywhere right now to pull me up. I've got some stuff done, but not much. I'm wiped. My Momsomnia brain just doesn't want to work. I heard every sound in the house last night because my brain is still lost somewhere last week in trying to figure out what the f*ck actually happened to my little girl, and the pain of not being able to do anything to help her.

I'm tired.

So, when the Trucker called this morning and said "Honey, it's ice rain right now, I'm not sure if you want to take the kids or not." I really considered it. Art woke up feeling better, so I figured it couldn't be too bad. And then, he asked for a smoothie for breakfast which depleted my jug of milk in the fridge. And I need milk in my coffee.

So I scraped the layers of ice off the car (really wishing I had my van today!). Got the kids to school, one was late but that was due to the stubbornness of the ice on my windshield .  Went to pick up the milk and came home. Not bad. Roads are not too bad, and it isn't really cold. Today isn't windy. I can do this.

FAST FORWARD a couple hours....

Now it's been snowing for a few hours and it's all sitting on top of the ice from the rain this morning. Now, after my coffee is gone and I really don't feel any more awake, and it really doesn't feel like it was worth going out to buy the stinkin milk in the first place... I am seriously kicking myself in the ass for having taken the kids to school when the Trucker gave me such an easy out!! I have to go out in this. No choice. I have to pick up my kids. Geez... What was I thinking?

Yep, I am a Prairies girl. Yes, we get this kind of weather every year. And yes, most people don't get a choice to stay in on days like this.... But I DO.

I made the WRONG one.

Tease me all you want. I can take it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Time Wasted Or Well Spent?

Some days, much like today, I realize somewhere after noon that I have not actually done anything yet. I mean, I've gotten the boys off to school and fed us. I'm even dressed. But I've done nothing on a to-do list. I've only got a vague idea of what's for dinner. I've spent much of my time on the couch. 

I enjoyed the first hour after the boys were off. I relaxed and snuggled my coffee while I caught up to Facebook and Twitter, (I'm not sure if you're following me or not... so go check and make sure you are, then come back and read on.) and then I checked stats on the blog. I read all my emails and cleaned out the inboxes. Turns out I'm not as far behind as I thought. 

Then Angel Baby got up. She snuggled up beside me and though we have moved from the couch to the loveseat now, we've maintained this position for a good two hours. We've played. We've laughed at the silly mommy Barbie that was wearing the Daddy swimming shorts. "Silly Mommy. You're not a Daddy!" 

We have listened to all our favorite songs on the phone. We had breakfast and she made sure her baby was full too.

I'm sitting here with a bunch of things I probably should do today on my mind. But I'll bet that I won't get much done today. 

I've felt conflicted several times since I stopped working. I feel like I often have these wasted hours. Times that pass by so silently, peacefully. Times where I feel like I'm on a vacation with nothing to do but be with my daughter. I feel guilty. I'm at home and there are things to do. I should be able to get a lot more done in a day. But I don't get them done. My list of to-do's is pretty much the same length every day. I get some done, I'm not useless, but I feel like there is always more I should be doing.

I'm not sure how to explain this to the Trucker. Sometimes he gets it and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he's supportive and sometimes he's irritated.

There is a big secret here. One that few people have the opportunity to learn these days. Unfortunately, even I have not been blessed with this chance to be at home with one of my kids like this. I was home with the boys, but only because of Maternity leave and a new baby at the time. 

This time I have now is beautiful. This time is irreplaceable. I could have easily missed it and I'd probably never know the beauty of it. Do you want to know my secret?

These lazy, useless mornings are the most productive times I have. I cherish the snuggles I might not have enjoyed. I talk with my baby girl like she's a friend, because she is. I play and make messes and she learns new things. I learn new things.

I'm getting this deep connection with my girl. She may drive me crazy some days when she is glued to my legs or climbing on my back, but at least I know I have given her the security of my presence. I am a constant in my childrens lives. They know what to expect from me and what I expect from them. Because I have been able to sit down and just BE with them.

Even now, as I'm typing this post, she is sitting beside me. I have a baby dolly, a blankie and a stuffed kitty on my lap. And a little girl who values my presence.

These hours this morning, that have floated by unnoticed, are not wasted. They are packed with love and lessons. She knows that when she speaks, I am listening. And I want to always be there to listen. I hope that my children always know that I will be here to listen. My boys still feel comfortable to tell me everything. And yes, even some things I really don't want to know. 

These are best hours of each day. Definitely well spent. I don't think there is any wasted time when you have children. Even those frustrating fights with seatbelts or shoes, or the "Please, just sit down and eat your dinner, I don't want to stay at the table all night...." The time is not wasted. It's spent learning and loving. As for dinner time, I think the kids know this is family time. This is talking time. I suspect occasionally that at least one child is purposely eating slow, just to extend the time we are spending together talking.

I wish that every parent knew that some of the best moments, the best quality moments do not come from outings or big family dinners, but from the times we spend doing nothing, together.

What do you think? Have I made the right choice to do nothing? Do you do the same? The greatest gifts of parenthood, the sweetest words from my children come during those moments of nothing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

From the Depths of the Drafts Folder..

I'm not sure exactly when this was written, though I suspect it was August when I was leaving work. I got burned by manipulative people in the summer, at home and at work. This is my mental response to one of them. Though I don't feel the spite that I likely did when I wrote this originally, I embrace the process that I went through in moving past these issues.

I'm in one of those moods. My mind is so full of racing thoughts and has been for a few weeks. Right now, I've got a very melancholic mood floating through me. My mind is nearly blank. I can't pinpoint a single direct thought, yet I know there is much going on upstairs. This is the kind of day I would normally dive into a really good book. Or any book. Just something to keep my brain functioning and away from focusing too deeply on any one thing.

But I've spent a lot of time reading lately.

I wanted to write, to add to the novel I've been playing with. But I'm just not feeling her right now. I can't channel my character today and feel like it would be difficult to describe her thoughts when I'm not able to get a grip on my own. There are still some emotions in me that I don't want to project to her. At least not yet.

I wanted to journal. I wanted to write through my emotions in a private way. But each time I pick up the pen I either end up down on myself or angry at someone/something else. The only thing I am certain of is the frailty of so many aspects of our life. It is true that we possess within ourselves everything we want the world to be. The part that is sad is that it takes only one toxic person to suck that away. It can disappear fast and then takes much longer to restore. I've had this happen with friends, some have changed and some I've stopped associating with. I've had this happen with family and at work countless times.

For the most part, I've been able to look objectively at the situation and figure out a cause. I can normally find the fault of my own if there is fault to be had. I can usually see underlying causes and understand the person causing the difficulties.

What I don't understand is being manipulated. I don't understand the people who do it. I don't understand how or why or... anything. I understand aggression to some degree, I respect assertiveness. I understand working for what you want. I understand feeling that you will do anything to get there.

What I don't understand is how some people don't see anyone else in the situation. I know sometimes you have to step on toes to get to where you want to go. It is inevitable in some cases. But to shove them out of your way entirely and do what you can to make sure they don't resist?  That I can't figure out. Some people are just mean. And unfortunately others don't see it until it's too late.

If you work hard and make it to the top in whatever industry you work in, that is wonderful. If you make it to the top by having no respect for yourself or how you got there.... that's sad. You don't have to play dirty to get to the top. I think that most people who follow that route will eventually get what they deserve. I also find that those people are the ones who don't stay for years with a company. They get it, they change things and then they leave just as fast. Like a conquest to prove to themselves that they can take over whatever they want.

I'm sad too, because the job that I left was totally different than anything I've done before. Beyond the fact that it's an industry I was not familiar with and I had to learn a lot of different things, I was different. I figured out that my family should come first in my life and worked purely to satisfy those needs first. Often, it meant staying up to the wee hours of the morning just so I could spend more time with my family while they were awake.

When I started, I was the most "Me." Eager to learn and be challenged. I made myself available 24/7 for a long time. Even when I wasn't actively working, I was still connected. I watched emails and carried my phone everywhere. But slowly my attitude shifted. The more family time I had, the more I craved. The more I hit speedbumps in my position, the more I slowed down. And eventually I just stopped trying to resume another speed.

I'm grateful. The last time I'd sat with the boss and explained that I'd lost my fire, he worked with me to find something different. I guess that if I'd been back up to full speed, the newest 'situation' wouldn't have made me crash so hard. I had been gaining ground but I was still unsteady.  I tried to address things in a relatively politically correct manner and it didn't work well. Eventually I was left to fight a losing battle on my own. It's clear that someone wanted me out. I can see how I might be perceived as a threat to that person. I stepped out of my box to try to help, I stepped out to resolve an issue, and I got stepped on.

And you know what? Whether it is a problem big or small in anyone's eyes, I don't care. It was a big problem, handled poorly and likely to repeat. This is the first time in my life I've quit a job without having something lined up first. This is the first time I didn't force myself to keep my head down and my mouth shut. I stood up for myself. And even if no one in the company stands behind me, I know that I did what was right for me. And it really did feel like it was me against the rest of the world.

I'm relying on Karma, I suppose. I stopped aiming for the stars and took a shot to the back. Karma tells me I wasn't living up to my potential, whether or not it was by choice. So, Karma will return the favor to those who manipulate the 'little man.' So here's my message to the one that finally shot me down.....

Yay You. You defeated me. You forced me to step back. Yippee.

I know the truth of the matter. I will always know. I am not defeated, I am better than this. I am better than you. And I know you will fall too. I pray you have the grace to bow out as I have, rather than create something scandalous.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Follow The Signs

And the sign said Long Hair Freaky People....

wait.... wrong sign.

I had a really hard time leaving my job. It was almost like facing a break-up. It was emotional and difficult. It was not really what I wanted to do, but so much of what I needed. During the first few weeks of unemployment, I started to see signs that I was definitely doing what was right. The finances seemed to just even out. School started for the boys and there were no big issues.

Macboy 3.0 has difficulties with transitions and this was a shift to junior high, yet it was the smoothest start to a year we've had since... well, ever. Angel (not a baby at all anymore) seemed to take charge and grew from my little toddler into this big girl during September. Her increasing independence and decreasing attitude is making my life easier.

And Art? Well, he had a tougher start to the year. I think it was strange to go to the Elementary without his brother there. He's the big man on campus now and even though he never really played with Macboy at school, I think he really loved knowing his brother was there. However, I was home to wipe away tears after a rough day. I was here to listen to him and find resolutions to his worries. And then he found Choir. They only allow grade 3-6 in this choir and he's super excited to be old enough. He is paving his own way now and nothing is holding him back.

So the signs were all great, that I was exactly where I needed to be and doing exactly what I need to be doing. The Universe was smiling down on us in praise for living life with the right priorities.

Until the last two weeks.

Everyone knows (or does now anyway) that we share our home with my Mom. It's been 12 years of working together for the benefit of all of us. We can all live a much more luxurious lifestyle by sharing the expenses of a home. Normally, it works quite well. Occasionally, something breaks down.

I'll admit I sunk quickly when I stopped working. I crashed and burned and was nearly useless for a week or two (or three). I had to figure out how to let go of that part of my identity and return to where I was when I started that job. It was a struggle for sure. I am almost back to where I needed to be. My drop off the face of the earth started the rolling snowball. Mom and the Trucker couldn't understand why I wasn't magically getting everything done all of a sudden. Well, I still have three kids..... and most of my work I did after bedtime.... so, where is this magical time I didn't have before? Oh, yeah, okay, I'll start the vacuum at midnight! Hope you don't mind!

Oops... ranting...

Anyway. I openly admit that I fell apart after I left my job. And they clearly didn't see what was going on. So, I start complaining to the Trucker when Mom drives me nuts. Then I'm complaining to Mom when the Trucker drives me nuts.... and then... The Trucker and The Mom, both thinking they are right and not realizing their own parts in my misery, have the ultimate battle.

I think four years or so of pet peeves and irritations hit a head finally. It was crazy and I was lost in the middle of it, trying to get either one of them to pull their head out of their ass and carry on....

Then Macboy has some school troubles.

Then my van died.

Then I got a toothache.

So, there I am crying like a little baby last Tuesday. Curled up on my bed for the three minutes of alone time I was afforded that day. Wondering why? Why were the signs there? Why did it seem like being at home was the right thing? Why did I do all of this?

We can't move, I don't have a job.
We can't fix the van, I don't have a job.
I have to pay to fix this tooth and I don't have a job!
We are never going to get anywhere... what was I thinking? I need a job!

It was horrible. Really, really horrible.

Yes, I know it is not because I stopped working that the van broke down. I also know that I could have prevented this toothache if I'd have just gone to the dentist when I realized there was a problem. Like Months Ago. Macboy has ups and downs with school all the time, this has nothing to do with me being home or not. I am just fortunate to be here to help him move forward.

Oddly, the silence between the Trucker and my Mom was the solution. They had to just stand back and watch the insanity unfold. They seemed to understand that I was having a hard time myself. They seemed to see that I was trying to get my life in order and that I struggle. And they both seemed to realize the benefits we all enjoy for living this way. And the stress level sunk dramatically.

The repair on the van is not cheap, but it's getting done. We found help to pay for it. The tooth was beyond saving and I'm still angry about that. Not at the tooth, but at myself for letting it slip. I know better.

The point of all of this rambling is this..... Whether you are religious and believe in God and the Devil, or you are more like Santiago from The Alchemist and feel the 'Soul of the World,' or even if you are just a level headed human with no real spiritual attachments.... there is one solid truth in life.

The signs are always there. However they get there, even if it is just a 'gut-feeling' that you feel, the signs are there. Following the signs that you are on the right path for your life is not easy. There will be trials and tests. Just because things get difficult, does not mean you are suddenly wrong. It's just a test of your resolve. And if you do break, if you cave in or run, it's normal. The trials of life are hard.

But if you really want something, with all your heart and soul, you push through. You tighten your resolve, change directions, work harder.  Don't give up, don't back down when you are doing what you really believe you should be doing. Everything will work out, just how it is meant to, if you stay strong and carry on.

I spent most of my life so far trying to figure out what I really wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I know it will change a few more times yet too. But, I believe with every ounce of my soul that I am right where I need to be right now.  I'm not going to let anyone or anything take this away from me. When it is time to make a change again, I will see the signs. I'm watching and listening.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Taco Stuffed Buns - And The Pizza Buns Variation

I had promised some step by step pictures but was not able to get them this time. I will update the post in the future with them. I promise!
Soft Buns Recipe:

You can use any regular bun recipe you prefer. Additionally, I have seen these made with store bought dough or with biscuits (think Pilsbury). Whatever you prefer is great, this just happens to be my favorite recipe.

Large Eggs     2
White Sugar   1/4 cup
Salt                1 tsp (I actually didn't use any salt)
Cooking oil    1/2 cup
Warm water   1 cup
Warm Milk    1 cup

White Sugar 1 tsp
Warm water 1 cup
Active Dry yeast - 1 x 1/4 oz or 8 g package

All purpose flour approximately 8 1/4 cups

Put second amount of sugar in warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand 10 minutes. Stire to dissolve yeast.

Beat eggs in large bowl. Beat in first amount of sugar and salt. Add cooking oil, first amount of water and milk. Mix. Add Yeast to egg mixture. Mix.

Work in enough flour until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with tea towel and let stand in oven with light on and door closed for about 1.5 hours until doubled in bulk.

Taco filling used:

Ground beef - fried, drained and cooled.
Grated Cheddar - I used a lot since we love cheese, about 1-2 cups grated
Taco seasoning
Salsa - about 1 cup, enough to hold everything together but not runny or soupy.

Mix filling well to spread out seasoning. You could probably cook the taco seasoning into the beef as you normally would for tacos but it might be a bit runnier unless you simmer it all down.

After 1.5 hours, punch the bread dough down.

Take a ball of dough and roll it out fairly thin. I stretched them length-wise to make them more like mini loafs. Place filling in the center and roll in from one side - pinch the ends and edges sealed as you roll it up. I placed on a cookie sheet, seam side down and baked at 375 for about 15 minutes until the tops just started to turn golden. (same cooking time as the regular buns.) I brushed the tops lightly with Margarine to keep them soft once I took them out of the oven.

This recipe makes approximately 36 regular buns. I made 2 dozen cloverleaf buns (three small pieces each in a muffin tin cup) and 1 dozen of the taco buns from this recipe. Art had a great time helping roll them out and fill them. It's not complicated!

A few were not sealed well and there was a little mess on the cookie sheet but not much. They are very hot on the inside, so let them cool a bit after you take them out of the oven.

Pizza Fillings
Really, there is no rule here. My boys prefer plain cheese pizzas so I only used mozza and tomato sauce with pizza seasonings. You can add whatever other toppings you'd like to the mix. Only use enough of the tomato sauce to wet the filling ingredients. Too much and you end up with pizza filling soup on the pans, not enough and the buns are kind of bland.
Rolling these was much more difficult for me than the taco buns as the tomato sauce made it harder to seal them. But regardless of the mess or time spent, they were an absolute hit with the kids.

Enjoy!  And let me know how yours turn out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Dirt - Or What The F Happened Here

As promised, but a little delayed. Normal for me, isn't it?

I've spent much of the last few weeks playing defense. Almost everyone I know has said at least once, "Why on earth would you quit your job? You had it made!" Sure, working from home has been a great blessing for three years. I have loved it and hated it, but always held on because I believed the same as those others; why walk away when it fits so well?

First, I'll tell you how awkward it is to leave a job that you do from a home-office. When I left my last office job for maternity leave, I packed up my personal items, tidied up my desk and walked out the door. No turning back, no second thoughts. When your office is in your home, you can't walk out of the office. 

Well, I could, but eventually the Trucker would need me to come back and cook dinner.
Working has been tied to so many other areas of my life. So many daily habits revolve around working. Get up in the morning and check emails while having coffee. Put the kids to bed and sit down to work quietly. Different things at different parts of the day all led to work. Checking phones, checking emails, doing a wide assortment of tasks. I worked an average of 15-20 hours a week but I was connected 24/7. Now that it's done, I put the kids to bed and still think about work. I feel lost when I go to check emails and don't have any to check. I'm still looking for the other phone when I leave the house. I've carried two cell phones for three years.  The office is still here. It just has a different computer. And it's very, very strange. After a full week, I'm slowly starting to get settled back into real life. 

So, why would you leave a job that seems so beneficial? 

It really boils down to BS. Twenty hours a week should not be stressful; and if it is stressful, the stress should only happen 20 hours a week. I've had ups and downs through the course of this job, but I've always been able to speak freely with my boss and find solutions that fit both of us. Until now. He stepped back and I wasn't sure how to deal with things. At first I just kept my mouth shut. A new supervisor was hired and there was a definite issue. Beyond my own issues, I am worried about everyone I left behind. I know that I am not the only one with a problem and I am sad that I am the only one who stood my ground.

I went from nearly no communication, even though I was available, to too much communication and manipulation. I was getting tossed under the bus (so to speak) and treated like I was wasting time because the priorities I had worked under for nearly three years, didn't match the 'new' ideals. And when I accommodated new requests, I became a target for the things that weren't done. Often, things I would have chosen to do first if left to prior arrangements.

Dirty play was the end of me. I guess that I was perceived as a threat. Sure, I'd worked there three years. I had a relationship with our boss. I had some influence (maybe, though now I sincerely doubt it). BUT this woman was hired as my supervisor. If I was a threat to her job, wouldn't I have HAD her job already? Well, I didn't. I went out of my way to try to help. I went out of my way to try to resolve my issues. I spoke up and then it became clear that nothing was going to change.

I don't depend on my instincts too much when I first meet someone. I try to avoid my first impressions and give people the benefit of the doubt, whenever I can. I will not do this again. I had a bad vibe from the first hello. And I should have been more careful. I opened myself up for attack. 

Ever work with one of those people who spit poison at some but are all sunshine and roses to others? Unfortunately, the only one who is getting the sunshine and roses is the bossman and he can't see what is really happening. Two sides to every story, and all that. 

I finally gave up. I finally gave notice. I laid out all the issues I could, accepted and acknowledged my own list of faults and gave my resignation. And then I cried for hours. And I stressed for weeks. This was the single worst event of my working life. I liked what I was doing. I liked what I was learning. But I am expendable, as everyone is these days. There will be someone else who will do what I did and follow the new supervisors terms. They will never need the support of the big boss, because they will report directly to this new person. 

I made a Facebook mistake. I gave indirect access to my personal Facebook profile to this woman. And she made it very clear that she'd been watching me. She'd been reading my updates. She conveniently forgot every conversation we'd had and denied there were ever any issues.  Now, I have nothing to hide. I try not to post things that I don't want to be public knowledge and if I have ever posted about work, I try not to SAY it's about work. I don't post names or too many details about anyone else. I have my privacy settings as locked down as they can be. I can't say that anything she'd read would have a negative impact on me directly, but I could never work well with someone who made it so clear that she violated my privacy for her own gain. It was a stupid slip that I made, but without having done it, I would never have seen the true depths of deceit that she would go to.

I could have stayed and waited, because eventually she WILL self destruct, but it just wasn't worth it anymore. So much has changed with this company since I started. Most of it is good, the company has grown immensely. But I have spent three years learning a new way of doing things, to have it change again before I've really nailed it down. I'm not sure how to play nice in a world that is never the same from day to day. There have been ups and downs, and I just got tired of riding the roller coaster. Because my office was in my home, my family suffered the stress-related bad moods. I could not shut down the computer and go home, because the computer was at home. I couldn't walk away from the office. 

The more angry I got, the less I wanted to work. And the less I worked early in the week, the more I worked weekends and late at night to catch up. Then, I'm over tired and over stressed for many reasons and the Trucker finally had enough too.

Interesting side effect - the Trucker said he was proud of me. He really didn't believe that I would actually quit. He knew I wanted to, he encouraged me to do it. But I'm usually very careful in times like these. He expected that I would have some grand conversation with my boss and work out some sort of solution, like I normally would have. But I didn't.

And as much as I might miss what I was doing, I have opportunities opening up daily right now. I have never felt so free. 

So, why do you leave a work at home job? When it's not good for the home.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nerf Gun Storage Battle Success!

My love/hate relationship with Nerf is equal to that of Lego. Lego is awesome. Builds patience and creativity as well as fine motor skills.... until you step on them. Then the patience is gone, the only creativity is 'how will I destroy this thing that brought me to my knees' and the only motor skills used are to pick yourself back up and throw the stinkin piece in the garbage.


Nerf is fun. I've engaged in many battles with the kids. And, sadly, with my own adult friends too. The Trucker has taken them to work and attacked coworkers (they thought THEY had the big guns, six darts. HA!). And I will admit that I was slightly disappointed when I heard there was a Nerf battle at the office of my old job and I wasn't invited. Maybe they knew I had massive artillery at my beck and call.

So, there you go. I love them. I do not regret purchasing any, and have happily driven the boys to the store when they had money of their own to buy more. 

But MAN. They are so big. There are so many. 

I've looked all over for ideas on how to store them. Nerf storage is not easy. Especially when you own so many big ones. I've had many suggestions given to me, from using wrapping paper bins, hooks or hangers in a closet, or even pegboard. There are tons of ideas online too, but none that fit my house. My kids don't really have closet space and I'd need space to put the wrapping paper bins too. Peg board is out, I didn't really have a wall I could put it on, plus we rent. Don't think the landlord would be too happy.

I'd had them in a bucket style toy bin before, tucked behind a door. Frankly that was not a solution. They were constantly falling out, since the bucket barely made it half way up the guns. Plus, having the darts in there meant they always fell to the bottom and the boys had to pull almost everything out just to get loaded. And they rarely picked up the mess. I can't even say it was functional while it lasted. It really wasn't. It was awful.
Thanks to a broken bed, I ended up with the ideal solution to my personal dilemma.  Angel Baby destroyed the bunk beds, much like she totaled her crib. Oy. I'm in need of a new bed for Macboy eventually, since I've moved the kids bedrooms all around. For now, I've been able to just remove one bed and use the unit as a single twin. This left the rails above open and kind of useless. (Read: annoying and ugly). 

Until Now
I used wire hangers to create S-hooks (of sorts) to hang the big guns up. They are above the side and the foot of the bed, but the head is clear.
There are two that are bigger, the Vulcan, that I can not hang. They are just too heavy and large to fit above Macboy.  But now they are the only big ones left and I have space for them above his bookshelf. 

For much of the summer I've been listening to the griping about never being able to find any darts. Which was interesting because I've been putting them in the same spot every time I come across them, and that is where I found most of them during my heavy week of cleaning. Of course, I should not be surprised. My kids almost never look in the places things belong. They just assume if they left something on the floor and now it's gone, either Angel Baby ate it or it's just lost.

I have a fabric bin that fits easily under this bed, now full of darts and clips and belts. The few smaller guns fit in there as well. Everything has a home and it's actually pretty easy to put back.  They don't have to make a mess to get the darts from the bottom. It's all accessible and easy. 

Which is good, because they're boys

This was only one part of my massive project in this first week of not working. But it was a personal highlight. It's been driving me crazy for a very long time. I'm reclaiming my home and returning the office to personal space instead of work space. I've recovered from switching the kids bedrooms around. Things are looking good. 

I am also going to promise you-all you wonderful people who still follow my adventures here even though I haven't been posting often at all-that I now have the time to return to a more regular posting schedule. AND I have so many things I want to share. (Like how weird it feels to leave a work at home job.) Grade 7 is starting for Macboy, Art is heading into grade 3 and Angel Baby is going to benefit from some Mommy Play School and be ready for kindergarten for sure.

I have some little side jobs to keep some extra money coming in and am hopeful that my new stay at home life will last at least another year. We'll see. Wish me luck. Make sure you've clicked those pretty links up above to follow me on Twitter and join us on Facebook!

Tell me... 
What is the one thing in your life that you just can't seem to organize?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Mind Is Fascinating Me

Over the last few days, I've been working my way out of my job. I'm finishing up tasks, letting go of stress-triggers. I'm releasing so many things from my mind that I didn't need there. It is interesting, I knew that some of this had an impact on my life, but I truly didn't understand the full scope of it.

Small things turn big in my mind. That's one of those paranoia issues I have, to catastrophize everything before I can think it through logically. I have to see something, process and understand it thoroughly and then act.  These are all steps that I deal with in different ways depending on the situation at hand. So, each time I release something small, a rather large piece of me becomes free.

I've forced myself to take an entirely objective view of my job. I think I've reached a common ground with my employer as well, a mutual understanding of what has transpired and each other.  I have thought through my situation through the eyes of the person that caused my breakdown in my job. I won't say that I respect how things were handled, but I can respect this person's hidden motivations. It could have been a much better situation for everyone if it had been handled appropriately. Trust has been violated, apparently for both of us, and is not repairable.

I have considered my decision greatly. It may have seemed impulsive, to some degree it was, but there was a lot weighing on me that contributed to it. I don't feel that it was a mistake, timing just wasn't in my favor. Sometimes, we can't control that.

As I release these little things, and gain back large pieces of sanity that I'd been missing, my mind slows down. It's not spinning 10,000 miles per hour anymore. I am not worrying about what should or should not be done, or where I'm going to find the time to do whatever is next. I've worked the majority of this job with a sense of impending doom. There were always too many things to do and not enough time. Now there is time. Now there is clarity.

My mind is free. Free to explore my options. Free to enjoy the parts of my work that I've loved. Free to enjoy life and consider the future. And I've been getting some amazing ideas. I have more options than I realized. I have so many directions I can go. And because I have faced this terrible fear of "What the h*** am I gonna do without this paycheck?" I am better able to take risks. Make suggestions. Try out ideas.

The worst that can happen? Someone says "No." And really, I'm no further back than I started. I don't have it now, so I'm not losing anything. Right?

I feel at peace. With myself, my choices and my future. I've needed this peace for a long time.

My family is grateful.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nothing Like Mountains To Keep You Grounded

Last week was one of the hardest weeks I've had in ages. I made a decision that scared the crap out of me. I've decided it's time to find a new career path. I've never left a job without having something lined up, with the exception of maternity leave. After my leave ended with Angel Baby, the company I'd worked for had gone bankrupt and I had no job to return to.

This job has been amazing. I've learned so much and loved the challenges. It has given me room to grow, to discover a new industry and the flexibility to do what is most important to me- being a mom first. It was great until it got stressful. Unfortunately, it got complicated too. It got frustrating and stressful, then it got personal. And that was really the end of the line. Once it became personal it was no longer beneficial. I'm hurt and I'm hurting my family.

So, I gave my notice. Then I cried. A lot. Then I got mad. Felt hurt, violated, angry. Then scared. And then.... I left for a holiday.

 A long overdue holiday.

Facing this kind of view every morning when I woke up? Amazing.

So incredibly beautiful and peaceful. I had no choice but to relax. There was no way that life was going to follow me here.

Much too much to see and do besides think about anything at home.

There is no Yellow Brick Road to travel down and no wizard to grant my wishes for an easy life.

I have to make the choices that will get me where I want to be.

Never bite the hand the hand that feeds you. However, if they don't feed you.... bite hard.


Life is just one big balancing act sometimes. You have to make it work for you. And the strange thing is that it's actually not as hard as we think it is.

Sometimes we just have to try it.

Burn out can leave you hollow and empty. Make the right choices before you end up this way.

Take time to take care of yourself.

Like I did. I didn't have any magical epiphany about what is going to happen next. I have no idea. Just like the mountainside, my life is full of unexplored territory. It's scary and exciting.

Apparently, if I'd stayed home, I would have endured rain and storms every day. We had nothing but blue skies. I guess sometimes it is good to run away. It turns out that even though I thought this trip would give me plenty of time to think things over, it was the act of NOT thinking that brought the greatest clarity.

I'm still sad to leave this job. I will miss the great people I have worked with. But being so isolated hasn't really been a good thing either.

Most importantly, I am now convinced that the Universe really is sending me a message. The time is right for change. My family proved that this weekend. Spending five days away from everything (work, TV, phones, video games, everything) gave us each a new perspective on what family time should be. There was more laughter and hugs and talk this weekend than there has been in ages.

It was fabulous. And I am ready for whatever tomorrow might bring. My life is my own. 

And I love it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Season Of Change

I'm struggling right now and I mentioned on Facebook that I wouldn't be posting. But, those of you who have been around here long enough know that sometimes writing is the most freeing thing I can do. And though I need to weigh my words carefully for the time being, I feel that there are some emotions I can release in order to lighten the burden on my mind.

I woke up Monday morning feeling like the queen of the world. I was free. I finished my upgrading course with a fabulous mark. I had a job that worked well for me. I had a fabulous anniversary surprise from my Trucker that left me feeling loved and valuable.  Little did I know, this was all about to come crashing down at my feet.

Perhaps it was because I was so high on life that I fell so hard. By Tuesday afternoon, I had turned in my resignation to the job I have invested three years in. In the middle of courses and training to succeed in an entirely new area, I gave up. I love what I'm learning and I love what I am doing but the universe seemed to turn against me.

My life is about to change drastically. I will need to rediscover my frugal living ways or venture out into the 9-5 working world and plunge my children into daycare. I'm not ready for either option.

I admit I have dreams of great things. I want to find my true passions and develop them into something beautiful. I toyed with the ideas of returning to school full time in the future. Right now, it's a possibility because I won't have to leave a job behind, but it eliminates my ability to save up for the tuitions. With the combined income we have here, I'm not eligible for full funding. Hopefully the tide will turn for me.

The Trucker and I have always lived by the motto "When it's meant to be it comes easy." This transition happened so fast, my head is spinning. But, it's a pretty simple process and not as devastating as it could be. I think the timing must be right, or this would not have progressed the way it did. Each day this week it has become more apparent that there is no turning back. I'm like Santiago in The Alchemist. He sold his sheep only to be robbed and left with no idea where to go. I have to make the choice now, which way do I go? I've got nothing left to lose, so I might as well go forward. A trial of the universe in the path of my own Personal Legend.

In that same book, Paul Coehlo reveals four obstacles that every person must face to reach their potential. He also explains that the biggest lie is that at some point in our lives we lose the power to change our destiny. We never lose power. We just stop making the choices we should because of fear, comfort or maybe even love.

Things will work out alright. I know they will. Sure I have fears, but it's a little too late to change that and it doesn't have to stop me. I've just changed the ability to continue this level of comfort. And, I have the full support of the person I love.

I have plenty to think about this weekend. What does the future hold for me? What do I really want? Do I want to beg for my job or jump head first into a new direction. I have had a tremendous opportunity to live a life I loved for three years. I have been able to learn amazing things. I have been a respected member of a great team. I have been able to be at school with my kids. I have had the best of both worlds. Sadly nothing lasts forever.

I hate to say goodbye to all of this, but I have to consider that I am greeting amazing opportunities. This door might have closed, but I think I'm standing on the outside. I am not trapped in a box, I am on the front steps ready to venture out again. I need to shift my perspective a bit.  I think a higher level of happiness is there, waiting for me to just look up and see it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Christmas Present For Myself

You know my dreams and now you know my fears that prevent me from realizing that dream. Well, one of them anyway. I will let you in to see more of that soon. I think the process of writing it down really made a difference on how I feel it.

I made myself a promise. I even did some testing, timing and planning.

See, I have this voice in my mind. She talks to me often. Sometimes it's like she is really here. She is the person I need to write for. The words are her story and she's been here for quite some time, telling me secrets and tales about her life. She wants me to share it. She is my #1 character. I've worked with her, developing the stories and even asked her questions in my mind to understand her motives better. And I think now we are ready.

Unlike the many stories or poems I have tucked away all over my home, hers is constant. It is complicated and detailed, it is simple and true. She scares me sometimes, part of the things that I'm afraid to write come from her. But this is her story, not mine.  I will just craft it, compile it into one nice package instead of the bits and pieces I've got so far.  Some of her story has already been written down, I will tuck it nicely in the folds of the whole story.

I am considering it a Christmas gift to myself.

Not only will I complete one more step towards my dreams, I will be able to mute her voice in my mind. I will have shared what she wants shared and perhaps, she will stop calling to me at the most inopportune times. Like sitting in front of the kids school, in the van, when the only paper I have is the back of a receipt.

I've been known to send myself text messages with the ideas that pop up. I've used Evernote, index cards, the memo function in the new phone. I've sent things to blogger as drafts to save for later. I've emailed myself. And yes, I've written many notes on napkins and receipts. And now it is time to pull them together.

I've been in school, I've got a job, I've got three kids at home for the summer. I keep busy and have struggled with any writing goal I've ever given myself. 1000 words a day, 5 days a week, sounds great but the reality is that I'd spend one day a week wondering why I had to write 5000 words at once. And then it became a chore, and then it didn't get done at all. So I cut back to a goal of 3000 per week. Not specific about which days or how many days, just a single count for the week. I can go over. I can catch up quickly if I need to; a motivated writing session of just 20 minutes can spit out 3000 words sometimes. I started just over a month ago.

Sticking with this goal, I will have a novel length manuscript for Christmas. A gift for myself.

Just in the first little while, I have noticed how my writing has changed. The voice is more natural, the story is taking shaping and drawing me in. It is getting easier to lose myself when I pick up the pen. I am excited and motivated.

Publishing is a great dream, but I'll never get there if I don't get it written. I need to write this woman out of my mind for my own reasons, whether it gets published or not.  I'm not normally one to think about Christmas in July, but this time I'm making an exception. This year is going to be fantastic!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crazy Sh*t

It's all about going crazy!

I think I'm crazy for taking on a night class on top of my regular insanity.

I have a crazy dream of having an English degree.

I'm crazy (and so is my boss) for working at home with a toddler underfoot.

I have a crazy dream of being published. Not articles or online, but of physically holding a copy of a book with my name on the cover.

I am crazy enough to believe that I can add writing time to the night class and the regular insanity. 

I have a crazy belief that I could be a career student, if I were ever rich enough to pay for it.

I had a crazy excitement to meet someone who has completed in her life all the things I aspire to.

Yup. Crazy.

I will not name her, because she is still remarkable in her own way, but she scared me. 

I fell in love with her excitement about the first book being published. Her joy about how many people turned out to her book launch. How it 'made the solitary work' worthwhile.

She said things that I have thought. About how some ideas just play around in your mind, back and forth, sometimes months or years. Just screaming to get put on paper.  You want to think it and rethink it and polish it before you put pen to paper.
She said that's wrong. And she's right.

She talked about how writing, just writing, is very important. Once those ideas are out of your head, you can work with them. You can edit, revise, change.... whatever you need to do. And for as long as you need to.

She inspired me in minutes to keep writing. (Which I have been. Small steps, but a minimum goal of 3000 words per week on my book.) 

And then.... she kept talking.
and talking....
......and talking....

In a normal world, I'd have been rapt. I would have listened with awe to the words of someone who has been where I want to go.

But, sadly, this was my class. And not at all her purpose for being there. She was jacked on (hopefully) caffeine. Hygiene was ... weak. She bounced from topic to topic, shamelessly mentioning her new book every five or ten minutes for 2 hours.

Her speech was too fast and too off-topic. She was there to help us. To spend a few minutes one on one reviewing our current essay projects. Offer guidance or suggestions. But she didn't do any of it.

On my way home, I could only shake my head.

Is writing such a solitary profession that it makes one forget how to socialize? Is the excitement over publishing going to make me self-promote, even when it's not appropriate? Is it likely that I too will forget to shower? Will I lose the ability to read instructions because my mind is full of fiction? 

I know I'm not her. Perhaps she's having a rough week, or something was just off today for her. I started out wanting to go find her book. But then she kept talking. I'm sure it's lovely, but I'm so turned off.

I guess it's good to see a negative side of my goals. Perhaps, this was a test of my spirit. A test to show me the dark side of dreams, and see if I'm brave enough to move forward.

But then again, she's just a different kind of crazy than I am. 
So I should be good.

Have you ever met someone who has lived your dreams and been disappointed? Or perhaps you were fortunate that they inspired you?  Have you felt tested like this? 
Tell me your stories.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm So Emotional

It's been an interesting week. Nothing really different has happened, at least not around me, but it feels like I have hit every possible corner of this emotional maze.

It started Tuesday, when I sat with my teacher to review my intro paragraph for an essay assignment. It was meant to be a time for discussion, for her to help me craft my thesis and tighten it up. I waited for my name to be called, and cautiously stepped up to her. "I apologize," I said, "I had all my notes prepared but I didn't have time to write the paragraph at home.  To be honest, I kind of scribbled this down in the first few minutes of class." I was so embarrassed. I don't do that! I always have my homework done. It's one of my goals in this class.

She picked it up and read it. About half way through she started saying "Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Good." She placed a big check mark on the side and a smiley face below that. That was all. Really? I started to swell with pride right there. Not because I'd pulled that out of my ass in the first few minutes of class, but because I really knew what I wanted to say with this essay and my understanding of my thesis made it come together almost effortlessly. And also because the hours of research I'd put in before determining my thesis had paid off. At least this far.

Wednesday, I realized that I have an opportunity to be part of a webinar for work. Thursday at 6 pm. Damn. My class starts at 6:30. I can't have both. I spiraled through a range of emotions. Frustration because I know I'm not doing what I really want to do, even though the job I have provides me plenty of opportunity to grow as well as flexibility to pursue these things I want to do outside of work. Then anger, because I made myself a promise that nothing would come between me and this class. It is my commitment to myself. A sick child is one thing, but an after-hours business meeting? I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time excited, that I've chosen the webinar over school. But I have many reasons to do it this way and also have arranged things for school so I am not going to miss anything. I've got great interest in the topic of the webinar, so I'm eager to be a part of it. It's still a bittersweet feeling, I let myself down. Sure, everyone else understands my situation, but I don't want to. 

The mellow feeling led me to escape. I jumped in and finished the book I was reading. As usual with a really good story, I had an hour or so of harsh adjustment back to reality. One of the reasons I want to write is to escape to that world. Writing it means I can live in it longer, really get to know the story and the characters, and in the end I won't have those lingering questions about what might have happened. I can decide. It's MY story.

Ahhhh... my story. My dream is just right there, waiting for me to start. Well, I have started some of it. Then I got hit with a really big dose of fear. Yes, fear really does play a strong role in our lives. I have this completely irrational fear that too much of myself will fall into my writing. That too much will mirror my own life. And if I write something, some conflict or disaster, in my own words... somehow, it will affect my real life.  I know it's irrational. It's not like I can write the future.  Just, sometimes, accepting a fear and burying it might open you up to it. Or blur your consciousness, just enough that you don't notice signs that you might normally.

So, if I write about a child that is sick, am I opening the door to my own getting sick? What if a husband leaves? What if someone dies? What if? What if?

I know that it is completely unreasonable to feel this way. The reality of it is simple and I can't predict the future. You might argue that fictional characters that I've completely made up can not alter the lives of those around me. But I think every writer has some hint of someone they know in all the people they create. Even if it's just someone you see in passing, walking down the street, who makes an impact or creates an inspiration... It's still connected to your real life.

I will get past this. And if I wrote about something that did happen later in my own life, I would know it was coincidence. I don't stop writing because of it. I just don't show anyone what I've written. And then it haunts me. Knowing it won't ever help me get anywhere if no one sees it, but also fearing what might happen if I set those words free.

Sooner or late, I won't have this choice. I will have to let those words go, or they will sit inside me and drive me insane. 

Today, as I sit watching my poor little Angel Baby sniffling while she's playing quietly, I am filled with a sense of calm and control. She's not feeling well again today and I have nothing I can do to make it better.

But there is something positive in all of this.

~The choices I've made for school and work and home have led me to this point where I can be here with her when she's sick and needs me.

~The choice to go back to school at 33 will send a message to my kids (and everyone around me) that I BELIEVE IN DREAMS. I refuse to give up on my own and I am actively going to make things happen.  If you want something bad enough, you have to work hard to get it. And if you work hard for something you want so desperately, things will fall into place to help you succeed.

~Spending time in class that would normally be given to my family has several benefits.
1. Our time together holds a stronger value, because we have less.
2. My relationships with my family are stronger because we use our time better.
3. I have Wendy time. Yep, just for me, all by myself. Which makes me feel fantastic! No depression holding me down, I feel rested and recharged no matter how draining or hard my class might be.

So, sadness, anger, loneliness, pride, embarrassment, all of it, means nothing. They are moments that pass by, like the shadows cast by the clouds as they float past us. I will feel each feeling and let it go in the wind. I will never stop moving. 

And I will not let fear stop me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It Can Wait

Those dishes by the sink?  I'll do them later. Right now I have kids to snuggle.

The toys on the floor? We're not done playing yet.

The laundry piling up by the washer? It will still be there tomorrow. The Angel Baby is trying to sleep. This is the only time she LOOKS like an angel.

It's hard to change. I used to be worried about what everyone thought. What everyone wanted from me. I'm not anymore. I'm doing what I want. Sure, I want clean dishes eventually, but not this minute. It will get done, just not yet. I used to worry that dinner wouldn't be on time. That someone would laugh at me (or complain) if the clothes got wrinkled in the dryer.

I used to worry about everything. I still do, I just don't let it get the best of me.

At some point, it became exceptionally clear that I was not living for me, but for everyone else. And now I can see that most of the expectations I was trying to meet, were not even realistic. There are things that we all like to see get done, but I was so frantically trying to please everyone at once that I forgot what was really important.

And then I crashed. I stopped doing it all. I just couldn't figure out where to start or who to please first. I did nothing beyond the necessary functions of life.

Not anymore.

That's not for me anymore.

I started something small. I started slow. I started to invest in myself. For a while, it was just getting myself to bed at a decent time. Then, spending time reading with Art. Talking with Macboy. Playing with Angel Baby. None of it because I felt I had to, but because I wanted to. I missed those kinds of things. 

I stopped beating myself up over how often I made it to the gym, or what I was eating that I shouldn't have. I started taking the stairs at school, parking farther away when I went out. I started playing in the yard. I bought a bike. 

I went to SCHOOL. I'm working for something I WANT. I'm living for Wendy.  Sure, the kids place demands on me and my time. My job does too. Being married to a trucker has it's own share of work. I'm still doing those things that I did before but I am making the choice to not stress over them.

I don't have to spend hours doing laundry right NOW. Yes, it has to get done, but do I have to interrupt my child to do it? No. it can wait a few minutes. Or an hour. Or even a day.

I have fleeting moments of stress and panic over these things, but now instead of letting them eat me alive, I am purposefully letting them go. I am aware of my self, and self is not something I'm overly familiar with. As I step forward and make changes, I am seeing so many signs that this is right. Everything is pointing in the direction I was aiming. 

Each small accomplishment presents another choice. Each choice leads to another accomplishment. I'm enjoying life and not looking for failure. I'm seeing sunshine everywhere. I'm feeling pride in myself. I was wearing myself out, overthinking every little thing. I was burying myself in the dark and heaping unnecessary stress on my soul.
So, I let the stress go. 
It can wait.

Monday, May 28, 2012

WWE - Not Just For Wednesdays

I love camping. I don't really enjoy the packing or unpacking parts, especially since our tent trailer bit the bullet last year. I like tents, but I sure don't like losing all my storage.  Once we get out there and get settled, get the fire going and start relaxing, camping is one of the best breaks I can think of.

The only holidays we really take during the year are around Victoria Day and our anniversary. We go on other weekends too, but those are the ones we usually take extra days off for. We are not huge travelers. Maybe when the kids are bigger, but not yet.

We found a nice place last year, close to home and great for ATV's. I really like it there. Most of the places we've camped are so out of the way that we don't even have an option for cell service or anything else, but this one is just close enough that we do have service.  And yet, we still do not use it.  The only technology used over the weekend was the music on the iPod. (I am discounting the use of the iPad, it was only used in the bathroom. We have a child with encopresis. When it comes to that, I do what I gotta do to keep this kid regular.)

The cell phone stayed in the vehicle. I did look at the time on it a few times, but not much. For the most part if someone asked what time it was I just asked if they were hungry. Usually were. That's how you know what time it is when you're camping. "Oh, you're hungry again? Must be lunchtime."

I spend a lot of time through the week on my laptop. I watch the Angel Baby play behind the screen. Earlier this week, 4 of us were plugged in to something and Macboy said "Hey, I feel kind of left out here!" It happens. We live in a digital world. Without the internet, I wouldn't have the job that I have and couldn't be at home. But it is too consuming. Imagine going back a decade or two where the TV began to take over. That's actually not sounding so bad now.

When I take a day off, I usually still have email to check or blog posts to write or messages to return on Facebook.


For four days, I did not look at email. I did not answer my phone. I played in the dirt with Angel Baby. Couple plastic spoons and some cars go a long way. The kids rode bikes and played games. We made S'mores, did all the awesome camping things and came home smelling like the fire! The kids played on air mattresses in the tents. Everyone talked and was listened to.

I learned a few things about what is important to my kids. I learned that consistency in anything makes a difference in our kids. My boys were able to find signs at the campground from the last time we'd been there. It was familiar and comfortable. It was exciting to them, to see that they really do leave a mark wherever they go.

It was an excellent weekend. I almost hated to come back to reality. But here I am.

This week, we have locked up the iPods and DS's and controllers from the video games. We are detoxing. No one will get the games back until Friday. I will be turning off everything as well when the kids are at home. I do have a few commitments online, but will do my best to have those things completed before the kids get home.  This is not as extreme as our normal WWE as I am not eliminating all electronics. We will have the computer for schoolwork and the TV is not banned. It's the devices that pull us all in different directions. The devices that the kids are so hooked on that I have to check their rooms 4 times after bedtime to make sure they are shut off and put away.

I hope to see some positive attitudes come back into this house. It has been proven in our house that disconnecting helps us connect and I look forward to this entire week. I will post short updates on facebook when I can, please join me on Busy Mama's page, but I lead best when I lead by example!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May Has Been A Blur!

I have gone through a variety of phases with this blog. I have gone overboard trying to post often, I have had stretches where I only wrote the funny moments. I have had times where the dark side of my mind prevails and I write the painful thoughts that exist in my head.

I had times where I was super concerned about numbers and growth and built up a facebook page and a following on Twitter. Then I got overly addicted to Twitter!  I have posted regularly for a while and then waited a month or more between posts. And, I have stopped writing on my other page entirely.

And yet, many of you stick around anyway.  
Thank you for that.

So far, the Trucker has not hauled me off to an insane asylum since I've jumped into a night class on top of the too many things I already do. And at the same time, my job took a big change in direction so I've got a big learning curve there too. And then I decided to quit smoking too. I think we're managing okay, but likely because we all know that it's not going to last forever. This course will be done in July and then I have time to think about what I'm doing again!

I'm pleased with the marks I'm getting so far in my class. It's reassuring, last time I took this course it didn't go so well. I think the teacher makes a big difference, no matter what you're learning. Well, that and I have a lot more experience under my belt, not to mention motivation. I mean really, I PAID for this! I'm not one to waste money.

Honestly, things could definitely be improved. It is truly the 'temporary' side of this that is getting my family through. We are all tired and living outside our comfort zone. It is taking a toll, we are a much crankier bunch lately. There is more arguing going on and whining and complaining..... Oh, it's frustrating.

Maybe I should quit doing it.

Angel Baby is adjusting well, except Wednesdays. I leave for class Tuesday after dinner and don't see her again until it's creeping up on lunch time Wednesday. She clings to me much of the day.  My boys are doing okay. They are not really helping out more, but they are not making things more difficult for Dad. 

The Trucker... I'm not so sure how he's dealing with this. I have little sympathy for him. Most Dad's have to be more involved in the home life. I think it's good for him to do a little more. (Boy do I mean little) There are many things I'd love for him to take over (like dinner on my school nights) but after all, this is my Trucker, he's not going to suddenly be the Husband and Dad of the Year. He is still a trucker working crappy trucker hours. I'm just grateful he's not refusing. Or falling asleep before the kids.  

Well... there's my checkin. I'm still alive. Can't drop dead if I never stop moving. If you wonder what I'm doing when I'm not running in circles, I'm spending time with the important things in my life. I'm enjoying the moments and going Hands Free. You should try it. If you don't know how... my friend Rachel can show you. So while you're on Facebook liking my page, you can jump over to hers too. Join this great revolution and embrace the moments that matter.

Got it? Good. See you soon!