Saturday, December 28, 2013

Single Santa

This will be the last Holiday blog, not that I had many, because the tree is down and though there may a post about change on here soon – not a resolutions gal.

As I was driving home from work a couple of days before the actual Christmas Day (sidebar: I had to work Christmas, travel after work, and with my big fat Eastern European family it’s like a marathon of 72 hours of running) I heard a great version of Silent Night as the snow was falling at night. A smile came across my face as I imagined a glass of wine on Christmas eve while/after playing Santa by the tree with Silent Night playing on the digital fireplace. My next thought was that of a couple friends with kids and how there would be no one to share that moment with, smile at, or cuddle before saying “we better get to bed, they will be up in a couple hours.”  Then, though not really sad or anything, my mind started snowballing and I was wondering on the off chance that my atypical kiddo believed in Santa, even though she had already stated her disdain for the man (fine with baby Jesus though) does he get “mommy” something, wouldn't it look weird if “mommy” didn't get anything, and what the heck would I get myself and wrap up and pretend to be surprised in the morning!

Don’t worry I calmed down, found a couple things from Santa and ordered a lovely but simple Khol’s Vera Wang (thank you Khols, I feel special on the cheap) hat and glove set with no holes, lol ;)! As expected the kiddo had no interest in gifts, wanted to eat Jesus’ cupcake, and was more concerned about cleaning the mess of oats the reindeer left on the floor – forget St. Nick, for her it was like he was never here. She was thanking me through her stocking before I dropped her off before work.

And I just opened the last and most perfect gift with a make-shift pad Thai dinner and small glass of wine – an old textbook in order to upgrade an old certification to start my new career/bring bacon home life! I am actually really excited about it and tonight and today. We took down the tree by 9am, during nap time I got everything back in storage, we had a living room floor, AND I discovered that it was actually warm enough in the Midwest for a go at the park. I chose to end tonight like this, simple, back on blog/online after a few days absence, and my gift of new life to myself celebrating the true gift of new life we were all given on what most call Christmas Day and what my little family calls Baby Jesus’ Birthday. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The New Suburban Nuclear Family

I was reading another blog today and the writer was talking about this being her first separated holiday, I thought nothing of it really until I was waiting for the kiddo to be dropped off by her dad, tonight’s exchange went a little differently (the only word I can really think to describe the feeling right now), and on the way home I realized that this is my 3rd divorced Christmas. That isn't really the right word as it was more of a before baby break-up involving lots of lawyers, paperwork, and money – there was never really a family to be broken if you will. Anyway….

Here are the stats:

Probability in 2012 that the lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is 40%–50%.

Today, one-third of American children – a total of 15 million – are being raised without a father. Nearly 5 million without a mother. 

I don’t think the realization of the 3rd “divorced” Christmas was it though, as I said tonight’s exchange was….different. Usually, my parents handle the exchange of the kiddo and my ex per our history, and I have started to only fill in or be there if their schedule needs me too or if we are running close on time to get to their place. Tonight was one of those times and I had done it enough before, but tonight we had to have a short convo about times & locations on Wednesday – Christmas Day in which he has her and I work this year, and it was awkwardly civil for the both of us (kiddo was asleep). Also, I have always had this “dad bag,” just an old, black, same-sex shoulder bag in which her extra clothes and communication notebook go in on visit days – well today she came home with a character big girl backpack/lunch bag set with the old bag in the side pocket. 

What I realized is because of our link we both have 15+ holiday seasons in which to figure out who is where and when, no matter how consistently inconsistent the kiddo will always have a bag ready to go 5-10% out of the year, and no matter if it is for the kiddo or the grandparents; this is now reality – not a was, or could be, or maybe one day it will stop – but a for now, this is what we do kiddo. And I will put on the best show when my feelings are weird or your feelings are weird or his feelings are weird because in the now this is our reality no matter how many dreams and cancellations come ‘round. However, as she turned on the tree lights when we got home, she knows home and she knows her family….our family and our home of two. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Is It Over Yet?

"Whoever invented this Christmas nonsense should be taken out back and shot."

Sorry, but this is kind of how I feel right now - I am exhausted and it's about a week out from Christmas Day. I am still working my regular hours, no end in sight there and no extra time off around the holidays in my line of work to relax or get things done.

There was a time when I felt Christmas was simple, however, I can't remember when that was or how it felt. The duties seem overwhelming - on top of educating your children on the real meaning of Christmas, please make it to the pageant, after you have recovered from the Thanksgiving school parties (and family ones) please don't forget about the pageant again - oh and the cookies for the class party, BTW are you done with your shopping yet and what have you done for others too. It all just seems like way too much now a days.

Add on top of that the stress of having a kiddo who thrives on routine whose world has been upside down the past couple weeks due to all of the above and everyone surrounding her (even if I am trying my best to keep us out of it) doing the above as well, non regular school activities, oh and transition to a higher room come the new year. And doing it all as a single parent with the mental/emotional prep of what the actual 25th will bring with sharing parenting time, working that day, grabbing in a quick Christmas morning before the drop off, and being in 3 (technically 4) different cities in one day. As an adult I am kind of dreading it and can't imagine how much of  a loop the kiddo will be in.

I just want to have a simple day or two with my daughter and play with the couple of things I did get her for Christmas (not to mention assemble), get the budget straight without panic and feeling "less" than others, see a couple of friends, win a pantry and fridge makeover - filling it with all the good for you foods and lots and lots of water. And clean the place up a bit, I have done great at minimizing but need to do some more and would love to do it more internally as well.

Don't get me wrong, I do love the true meaning of Christmas and am looking forward to the couple of hours with the kiddo and waking her up in the morning and all - but I feel like not only has society (and metro Suburbia) sped up the whole holiday season but that it is getting harder and harder for us folks who want to just keep it simple to actually keep it simple.

I think next year we will just by baby Jesus a birthday cake, keep only the one foot small tree, drink cocoa and call it a day.

Monday, December 16, 2013

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Ok, Ok – so it was more like 2:30-3am. Anyways, I had gone to bed early last night, feeling a little defeated and like I just needed to journal, pray, and get some sleep for the week ahead. It had been a long day of child rearing followed by a Sunday night dinner where I found out a family member was not in a position to even think about how Christmas morning was going to go for her and her 3 kids – whom she rarely has all together for holidays due to being a single mom. I explained I understood, as I myself spent very little as there was very little to work with but luckily found some things that I had in storage that the kiddo was too young to play with before I could wrap up, but back to the point I said I understood and we also mutually agreed not to get each other anything, just the kids. This thought brought me back to my own troubles and that I just wanted more time for my kiddo and a job that not only counted in my perspective but would equate in more time with the kiddo per commute and maybe a little more take home per gas and happiness via losing the stress.

By the time I got home, did bedtime stories (including baby Jesus of course), and looked around, I was overwhelmed and didn't know where to start except for with prayer and rest. So that is what I did, I journeyed my list of defeats, wants, true needs; prayed and was out around 8pm. Cue 2:30am or so and I woke up – my body probably used to six and a half hours of sleep and I just couldn’t shake something. I tossed and turned and finally thought or listened if you will. Then it hit me, I started getting up, looking around, and putting things in piles and good thoughts in my head. You see, I have been making piles of different things, clothes I don’t wear, toys & clothes the kiddo doesn't need or has outgrown, and various things in an attempt to minimize. I have been looking for a local organization that would take gently used things for the holidays, I didn't find one, until last night. With the kids’ ages, a couple of bows, and a couple cheap Pintrest ideas – I could help a family have a nice little Christmas morning. So I went into the kitchen, made some coffee, and got started a little bit, while filling in my own Christmas cards. The joy of giving can be pretty exciting and I was always the one who could never sleep but 2 hours on Christmas eve, so this explained a little.

It was also a work day, so I did have to get ready to scrape off the car, load up the bags, and get ready to wake up the kiddo, get her dressed and off to school by 6am with an hour commute to follow – only to work hard for an organization I no longer believe in, underpaid – and pick up my sleeping daughter later over 14 hours later. And though I was almost wishing I would be late per the snow so they could tell me to get out of there, and was preparing my speech of ethics in my head (all the while listening to K-Love and a few good Christmas stories) I realized I could give myself the gift of a letter. My letter of resignation that is. You see I can’t leave yet because I don’t have another job lined up, but in God’s time this will change. However, one thing I can do is start to write that letter of resignation, of ethics, of why a place that started out so promising years ago has hurt me not only financially but emotionally by asking me to discard my own ethics. It may not reach hands that will do anything, but I will turn it in someday soon I know and go off to better things. Things such as time, rest, and my family.

I pray this will happen soon, but it doesn't mean I can’t take the steps I want to while still bringing home the rent. I will have to have faith that God will show me the path I am meant to be on, rather show me how to support the path of my family that I am already on. Just like I hope my small gift of things I already have and know will re-iterate that all that mom's kids really want is her time (pancake mix, syrup, and hot chocolate with toppings included)!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Reverse Bucket List

A fellow blogger, who is now required to read to the end of this post, recently posted about making a bucket list and wanting to try and actually accomplish those listed adventures. A long time ago, I was in the middle of my “audited semester in law school” and looking for some evidence/timeline of evidence when I stumbled upon a box of magical things – pictures from Barcelona, pictures from New York (at the time I had totally forgotten I had been there just a few short years prior), tickets from this awesome club there to see a live band, game ticket stubs, etc. As I was knee deep in papers, emotions, and exhaustion with a sleeping baby in the next room– I decided to start making a list of all the things in my life that I had accomplished. A reverse bucket list of sorts, as I typed it kept getting longer and longer until it was over 2 pages of statements/adventures/events. At that time, I needed to see what all I had done so far in my life and if 29 years could have produced that much – just think what the next 30+ years could bring!

I can’t find my exact list right now but a few highlights I can remember are: been to New York, NY and California, visited 2 other countries – actually 3 with a layover, got my first Bachelor’s Degree, got married, got my second Bachelor’s Degree, got divorced, gave birth, truly became a mother, worked at a Level 1 Trauma hospital, been to 5 different baseball parks, etc. Like I said, the list was pages long and I am sure I didn't even think of anything.

Now I wanted to point to my audience, those who stop by my little blog now and then, and let me point out some things that are on my bucket list that you have already accomplished:

One of you hung an amazing wreath on your very own door! I dream of this and am so happy you got your dream, did you know what an amazing thing you were doing when you were hanging that wreath?

One of you travels the world and the country running marathons, going to concerts, visiting many friends AND gets to lounge on the couch with a warm mug and kitten when school is delayed or cancelled and can nap! Though I know you enjoy those moments, you may not think of them when you are grading all those papers. Oh a nap, how I envy that!

One of you posts the greatest things about your son, what he is and can do and say as he is no longer a baby (you know that baby that took a long, loving miracle to get here) – remember those when home, work, yard is getting at you – those things are huge, especially when his elders only did that just last week!

One of you has the exhausting pleasure of staying home with your kids all day, but most importantly I love your photos of your family, especially with their dad or the whole family – you all look so incredibly happy and like you all just fit together! I hope you hold on to these moments when your husband is away and your only communication may be tagging Facebook posts – those are some of my favorite btw too.

Now for you, my friend: With all the health odds against it – you ran half of a marathon! I am sure your doctors said that would never be possible, mine did too and I have yet to get past 5K on a treadmill, but you did it! Also, those 3 pictures where you hang your keys are almost as coveted by some as your two academic degrees.

So when things get tough, life starts fighting back, when you think you have accomplished nothing in the day/week/year, and/or you are just having one of those days when you feel you cannot get back up – think of all that you HAVE done so far, how HARD you worked to obtain those things you have, even the things that are nagging at you.

“When discouraging forces pull at us, we are not pulled apart. Instead, like strands of a rope, we are pulled more tightly together and grow in strength.”

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Key To My Heart Is Simple.......Sushi

During this Holiday season in particular, I have had a lot of discussions with friends, read articles, or have been reminded of status updates on needs vs. wants - and what are truly needs and what are purely wants. This is a difficult subject when I am asked what myself or the kiddo WANT for Christmas and my reply is nothing, but we are in need of x, y, z. So on the way home via the store for a simple dinner (instead of the want of a drive thru window), I took this in a different, fun direction for myself as to what I would want a future partner to do for me or with me without having to read this list.

Take me out to a real sushi restaurant, even if the thought of raw fish churns your stomach.
      - My once in awhile treat is wine and sushi from the store - yes, store sushi in the Midwest, not that bad so I can only imagine the real thing in a real sushi restaurant atmosphere.

Tell me to take a girls' night - like to that huge wine tasting in February at the Crown Plaza (wink, wink Elaine, we must attend).
      -  We all need a night for and too ourselves here and there even while in crazy love town, hang with the boys or on your own. I'll give you a guys' night too unprompted.

Along the same lines, plan a double date night with friends.
       - I dream of this, I really do - not anything formal just hanging out with some friends but in all of our best companies.

Bring me back an unexpected Starbucks treat for no reason - so much better than flowers!
      - To which I will undoubtedly say, "you so didn't have to do that" because I am awful at receiving as well as taking complements.

Pick out a movie WITH me.
     - Not the "oh you pick, no you pick" dance we all do; just spend an hour what used to be the movie store and is now is Netflix on the couch and lets figure out a must see for the both of us.

Fine, fine - send me flowers at work but not my current job - my future better one ;)
     - I am not a flower girl, you would know this, and you would do it just because and I would be surprised and embarrassed but so warm and fuzzy on the inside.

Ask to spend a day with me and the kiddo when you know I am ready.
     - You will know, I will say it's too soon even if it has been years, which is why it will be so important for you to know me well enough to let me know it will be OK. Nothing huge, just a fun day because you want to explore what I have created along with God's help of course.

I don't think any of this is over the top as I don't want a lot or for much and I think these things would be treats here and there just as I treat myself occasionally. But with someone, or rather by someone to someone who they know needs their wants occasionally.

Let me end by saying the above "things" would not make me fall in love and my needs for a partner (Christian man, a real Christian man who is not afraid to show it or to showy of it either is on the top of my list among many other internal attributes) far out weigh my wants and sometimes make it seem like he is not out there. Let me also say that I am and have been in a place where I don't need a relationship but want one - I think that is one of the only situation where our wants should out weigh our needs.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Hunger Games Part II

So where was I….yes, I had stopped off at the eve of the games. My plan was to arrive early enough to help out and finish some of my Pintrest “things for the kids to do” activities and of course eat breakfast J It was the least I could get to eat the entire day’s worth of meals – after all look what I was going into.
After loading the car (which looking at the truck seemed like we would be gone for days instead of just 24 hours) it was off to grandmother’s house we go. The first laughable saying of the day was when we started to pull into the Burb housing addition and my daughter went “yay,” and I was all – yeah sure yay. 

When we arrived in the house my dad was already in the kitchen, my brother was trying to go back to sleep after his daughter woke him throughout the night (as yes Virginia, she did sleep with him and his girlfriend moved to a couch), and said girlfriend was getting prepped in the bathroom. Second awkward moment: after getting the kids’ things ready, veggie plates, stuffing prep, I went in to do my hair, make-up, and put on the fall-ish sweater for the day – the girlfriend was assigned to peeling potatoes (yes, assigned by my father as the night before my nieces mother jumped on the salad over potato peeling before she had a chance) so she came in to change shirts as well and just ripped it off like we were sisters or something. I don’t really mind I guess but I have known you for what two days now – oh and let’s chat while we do this. I never even did that with my own sister, or friends, or even college roommates – so it was just weird.

By this time my niece had been upstairs and her mother had just made her way upstairs. I continued to get ready in the bathroom as I overheard her talking to my brother and the girlfriend as she told them she is seeing someone (she didn't really ever date so kind of a big thing), he is moving to her city down south for both business and her, yada yada yada. I stared at myself in the mirror as the lovely, great so I am now also Single Sally at this event – super *read said with lisp* oh and yes I did say it out loud to myself. Seriously, I wanted to face palm right there. Happy for her and all as my niece is a couple years older than my kiddo and her mom is 10 years my senior – but come on, on a flipping holiday gathering this comes out?! You single ladies know my pain.

Then the doorbell rang and I kid you not that my brother and I looked at each other like that scene in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation – my sister and family were about to enter. Side-bar: My kiddo has SPD, OCD, ASD symptoms; my niece (brother’s kid) is recently diagnosed SPD; and my nephew has ODD, all of them 6 and under, you may Google the acronyms as I feel like I have already said too much but it paints the picture. I told you about my sister yesterday – so they entered during my kiddo’s and my niece’s nap time. Oh wait – I was told to get my daughter up because she was disturbing my dad from cooking and my niece from napping in that she was crying per not wanting to nap. Did no one see the later in the day outcome or was it just me?

As my sister, who can be loud entered, noise ensued as the kids started running and not playing together nicely. Dinner was soon served after an attempt to gather all the little angels for a prayer, all us siblings quickly got them their plates and left them at the kids table – hey it had already been a tough few hours. Did I mention wine was all around? As we sat at the adults table, something seemed to be off with the dinner, I noticed by having room on my plate for salad which is usually on my second trip for food, then my sister said “hmm..never mind it’s no big deal” followed by dad “no, what you can say it” sister “no, no it’s not important” followed by me “anyone try the sweet potatoes yet?” We forgot the sweet potatoes and stuffing in the oven was the instant finding of this conversation – luckily not badly burned and still pretty good – but who forgets the stuffing?!

My dad and brother then soon wrangled the kids who were done and could care less about stuffing, more trying to not kill each other or give my mother a heart attack/aneurysm, outside leaving me, the girlfriend, my sister and her boyfriend to chat. My mother was tensely scrubbing dishes at this point, she obviously had not yet had any or enough wine. Enter awkward convo about places in the world/states that I have never been, not that my sister has but was pretending to know oh so much about, and I was just drinking my wine staring off into space. Then came the “so what do you do” question, I answered my job title thinking it spelt itself out, and was asked “I know that, but what do you do?” Face palm – sorry this question is a huge pet peeve, especially when it is the question asked as the only go-to to include someone in the conversation, so I tried to make it sound good as obligatory nods were held. When we got up and the kids came in 15 minutes later – it seemed like hours – my sister said, well I was going to ask for fun “where is your boyfriend” but decided to be nice and laughed. I think I mentioned something about throat punching. I said “I don’t know, I am 0-3 in the non-psycho department” sister “well I am 1 for….” then I said “well, I could say something here but I will be nice this time” sister “no, say it, I can take it” me “no, no” sister prodding “oh come on, just say it” me “fine, you are 1 for – just count your kids if you’re not sure.” Yes very low blow, need confession, but at that point I had kind of had it.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of me watching the kids downstairs, only because my kid was there – not much relief was given and no wine is allowed downstairs. Super. We finally did cake for my long distance niece as her b-day is in December, presents in which she got to choose which language she thanked each individual in (more face palms), more wine, an uncle and aunt stopped by, I was told I looked tired and that it looks like I have at least gained a couple of pounds (they meant well…I think), and well until I got my kid into bed and my niece went to bed it was all a blur.

I sat down with my bro, the girlfriend, and my parents as we all had another plate of food, wine and watched a movie – Mixed Nuts as previously mentioned. Yet, not before the old – so how is it going with the kiddo’s father with my niece’s mother was had, oh goody. Goodbye hugs were given as I had to get up and go to work the next morning, and though it was a nice wind down eventually; I was ready to go to bed or to futon as it were.

I am sure I could turn this into a short story or book, however, there you have it. Hunger Games 2013 – survival of the most street smart, caring yet don’t mess with me, scrappy person with skill. Like I said, I did enjoy the day for the most part, but it was weird….kind of like high school all over again…but with your family….that you only stay in touch with as you want per all of the above.

Katniss -

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Hunger Games 2013 - Part I

Let's face it, we all have our own dysfunctional families to deal with on the holidays and by sharing today's post I am in no way saying that I have have the most dysfunctional of them all - but Rob Riner couldn't have written this stuff!

Let's start at the basics - I have an older half brother and an older half sister whose father was pretty much absentee for the most part, my parents who are still together raised us all, my father (of whom I am the only biological child of) raised us all together and equally as his own. Fast forward 20-30 years: I am the youngest and am a divorce with one child who I have pretty much 24/7 365 days a year. My brother, the middle child, has always been a serial monogamist and got the surprise of a lifetime when his daughter was conceived who is now school age. My sister (whimsical, bi-polar), the oldest, has three children between the ages of 2 and 13, all who have different fathers - two of which are involved and the other has an unrelated step-father of sorts.

So when it came out that my brother was coming into town from out west with his new live in girlfriend (first time in 10 years that he has been that serious) for Thanksgiving, his daughter was coming in WITH her mother from down south in the states, my sister was available with all three of her kids (not easy during the holidays per visitation for all the kids) with her boyfriend - who is NOT the father, sorry had to throw that Maury shot in there - and we were all to gather at my parents' in the burbs of the Midwest for Thanksgiving.....let's just say I almost picked up an extra shift at work. This was also the first time all 5 of my parents grandchildren where ever in the same room and the first time in a couple years that my siblings and parents where all together at the same time as well. Did I mention my parents are Catholic - nature v nurture on that one folks.

The first dinner of the week was held down in our hometown, and well, it was just a blur as I had the kiddo and had to work in the morning, drive down, eat, and drive home. So no super great stories there. Now I did get to meet "the new girl" before my brother's daughter and mother got into town; she was nice, what I had expected from the past ones, which means I like her for the most part - which always fiddles with the 5 year rule we put on my brother's relationships. However, she was starting up her own business in the health and nutrition/online world, and that is so what I am trying to do right now in my head anyway. And she had the full blown launch and everything along with hired help and my brother's expertise - I would be lying if the words "oh crap, really" didn't want to fly out of my mouth, but I did the whole hope it works out well, congrats thing. Oh, and not an iPhone-er and has a Coach bag - it's one of those "I really thought you were more down to earth" type things rather than a judgement. She may be my age as well, my bro is 6 years older than me.

The mid-week, welcome-in the niece and mother of niece, oh and get us all some darn wine please dinner was interesting. My daughter and niece seemed to get along well, which left some room for adult talk at the table. I and my folks were torn into wanting to get to know the new girl as well as not leave the mother of my niece who we have known longer out of the loop either. Much wine was poured, it came out literally and very specific from my niece's mom "that oh by the way guys I will be in the background during this trip to let the kid get used to more focused time with you (my brother and the new girl I guess) so I will be in the background a lot on purpose." This was the first anyone, including my brother had heard this and I could tell and I just about choked on my wine, then did when my niece asked to sleep with my brother and the new girl that night. Seriously - we couldn't have co-parented this convo at an earlier date?! So a little more wine for all it was. Oh, did I mention all of them were staying at my parents house for the visit? Yeah, so I was happy to take the kiddo and run at the end of dinner that night, not to mention I had seen my parents way too much already and they were already trying to back seat parent with the two grandchildren present.

Like I said, I went home that night, cooked, packed, and Pintrested my way past midnight for the actual day of Thanksgiving, all while watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation because it only seemed appropriate. I had to prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally to represent District 12 in the games the next day - oh and my dad and I were the only cooks/bakers for all this. Our mission was to arrive early and make a plan as I knew the Cornucopia was going to be a mad dash before the true games began. Stay tuned for part II tomorrow - reliving this is exhausting, but I promised many and I never break a promise.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful For a Good Thanksgiving

I feel as if I should put a thankful post up here because I am doing it on another form of social media here this month and put one on my personal Facebook page, so I will because I am honestly thankful for all that Suburbia from a non-Suburbia upbringing has given me.

Number one, the most mentionable, yet the thing that needs not even be mentioned per the obvious, is the kiddo. Honestly, the past three years have been great and challenging and (as I was reminded at least 3 times during the hunger games yesterday)the most tiring three years of my entire life, however, during that time the kiddo and I really built our bond and made our family our own. It's not the old - oh my child is my child yada yada yada type bond - but the we are in this together, we both know each other in and out, and we are thankfully stuck together type of bond.

Number two is how yesterday felt - at the end of the day my immediate family's Thanksgiving/Festivus felt like the end to the best Christmas ever. My brother whom I don't get to see very often at all (like years) came into town with his new gal and his daughter, my sister was there with all of her brood, I was there with the kiddo all at my parents' house (smack dab in Suburbia I must say). It was also the first time my parents had all of their grandchildren under one roof, let alone in the same state - making it pretty special for both my parents and the cousins.

It wasn't perfection by any standards and to use the word awkward and wine would be putting it gently...*Spoiler for tomorrows post, it will be GOOD*...but we gathered all together, took both obligatory pictures and random ones, ate, talked, sang happy birthday, had desserts galore, settled the children in, and at the end of the evening my folks, my bro, and I ate again while watching the movie Mixed Nuts - greatly appropriate.

Most of all on the drive home (make that to work this morning at O'dark thirty) I felt like I was driving home from Christmas day, because honestly with my family - this is all I wanted for the holidays. The past few years for my birthday or Christmas, I truly haven't wanted any gifts of tangible items, because....well my number one has taught me so much the past three years about what really matters in life, love, and faith. So I guess that's another thing to be thankful for.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Home For The Holidays

I think I had posted before about wanting or wishing for my own home for the holidays….well even though it may be just a rental apartment home, the kiddo and I have our own place to call home now; a home for the holidays.

Even though I don’t quite yet know if it was the right timing yet, as the move-in costs were a little more than I expected, I do know that we are both better off for it. Not better off in the “hey look at me I have my own place” just to say I made it on my own, but to the point that I can tell we both feel better emotionally and are more at peace here. Well, as at peace you can get with a little one trying to run the place J

I got to go through my own box of accumulated holiday decorations the other night and it was nice, a nice start. I hope that the kiddo will enjoy it as much as I do when we put them up, after Thanksgiving that is – yes we are that family. I like how that sounds, family. We will borrow a tree from my folks, which is perfectly fine for now, a tree is a tree – I really don’t mind where it is stored in the off season. I have some lights and a few ornaments to put on it and we will accumulate more as time passes. We can make our own and make our own paper ring too.

We have already driven past a couple of houses decorated to the nines on the outside and the kiddo seems perfectly content about that and that is enough to make me happy. We will hang our stockings for the first time on the eve of St. Nicholas Day – thank goodness I already made sure I had those little stocking stuffers covered. Not much but something and the kiddo is seemingly simple like I have learned to become which is a good thing. Give her some apples, clementine’s, and a granola bar and she is happy.

I think we are going to make it here, even if I have to give up the Starbucks card – mobile reloading has become my budget downfall. Career or job changes will be made this year I feel very strongly as the city commute is just getting to be too much in gas money and family time – add in a possible fall pre-school start and mandatory change it is. And even when I start to get overwhelmed or stressed out about the budget (you know like now, sorry if this post isn’t more uplifting), I try and remember the peace of our own little world; coming home to a quiet house, no one here but us, silence after the kiddo is asleep, cleaning because I want to not because I feel I have too, lighting candles if I want, my own bed, our own schedule, adding home touches here and there (the Van Gogh’s are up in our respected rooms), our own galley kitchen, just the little things.

And God providing, usually not in windfalls of any sort – but making the timing right to make things work and trusting that more is coming for us down the road a piece. I thank God every night for our home and as the kiddo corrects me “not a little home, a big home.”

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Take A Closer Look

A lot of times we judge people by their appearances, how they look, what they have in their hands, how they carry themselves. So I wanted to share what many may see from afar of me and what my reality really is, not to get pity or anything but because I have made my own thoughts on others based on the above myself - a mistake I won't make again:

What you see: Nice matching knit set of hat, scarf, and gloves (she can even use her phone with them)
Reality: That set is a gift I got in high school and am wearing out to look nice 14 years later, I can use my phone with the gloves because of the hole (one of a few) in the index finger. My keep me warm set is from K-mart and still a few years old at that, but it works.

What you see: A nice black pea coat
Reality: My parents got that for me also - back in college - so about 10 years old but they pay for the dry cleaning every season to keep it looking sharp. Don't put anything in the pockets because you won't see it again per the holes :P

What you see: Three name brand shopping bags
Reality: One bag is from the jeans I finally took back for a different size after the ones online didn't fit that I got with a gift card, one is actually a gift for my niece that I was able to get via sales and $4 in coupons I had saved the past 6 months just for the holidays, and the last has two glue sticks, stickers, and a cheap orange bouncy ball (to look like a basketball) as part of my kiddo's present for what she has to go through at a children's hospital tomorrow.

What you see: A really fit, in-shape looking young woman
Reality: I try to be fit, but the "fit" you see is from a large weight loss from stress and illness last year - I finally gained started to put on and retain the weight after 6 months of hard work. It's going down again slightly so I carb load every night and make sure my body has substance if I want to work out. I am sometimes limited to just stretches.

What you see: A strong woman
Reality: Spot on, however, I got this strength by 1) the grace of God and 2) from fighting two giant uphill battles that were filled with breakdowns, getting back up, being broken down again, and fighting back up through the tears one final time. And when I am strong for my kiddo's battles, I am the only one there and sound strong in my words but facing forward I have silent tears of fear on the way in the garage and tears of relief that the hard part is over again when driving out.

Again, I wrote this not for pity or anything like that because I find myself truly blessed (spoiler for tomorrows post: A Home for the Holidays), but because I realized today how I must appear to the outside world of suburbia at times. I have also seen that same young woman, with all the right gear and shopping bags - boy how I envied her. I leave you with this:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Kitchen Aid Experiment

It has been a tradition in my family, my mother's side, that when you get married you would receive a Kitchen Aid Mixer from my grandmother for a gift or shortly into your "marriage." I received mine (I refuse to say ours per the tradition) when I was getting my second Bachelor's Degree, far from family. I was very honored to have it, but there it stayed, until I saved it from the wreckage that WAS my "marriage." So it sat in storage, I played a little with my parents', then when my second family of two (the kiddo and I that is) moved on there it stared me in the face:

So I looked at the instruction book of recipes, after looking at the budget that told me I needed to start doing more things from bulk scratch and get some homemade ideas going for the holidays, and got the needed supplies as you can see above. As if the baking isle at the store wasn't enough to scare you off, I then read the instruction manual so in detail (all the while wondering if there was a Kitchen Aid for Dummies book) to the point of figuring out what the 3 different attachment names were in the book via picture. Hey, I had no lessons OK! 

Well, after reading, making a mess of the kitchen to where I was slipping and sliding on four and oil, the following was made:

OK, well these are the pictures from my second attempt, where I improvised with a little bit of basil and olive oil - and hey guess what? It worked, it actually worked. I even got an order for the basil bread for Thanksgiving! I was/am uber proud of myself, like really, really proud. I am on my third batch tonight - in the oven - and even made a recipe for homemade mashed potatoes using my assistant to whip them up literally. They taste amazing, now I know the secret to my grandmother's and father's mashed potatoes, perfection in a bowl. Yes, that is right - my dad was the chef in our house, which I kind of like that little twist :) 

Next up is attempting the family heirloom, 4 generation recipe book. However, do not think me a master as I am still laughing at/with my great-grandmother and grandmother who are both up in heaven now as I read the instructions "cream butter and sugar until creamy" on the "60 cookies recipe - guess how many cookies it makes. Really guys? That helps ;) The best part is reading the old and new letters in the book, which my cousin remastered, knowing that when I read the letter from my grandmother to her mother I can totally see my mother writing/saying close to the same words, knowing that so many women (and men) in my family have been in the kitchen at some time scratching our heads sarcastically while reading "cream butter and sugar until creamy" while figuring this thing out, and laughing out loud in the kitchen feeling like they are there with me even late at night by myself. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Day of Suburban Domestic Bliss

On a Saturday after a shift day with no lunch (note to self: email the bosses to let them know of said no lunch Monday) the kiddo and I managed the following:

Woke at 6am - well probably before then thanks to my kiddo whom I am about to nickname "No-Doze"

Coffee, puzzles, eat, more coffee, get dressed, brush teeth, wash face re-pack the always needed back-back of the day, more coffee

Out the door, grab coffee at the *Bucks, mail Ebay shipment #3 (Christmas is approaching you know - good for seller and buyer and current "second income")

Arrive at 9:30 am play-date - you have that right..a play-date...a morning play-date...on a Saturday. It was fun but if you told me who knows how many or few years ago that I would be doing play-dates I would slap you.....twice. Luckily, because they are so young, it was a friend of mine and her kiddo - so we basically attempted to catch up drink respective water and coffee, go to the restroom, while chasing the toddlers around teaching sharing methods to them. It actually went rather well - I was worried their house and/or child may have been destroyed. But I think we have a friend here for the kiddo - which is beyond words in our circumstance!

Luckily, I had packed some lunch type food and a Cliff bar for the kiddo so she went to sleep on the way home, I got her in her bed, and had at least 45 minutes to attempt to get things done and be embarrassed by Alma-mater's football team via iPhone scores. Hoo-hoo-crap. More coffee.

Cue kiddo waking up - and this a little before 2pm - full day I know! A little Rachel Coleman, more puzzles, play-dough, a large snack, more coffee, tantrum and choices to get out the door to the store before church.

Drive to Meijer (note the times taking for in and out of the car debacles) walk a mile into the store - apparently it is a popular place on Saturday afternoons - grab a couple essentials, die over the price of BOTH gluten-free bread mixes and already made bread and got SHOES!!!! This was huge, seeing as I had to bring both orthotic sets in for the try on and we found a pair that fit - yes this was after I got things on the right feet :P

Church - made it in time for the second reading, gospel, AND got through communion thank you very much.

Finally we landed home, I poured the promised milk (and coffee for me) with cookies and watched "The Brightest Night" from 1952 (baby Jesus story) for the second time, bedtime stories and kiddo down.

Lastly, more coffee, cleaned up/organized my room/my space a little, got a load in the laundry, dishwasher full ready for after dinner run, drinking wine out of an actual wine glass per said friend Elaine (their wedding date will live in infamy in my house or until I get an actual set in like 2 years) from earlier play-date (found another kitchen box post move) and also per Elaine watching some Gilmore Girls as the laundry dries, get more product on the Bay, and make the kiddo's amazon list for the grandparents. So a great AND productive day overall and tomorrow - possibly make some more dough in more ways than one, start to close out the storage unit, and brave the storm.

I won't say that we did not have our moments of why are we talking like teachers and/or super calm moms while thinking out the most sarcastic thoughts (oops or did we say that out loud), please for the love of the good Lord get your diaper on, same saying but get in the car, please when will this day end and where is my coffee - but all in all, especially at the end, a good day. Make that a great one :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Don't Like It Here In Holland

There I said it - I don't like it here in Holland. Now, if this beginning is confusing to you google: you've landed in Holland and here you must stay.

Most of the days I deal with having a kiddo with challenges because well, that is all you can do. This is the life I was meant to lead and I will lead it - that is where the frustrating part comes in - I feel like I have to follow a lot of the time. But yesterday, well last week even, handed a medium sized surprise I was not expecting and dealing with a few small things that are common place in here in Holland - I decided I needed to admit this to more than God, more than a friend, but here and to myself. Sometimes this stinks. So here I vent.

I do not want to be forced into making a pre-school starting date v "taking a year off" from therapies decision per such challenges. My heart is sick every.single.time I call one of the many health bill people and say here is my minimal good faith payment I can make to you at this time. For once can I please buy economical shoes without getting a wide to fit the orthotics or taking my already feisty kiddo out of her hamster bubble and trying on numerous pairs of shoes to make sure they work with her orthotics and we can afford them. I am sick and tired of holding my breath when we go into the library, etc because of possible meltdowns. I am again sick to my stomach adjusting to giving my kid her medicine and explaining that she is not sick and her insisting that she is because she has to take medicine. Don't get me started on food limitations or that regular water is not in the line up. Lastly, and newly (well new again), I am sick of seeing my kiddo fall when she is just trying to pick up a little speed.

I am sure I could go on, but I won't - because I feel awful that I am complaining when there are those sitting in hospitals with their kid, those counting the days they have because they know they are numbered, and those who have been forced to let go of their child or forced to come to grips with the fact that they won't even have a chance to have one.

So again, we are lucky in many ways even here in Holland, but I think it is important for me to say I will do what I have to do but I don't have to like it all the time. I treasure my kiddo's strength and off the charts cognitive ability and the fact that she CAN walk at all and that you can not tell one.single.thing wrong from looking at her picture and usually people can't tell from my face either. So Holland, I am sure one day I will accept you and all you have to offer fully, but for now please allow me my moments.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Container Store

If there is anything you can find in high-end Suburbia, it's The Container Store - the very smaller and more plastic (literally) version of IKEA and add a few bucks onto said smaller items. AND to my surprise, the previous resident of our new residence was a fan. OK, OK, so am I - I love to attempt to organize and by thinking about all the different cool things I could get that would finally fully organize every aspect of my life from paper files to tech....well enter The Container Store. I just received the Christmas Stocking Stuffer catalog and thought I would share my thoughts on a few items for fun - picture post!
Awesome idea, however, I would not remember what the heck I was supposed to do. 
Want, want want! I know I don't need it, but my towels and cutting boards take up so much space in my gally. And yes it is a gally.

At first I was all, that's what I have my post-its for. THEN I saw that you can pick by the grid the size you need - must have!
 I don't think we need an explanation here. It's like colored Sharpies :)

May be easier than 3 login attempts followed by "check your email for password reset" followed by new password to remember.

You know for all those in case your fridge actually goes out, you don't know when it happened, this will tell you if your food is ok moments in life. 

Cool story Hansel, but I just use a baby spoon to keep the bag down. Granted it IS my silver baby spoon. Hey, it's the burbs right?!

I want to get this for my dad so that he can stop pulling out his reading glasses of his jacket pocket every.single.time we go out to eat followed by 20 questions about the menu. It would also give me the satisfaction of him looking more like an old man and slightly less pretentious as he is not. Really. 

And I only counted about half a dozen different "keep your cords together and" items including this one that I have via the dollar section in Target.

So there you go- your Holiday gift guide for 2013! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Only The Lonely?

Off of my last post with the podcast link, there was something in the interview about the challenge of loneliness that single parents face when all is settled and the kids have gone to bed. Initially, I was all - "I am not lonely really, busy yes, in want of a partner yes but no need and no rush" so I equated it to that I really don't feel lonely all that often.

Then yesterday hit and because of flipping daylight savings time (sidebar: I didn't have it growing up ok, so I don't like it and am not used to it because we lived in the bubble) I have been up the majority of the last however many hours with naps in between with the kiddo attached to my body 24/7. I had driven down with the kiddo to meet my friend and old college roommate to walk around campus, have lunch, meet up for the first time in a few months. We had a great day, it was great to just up and go somewhere, especially the campus/my hometown which is magical - I mean amazingly truly magical, and talk and walk and catch up.

However, on the drive home, still quite happy - I felt the need to call someone and tell them about my day. As strange as it sounds, there was no one to call. My folks aren't really being there for us a ton and have their own stuff going on which kind of negates any importance on my end. I had obviously just finished talking with one of my good friends. Two others were busy with family things, and it seemed too odd to just call about my day. But what I was really looking for was that person to call at the end of any wonderful or harrowing day to tell all my excitement too. That's when it hit me, I do feel lonely in the "no partner" sense here and there and probably too often than I like to admit. Then it kind of snowballed......that night I wished someone would rub my aching back, however, I was quite happy that I didn't have to deal with the possibly obliges post massage if you get me; today was a rough very early morning per the evil daylight savings time and I had a half-ling in my bed sprawling about instead of someone to cuddle; and when my kiddo does something ordinarily extraordinary there is no one to turn to and say "can you believe she just did that?!"

There are many perks to being single though, less fights, no other family to have to deal with that is not blood, no pressure to do anything in return for a small selfish want, etc. But the biggest perks are 1) I get to fall in love still - I was watching Love Actually last night - and oh how amazing that will feel when it happens AND to be loved back unselfishly (because lets face it, it did not happen the first time around) and 2) because there is no one around to share in the ordinary extraordinary amazingness of the kiddos' accomplishments - SHE gets straight on all the praise and excitement and pride from my heart directly in the moment. And you should see her eyes, she knows pride at this young age, and if there was any question to the best look in a kiddo's eyes - being surprised by being such a big deal and knowing someone is proud of them is by far the winner.

So I will wait, not with a wasted heart, for that day to come. Until then, God gets an earful.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I took a short day (only 8.5 hours!) at work today to take the kiddo to a local Halloween community bash for kids and meet some friends there. After a few meltdowns, not getting how other kids just come up to mine and do whatever they want, processed to the nine's pizza, and the kiddo's first candy experience - we wound up home, watched a little of a movie while getting ready for bed and down she went a little later than usual per daylight savings time prep. I proceeded to then just crawl into bed, look on Facebook a bit, just wanting to sleep after the rough to say the least couple of days. Then I scrolled down to this link and it made all the difference:

I laid and listened for a bit, wondering "why oh why weren't people doing that in my life/situation!" Then after dragging my but out of bed a few minutes in to at least fold laundry while I listened - it happened. She kept talking and I actually listened and realized what a blessing today had been, that strangers and friends, and God of course, provided a lot of that for me today.

A co-worker listened for 10 minutes, truly listened, and responded "you need a medal" and meant it. When I responded that I don't spank per abuse issues and my kiddo having real issues (this morning was pig wrestling, take it to the mat, God let me get through this next minute getting out the door) - didn't side eye me. A patient let me talk and conversed about how the multi-sensory approach to learning with little ones has helped my high functioning kiddo SO much and that she is so bright it made my face light up to her and gave the patient a glow as well. Because I am very, very proud of my little dinosaur. And a friend, knowing how hard this week has been on the kiddo and me per family "conversations," made sure to encourage my daughter when the kiddo said "mommy brave" and asked about other strong women attributes.

Then I went a little beyond the laundry as I kept listening, turned on the light, started working on the closet, excited to blog about this, share it, and pile that candy in a bag for a dentist buy back rather than eat it peace by peace!

Thank you for showing me how strong I am and can be, especially when it is the only option!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Showers...P.S - How Do You Roll

The past few posts have been a bit off the fun, holy cow this is Suburbia track - so here is a hopefully fun or at least pertinent transplant Suburbia post.

I was invited to two showers, one bridal and one baby, that I really didn't want to go to. So L to the YN why did you go you ask....."family obligations."

The first was the bridal shower, for a cousin's bride, a destination wedding that I couldn't afford but was still not even invited too, and in major Suburbia territory of one of the more....financially blessed areas around the city. So yeah, I had like a count down denial going on there. Oh - and I had to not only go with my mother but go in on a gift for people who have just bought and even bigger Suburbia home on a body of water. So of course the big day arrived, I handed over the cash, dressed up (this lady does not do that often, especially if only surrounded by women), and hopped in the car - we took my dad's to look fancier and this is not a joke - and rode up an hour. Did I mention it was one of my only kid free days a week AND Sunday football.

Needless to say, we arrived, were greeted, gave awkard high pitch "it's SO great to see you, you look great" greetings, ate food, listened to gushing of how awesome my cousin is, watched the obligatory slide show of the happy couple and their dog. Side-bar, yes a dog who not only had her own solo photos in the slide show but was included in the pro-engagement shots. Oh and there were games, brunch, truffles, the gifts to fill their new home, on the water, and I am figuring out if Meijer, Target, or the Dollar Store has the cheapest "home d├ęcor" for my new place......let's just say I was going to just keep up with my fantasy football team - but NO reception. Yeah - that was awesome.

The baby shower was much more low key and in my home town. My main reason for not wanting to go was just wanting ONE lazy non-travel Sunday, football (see a theme here), and the weird you know the person having the baby but only through your mom's being friends, but of obligation. So no insane games or anything, and I figured free food. I am not kidding when I say I almost brought my own zip lock bags to take food home, but forgot. But it turned out kind of nuts because I only found out when I got there, kiddo in tow, that there were going to be a bunch of other kids there AND "we" were arriving early for set up. Did I mention I had my pre-school, a-typical kiddo with me?! So long story short, that resulted in my kiddo having meltdowns per being forced to be social with food she can't have, kids getting her space and face throwing her into her cycle, and an allergy outbreak from food in which Benadryl (no it does NOT have the sleepy effect on my kid) and me wanting to hide in the bathroom which didn't happen per a kid walking in on me with my pants down. The food was NOT worth it.

So there ya go - back to the Single in Suburbia norm post :) And a bonus below:

How do you roll? TP wise that is; over, under, or if you have a child just under, in the middle of, or just after the potty training roll - just hide it for your own use?

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Daddy Sick"

From the title of this blog, you obviously know I am a single mom, which comes with it's own challenges - not to mention the many talks down the road that I choose to try not to think about.

Well, at the young age of under 3, we are down the road.

The kiddo and I live on our own, always have since her birth, she just this past year sees her dad and/or grandma (his mom) on the occasional weekend. This past Sunday was one of those weekend days and her dad had to cancel because he was sick. She was expecting him as she is usually set up for visits, but things happen I guess. All day long she was asking my parents "mommy?" Mommy's at work. "Daddy sick." If that wasn't enough to tug at you. 

Then her favorite show has a mommy, daddy, and kid tiger in it. The mommy has been absent the last few shows, prompting "where mommy tiger?" and "where daddy tiger?" when he is not in that 2 second scene. I have been doing my best per the shows situation; work, mommy things, grocery shopping, etc.

Then the other day the kiddo was attached at the leg (has been this week) and upset. She had just watched her show and asked the above questions and at linner had asked "daddy?" So I asked her if she wished someone besides mommy and kiddo was here she said yeah in her sad voice. I then asked "if you could have someone else here, who would she want" she replied "a daddy." I was honestly thinking she might say her Gram or Pop, knew she might say daddy, but more importantly knew she needed to express something. So not only did my heart drop for her (and me, not because of her particular dad but the idea of a "family") but I had to think a little quick. I just told her the truth, that daddy can't be here right now because......then she finished my sentence "daddy sick" again in her sad voice.

I almost wanted to cry because when she does get bigger, that might be the most truthful explanation. Not because of a judging type of matter, but because some of her dad's issues (at the time of the split anyway, just a few years back) can be medically coded issues. But for now, daddy just lives in a different house and mommy and kiddo are a family of two. I hope I handled it ok, I just want her to know that if she needs/wants to talk about it she can, however, I also want her to get to the place where she is OK with just mommy and me.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's In A Lunch?!

I was driving home after picking up the sleeping kiddo today, the end of a long shift day, and we were passing oh so many tasty, tempting dinner options completely unhealthy for me but the taste - especially of that nice cold full of sugar fountain soda.......but it is not in the budget, I knew I had food at home, and the kiddo needed her bed. So no stopping or treats for this momma.

That's alright I told myself, it's just like your lunch. You see, every work day I have the same thing for lunch with slight variations - turkey or ham sandwich, veggie chips or sticks, a Gatorade, then for snack crackers and cheese and variations of Greek yogurt with water. Tasty? Somewhat. Filling? It gets the job done.

But the big things are time and budget. If I were to really do the math, I would say that each lunch is roughly around $2 over a good time span of lunches - since I work shift hours. That is pretty good, especially considering it includes my snack for the day as well and added home essentials if needed. Also, when I pack my lunch in the late afternoon/evening the day before - it takes about 3-4 minutes if that; I am working on a plan where I have everything broken down into containers/bags to just grab and go - leaving only a sandwich to actually be made that day. So even though it might sound boring, again it gets the job done when eating on the medical run and though I occasionally mix it up - keeps me in my financial and time budget.

I guess that is the Single Mom transplant in Suburbia/city commuter part - it may not be fancy or match with others' tastes but it's what I do, to do what I do. I am the one where everyone comes in and says "got your sandwich and veggie chips for lunch" everyday and I love to surprise them when I actually get something like a wrap or sandwich.

So though it may not be a happy meal - it makes the budget and my time off a little more happy. What does your lunch do for you?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Exit Suburbia?

I have mentioned a move among other things in a few of my previous posts, which may have left you wondering - L to the YN, have you exited Suburbia?

Yes and no. The kiddo and I have moved to our own apartment which is much less in Suburbia than the dwelling in my parents home! Exciting yes, tough a bit, but the kiddo and I seem to be adjust now, becoming more settled and hopefully by the holidays or before will be in our own rhythm, thriving like no other. However, school is still in Suburbia, as are the grandparents, and some friends too - so we frequent often even though we reside in our own little world here.

So you will all still get your doses of Single Mom in Suburbia - all three parts of that title and more!

I would like to thank you all if you have kept us in your thoughts during this time, during the trials of our move or pending moves or even when our possibilities fell apart. I knew in my heart God would provide the right timing and I still pray and have faith that he will provide just enough to keep us here in our own world to continue our journey as a family of two.

Well - in 12-14 years and with lighter hair anyways ;)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What A Difference A Bed Makes

Wait for it.......

We moved! We have a home! Ok, well an apartment home but still - a home! However, for my pre-pre-school atypical kiddo, it is quite the adjustment.

The day I took over the apartment, believe me we were in with the bare essentials - it is still pretty bare essentials, lol. So I brought a few of her things, her mattress and bedding (did I mention she just transitioned to toddler bed and rather well surprisingly), my sleeping bag and clothes. The first night at the new home I put her to bed what seemed like a hundred times, getting very little sleep myself, the second night went a little better, but still late to bed. So I decided that even with everything being insane schedule wise - she needed that bed, which meant some taking apart, crossing fingers it fit in the "truck" and the putting it back together.....the last part occurring late in the evening while the kiddo was running around.

With perseverance, finally getting the 2 posts on the right way the fourth time of four assembly possibilities - done! And she went to bed like nothing else, I didn't even have to stay in there - the kiddo has been following me around like a shadow here to make sure she knows I am here. Oh and the dollar store night light bulbs helped too!
 Below is the process of a single mom getting 'er done:

The next one is of one of my favorite parts of a new place:


Simplicity - I am looking forward to getting a home cooked meal by me in soon for the kiddo and myself though - fast food is rough on a budget and our systems.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Glass Houses - A Pictorial

I know I haven't posted in awhile, but lately it seems like just about when I get a great and fun idea to post life happens and I don't want to be super negative on here or just use this as an outlet to vent - so here are some photos of the past 36 hours or so: 

Friday am early, I was pumped but turns out I will have needed the fuel for "fires"

I needed all of these tools below but had to use an inner monologue for all about 6 hours later

After the above mess, I was super late to pick up kiddo for the fair - late bedtime
And she wanted to walk

Saturday morning needed more of the first two pics and God's grace and motivation to power on for events such as this and breaking light bulbs at the storage unit 

Luckily budget savyness and perservierence lead to all this for $70 plus $13 cash in pocket from guest services which I may now use to purchase glue and light bulbs
(fouton not included, but full bed set yes:))

And last minute trips to these places to find 4 perticular screws - notice the difference of sun placement

All leading up to big kid bed panda watch 2013
As I post from my phone on said futon and have to pee. Did I mention the female kiddo insisting to be a "big boy" not a "big girl" for the past 3 days. Someone at school must be potty training, right?! Oy. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Before You Said "I Do"

Quick note: I began writing this post a week or so ago and wanted to delay the posting so any readers who had these anniversaries felt targeted :)

How did you feel before you walked down the aisle? What was going through your mind? I know the readers of this come from many backgrounds, married, divorced, not yet married, single, waiting to be married, etc.

This has been a time for many anniversaries/anniversary Facebook posts from my friends or people from my past. Looking at a lot of the wedding pictures and also some other professional ones online (my friend with the newborn has a bunch of tags from a professional photographer) - I notice a HUGE difference in the before and after pics of both the bride and the groom.

I see the brides to be and they look full of nerves and anxious; the grooms to be as well - even if they are trying to have a "cool groomsmen" pic - when they are caught standing alone and/or waiting for their bride to be, I see the same nerves. I wonder what lies behind those nerves so if you read this feel free to comment. For me, it was the people, the ceremony, and the feeling that I just couldn't breathe and now for me SINGLE mom in suburbia - now I know why.

Then there is the "man and wife" kiss, the newlyweds are both usually sharing either a nervous "we don't do this in front of people kiss" or the crowd pleaser "enough, enough" caught up in each other kiss picture. I like both versions because you can usually see the connection between the couple no matter if they just want to get out of there or are too caught up in each other to care about the crowd.

My favorite though is when they are at the very end or even past the aisle. The tension is gone, they don't care about everyone, they just want to get away to have a moment of their own - to laugh, to cry, to share their real kiss, to dread going to the reception even suggesting to just skip it. They are holding hands usually in this un-posed picture, laughing, looking towards each other if not directly at each other - and it just seems that they are ready to begin their life.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't envious of this last picture or the kind of man who is standing alone VERY anxiously awaiting his bride and new life, as ready and as nervous as she is looking at herself in the mirror. However, it does make me happy that these pictures do exist - because then for people like me it's not just a fairy tale, it's the beginning of for better or worse. And now in this very moment that I think about it, it is a way to show my daughter that even if our family is different, that this love can exist and is very real and very possible - especially if both come together knowing God in their own right.

Honestly again, for the past 2-3 years I never thought I would have a way to explain or show something that I never got to feel myself to her and that is it's own gift in itself.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How Life Can Change in 16 Minutes

This is how Thursday between 11:00-11:16am went down:

11:00 - As I was sitting down, checking my computer, studying for an upcoming credential test for work/career - I got a text from my friend who we call Elaine asking if I was one of X number of people being laid off at my company.

11:02 - After reading those words, panic starting ensuing as I told myself not to panic and I went to my company's email and employee page - finally deciding on the email per that would contain any information and more accurate information.

11:05 - My phone rings, the number looks familiar, but I know the number is familiar - maybe kiddo's doctor - but I am obviously dealing with more important things at this moment.

11:07 - Finally scanning through the email, and yes my friend was right - straight from the CEO there WILL be a workforce reduction. Phone, same number rings again - I think for a second, *@$! it's work.

11:07 - Pick up the phone, it is my supervisor - my heart is now in my throat yet somehow pounding out of my chest as I answer it.

11:08-11:15 - I have a phone conversation with my boss, who is calling everyone and trying to tell them not to panic, she thinks our particular department made enough cuts already to be safe (including not only the coffee maker/supply but also the cups, lids, straws, forks, spoons, and knifes..and no I am not kidding at all as well as the pay cut this summer and lower daily staffing.)

11:15 - After explaining my situation of planning to sign a lease/move in October, being a single parent and re-stating even though she thinks our jobs are safe I ask the tough question: Do you have any guarantee from anyone that I or our department is safe from being laid off? Her answer is no.

11:16 - I get off the phone and try to begin to deal with reality, along with no real absorption of qualitative information, except for there is the possibility that I could have no job at some point soon, as I try to suck out the real facts from the company wide email.

I didn't get very far on the real scoop that day, as the kiddo had a short nap and I needed to change her sheets (the answer to the question about the size 5 diapers from my previous post is that, no they don't work - need the 4's). However, she knew I needed something because she sat on her bed post-nap and let me read 2 of her nite-nite books to her, which she doesn't even do at bedtime and gave me at least 5 extra kisses.

As I have found out more details about the reduction in the past 24 hours, the time-line, and what it means for me and my family even if I am not cut (I would go into details but am barred by saying what has not yet been in the news) - the first thing has come to pass, we lost our apartment. We lost not shelter, but a chance at a home for now and it sucks. Could it be worse, yes - but it still sucks. And I get to work this weekend, not seeing my kiddo awake. I am not sure how I will make it through tomorrow with ease, but I will make it because that's what I do.

This song helped today - especially the speech part:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Walmart Walk of Shame

No, this is not another knock on Walmart post:

I decided to go to Walmart for the first time in what seems like forever this past week because they had some really great deals to help me stock up for the move (more on that in a later post - spoiler:)), a couple simple low cost recipes, and of course the new Carmel Apple Pillsbury cookies and icing. So when I finally sat down, made my full list after looking at the budget, and found time to go when I didn't need a true sitter for the kiddo - it was 9pm on Saturday night. Super, a lovely drive and trip around Walmart on Saturday night, just what I wanted to do!

First off, if you have not been to Walmart or another superstore/bulk store in awhile, take a partner. I spent a ton of time walking from one end to the other back around and through the aisles one more time after that - just the grocery section mind you. Also, there are lots and lots of displays with $3 and under pricing - so even if you don't need it you are enticed and you will need someone besides your conscious saying "you don't need that, no really, walk away now." Of course I needed to try that 4 pack of 10 calorie Sunkist for just $1.

So after I did my searching for list items, picking up those not quite on the list but hey look at that price items, and of course the 15 minute inner monologue of can my kiddo make it in the size 5 diapers because apparently this past week everyone not only saw the sale but all their children also wear size 4....I made it to the check out.

Shame 1) I did not make it out of there under $100. Now, I have yet to go through the receipt and take out the cost of my moving staple supplies, diapers, whatnot to discern what I truly spent on food, staples for the future, and stuff for the kiddo. So I am hopeful that I am still equal to or under the grocery budget for this month.

Shame 2) Knocking over the darn grape tomato container at what felt like the middle of the night towards the end (but not before another trip back down the depth of the store again) of the trip. Just a frustrating thing, especially when you do the right thing of picking them all up as people pass by.

Shame 3) What I would call the newbie Walmart Walk of Shame - I totally, in a hurry to just get home, walked out the opposite doors of the ones that I parked in front of. Complete face palm as I stepped outside and pushed my cart a half a mile to the car. At 10:30 on a Saturday night.

Luckily, on the way home, I heard this song which made my "adventure" seem to have some purpose again:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Update to The Neighbors

So the pitch-in was pretty much what I thought it would be, even though I did try and tailor my mind to being more accepting and open to "hey maybe this will be fun and I will meet some other moms to actually interact with" - eh, not so much. I was happy with my morning church and errands before 11am accomplishments though :)

I was downstairs doing my mock fantasy football draft (because that is the type of person I am;)) during the prep, which was loud, and awaiting the first arrivals. Start time went by and nothing...crickets, hurried "call and remind them" noises came from upstairs, and 15 minutes later I started hearing unfamiliar voices upstairs. So once I took care of business, I shut down the laptop and headed upstairs - bracing myself. I said a quick nice to meet you or see you again or two then headed for the cooler containing my, hey it's past noon and I am here beer. It seemed to be all good, ate a chip, listened to conversations, watched some kids play then cue awkwardness. "Where is your little one?" Standard "it's a dad day" response, trying to smile reply followed by the standard silence. Then I was asked about her, said something that she likes to sing, my mom threw in that she loves to "twirl." Ok, so my jaw hardened a little more as the kiddo likes to spin in order to get vestibular feedback, she doesn't "twirl."

Then came the convo of Suburbia:
Neighbor: Oh, is she in any classes?
Me: She goes to daycare three days a week.
Neighbor: That's good, but does she take like dance classes or anything?
Me: *trying not to choke on food* Uh, no.
Neighbor goes on about the various offerings, locations, types, and age groups of dance/gymnastics classes that are offered around here. I about choked, no really almost choked on my food after stuffing in a laugh - my kiddo just turned two, can't sit/stand still and though I will support any chosen activity, I don't do dance.

So that was that kind of and I then knew how to prepare myself for the rest, the husband of said neighbor talking macho talk about his college baseball days, my dad preparing everyone that "food is coming, food is coming" and the awkward handouts about the Native American tribe that our street is named after for the kids- no not joking at all! Not to mention that she kept calling them Indians when our new Indian neighbors kids were at the table - I wanted to scream out Native American but chose to stay out of the awkwardness. I then went to work on actual Labor Day, thankfully.

So that is the story, now more waves come, I chat here and there because my kiddo likes to see the big kids off on the bus (of course we are outside at 8am, who isn't), and I watch more little boxes going up, up, up all around.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Neighbors Are Coming, The Neighbors Are Coming!

The above exclamation point is not necessarily meant to mean "oh yay" but more in the Paul Revere "warning, warning" type of way. And the warning time and signals were quite the same as well as you will read: I had gone back to sleep after seeing the kiddo off to her other chromosomal attributer for the day when I awoke to yelling or loud voices at least. I made my way upstairs to a woman who was realing from the news, "Paul" had already gone off on his horse in preparation for the event, leaving the woman with the bad news if you will to pass on the word that the neighbors are coming for a pitch-in tomorrow. So not only did this set a GREAT vibe for the day, but all of a sudden my plans for today AND tomorrow got messed up.

You see, I get 1-3 days a month where I have 8-10 hours of non-child, non-work time (if I am lucky) to get everything, the big things - like grocery shopping if I don't want to hire a sitter, any weekly/bi-weekly food prep, big bill pay, and hey just maybe a moment or two to myself. Now you ask - "OK, how did this mess up your plans?"  1) I live here so the angst, silent and not so silent is felt by the announcement 2) The announcement threw me because I don't want to mingle with the neighbors or share any of my space during this time - but hey let's face it, none of this space is really mine paid for or not 3) grocery unloading is not quite appropriate in the middle of a BBQ/party/pitch-in AND 4) it's in the middle of the day and because my new place with the kiddo (just us, please God, please let this work out in less than 60 days) hinges on a co-signer/the party planner.

So there you have it - I will be mingling with "the neighbors" at some point tomorrow, a beer WILL be in hand, grocery shopping done post an early church, cleaning up for the house "show-off" tomorrow being done tonight, as well as draft picks lined's going be a long one tonight. Not to mention the big kid booster seat for the table will be gotten tomorrow (SO much growing up right now it is insane and frightening at times - and cute and really really hard not to help without being asked but I do) and the fantasy draft for team one is soon post bed time - coffee and/or a nap will be needed before working on the actual holiday of the holiday weekend.

Yes, yes an update will be posted.