Monday, November 30, 2015

weekend update: Thanksgiving Weekend

Hello, my friends!

Well, it's Monday, and after a week off, it's time to get back to work.

It's ok. I only have to power through for 17 more days, and then I have another week and a half off. Whoo hoo!

We were supposed to watch one of Bug's friends last week, but that ended up not happening. We suddenly had a week with no plans! That almost never happens. We went to a pottery place to make
ornaments for the grandparents, we played basketball, we baked cookies, we were generally lazy.

We went to my dad's house on Thanksgiving, and probably the best part of the day was that I didn't have to bring anything to dinner. Usually  get stuck making the vegetable, and of course nobody-- at least not in our family-- will eat the vegetable when there's so much other good stuff! I got a little annoyed because other than a glass of wine at dinner, I wasn't drinking. they just wouldn't let it go! "Why are you such a fuddy duddy? Are you not feeling well?" Gee, I didn't know I was such a raging alcoholic that it would become national news if I didn't drink for one night!

And if I have to hear my grandmother say one more time, "you look so tired, Lovely" I will seriously lose it. Saying you look tired is really just a euphemism for saying you look like crap. I work full time and I have a husband and two kids. I ALWAYS look tired.

Friday was better. My stepmother and I went shopping and I got ALMOST all of my Christmas shopping done. I just need to get Bug's Santa present and some stocking stuffers for BK, and gift cards for the teachers. I love being done early!

Saturday was decorating day! Away went the fall decorations, and out came all the Christmas stuff.

The Agent and I have quite the argument over Christmas decorating every year. The Agent refuses to decorate the outside of the house in any way. He allows me to decorate the inside, on the condition that our Christmas cheer is not seen from the outside, so that means that our Christmas tree can't be placed in front of the window of our living room, which is where trees belong. The Agent's logic is that if robbers are looking to loot and pillage, they will pick the house they know is filled with presents before they pick the grinches. I guess I understand that, but I also think that if thieves want to break in, they will, regardless of your choice of decorations.

Sunday was filled with normal errands, getting ready to go back to the grind. We picked up our Christmas cards, and I must say.... my family is incredibly good looking!

Now it's off to an incredibly busy day, trying to catch up on everything I missed last week! Say it with me: we can do this!

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

So Very Thankful

1. Name a color you are thankful for.The red on the leaves of this tree

2. Something your spouse does that you are thankful for.
He loves to cook, and I'm thankful for that! Tonight it's fried chicken wings. Right now, they're soaking in buttermilk

3. Something your kids do that you are thankful for.
They cleaned their rooms without a fight today

4. A food you are thankful for.
Homemade chocolate chip cookies!

5. What recent good news are you thankful for?
This one is stumping me. I'm trying to stay positive, but this one is throwing me off. I recently received a teaser from our Christmas card photo shoot-- I'm thankful that she was able to get at least one cute shot! 
my photographer is awesome

6. Name a drink you are thankful for.
My new favorite: rum and coke milkshake

7. Name a restaurant you are thankful for.
I'll say the last one we went to: Macaroni Grill. Bug made a cartoon while she was waiting for her food: 

8. Talk about an animal you are thankful for.
My sweet Willow. She likes me best

9. Name a beauty product you are thankful for.
This foundation primer from smashbox is life changing

10. Name a cleaning product you are thankful for.
Baking soda is the only thing that gets the black grossness off my oven grates

11. What social media platform are you thankful for?
Thank you Pinterest for the cute stuff we were able to make this week! Here's breakfast on Tuesday:

12. Tell us why you are thankful for the last person who texted you.
That would be my dad. He is an awesome father and grandfather. It's hard to get specific on why I'm thankful for him, But I know it will be difficult to live without him. Here's his most recent picture, Bug took it of him on Saturday. Looking at this picture terrifies me. When did he get so grey? Why are his eyes watering? He looks so sad. Be happy, Dad. Your family loves you. 

13. Name a candy you are thankful for.
There's still lots of Halloween candy! I'm thankful that no one else in the family likes Butterfingers! 

14. Name an app on your phone that you are thankful for.
Cartwheel is the best!

15. What are you looking forward to that you are thankful for?
Turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pie! You guys are all invited! See you at my dad's house at noon! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Family Values

American Girl magazine published a lovely article about 11 year old Amaya, who was in the foster care system for three months and lived with 6  different families before she was adopted. She tells a touching story about how she had to carry her belongings in a garbage bag when she first arrived, the day she received the first nightgown she ever owned, and how fully loved she is by her parents and her three brothers. 

Here is the picture of her family: 

Family Portrait

A group called One Million Moms wrote an article on their own website, criticizing American Girl's decision to feature a family with two dads. The article states “One Million Moms is extremely disappointed that American Girl is promoting sin. American Girl is attempting to desensitize our youth by featuring a family with two dads. We must remain diligent and stand up for biblical values and truth. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature.”

This hurts my heart. 

There are so many children in the foster care system, and these children just want to be loved. I am sure they don't care if their parents are two dads, or two moms, or two space aliens. I American Girl for featuring  Amaya's story, which frankly had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she has two dads. In fact, if a picture hadn't been included  of the whole family, the readers wouldn't have even known. 

Now One Million Moms is raising a big stink. What difference does it make? Whether you agree with the lifestyle choices or not, shouldn't you at least feel good that this couple made the choice to 
create a forever family for four children who just wanted to be loved? Would One Million Moms rather have these four children remain in foster care? It just doesn't make sense to me. It's like a vegetarian telling me, "Lovely, you eat meat, and I don't agree with your lifestyle choices, so you probably should just send BK back to family services." 

One Million Moms is inviting its readers to reach out to American Girl to chastise them for the decision they made to publish Amaya's story. I wrote an email to American Girl myself, thanking them for the touching story. I figured they're going to have some backlash from the One Million Moms fiasco, and I wanted to let them know that not everyone feels that way. 

The definition of family has changed, but it does not mean that we value family any less. 

Whatever you opinion, feel free to voice it in the comments, or you can email American Girl yourself at 

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Loneliest Holiday

(I wrote this years ago, when I was young and single)

A lot of people would say that Thanksgiving or Christmas are the hardest holidays to experience as a single girl, but not me. Christmas and Thanksgiving are family holidays, when bringing a date to dinner is not a requirement. Sure, you may have to deal with your mother lamenting over the fact that she may never be a grandmother, but at least you have the pleasure of eating her homemade pumpkin pie afterwards.

Other people would say that Valentine’s Day is the loneliest holiday for the single girl. Again, I disagree. Although this is a holiday for couples, I can usually round up enough single girls for a great male bashing, margarita imbibing, slumber party. We spend the night listening to powerful I-am-woman-hear-me-roar singers like Madonna and Aretha Franklin. It makes the thought of not getting flowers or candy that day much easier to bear.

No, the absolute worse holiday for a single person is Halloween. October 31st is pitifully depressing for the unfortunate dateless individual. There is no “Halloween Dinner” at Grandma’s house. Your married friends are all passing out candy to the neighborhood children, and your single friends are all at costume parties.

My friend Vanessa and her boyfriend dragged me to a Halloween party last year. They were dressed as a matching hippie couple, following the unwritten rule that all couples must wear related costumes. I went as one of those Victorian women who get bitten in Interview With a Vampire, with the white wig and the long gown with the fitted waist and large back bustle, but nobody could tell what I was. It defeats the purpose of dressing like the victim of a vampire when there’s no vampire around to do the biting. I finally gave up trying to explain it to people, and starting saying that I was dressed as Little Bo Beep.

Me and Vanessa, many years ago

“Oh, I think I saw your date a few minutes ago,” one girl told me. “Is he dressed as a sheep?”

The joke’s on you if you think anybody’s going to hit on you at a Halloween party. Everybody’s in costume, all pretending to someone they’re not. Nobody wants to see what’s really behind the mask. I thought I was going to get lucky when I saw a group of men at the party checking me out. They would look at me, look at each other, look at me again, and smile. I finally sauntered up to them to say hi in my most seductive manner, but this only caused them to burst out laughing.

“What’s going on?” I asked, when their laughter continued for several minutes.

Finally, one of the guys confessed. “We can’t tell if you’re a guy or a girl,” he said. “We’re judging the contest, and if you’re a guy, you’ve got it locked down for best costume.”

“And if I’m not?”

Needless to say, I did not win best costume, and my night quickly came to an end.

This year is going to be better. I am more confident, more sure of myself. I am in charge of my life. I don’t need a date to validate my existence! This year, I’m going to all my friends’ parties, single and proud, and ready to face all situations head on! I am woman! Hear me roar: RAH!

At the same time, if any guy has a sheep costume out there, I make a great Bo Peep.

Here's a few more of my recent costumes.... It turns out that Halloween is more fun when you're part of a group costume:

The Fruit of the Loom Guys

The Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs

Rock Paper Scissors

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Monday, October 26, 2015

When Dad doesn't Listen

I had a bit of a mental breakdown this weekend.

It had been a hard week. I had to travel out of town for work during the week, during which time BK got suspended (something that probably needs its own post, but I just want to move on and forget about it. Short version: he made several poor choices). I came home on Thursday night, and we had to meet with the principal at 7 am on Friday morning in order for BK to be allowed back in school. The Agent threw out his back earlier in the week, so he was dealing with all this and playing single father while in excruciating pain. The Agent and I both had to volunteer at the school carnival on Friday night, something we had committed to months ago. We were both stretched pretty thin.

Transition.   -"Hey... You okay, mate? You seem a little off..." "Okay?! I've been on the verge of a mental breakdown this entire week! And you ask if I'm okay?!"-:

We had made plans with my parents weeks ago for them to come over on Saturday for the day, and The Agent was going to spend the day grilling for them. When we got home at 8 pm on Friday, I looked around  my disaster of a house, knowing that I still had to go in to the office for an hour on Saturday and then buy groceries for the BBQ, and I knew I just didn't have it in me to play hostess to my parents and brother, and neither did The Agent. I had to cancel.

I called my dad, and asked him to reschedule. I said that I had been on the road and The Agent was hurt, BK was in trouble and we had had too many commitments throughout the week. We were going to see them next weekend for Halloween, anyway. Can we just see them then?

Can you believe this? My dad said no. He said they were coming over anyway.

"Dad, you're not hearing me," I said. "I just can't do it. I need the rest."

"I hear you," my dad replied, "but you're not hearing me. We're coming over. We'll just stay for a minute, and then we'll leave."

I said OK, because I don't like to argue with my dad, but I was very unhappy. I started cleaning the house that hadn't been touched all week. I wasn't going to get to sleep until after midnight. The Agent, bless his heart, tried to help, but he was in so much pain that I told him to sit down, before he fell down.

Meanwhile, I stewed. Now they're just coming over for 5 minutes? So I have to spend the whole night cleaning for them to come over for 5 minutes? That's BS. They might as well stay the whole day. And then The Agent said that even with his bad back, he was going to try to grill whether my parents came over or not, so my mind was made up. I called my dad again.

"I want you to stay for the whole day," I said.

"I thought that you said you were tired, and that The Agent is hurt," my dad said.

"I AM tired. The Agent IS hurt. But if you're coming over, I'm cleaning the house. And I'm not going to spend the whole night cleaning the house just so you can come over for 5 minutes."

"But I don't want you to clean the house."

"But I'm going to."

"But I don't want you to."

I started crying. He just wasn't getting it. The Agent had to take the phone away from me and intervene.

"Hi Lucky, it's The Agent. Yeah, Lovely is being crazy again. Can you please forget that she ever called and just stick with the original plan of you guys all coming over for the day? Great. Yeah, I'll tell Lovely to take a Xanax before she calls you again."

(OK, maybe he didn't say any of that. But that was the same end result)

I ended up cleaning the house until 11 pm. I got up at 7 am on Saturday, went in to my office for a bit, and then did the grocery shopping and was home by 9. BK cleaned  the wood floors in the morning while Bug cleaned her bedroom and bathroom. I conveniently locked the doors to the master bedroom and the laundry room.

My parents came over and we had a nice visit, but I was forced to have an awkward conversation with my dad about why I was so stressed out about him coming over that I had to start crying. That upset Bug, and she asked Alice why Grandpa had made Mom cry (I didn't hear my stepmother's answer, but I'm sure there's going to be another awkward conversation in my future about that). The Agent, high on Vicodin so he could stand up long enough to grill ribs without crying from pain himself, apologized to my dad, saying that it was all his fault (a story no one believed).

Long story short, I survived the weekend.

But man, I need another weekend so I can recover from the weekend.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Not so social butterfly

I'm a little worried about my baby Bug.

She's a smart kid. She doesn't have to work very hard to excel in school. And she's creative-- she's always thinking of little stories to write.

I'm more worried about the social aspect of school.

We are going to my parents house during the day on Halloween, to celebrate my brother's birthday. I told Bug that we could leave early so that one of the girls could come over and go trick or treating with us, and then spend the night.  Bug said she would rather stay longer with Grandma and Grandpa.

"What about trick or treating? I asked.

"Can't BK and I go trick or treating with Grandma and Grandpa in their neighborhood?"

Well, yeah. And my parents were excited that she was picking them over a friend from school. But is that normal? She's 9 years old. We see my parents all the time. Shouldn't she WANT to spend more time with friends?

The other day, I picked the kids up from school and asked Bug,  "who did you play with today?"

"No one. I just sat and read my book on the bench during recess."


This guy would be the perfect friend for her-- they could read and discuss.

I know it's awesome that she's a reader. But to socially alienate herself from others at this age.... I'm worried that she's in for some tough times ahead, especially when she gets to middle school.

What do you think? I get that this really isn't that big of a deal, but I'd like to get her to be a bit more social. Suggestions?

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Monday, October 19, 2015

lunch with mom

About a month ago, I wrote about my sister Kari, who may or may not have a meth problem. Read here to catch up.

I saw my mother last week for her birthday, with my niece and nephew. My sister was noticeably absent.

"Where's Kari?" I asked.

"She said she was going to come, but then she decided to spend the day with her boyfriend," my mother replied.

And then just left the babies with my mother, on her birthday? I suspect that Kari just didn't want to see me, because then I would call her out on her recent behavior. And this is the problem with the family: Kari has never had to face the responsibilities of her choices, because my mother has always been around to take care of the babies.

"How does she look?" I asked.

"She looks fine," my mother said. "She was given a prescription to help keep her calm, but she took the last pill yesterday, and she's not getting a refill."

So a 30-day prescription is going to cure a possible meth addiction?

"So, she just ran off with her boyfriend, instead of having lunch with us on your birthday?"

"Well, she gave me a present first."

"What did she give you?"

"She gave me a couple of tops for work."

"How did she get the money for that?" I was grilling my mother, and I could tell she was getting upset, but my mother has too much blind faith.  Kari doesn't have a job. Or money. She has two kids and lives with my mother in a 2 bedroom duplex.

"She gets assistance."

Yeah, that's to help take of two children and buy them food and clothes. I was annoyed and changed the subject and started talking to my niece and nephew. My niece wanted me to take her to the mall. Who can say no to this face:

We went to the mall, walked around, and ate dippin dots. She said she wants to be a princess for Halloween. My nephew wants to be Spiderman. 

Love them. 

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