Friday, May 26, 2017

Sugar in Boots and Poop on Floors

I finally have my computer hooked up! But... I can't find my mouse... I think I prefer hooking my keyboard into my cell phone if I don't have a mouse for the computer. What a pain! #firstworldproblems
First, a NC update: Tomorrow my aunt and uncle are coming to visit, along with their son and his new fiancee. I can't wait! This is our third visit from family and friends since our move, which makes being so far away from all of them a little bit easier. I don't miss them any less, but when I do get to see someone from home, the distance between us makes the visit so much better than it used to be when we would see each other on a regular basis. I believe I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. And being away from your loved ones makes you appreciate them so much more.
So today I want to ask all of you a question, even though--let's be honest--not a single one of you are going to comment in the section below (it's okay--sort of--I still appreciate your readership). So my question is this: What are some of the most memorable crazy/silly/unbelievable things your children (or nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc.) have said or done?
Just yesterday, Noah, who's two and a half (30 months if you prefer that kind of thing), dumped Stevia into my husband's work boots. Kevin didn't think it was very funny, until I realized Noah also sweetened my rain boots, as well. Then it was all-around hilarious.
At bedtime, Noah came into my room as I was reading a book (Gone Girl, which I highly recommend!) and said, "Mama, my diaper off me" (we're still in the potty-training process). I asked him why and he responded, "I pooped in my bed." Why? "Cuz."
Thankfully when I went into his room I found easy-to-clean-up "turds," if you will, on the floor and not in his bed. We then had the "you need to go poop on the potty, not on the floor" talk before I got him a new diaper and put him back in bed.
Noah has colored on the walls (which I can honestly and thankfully say Sebastian had never done), unraveled entire toilet paper rolls, colored on cabinets with permanent marker, rubbed Desitin all over his lips and eyes, and then some.
When Sebastian was about two years old, he decided to do something "nice" for mommy. We were playing together outside one warm, sunny day and I realized my phone wasn't on the table where I left it. "Sebastian, where's mommy's phone?" His reply? "I washed it for you, mama!" And there it was. Inside his watering can. Which was also full of water. "Why, thank you, hunny."
Another time he walked outside onto our deck and peed right off the side. "I'm watering your flowers, mama."
When he was a bit older, he "drew mama a picture." On the side of my Jeep. With a rock.
Another time he was playing and called one of his toys a douche. I gave him "the look" and his eyes got wide and he quickly stammered, "No, mama! It means bag!" Of course I had to turn away and stifle my laughter, and explain that it did not mean bag. And then try to mind the words that came out of my trucker mouth (sorry to disappoint, but I do curse!) a bit better.
The other day he actually told me to "Talk to the hand!" I was in shock. How does my seven-year-old son even know that phrase?! I guess some things just carry on from one generation to the next, unfortunately. As long as he doesn't start saying "As if" or "Like, totally!" I think I may be okay. I hope.
The things my children say and do are not always appropriate and sometimes it's hard to contain my laughter. I do explain to them that they need to make better choices, watch their mouths, never do that again, etc. But depending on the issue, I usually end up walking into another room and smiling, thinking to myself, "You're gonna miss this."
So feel free to share your memories! I'd love to read them and share a smile or a laugh! Comment below or share your stories in the comments on my Facebook page,

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In the Realm of Dreams

I'm here again. In my grandmother's house. And nothing has changed.
Plastic "rugs" cover the hallway carpet. Light pink. Brand new after my grandfather passed away. There are pictures of my cousins and me all over the living room; on top of the old fashined radio, the TV stand, the floor. The grandfather clock still sits in the corner, reminding me that time stops for no one. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The pendulum swings on.
The rotary phone still hangs on the wall. My grandmother's powder jar still sits on the bathroom vanity. My aunt's room is still decorated exactly the same. Trolls cover almost every inch of her dresser, a rainbow of wild fuzzy hair and gemstone belly buttons.
My grandmother's rooms looks exactly the way it did the last time I slept there. And I miss her.
Have you ever had a dream so vivid, so real that you can almost feel as though someone is there with you, even though they aren't present in the dream? I've been dreaming of my grandmother's house so often lately. Something different happens each time, but the setting is always the same. My grandparents' home. One of the places in which I grew up.
My grandmother is never there, but I can feel her. As I walk from room to room I can picture her there. Baking in the kitchen. Putting on lipstick in the powder room, just outside the bathroom. Taking a nap in my aunt's bed. Putting a load of laundry in the washer, filling the room with the scent of Tide. I can see her in the garage, getting a box of Klondike bars from the chest freezer. Eating dinner at the table, telling us all to talk less and eat more.
And then I'm a little girl, lying next to her in her bed, her hand in mine. And she's brushing the tips of her fingers over my fingernails. And I miss her. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Love Writing. And BBQ.

**Sorry for any typos in advance. Phone is too dead to proofread!

While walking through the electronics department at a local store today, I passed a few keyboards and immediately a thought hit me. Pow! Hook your keyboard into your phone so it's easier to blog! Boom! Needless to say, that's what I'm doing right now and I am wayyy more excited than I probably should be. But hell, I really do enjoy writing and anything that's going to help me do that more often is worth getting excited about!
So, in keeping with the theme of how I love writing (please excuse any typos, as my one- and two-year-old also seem to be enjoying the keyboard), I must say that I am in love with having pen pals! I exchange letters with my friends Kim and Julia, my brother, my nana, and I recently ordered a bunch of postcards so I can keep in touch with my niece and little cousins back home. I hope they enjoy sending and receiving letters and postcards as much as I do!
The only thing that drives me nuts with this letter-writing business is Kim's refusal to tell me anything over the phone. She'll shoot me a text or call me up and say, "You're not gonne believe this! So-and-So just robbed a bank and shot someone, but I can't tell you who, when, why or how because I'm saving it for my next letter." Whaaaaat?! It's like watching your favorite show on cable and being left with a cliffhanger, knowing that you have to wait an entire week to find out who got shot during the robbery. But that's what makes it great all at the same time. See, Kim, I still love you even when you drive me mad with suspense! Suspense is one of the things that keeps me checking the mailbox severeal times a day. That and LuLaRoe orders!
Writing letters (my font is showing up smaller... I hope it doesn't publish like that) isn't even as enjoyable for me as reading those I receive. I get to paint this picture of what's going in in the life of the writer. And I am forced to listen. Really, truly listen. Sometimes I have a habit of interjecting my own thoughts and opinions too much, that I don't ever get to enjoy the whole story. But when I read a letter, that all changes. I don't get a chance to "speak" until it's my turn. No interuppting, no changing the subject. I shutup, I listen, and I enjoy. Hmmm... Perhaps my husband could learn a thing or two if he and I started exchanging letters!
I also feel that I have become much closer with both Kim and Julia since we started writing to each other. Kim and I have been close for quite some time, but writing has given us the opportunity to be a little sappy, if you will. "Thank you so much for being such a great friend." "I'm so glad God brought you into my life." "I am proud of you." Of course Kim and I have shared words of appreciation before we began writing, but it wasn't as often. Now, almost every letter ends, and sometimes begins, with gratitude for the other. You know the old cliche, "absence makes the heart grow fonder."
As for Julia, I feel that she opens up to me more in her letters than she had in person, which may have something to do with me being her manager in the past, which was really the only time we talked in person! But still, when someone goes out of their way to keep in touch with you, and then they begin opening up to you, it makes you feel... warm and fuzzy, for lack of a better explanation! ;)
Well, as "warm and fuzzy" as letters make me feel, I am beyound excited to see Kim IN THE FLESH this Saturday!! Not only will I get to see her for the first time since February, but this will also be her first competiton that I will be attending! And I'm not going to lie, I am also hoping she takes pity on my taste buds and brings me some of her delicious Carolina sauce and pork barbecue. No! It does NOT matter that I live in North Carolina. I want barbecue from Little Creek Bar-B-Cue. Yes, it is "real" barbecue. And it is delicious. If you haven't been there, you're missing out. You won't be sorry.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Making a House a Home

Life is good. So so good. It has taken me a while to adjust to living in a new place, so far away from my mom and the only place I've ever known. I still miss her like crazy. I also miss fresh mozzarella cheese from Colandra's, Rita's Italian Ice, Spin Radio, Slater Taters from Little Creek Bar-B-Cue, coffee and conversation at J. DeFranco and Daughters Catering and Deli. I miss my friends. But I'm really happy with where my family is in life right now.
Hubby started working second shift recently and we thought we were going to hate it. It turns out, it's perfect for us. We enjoy spending time together in the morning and early afternoon, running errands or having breakfast at our new favorite diner. It's such a nice change from when Kevin worked third shift and we barely saw each other.
My oldest son, Sebastian, has made new friends in the neighborhood, and I've developed a relationship with their mothers.
I visit the local library once a week or more because I've made time for myself. Every day, even if it's just for 20 minutes or so, I sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and I read a book. And letters! I keep in touch with friends and relatives via old school snail mail and I absolutely love it! In a way, I feel like I've developed better relationships with quite a few people in my life since I've moved away.
And my birthday this year was so wonderful! I received gifts and cards and flowers! It felt so good to know that my friends were thinking of me on my birthday, the first one I've spent so far away from "home."
Even better, my parents were here for my birthday! We only had a few days together, but we were able to take the kids to the zoo, have Easter dinner together, and just enjoy each other. It really was a great time.
I still have boxes to unpack and laundry to sort through. But I am more motivated to do it all, because I'm finally enjoying my new home.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Tired. Hospitals. Kidnapping.

I. Am. Exhausted. But! I must stay awake, so here I go.
I've been at the hospital with Kevin since 2am because he started having chest pains last night. Chest pain is nothing to take lightly to begin with, but Kevin was a bit worried given that his father just had a heart attack last month. To sum it up, he's not having a heart attack and the doctors don't believe the pain has anything to do with his heart, but they're running some tests to rule out blood clots and any illnesses, so we're going to be here a while yet.
Coming to this hospital this morning has really opened my eyes and shown me how great St. Luke's is. I've always loved St. Luke's hospitals for they're short waiting times--Anderson Campus had my father-in-law in the OR in less than 30 minutes--thoroughness of their doctors, attentive nurses, and the sweetest house keepers! The list goes on and on. It truly is a wonderful hospital.
And now here we are in a hospital where ER patients have waited for more than an hour and a half to be see a doctor. The overall upkeep of the hospital itself is the worst I've ever seen. The nurses and doctors have all been great, which is the most important thing, obviously, but my experience here has really made me think.
There are so many things you take for granted in life. And with that, there are so many things that we don't really think about as anything less than staples in everyone's lives.
Hospitals are one of those things. Clean, well-maintained and functioning hospitals where doctors are knowledgeable and experienced, where the entire staff goes above and beyond to make sure every patient receives the best possible care.
It's hard to believe that many people don't have access to doctors or sanitary health care practices. It's a necessity, something most of us don't think twice about. We need it, so it's always going to be there, right?
Just something to think about...
On that note, I must get back home now so I can get Sebastian ready for school--don't worry, they're not home alone! But I may wait another few minutes to witness the action going on outside Kevin's room... "You can't hold me here against my will. It's not kidnappin' but you can't keep me against my will. I'm signin' my right to walk out this hospital."
Have a great day, everyone!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

All Because She's Proud of Me

If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor. -Neil Simon
I checked my mail this morning (apparently I forgot to do so on Saturday) and was pleasantly not-so-surprised to find a letter from a friend. The letter itself meant so much to me, but the most important words were, "I'm proud of you."
I don't hear this often, so after everything we've been through since we decided to move our family to another state, I couldn't help but smile and blink away a few tears.
I am the type of person who needs constant reassurance that I'm doing the right thing. So when Kevin and I made the decision to pack up our family and move 500 miles away from everything I've ever known, I was beyond uncertain, scared, excited, heartbroken. Completely and utterly overwhelmed.
Was I doing the right thing for my family? Would my mother hate me for taking her three grandbabies so far away from her? What if my grandparents get sick? Will Sebastian experience a culture shock, moving from a rather small mostly-white community to a very diverse suburb on the outskirts of a big city? Will I be able to find a job if I need to, in a place where I don't know a single soul? I've always had at least a connection or two whenever I started a new job "up home."
So many questions unanswered. No reassurance that I was doing the best thing. But I knew. Deep down I knew that this is what our family needed. The time had come when our income was lower than our expenses. So when Kevin was offered a job making more money in a community where the cost-of-living was so much less than what we were used to... I would have been stupid, not to mention a bad parent, to talk myself out of it.
Indeed I did try. When it came time to say goodbye to my closest friend. My grandfather, crying for the first time since I was small. My mom. My children's Mum Mum. Crying. Heartbroken. When I had to tell her to leave because I couldn't bear to see her falling to pieces any longer. Knowing it was all my fault. "Just go!"
I tried to talk myself out of it. Just stay. Unload the truck. Put the pictures back on the wall. Put the coffee maker back on the counter and brew a cup for mom. Tell her you can't do it. You can't live without her being any farther than a 30-minute drive away. You can't live without your best friend, just a couple towns away to be there for you whenever you need a quick escape from the walls of your own home. Don't do it. You don't have to do it.
But I did it. Despite the absolute fear of the unknown, I took the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken in my entire life, and fell. Over and over again I fell. But every time, I got back up. I hyperventilated. I cried. I had anxiety attack after anxiety attack. I yelled. I sobbed. I gave the silent treatment. I turned the radio on and sang away my sorrows.
And hear I am, sitting by my fireplace all alone while the littles are asleep, knowing that this journey to a better life is far from over. But, son of a bitch! I did it! I DID IT! I looked fear in the face and I flipped it the bird! I'd be lying if I said he didn't spit in my face and kick me while I was down, but I still told him to kiss my ass!
"I'm proud of you." I am proud of myself. I'm proud of my husband. God knows how crazy it must have been for him! To leave his job of ten years! To start over in a brand new place, so foreign and fast paced (the job, not the south). But he's doing it. He's doing it for us. We're doing it.
Life has been hard. But my God has it been so good. And now I know that I'm not always going to have reassurance. Every single person I love will not always agree with my decisions. And I don't "need" them to. Sure, I'm going to want it. But even when I can not see the top of the staircase, I will keep climbing.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What a Beautiful Day for Heartbreak

It's beautiful here today in North Carolina. It's 64 degrees, the sun is shining, and there isn't a cloud in the sky.
The house is filled with the aroma of citrus and spices, along with the voice of Nathaniel Ratecliff on the radio. Sebastian's at school, Kevin's at work, Noah's napping, and Avery's eating her lunch.
Laika and I are sitting on the deck, listening to the birds calling to one another.
It really is a beautiful day.
But it's one of those days for me. I miss my mom and I just keep picturing her crying over Noah on my living room floor as he slept the night we said goodbye. My heart is broken.
I'm trying to be positive and I know this move was best, but it's really hard. I just try to keep busy so my thoughts aren't constantly racing.
I know it'll get better with time. But today, I just want to cry.