2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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I’m back…..

Well I took a 2 month hiatus from blogging to start a new job and get everyone adjusted to my new schedule, new school year, sports, etc. Honestly I didn’t want to be away this long, but that’s how life goes sometimes.  The last 2 months have been difficult here for us.  Not with my new job, I love that and enjoy going to work, but the kids have been an especially difficult aspect in my life lately. There have been a lot of struggles and parenting fails here lately and tears shed by kids and mom alike.  That’s not what I’m going to write about today though. Today I am going to write about my weekend and my parents anniversary party. I’ll get back to my struggles with the kids later.

On September 18, 2015 my parents had their 50th Wedding anniversary and on October 21st, my dad turned 75. This past Saturday, we went to their house for a “birthaversary” celebration. It wasn’t anything big, but it was great. My family and I spent a few hours with my parents, some Aunt’s and Uncles, my sister, brother-in-law and niece and a friend of my parents. In my parent’s house that night we got to share stories with people who have been married for a combined 169 years! (Mom and Dad 50 yrs., Aunt Arlene and Uncle Ray 49yrs., Aunt Sheila and Uncle Clem 48yrs. and my sister Christy and her hubby Andy 22 years). My other Aunt and Uncle were unable to make it due to my Uncle being hospitalized but they have been married like 53 years! It’s awe inspiring and humbling being able to talk about my family and their marriages.  Truly inspiring and creates nice feeling of hope and joy for me.

We ate and looked at Mom and Dad’s wedding album from 1965, had cake with the same ingredients as their wedding cake, listened to stories about their wedding day and smiled as a few songs were sung to them by my Aunt’s and Uncle’s. They even cheered for Matt and I when Dad mentioned that our 8th anniversary is next month and we reminisced about my wedding day too. In this day and age of divorce and nontraditional families, it really does give me hope that I too might be celebrating my 50th Wedding anniversary with my kids there feeling the same feelings I felt on Saturday night.

I looked at my parents a few times throughout the night and thought about all they have endured and gone through and all the little memories I have in their house as it was the only house I remember living in as a kid (they bought it when I was 1 and still live there now, even though I want them to move into something smaller and more manageable for them). Looking at my Father who is now 75 is bittersweet for me, as he has always been my hero and is now looking a little “old” to me lately. Age kind of creeps up on you and then hits you right in the face. Mom and Dad are doing well despite their bodies slowing down on them. My mom will be having back surgery in December and she has been riddled with pain there for like the last year, so we are hopeful this will bring her relief and she can enjoy life without so much pain. Dad announced that he is now officially retired after working the last 21 years at Progressive Field (Jacob’s Field) which was the part time fun job he got when he retired from the fire department. Too bad the Cleveland Indians couldn’t have had a better season to send him off with! Damn Cleveland sports!!!

I asked Mom and Dad on their actual anniversary what the secret is to staying married for 50 years and my Dad said being able to compromise and Mom said not keeping things inside you when they are small cause it builds and builds and then you explode over nothing really.  So what I’m hearing from them, the marriage experts is that communication is key. They are not perfect and are completely honest about that. They are always working on themselves too, which I feel is always important. How can you have a good marriage if you are not good yourself? Even through some awful times, they pulled together and weathered the storm, and now look, celebrating  50 years!!! It’s so awesome and rare and inspiring.

When we were driving home from the festivities, my wedding song came on the radio. It was really neat because it’s not a common song anymore (God Bless the Broken Road by Rascall Flatts) and I barely ever hear it on the radio. I do believe in divine intervention and the timing was perfect after spending the evening talking about weddings and marriage with our loved ones. It made me smile and think about my wedding day and marriage.  Matt and I are just now getting to a great place in our relationship, which honestly has been tough over the last 8 years.  I had to “blend” myself into not just his life but his 2 daughters lives as well, we had so many issues with Noah as a baby and finally get things better with that to have struggles with his behavior now, and Reagan although she is funny and smart and such a blessing, she has been rather difficult at times lately too. Matt and I have worked opposite schedules for 6 of the 8 years we’ve been married which presents different challenges and then mixing our stubborn and “set in our ways” mentalities has made for some interesting fights over the years too.  I learned from my parents early on though that normal couples fight and its alright and completely normal.  No one ever has a perfect relationship for any extended period of time with no arguments, disagreements or fights.  It just isn’t real life. My parents didn’t fight often growing up, but when they did I was never worried because they always worked it out. I appreciate them so much for “keeping it real” to me as a youngster and never creating a fake sense of reality by trying to hide things or candy coat anything.  Now I’m not trying say that they had all their disagreements in front of us kids and then made up and everything in front of us either. They were adults and took care of their business on their time, but because of them I got to know that arguments were going to happen and all would be ok after a while as long as you take the time to work through it. They always shared a small kiss when leaving and saying hello, went out to dinner almost every Friday night, enjoyed relaxing on the couch together and Church every Sunday. No matter what-all those things happened.  Awe, I hope that I can be writing about Matt and I like this one day!!!!

Well, I’m going to wrap this up as I don’t have too much time to write.  I had to share my experience this weekend as I am still reeling in joy over it.

Thank you Mom and Dad and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for you two.

Love you so much!!!

Happenings

A new job, preparing for 1st grade, a well child visit to the doctor that made me cry, summer vacation almost over, and a 3-year-old who suddenly thinks 4 am is a great time to wake up.  In the last month since I’ve blogged I’ve had many moments where I’ve taken 10 deep breaths,  I’ve also had a few that have taken my breath away.

Let me start by sharing my exciting news.  I’m going to leave my current job as part-time server (well almost full time) to become a manager at the other restaurant that is owned by the same people.  This is very exciting for me because getting out of hospitality management was hard for me and I’ve always missed it. Everything in my past worked out for me as to allow me freedom to stay home with my children during the day and I never would have had a relationship with Matt if I never got let go from my last “career” position as service director at Barrington Golf Club. When I worked there I would easily work 80-90 hours per week in the summer and that just isn’t conducive to starting and keeping a relationship. Everything happens for a reason……

Anyways, I am sad to leave Pancho’s because I’ve made some awesome friendships there in the last 4 years and I truly enjoy working there. Pancho’s allowed me to be with my kids, but also have adult time and make some money so I could contribute to my family.  They have treated me very well there and I am grateful.   The customers are great, managers are awesome and the staff is a lot of fun.  The opportunity and timing are right for me to leave and I’m excited and a little nervous to start at Tim’s Tavern at the end of the month. I hope I’m not too rusty at being a manager of people 🙂

Noah had his well child check up recently (he’s 6 now) and it was an off day for everyone I guess.  I had to take Reagan too and waiting at Dr.’s offices is not top of the list for my kids (me either).  Reagan was really needy which made Noah act out cause, heaven forbid, I give her attention. He was good during his exam but as the doctor and I were talking, my kids lost it because now neither one of them were getting my attention and I actually burst into tears right there in the room.  The doctor was really nice and as we were checking out and my kids were on the ground pretending to be dogs crawling around me and barking, grabbing stuff out of my purse and not listening to me at all, the check out woman gave me some sympathy and told them to be nice to me and to listen to me as we were leaving.  It fell on deaf ears though and I silently sobbed all the way home feeling frustrated and embarrassed by my children. I took like 400 deep breaths while at the doctor’s office and I know it doesn’t sound as bad as it was then, but believe me when I say that it was a painful hour and a half for me.

Let’s see, what else….Oh yeah, lately Reagan has decided that sometime between 4 and 4:30 am is a great time to wake up.  It’s not every morning but usually the mornings after I work and don’t actually fall asleep until 2 am.  I guess she didn’t want me to enjoy the new pattern of both kids sleeping peacefully all night any longer and decided that mom really doesn’t need much sleep.  MOM NEEDS SLEEP. When it’s not an infant that I’m waking up to in the wee hours of the day I don’t handle it very well anymore. I’m in and out of consciousness for the first 2-2 1/2 hours then my husband has to leave for work and I HAVE to be awake with her (and usually she wakes brother up super early with her too). By 7:30 I’m really aggravated by everything. Just ruins my day and it never fails that I have to work that night too. I am simply getting older and can’t recover from getting only a few hours of sleep like I could in my 20’s.

This morning Reagan was up at the crack of dark and I tried for a while to get her to lay down and go back to sleep with me.  At some point she climbed in my bathroom closet up to the middle shelf, opened a little 3 drawer organizer thing that I have and grabbed some nail polish without Matt or I knowing.  Then when Matt was taking his shower and I was snoozing, she painted her nails, on my bed, next to me and with Noah.  She painted his shoulder and of course got polish on my sheets and bed.  Mind you she choose bright pink. It was an awesome way to be awoken and jumping out of bed really got the blood flowing. Happy Monday!

It’s only a phase, right????? (I’m hopeful) Maybe she’s trying to prepare me for when I’ll be working the open shift at my new job and have to leave my house at 6 am.?

Onward, Noah will be starting 1st grade in 16 days and I can’t believe it. I just got his supplies and am feeling nostalgic. I came home from work last night and just sat on his bed and stared at him sleeping all peacefully.  I could do that for hours.  My heart bursts with love for him during those moments and I just think about the past and the future and how I’ve messed up and how I’ve done well.  I only stay a few minutes because I don’t want to wake him, but his little face is so sweet and sometimes he’s snoring, and this is a moment that takes my breath away.  No matter what, I love that kid so much and I’m in awe still that I helped to create him. He is a cool little dude, when he’s not being a jackass, and I love him so much!  I don’t dare enter Reagan’s room-she’ll come find me in a couple of hours anyway. Ha ha.

Well our summer break is coming  to an end here soon and I didn’t do 1 pinterest thing that I pinned to make me a cool summer mom. I didn’t do nearly as much “school work” with Noah as I wanted and my house is still a constant state of maintaining (I did get a housecleaning from my awesome friends at work for my birthday, but that was a while ago). On the other hand, everyone is healthy and Noah has been growing good (Reagan too actually), my kids swam a lot, we enjoyed time with big sister Paige when she visited, Noah’s bottom teeth are growing in (FINALLY), I got a new job and we still argue and bicker with each other which means we all love each other. We got to do some fun family things, Noah started Flag Football and we did get a few small projects done around the house. Overall, a successful summer! Now, on to 1st grade 🙂

Ang phone 62315 956

Excuse me self, are you like having a mid-life crisis?

So summer has been moving right along.  Its been a very rainy summer which can be depressing, but we take the good days with the bad here in Ohio. I recently went to my best friend’s daughters 5th birthday party and was talking with her about how we have been friends for 28 years now.  Holy Cow!!!! 28 years! I can’t even put words to how that makes me feel.  On one hand I’m so blessed to know her and have had her in my life this long, on the other hand hearing it out loud makes me feel so old. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve had a hard time with growing older this year. It’s not like I’m having a “mid-life crisis” it’s just that I don’t feel old (or older) and when I think about being friends with someone for 28 years, or that I’ve been out of high school for 18 years, or that Goonies came out 30 years ago, I can’t process it. Time has flown by and I guess that is what my problem is-its going to fast.

Another thing that proves how fast time is going for me, is the fact that Reagan is 3 now and her 3 years of life have seriously flown by.  I was thinking about how Noah was 3 years and 2 weeks old when Reagan was born and it seemed to go so much slower (I’m guessing because he didn’t sleep so it felt like 6 years, not 3?). In Noah’s first 3 years, we had so much to deal with concerning him and then after a couple of years we made the decision to try for another baby (There’s no way God would give us another child like Noah who never sleeps, and besides we are already up so we should just have another because what’s one more when you’re up at 3 a.m. anyways, we thought), I was pregnant and all the preparations that happen with that, and we built a house and moved-all in that time. Reagan came and BAM! 3 years old already. It’s baffling the time perspectives with different things in life.

I’m ok with my age (36) even though I joke that I’m 26 this year. My coworkers even got me a cake that said Happy “26th” birthday on it. I accept that I’m nearing 40, but I just don’t feel that way. I get sentimental or sad I suppose, at how fast it is all going lately and that’s my problem.  It’s really weird when you start to say “remember 20 years ago when….” or that happened 25 years ago. I honestly don’t even feel like I’ve been out of high school for almost 2 decades.

Where does the time go? I admit that I am a professional procrastinator. Always have been, always will be I guess.  I get shit done, but I’m not an A type personality that wakes up at the crack of dawn, gets to my list and gets it all done before 10am.  I do like to be organized and have lists and things jotted down that I want to try or things I need to accomplish, I just don’t always get to it, or I say I will do it tomorrow and then tomorrow turns into next week and I’m still at square one. I often use my kids as an excuse since they are always on top of me (a work in progress there), but the truth is I do have some time when they are both doing something else and then I just sit there and look at Facebook or skim through a magazine real quick or watch a TV show because I feel like I have a minute to myself and want to be lazy for myself.  I always feel like I can never get on top of my house work either so that I can just chill with the kids without chores lingering on my mind, sometimes I swear the house is swallowing me whole.

How do I meet myself in the middle? The type A side of me wants to get the house clean and do A. B. and C. before I can relax and the type B side of me says “it’ll be there tomorrow, today is a nice day just hang out and do nothing, you deserve a break” all while my kids are calling my name every 5 seconds and I want them to play outside when it’s nice out, but I have to be out there with them to keep my eye on them (well with Reagan I do). I feel like I’m pulled in 20 different ways, then work 5 nights a week and today turns into tomorrow which then becomes next week which fly’s into next month and before I know it, I’m here reminiscing on where the last 20 years have gone. Do I need better time management? Do I accept that things will not be perfect until the kids are older? Do I need a small break to get away and clear my “always on” mind? Maybe if I were more laid back (even though I feel like a pretty go with the flow type) when I’m doing one thing I wouldn’t be thinking about the 20 other things that I need to do?? Is this like normal you are an adult and have kids type of thoughts? Geesh!

I have been using essential oils to help with my emotions and I do like using them a lot. I’m also consciously working on myself and trying to be a good mom and spend quality time with my kids while they are young. I do my best to do all that and get some stuff done around the house so that its not a disaster when my husband gets home but sometimes I fail in that department.  I want to spend more time making memories for and with my kids, but haven’t really figured out how to do that well yet either.  I just want them to stop growing up so fast but I know that’s not reality.

Life is tough, even when its going good. Internal struggles abound and will never cease. I need to be happy with what’s going on now and not get too far ahead of myself. We are not guaranteed a specific amount of time here on Earth and I should be thankful that I’ve had 36 really great years overall. I love watching my kids being kids and trying new things or being goofy, and especially when they are loving on each other. That’s what I think its all about at this stage for me. Maybe I can set a goal to get a couple things done per week and meet myself in the middle?  All I can do is try my best right?!? That’s what I tell my kids at least.

“Starting today, I need to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next.” -Anonymous

From my viewpoint

I’m having a hard time with the new decision to allow gay and lesbian people marry.

Not for the reasons that some people are upset about it, but simply because there is so much “issue” surrounding it.

I grew up in a Catholic family and went to Catholic school for 8 years. I believe in God and feel my life is richer and greater than I can imagine because I believe.  Through many terrible times in my life when I’ve questioned God and have asked why he would “allow” these things to happen to me, my faith in him has pulled me through and having my children has solidified my belief in him even more. I am no theology scholar or anyone really in the scheme of this argument.  I am just a fellow human being with my own thoughts and feelings and I have a nagging feeling in my heart regarding the “issue” of gay and lesbian rights.

All that being said, my stance is that I  believe that people should be allowed to marry whomever they choose. I have a hard time accepting that people say homosexuality is immoral because they way I was raised and taught at my Catholic school was to “treat one another as we wish to be treated, and that God has created all of us out of likeness of him.”

It is stated in Jeremiah 1:5, I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart, this tells me that he created each and every one of us the way he wanted us to be. People do not choose to be gay, they are born that way and if I believe that God has a plan for all of us before we are born, then I leave it up to him. I also believe that people are entitled to some fundamental rights in their lives, such as the right to be happy, the right to live their life in a way that makes them happy and the right to be loved. Who am I to say that I can be in love and marry the person I love because I am heterosexual but you cannot experience the most awesome gift from God (feeling and giving love) because you want to marry a person as the same sex as you are. I wholeheartedly feel that is unacceptable.

Even if the Bible was inspired and ordered by God, it was still written by the imperfect hand of man, understood and interpreted by the limited mind of man from thousands of years ago. It was also then edited and translated thousands of times by said imperfect man. The version of the Bible we see today, all came about in a process where details become misinterpreted or lost due to cultural differences, either between existing cultures or between the same culture but one which has changed over time, information lost in translation, transcription errors (especially early copies of the Bible that were all painstakingly copied by hand by monks under candlelight) and frankly this all comes from a time so far removed from the times we are living in today.-Laurence Wells

If people can change in their lifetime, and “times change” how can we not see that the entire world we live in now has changed over thousands of years? It is not our right or place to judge another human being or their faith but I do believe that there is a “true” message within the minds of the gospel authors at the time of their writings. We must as individuals search responsibly for the “truths” and then make the choice to incorporate what we seek and find into our lives in a moral manner. In a world filled with many cultures, religions, beliefs and practices, who determines which religion is “correct” or which one must be followed? I understand that America was built on Christian values but our Constitution allows for freedom of religion. Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers argued separation of church and state. ” Jefferson believed not only that God created man, and gave humans certain rights, but that the right to think freely for oneself-free from the restraints of ministers, dogma, and government-was central to people’s humanity. He argued that neither religion nor free government could flourish if members could not think for themselves. Forced belief was an oxymoron for Jefferson.  For these reasons, freedom of thought, including the separation of church and state, was essential both for a true religion and for a functioning republic. This is why it was so essential to Jefferson that what he referred to as “freedom of opinion” be guaranteed by the United States Constitution.” (written by John Ragosta for the Encyclopedia Virginia in partnership with the Library of Virginia) So to me, if the 1st Amendment to the Constitution states that congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise, then why are so many people upset that it is now deemed legal for gay and lesbian people marry, when the problem people have with this is that it is “against” their religion or immoral in their eyes?

I don’t know about you, but I am not perfect.  Far from it! I personally break some of The Ten Commandments daily. Not the “Thou shall not murder, or commit adultery” ones, but I do not often keep holy the Sabbath and even if I go to Church on Sunday’s the “law” states that “you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or you sojourner who stays with you (Exodus 20:10) and I sometimes work at my job on Sunday’s and/or clean around the house or try to complete a project or hit the grocery store so I am not following that law very well. I also take the Lord’s name in vain, which I really do try not to and I do feel guilty when I do, but the “law” states “not to take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7) Ouch! I need to start really watching my words. Anyways, I’m not going to confess all my sins for you people reading this, but I feel that because I was baptized and God is in my heart, he forgives me when I ask for forgiveness and I do try to be a good person every day. I also do not see anywhere in The 10 Commandments, thou shall not be a homosexual or marry the same sex. We as humans sin, every one of us, every single day. Don’t throw stones in glass houses people! I get super annoyed at the people who argue that things are against their religion but these same people don’t follow the “laws” of said religion and then they turn into super humans all of a sudden preaching the word and protesting and pointing fingers, sometimes arguing out of so much anger and disdain-oh the hypocrisy. It honestly neausates me.

I personally know many Christian and Catholic families with gay members.  My one friend is a devout Catholic, keeps holy hours at our Chapel, goes to church regularly, volunteers her time, helps people whenever and wherever she can, and here is the kicker—-her son is a gay man. Gasp!  I can’t speak for her personally, but I know in her heart that she believes he is loved by God and will join him in heaven one day.  I am happy for her, her son, and her entire family that they will be able to celebrate a marriage with their son if he so desires to wed and it will be legal. When I heard about this news, I immediately thought about her and my heart was happy for them. Throughout the years I have had many gay and lesbian friends. They are some of the loveliest people I have had the joy of knowing. I may not “understand” their sexual preferences and I don’t even have to tell you if I agree with it or not because again, that’s not my point, but I understand the need for love and acceptance, and if they have that they can have it all like the rest of us so-called “normal” people.

Another thought I always come to when I hear about how the Bible pushers “attack” people or groups for not following their beliefs is how more often than not, it comes back around to them and we end up finding out about their skeleton’s in their closets. For example, how many priests did we hear about molesting young boys?!? A huge scandal in the Catholic Church.  Now the famous Duggar family is in the news with stories of their oldest son molesting girls, including his sisters. Sad thing is, I can actually understand Josh Duggar’s behavior, because his family is so extreme in their ways of living up to Christianity, but I cannot stomach that he did that to his own sisters. And then, this “perfect” Christian family tried to cover this up for years. Again, glass houses. These are the same people that will fight against gay and lesbian rights because “its against what the Bible tells us” but they themselves are not following the teachings of the Bible very well.

I believe that it is important for our country to follow certain “laws” from a higher power, and that makes us a better society having high standards of morality in which to abide by. But its a huge disservice to us to not be flexible as well as we evolve as a society. I am so lucky to live in America, a “free” country, the best country and at the core of what makes us great is the freedom to speak openly, have the right to choose a religion to follow, freedoms to be ourselves, etc.

Our judgment will come when we die, if we so believe that way, and we only have ourselves and God to answer to then. God can forgive any sin, but he cannot overlook even one sin. We will answer to him when the time comes. Until then, I am going to do my best to be a good person. I want more that anything for my kids to be kind and nice people, accepting of all, and I try to teach that to them every day. We don’t have to agree with everything people do, but we do not need to judge them (God will do that) and for sure we are no better than anyone else. My husband and I will teach our about our religion in our way and as they get older I hope they question it and search for answers and explore other religions for answers too.  Nothing is cut and dry anymore and life is tough. Let’s not make it tougher. Above all I want them to have a loving heart for all people (follow the “Golden Rule”) and I want them to find love, however that works for them.  I will end with a verse that was read at my wedding:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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Is it time to go back to school yet?

I believe they “invented” school away from the home all those years ago because of moms like me.  My son is an angel at school and when I try to do school work with him at home, I end up so frustrated because he simply can’t sit still and focus on what I’m trying to tell him.  I wonder the whole time who the child at school is? I’m glad he does well there and it confirms my notion that I was not meant to home school. Another reason I’m thankful for school away from my home is simply for the fact that I can’t “entertain” him for 15-16 hours a day anymore.  I just cannot fathom how some people can home school their kids and I give them props for being able to do that. It is no small feat I’m sure.

That being said, we are almost 3 weeks into summer vacation and I have lost my mind 42 times already. There is a big difference between being a kid today compared to when I was one.  I sometimes long for the days like in my childhood for my kids. Staying outside all day, only to come in to pee and eat. Inventing games to play with neighbors, putting on skits for our parents and practicing for days to do that, exploring the outdoors, riding our bikes everywhere, watching good movies in our PJ’s. I loved my childhood and I guess the sense of freedom I had, especially as I was growing older and proving to be more responsible.  My parents knew the general area I was at, but didn’t “watch” my every move.  I had rules/boundaries and I followed them because I didn’t want to get in trouble and have to be indoors with them.  Life was great!

I’m not sure what exactly has happened between 1984 and today.  I understand that parents are worried and scared of strangers and possible abductions, molestation, etc. Were our parents not worried about that too? I get wanting to make sure your child is playing safely so he doesn’t get injured, didn’t my parents think about that? When exactly did “helicopter parenting” take off? Why do kids nowadays feel like they are entitled to everything (mine included) and why do they get so bored so easily?

Case in point, the other day I was outside with Noah and Reagan.  Noah will often go out on his “own” to play with the neighbors and I just require he tell me where he’s at. I really don’t worry too much about him and 9 times out of 10 he’s exactly where he says he’ll be and/or I can see him playing outside. Reagan only being 3 requires me to be outside with her and I get that if no one is “playing” with her, she requires attention from me or ideas on what to do.  Now the other day I was sitting in the garage watching Reagan ride her bike and Noah and his friends came down to my house.  At first they were riding their bikes in the driveway, on scooters, etc. being kids but then they’d stop and stare at me. “Go play,” I’d say tired of everyone just looking at me and/or hanging on me. “There’s nothing to do,” said Noah who has only been outside about 20 minutes now. Mind you, these kids have trampolines they can use, swing sets, yards and yards of land to play baseball or football on, I had the baby pool set up and our crazy hose attachment sprayer thing on, they have bikes, scooters and now some have electric scooters as not to overwork their young legs, we have a farm in our backyards with some wooded areas for exploring, my gosh, the list goes on and on.  I rattle off about 10 things they can do like I did just now and these kids are just wasting time circling around me in the garage. I said, “Noah, get your Nerf guns and try to make to the tree without getting shot, or set up targets and shoot them, do something.” Still just walking around the garage. After they knock over a few things I finally get up and force them out to figure out something and play. 10 minutes later they are back. They splashed around in the pool a bit, sprayed each other with the hose thing and then are back to swarming around me like bees.

If I’m inside then they come traipsing in and out, over and over, like a heard of cattle again, not really doing anything but making a mess, annoying me and letting bugs in the house. Go play I say over and over, and honestly sometime I wonder if they know how to just “play”. Now some days are better than others and Noah isn’t up my butt as bad and before you get all “he needs attention from you” on me, I do try my best to spend quality time with him everyday. We even do family things together and I treat him and Reagan to a special lunch occasionally, but it gets old having to constantly keep an eye on Reagan and entertain her and try to get Noah to figure out ways to play EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I want him to be a kid and play with his friends and be able to entertain himself independently, but it seems if he’s done with the 3 or 4 things he can come up with, he’s at a loss. And heaven forbid if the neighbor kids are not home, then I have to listen to him bicker and fight with Reagan all day. Like nails on a chalk board those 2 can be.  “It’ll be good having 2 kids, they can play together and be best friends”. That’s true about 15% of the time 🙂

From what I’ve been hearing from other moms and reading on my Facebook feed, I’m not alone.  Mom’s everywhere are crying out for cheap ideas to entertain their kids during the summer.  My pinterest is filled with ideas from the super moms who make homemade obstacle courses or have bins of boredom busters. I pin them and look at them and think about how great of an idea that is or we should totally do that and then days turn into weeks and I haven’t tried it.

I digress.

I’m just not sure what or when the changes to childhood happened and I want my kids to grow up and look back on their childhoods with fond feelings like I do. I didn’t go to camps (maybe a short sports camp here or there), or on exciting vacations all the time (my sister and brother are much older than me so when they were older and out of the house we didn’t really do family vacations much anymore), I didn’t have a neighborhood like my kids have filled with so many other kids and options of things to play with at any given time, yet I had fun. I figured it out and had great summers. Once I was a little bit older, my friends and I would ride our bikes to the pool and spend our days there.  We don’t have that option here but have neighbors with pools 🙂

I feel like something got lost in the last 3 decades and our children are loosing all the good things that make life fulfilling and fun while they are young and its being replaced with kids who need 18 hours of constant entertainment and have feelings of entitlement and wants, and when they want something they want it now. I’m trying so hard to teach my kids that they are not entitled to anything and trying desperately to get Reagan to stop whining about everything, but that is a constant work in progress.

Maybe I’m just overreacting and need to understand that Noah is still young and needs to be pushed to come up with things on his own. I tell myself that one day he won’t want to be around me at all anymore and I’ll miss this time.  Maybe I need to adapt better to our changing world and not be so pissed that this day and age of instant access to everything at our fingertips is not going to go away, but get more and more advanced.  Maybe I just gotta give up the notion that everything should be how it was when I was young and just let my kids annoy me for the summer. Did my mom and dad have these internal struggles when I was a kid?

I don’t know. I have no answers.  All I know is there are 68 more days until school starts back up and I’ll have a first grader. I hope he’ll one day look back and have feelings of happiness when he thinks about his summers off of school and not of sadness because his mom was crazy and loosing her mind. Only time will tell.

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What not to do when dining out

Having worked in the hospitality industry/food service most of my life, I have literally seen it all. I worked my way up the ladder as a young 20 something from server to supervisor to service director at some of the finest country clubs in Ohio. I’ve also done my share of time at restaurants, including working part-time at one now so I can stay home with my kids during the day while my hubby is at work. At this point not much surprises me anymore. I’ve decided to put together a list of things that customers should not do while eating out if they don’t want to piss off their servers. As all my lists go, these are in no particular order.

  • When your server approaches you for the first time and greets you, a proper response would be “I’m good, thank you. How are you?” Or even just a simple hello back would suffice. Not acknowledging the person who is in control of your dining experience is not just rude, but rather foolish. People who immediately bark out orders to us before we can even say hello move down our priority list and we’re willing to forgo a tip from them because you’ve just irritated the hell outta us.
  • Ordering water and a pop product or iced tea will get you talked about in the kitchen.
  • No one cares if you know the owners. If the owners want to pay for your meal they will tell us so save your name dropping for another time.
  • Let your server get everything off their tray before you start asking for things. 9 times out of 10 we have what you’re asking for and we know what we’re doing. Give us a chance. If you don’t get it then ask-nicely.
  • Speaking of trays, NEVER EVER grab something off of a servers tray, EVER!!!!! I cannot stress that enough. Unless you want everything else spilled on you.
  • Remember, we are human beings, we are smart people and we are not your slave. Treat us with respect and maybe throw in a friendly attitude and we’ll do our best to make your evening a pleasant one.
  • When your server asks you if you need anything else right now, that’s your cue to speak up. Don’t flag us down at another table because you weren’t smart enough to think ahead 3 minutes.
  • Speaking of flagging someone down, NEVER: Whistle, snap, shout, point, grab or any other combo of the sort to your server from across the room. You will be rudely helped by your now pissed off server and every other server there will know what you did. You don’t want to be known in the kitchen.
  • If you have severe food allergies-eat before you come. Sorry but there is way too much going on and too much potential for cross contamination and we don’t want to be responsible for your death. We’re servers not doctors and you’re going to throw off our whole flow with your 8,000 questions and special orders. There are a few exceptions and we have a few customers who have issues but they know exactly what they can eat, they are extremely nice and patient and they tip well. We cater to them 🙂
  • If you’re an old man and we don’t personally know you, generally the words babe, baby, hun, darling, honey, sweetie, and sweetie pie just creep us out. We have names. If you don’t know it, ask!
  • We also don’t appreciate condescending, pretentious people. Yes we work in a restaurant. You are no better than us just because you may or may not have more money than us. You don’t know me and my reasons for working where I do. Don’t assume and don’t treat us like we are beneath you. We can tell from your disposition and tone and we will hate you and again you will be talked about in the kitchen negatively.
  • Another super annoying thing that happens often is when we ask if you’re ready to order, you say yes, then take 10 mins and can’t decide. When its busy we only have a few minutes here and there to get things done that’s why we ask you first. If you’re undecided or have no clue yet, its OK. Just tell us and we’ll come back after we wrap up other loose ends. When you say yes and stare at the menu in silence it feels like 10 minutes are going by and we are thinking of the 20 other things we could be doing right at that moment. You are disrupting our flow and like a basketball game, flow is important to our night going well for you and us. Also, don’t say you’re ready and then go on to ask 100 questions. You are not ready if you have questions.
  • We only get paid like $3.85/$4.05 an hour. A compliment on our service does not increase our hourly wage meaning you should tip less because you told us how great our service is. Compliments do not pay our bills. If we are so awesome as to deserve a compliment then show us the money! It’s that simple. Money talks.
  • Don’t ever come in 10 minutes before close and order a well done steak (yuck!), well done burger or anything that requires long cooking time. We loath you people. Cuss words are flying about you from us and the kitchen staff. You have become the worst person on earth. And if you must come in right before close your tip better be incredible! Like 35% and up. Then and only then will we take back every horrible word we said about you.
  • If you have a coupon or discount-tip on your total before the discount is given. We don’t give you discounted service so don’t give us a discounted tip.
  • If you have like 10 or more people, 1. Call ahead, 2. Sit near the people who are on same check as you (if separate checks) or make it very clear off the bat who is on your check, 3. Don’t change your seat multiple times making us find you for every drink, etc., 4. Don’t reorder a drink while we are serving the food to your table (we will refill you I promise), 5. Don’t decide while we’re handing out checks that you want to pay for Bob and Sally now too. If its like our computer program, we have to then find a manager to rejoin your check with Bob’s and it already took us a lot of time to separate them all correctly to begin with. If you wanna pick up another persons/couples bill tell us before we separate them, preferably when we ask you how the checks will be divided. If it’s a secret, whisper it to us. Don’t wait.
  • Your kids mess really isn’t our responsibility to clean up. We do it cause when we flip your table we don’t want the next person to sit at a disaster but if your kids are emptying the sugars and salt & pepper out, maybe you could stop them or attempt to clean it up? And if they mash up food and throw it everywhere at least apologize for the mess. We don’t go to your home and make a mess and our livelihood depends on tips which depends on how many tables we get and if we have to spend time cleaning up after your hooligans that’s time we’re missing out on tables. We understand kids make messes but some people, and you know who you are, simply go to far. Don’t take your kids out if they and/or you can’t be somewhat tidy.
  • Speaking of kids, if your kid is throwing a fit for more than a few minutes, remove that child from the dining area. Other people are dining out without their children or don’t have kids and surely don’t want to hear yours. You’re not at home, ignoring Timmy and his tantrum doesn’t help anyone and annoys everyone. I’ve had people not want to pay for their meal because your kid ruined their night. That is not fair to me or those people who seldom go out and when they do want a nice experience for the money they are spending. Don’t be self-absorbed and rude. Get your kid outta there and bribe them to behave like other good parents do.
  • When on a date, keep your hands above the table. Don’t sit on the same side of the booth actually if you 2 are the only ones at the table. We immediately hate same side sitters. Can’t explain why, but it annoys us to no end. Also, no kissing, rubbing, touching, googling, etc. Get a room if you’re that horned up at a restaurant and order room service. Again, other people are trying to eat and you are making them want to puke.
  • If you’re so in love too that you can’t stop staring at each other to acknowledge that your food is there, see above statement.
  • When we say the plate is hot, we mean it.
  • If we make a mistake, kindly tell us and we’ll do whatever it takes to fix it and make it right. If you’re rude and condescending about it, well go fuck yourself. We are not brain surgeons and mistakes happen especially if any of our other tables are doing any of the above. Believe it or not we want you to leave happy.

If you are a nice customer and follow the rules, then thank you and keep coming and share this with your friends/family who may need some help. Keep an eye out for a part 2 as this list is constantly evolving as people continue to be dumb-asses 🙂

Thank you multilingual mom for making me feel bad about myself at the grocery store

I’m super excited that Reagan is finally 3 and can go in the babysitting room at the grocery store. It is such a nice offering there and saves me some sanity. Shopping with little sassafras proves time consuming and frustrating even when just grabbing a few items. You see my children don’t ever just sit still and enjoy “the ride”. I watch other kids at stores sitting there calmly, looking around and being good and I’m secretly envious. Even if I stock my purse with food and distractions, it’s only a temporary fix.

So I patiently waited for Reagan to turn 3 and sent her in and I went to the salad bar and ate lunch in peace for the first time in forever and then I got my shopping done, picked Reagan up and went to the car smiling from ear to ear. Thank you Giant Eagle Market District!!!!
This became a weekly “date” for me. Reagan loves it there and shopping sans a toddler is glorious until last week.

That’s when bilingual or multilingual mom ruined my new found glory.

Picture this, me all happy after dropping off my child (Noah was with his grandpa) and I get my cart, my list and my coupons all ready to go. I start on my shopping journey and am immediately interrupted by a lady (I’m sure she’s the nicest person ever but today I hate her) and her son who appears to me to be about 4ish, sitting nicely in the back of the cart. She grabs my attention because she is blocking the aisle way, talking loudly, and she holds every item up that’s near her, shows it to her calm kid in the cart and asks him how to say that item in French.

“Blop, blup, beep been, wee wee, blah blah”. Is all I’m hearing and then calm kids responds “cordon eli raspberieos, blop bleep.” She either say good or corrects him in French, which I know none of but wee wee and this continues for their entire time there. I roll my eyes, not intentionally but because I’m thinking great lady, you’re taking advantage of a shopping trip to teach your child a different language (I think she was just learning it too from what I heard) and I couldn’t wait to drop my kid off to get away from her for an hour.

I got over my feelings of rage and jealousy rather quickly as I was walking away from them and continued on my quest of stress free shopping, only to be followed by them every aisle I went down.

She was so loud making her kid repeat all these items in French. There are a shit ton of items in a grocery store too!!
She just annoyed me so bad and I couldn’t escape them. They were perfect, smart people (although rather loud) and once again made me feel inferior as a mom.

Why did I let calm kid and fluently French mom get to me so bad?? I don’t know, they were just so in my face and I felt like she was being so loud to show everyone how awesome she was teaching her kid a different language and all. She simply just annoyed me and as I’m getting older, my patience is definitely dwindling and I wanted to go up to her and say “You’re great! Good for you, now shut up and quit going down the same aisle as me! Thank you!”

Of course being the nice person I am and staying rational I didn’t. I just smiled and said to myself, “Thank you multilingual mom for making me feel bad about my parenting at the grocery store!” Then I picked up Reagan and fed her a sucker for using more than one color on her paper this week. That was awesome for us!

How Jeff Lewis saved my sanity

We just celebrated my son Noah’s 6th birthday and I can’t believe how fast and slow these 6 years have passed. I read a quote that said “The days go slow but the years go fast”-unknown. That accurately sums it up! I’ve spent the last week and a half reminiscing and I truly realized that I owe my livelihood today to a celebrity designer named Jeff Lewis.

Let me explain.

You see, in 2009 I was beyond excited to be pregnant.  I had a great pregnancy and even inspired a friend to reconsider her “I’m not having any kids” theory (she’s expecting her 2nd soon!). I loved everything about being pregnant and couldn’t wait to have a baby. Honestly! I had to be induced because at 7 days late, baby was making no signs of meeting us. My induction and labor were awful and after 11 hours of labor and an hour and half of pushing, our baby finally arrived with one arm first.  A BOY!!!! So exciting since I have 4 nieces on my side, 2 on my husband’s side and 2 step daughters.  Everyone, including myself, was just delighted!

He was born at 2:40 pm and all the normal things took place after a short stop to get some oxygen (cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times). Pictures, family in and out to see him, bath, and trying out some breastfeeding.  I was exhausted since I had been up the entire night due to the induction and it was a rush of emotions and hormones and fatigue.

Our first night in the hospital with Noah proved to be the start of it all-the first of many, many sleepless nights.  He started crying and he didn’t stop unless he was on my boob which we both didn’t know how to do properly yet. It hurt! Badly! We would all get a little sleep here and there in between the screaming wails of the newborn and then a nurse would enter to check vitals, or 6 am rolled around and the pediatrician was there to check on Noah. There were many distractions at the hospital and trying to figure out how to breastfeed and be a mom while exhausted with visitors and such in and out for 2 days was a bit overwhelming.

We went home.

Noah was still not latching correctly, even after 5,000 calls and visits from the lactation specialist, and it was frustrating and the excitement of being home with MY child trumped my need for sleep. What a whirlwind those first few days are!

Our first night home he slept a bit then woke up screaming. Changed diaper and shoved him on the boobies-all was good, until he was off and he was screaming again. Burped him, rocked him, checked diaper, gave him to hubby, got him back put back on boob. Repeated this for a few hours until I remembered I had some binkies and out of desperation because the lactation experts warn against using them while breastfeeding, I ripped open the package, boiled them and shoved it into Noah’s screaming mouth (once cooled of course). It “pacified” him for a bit, just long enough for me to collect myself and lay down to fall asleep.

WAAAAAA!!!!!!

He was at it again. And this went on for years. No exaggeration. Every.single.night.  Screaming and crying for 6-8 straight hours, no joke.

Many appointments with the pediatrician which led to appointments with a sleep specialist which led to daily detailed sleep logs, melatonin, and a sleep study which showed us that he didn’t cycle through his sleep cycles correctly probably caused by his insomnia.  I could write for days on all the problems we experienced with Noah’s sleep issues, and I probably will over the summer so hang on to the edge of your seat for that, but this post is about how Jeff Lewis saved me during that time in my life.

You see one day a few weeks into motherhood, I was mindlessly searching through the TV channels while feeding Noah (which was now going well for both of us), and stumbled across a show called “Flipping Out”. I had seen it on the guide before but never watched. That day was different, I turned it on and immediately began laughing my ass off and just enjoyed watching it. They had a mini marathon of it on, and I was tuned in and turned on.

Jeff Lewis saved me that day.  For a couple hours I watched his show and escaped all my feelings of inadequacy as a new mom with a baby who cried all night long, every night. He made me laugh and laughing was better than crying, so he saved me from crying my eyes out for a few hours every week. I love him for that!

You may be thinking that I’m dramatic or how bad could it really have been since Noah was for all intensive purposes a healthy child. Yes, my son was healthy as medical conditions go, and by no means am I trying to sound like my life was just as bad or worse as any parent who has a child with a life threatening condition, but Noah’s colic and chronic inability to sleep more than a few hours at a time did take its toll on me and my family.

Just a tiny bit of info on effects of sleep deprivation so you can appreciate how I can be so thankful to a TV personality:

  • Severe lack of sleep affects everything about you and what you do. According to WebMD, severe lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving which makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.  It contributes to the symptoms of depression over time (insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression and insomniacs are 5 times as likely to develop depressions as those without) and people who were diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night.  Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone. My kids have always been on the small end of the growth charts, much smaller than average and they’ve both had difficulties with sleeping. Now, 6 years later, Noah is sleeping more regularly and indeed seems to be growing better too. Sleep loss also affects the obvious with memory loss, can make you gain weight, impairs judgment and affects our interpretation of events which hurts our ability to make sound judgments because you’re unable to assess situations accurately and act on them wisely. WebMD even states that it may increase our risk of death! “A 2007 study showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.”

Ouch!!!!! I’m doomed!

Well, maybe I was just doing it all wrong? We have to sleep train our kids and when they are born, they are essentially nocturnal for the first few weeks. Its up to the parents to get our kids to sleep and sleep well.  Let me tell you something.  I carry around huge amount of guilt believing that my kids (especially Noah having been the worst sleeper) inherited their insomnia from me (it is hereditary and I’ve suffered myself my whole life as too my mother) and that I royally fucked them up because I couldn’t get it right in regards to sleeping.  I have read and tried every book written on babies and sleeping. I’ve tried every technique, including crying it out, which in the books tells stories of parents who were using this method and the first night their child cried for an hour or two straight then went to sleep, next night only 45 minutes of crying, next night 30 minutes, and so on.  I took my pediatricians advise and we literally camped out in the basement of our split level so we couldn’t hear Noah’s shrieks as loudly (I still could and I had a monitor with lights to show the noise and level of crying) and for a week straight Noah cried it out for an entire 8 hours. Every night. I would check him after a while to make sure he didn’t have a dirty diaper and he would still feed once or twice at night then, but as soon as he was done eating he picked up where he left off with his screaming and was back at it full steam ahead. It wasn’t just soft crying or fussing either, it was full blown I sound like I’m dying screaming. IT WAS AWFUL.

I felt bad for my step daughters who had to go to school and my hubby who somehow had to work while so exhausted. There were a few incidents where I just couldn’t take my child crying another second and I would wake matt up at 2-3 am and just give him the baby so I wouldn’t lose it completely. I also tried the “baby wise” technique, I put shirts of mine in his bed so he could smell me and maybe be comforted, we had strict bedtime routines and naps were limited during the day.  I ate a completely bland diet as to try to not to affect Noah’s belly since I was primarily breastfeeding. I would try to sleep on the floor of his room so he wouldn’t be scared. I’m telling you we tried every conceivable thing anyone could dream up and it just did not work. He had has a biological problem when it comes to sleep and its taken me 6 years to accept that it wasn’t my fault in the way I was taking care of him. It’s the way his brain processes his sleep cycles and although I’m not perfect, nor my husband, we did the best we could at the time with what we had.

Speaking of husbands, I am very lucky to still have mine today. The first 3 years of Noah’s life were the worst in regards to his sleep issues and the effects were hard on everyone, including how it affected our marriage. Because we were so tired and I was a complete zombie and still trying to learn how be a mom which at this point basically consisted of me just keeping Noah and myself alive, we fought all the time. Over nothing most times, sometimes for good reason, but in actuality it wasn’t our fault mostly because we were just simply too tired to make sense of our life at that time and too frustrated with our baby. It was hard dealing with my child who I loved so much and longed for and when he wasn’t crying, oh he was wonderful, but on the other hand he really and truly made me so sad. There were many times that I felt like I couldn’t take care of him one more day, and all these terrible thoughts I would have would make me feel like the biggest piece of shit in the world. I felt like a complete failure as a mom because he didn’t sleep, didn’t grow much, was skinny and cried 85% of the day. I was sucking big time at being a mom but there wasn’t much more I could do to help him. Then Matt and I would fight on top of all the issues I was having with Noah and it just made me feel even worse. It wasn’t Matt’s fault and we’re all the better now for going through it together. However, then I was angry and bitter all the time and I was beyond exhausted. I really couldn’t do a whole lot outside of the house either because I wasn’t sure if Noah would be ok or just start screaming and not stop for a while. It wasn’t always a great time and another reason why Jeff Lewis saved me, because I could escape my reality and watch his, and his was better than mine.

I got the once in a lifetime chance to meet Jeff in person this past March 🙂  Once I got over being star struck I told him how I came to love “Flipping Out” because of Noah not sleeping and crying so much and how he brought me some joy during that dark time. He told me that he’s heard that before from people and we laughed. I couldn’t believe I got to tell him that! It made my whole day, week, month, who am I kidding I’m still thrilled about it! Can’t wait for his show to start back up on July 1st!

I’ll write more about overcoming Noah’s sleep issues in other posts since I get asked about it a lot, but for now I’ll end with another thank you to Jeff Lewis. You saved my sanity back then and continue to entertain me today.

It's Jeff! Right next to me!! I'm

It’s Jeff! Right next to me!! I’m “Flipping Out” literally. Reagan seemed to like him 🙂

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Noah all hooked up at his sleep study. 2012

Noah all hooked up at his sleep study. 2012

I totally fell asleep while rocking Noah. Gotta get some Z's sometime!

I totally fell asleep while rocking Noah. Gotta get some Z’s sometime!

It was so rare to catch Noah sleeping that we would take pictures of him like freaks when he was!

It was so rare to catch Noah sleeping that we would take pictures of him like freaks when he was!