Monday, September 20, 2010

A bit geeky

During our homeschool session, 4 yo GR asked me how high I can count.
"Well, in theory I can count to 999,999,999,999,999,999" (aren't we both glad I didn't put that into words?)
"How long would it take you to count that high Mommy?"
"A very, very long time"
"OK but HOW LONG?"
let's put some math brain cells to work and see...
just supposing I could count 1 number per second, which I can't, and supposing I never needed to pause for anything - ever - it would take MORE than 31,709,791,900 YEARS to count that high. So, sorry GR, you will not be getting a demonstration... Trillions of years!

What is after quadrillion anyway?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Finally - a good weekend

So, we've been in our new arrangement for more than a month. We've had 6 weekends now and this was the first one that wasn't a disaster. There are plenty of things to complain about still, like how he didn't do any household chores, but he did feed the kids dinner on Friday and breakfast on Saturday while I was down for the count with shoulder/neck pain. Most of all, we didn't argue. There were a couple of very brief spats due to differences in "communication methods", but that's it. Of course this may have had something to do with the fact that he was busy much of Saturday taking care of his elderly father, but I'm going to mark this in the win column and leave it at that.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

2nd 1st day of school, crazy week & maddening weekend


Yes, second first day of school. As in my first child had a second first day of school one week after her first first day of school. Confused? Well, some of you know that I'd been homeschooling and that I do Montessori Method. If I had chosen to do homeschool with no other agenda, I would have been simply eclectic, however, my public school system has a Montessori program in 3 of it's schools. The thing is that the rules of the county make it very difficult to get in unless you live in the neighborhood. But, there is a slim chance which widens ever so slightly as the kids get older IF they've had previous Montessori experience - hence our Montessori homeschool. So, this past year I had an odyssey traversing the administrative offices' policies, personnel, red tape, and their physical office move. It culminated in a frustrating phone conversation where the woman ultimately told me, I can't give you the actual information you're trying to find over the phone, but I can tell you it is very unlikely you'll get in this year. Which of course meant at the end of the business day on the second day of school, I get a call from the department that handles this stuff. Only, she called my cell so I didn't get the message until the next day and she never answered her phone or returned calls so I finally went up there (thanks Violin Mama for watching the kiddos while I did it!) and found out that we did indeed get into the Montessori program!! So, I had to scramble around to get all the paperwork, fill in forms, meet unknown deadlines, find new school supplies and prepare my child for a big change. Not to mention, we now had to be leaving the house at the same time as we normally sit down for breakfast. As you may have noticed in the photo, she's got a big 'ole bagel in her hand as we head out. Also, she's not wearing her bird shoes because only one of them was where it was supposed to be and 10 minutes of searching didn't yield it up. ugh.
So, a great portion of my week was spent trying to figure out the least time consuming way of making our new commute - 1.5 hours total drive time plus time in the carpool line, which has been just a couple of minutes in the morning but about 35 in the afternoons. BUT SHE'S IN!! (and now that it's been a week she seems settled)

Then there's the part which I didn't speak about in my last school post... my marriage.
I believe I may have mentioned here that I would be happy if Joe got a job out of town for a while to give us a break. Well, my wish was answered and he now works out of town during the week. And you know what? It really is easier here without him. No, I don't get a break, but I also don't have all the extra work that having him around means. Cleaning up his messes, doing his laundry, dishes and well, him. But the last 3 weekends have been really hard. I just spent some time typing out the "highlights" of his bad behavior, but it was getting tedious even to me and I'm the one who needs to vent, so I erased it. It was as it always is, his words are one thing and his actions are another plus he is in general a slob. At this point, I guess I honestly do have to look at this as my problem and figure out what to REALLY do because clearly his words and actions are never going to match up. I'm not married to the man that exists only on thin air, I am married to the man that does the actions that I find unacceptable. Divorce is so tempting, but it is not just me here. I know, "they" say don't just stay together for the kids, but really, what else is there to do? My fears of the unknown and hopes for the future kept me from returning to school (we chose for him to return instead and he's barely had a job since then - a decade ago), so there's the low income potential for me and I just don't believe I can rely on him to pay child support - one of those words vs. actions things. And frankly even if money weren't an issue I don't feel I can subject the kids to his solo parenting. Aside from all the problems that would cause them, I'd have to be the one to try and straighten it out every week so we'd be back on the school schedule. I'd always be the "bad cop." It's bad enough that I'm the only one who's always a parent, but at least here I can keep us more consistent so I don't always have to be the "mean" one. Although, I wouldn't be the mean one since he can usually only spend about 15 minutes with the kids before losing his temper. I've timed it. He lasted a whole 30 minutes on Friday before he laid down on the couch and yelled at the kids to be quiet and leave him alone so he could "finally relax" & watch baseball. He's so lonely, so bored and misses us so badly during the week, but I guess 30 minutes is all he really needs to fill the void. Blah, blah blah right? You're tired of hearing me say this crap? Me, too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Crazy Weekend + 1st day of school


Well, not crazy but so busy I thought I might go crazy. For one thing TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!! So of course I had a ton of last minute things to do. And with Joe's new schedule the weekends are already jam packed.

I wouldn't normally show these here but I'm just amazed at a few things about these shoes.
1. That AT specifically requested robins and rejected the idea of a cartoony or falsely colored bird
2. That I've never painted birds before, not even to practice for these shoes, but think that came out pretty good
3. I painted something that I didn't want to immediately toss out



A few weeks ago I was dreaming wistfully of the day I could go to BlogHer, but I never really paid attention to when it happened so I didn't realize until yesterday that even if I could go, I still couldn't because it falls on the weekend before the start of school for us. That being the case I didn't even have time to log on for BlogHer@Home. I will visit all of you sweet ladies who paid me a visit though.

I tell you what, getting up before 6AM is kicking my butt! I'm trying to help myself out by putting cooked breakfast and dinners in the new freezer, getting the kids an alarm clock and setting one downstairs to give us a 5 minute warning. Another thing that I'm sure all of the parents - and teachers - would have found helpful is if the school had told us that the start time this year is 10 minutes earlier than previous years. Yeah, that's right. Even the teachers didn't know about it until this morning. I'm trying to pass that off as a side effect of chaos caused by furlough days leaving the teachers and staff only 2 pre-planning days to get everything together and not take it as a foreboding sign for the rest of the year.

AT is in 1st grade but this is her first time at "real" school. We did a combo of homeschool and short day school last year. Poor thing worries about so much. Among other fears, I had to help her talk through what to do if there is a tornado or if the power goes out. In the end I got a little smile and wave as she walked down to her class with neighbor E. Not a tear was shed, by either of us, though we both got close.

The rest of the crazy part of the weekend had to do with Joe, which should be no surprise. But I'll save that for another post instead of adding it onto this one.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

While the blogger is away

stuff gets done.
On the bright side for my husband:
Joe is about to start a contract position so the next 4-6 months are covered cash wise.
His portfolio was spotted by an HR rep for a college and he was asked to submit a CV and a brainstormed list of classes he could teach at in Industrial Design department - in Singapore. While I thought it might be a great adventure for 2 years he said "Not Singapore and not with 3 kids". It was a boost for him though.
His work was featured on an industry website this week. (His work has been in magazines and on TV before but those were client jobs and not purely his own creation)
At this moment he is working on commissioned art for a national ad campaign. For a company you have all heard of, but which I won't mention because the associated item hasn't been made yet and he may be under a confidentiality agreement. Which is really neat because ad agencies usually use graphic artists. They contacted him directly from his main portfolio. That damn thing which I've complained about is finally starting to pay for itself. Starting to.

Also:
He finally agreed to let me use the empty and for sale house to have an indoor sale. Like an estate sale, except I didn't have to die to sell off my junk.
On that note, he finally hired someone to repair the squirrel damage at that house.
He also agreed to go to Ikea with me to buy some organizational furniture (read shelves, armoires and dressers)
He deep cleaned the master bath - that was only 6.5 years in the making. (I've cleaned it during that time of course, but it was on his self-imposed to do list since I was pregnant with our eldest child and he just accomplished it this weekend)
He repaired the various damaged spots in the sheet rock all around the house.

Which meant:
I finish sanded lots of sheet rock patches, cleaned up LOTS of dust and primed all the spots and the rest of the kitchen and stairwell going down to the basement. I don't particularly like the tan from the living and dining rooms in there, but I like it better than white primer and I like it WAY better than the blue it was. You know since I have had 2 tone orange cabinetry for the last few years. Light orange, dark orange and BLUE? No thanks. This is the only picture available that shows it. And my messy countertops.

And now we're also preparing to rearrange the house and use some of that new furniture. Which also means we're finally taking the TV out of the living room. Which I thought I'd be fine with, more than fine with, but now that it's here I feel slightly apprehensive. Silly right?

Finally, I have nothing to do with it, but my brother proposed to his girlfriend, making her officially my FSIL. They're hoping to get married in October - of this year! Since she doesn't have nieces or young cousins I may be back in "flower girl dress" sewing mode very soon. I'm going to ask him tomorrow when we get together for dinner and talk about our plan to build beds for my kids (YAY!)

So, that's not all but it's good enough for now. I've got to perform emergency surgery on a frog's red thread nostril and then get back to painting. If you don't have to, don't ever paint your own ceilings. This is my 7th one and I loathe it, especially since it's so high up over the stairs.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My son hates me

No, really he does and tells me so often. Then as soon as he's calmed down he tells me he's sorry and that he loves me. I think I'd be surprised by the statement at any age, but at 2 I was shocked, especially since neither of his older sisters have said it. Of course, the shock was tempered by the unbearable cuteness of his 2 year old voice saying "I hadge you Mommy." It actually took me a few repeats to understand him the first time he said it.

My reaction is always calm but my response varies: "I love you anyway" "It hurts my feelings when you say that" "We don't tell our family we hate them" "That's not nice" "[blatant ignoring]". Today we hit a new high (or is it a low?) when seemingly out of the blue, AK walks into the kitchen while I was making sandwiches and announces, in a rather cheerful tone, "I hadge you Mommy" I ignored him. He continues "I hadge you if you Spiderman... I hadge you if you a robot." Ignoring. "You hear me? I hadge Spiderman Mommy." ... "I hadge Robot Mommy" ... "I hadge you Mommy" Finally I respond, "Did you say you hate Spiderman Mommy?"
"Yes"
"And you hate Robot Mommy?"
"Yes"
"But I thought you LOVED Spiderman and robots."
"Yes, I do."
"Why do you hate me? I love you."
"Because, yeah."
"It makes me sad when you say that"
"I don't make you sad. I fwighten you Mommy. I send a big robot to fwighten you!" {giggle}
"I'm not afraid of robots, but my feelings are hurt when you say you hate me. Do you want to hurt my feelings?"
"... ... I WUDGE YOU MOMMY!"


------------------------------------------------

I was nearly ready to post this on 6/12/10 when I went off to shower and we got the bad news

In the time that has passed since I started this post till now an interesting twist has occurred. Even though robots are #1 in AK's heart he has taken to calling Joe or I a robot when he's angry with us. "You a robot Mommy!" I don't know which I find funnier, the hadge or that he calls us his favorite thing in the world when he's angry.

I clearly have an emotional little guy on my hands I just hope we're equipped to handle it. And, perhaps more importantly, to teach him how to handle it.

Added 7/6/10: Since then, not only am I a robot when he's mad at me, I'm a "Bad Robot". I find this all quite funny, I keep that inside, but I'm still not sure that it's a good thing!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The passing of a friend

This morning our caller ID displayed a name I didn't recognize so I didn't answer it. But it turned out to be a female friend from far in my husband's past. I don't know that Joe had talked to this woman since he moved to Atlanta nearly 15 years ago. He was about to simply call her back when he noticed there was a message. It turned out to be another friend calling from this woman's house to let Joe know that a mutual friend had passed away. It was more than just their mutual friend though, this man was Joe's best friend, Butch (his nickname).




I wasn't there so I can't really say when he became cemented in my husband's life as his best friend but I believe they've known each other for 25 years or so. Not living in the same state, I didn't get to know Butch very well, but it was never like being around a stranger. He was the best man at our wedding and fit right in with my family at the rehearsal dinner. A little bit loud, a little bit silly and full of laughter. He and Joe could talk on the phone for hours - way longer than I ever spend on the phone. They had spoken last week making the beginnings of a plan for Butch to come visit us again. He'd been here a few times in the past couple of years, most notably a stay in the fall of 2008. What was supposed to be a 3 day stay, while a specialized mechanic fixed his motorcycle, turned into 10 days I think, maybe longer. And the reason I can't remember is that having him here was natural in a way. He fit in with us. An early riser, one morning he went out before we were awake and bought construction paper, markers, crayons and glue (I chuckled at him at the time because I found it so funny that he didn't realize I'd have all those things. And then he chuckled at himself.) Then after breakfast he sat at the dining room table drawing, coloring, cutting and pasting. He and the girls made paper dolls of each of us, a boat, a shoebox car, Christmas decorations and other masterpieces. I think they stayed there until lunch time. That's when he became Uncle Butch.
I'm not a natural picture taker so all I could find were the prints from our wedding which I have scanned, but they seem to capture the twinkle in his eye when he smiles.
Goodbye, Uncle Butch, you are loved and missed.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

OOTW: What I wore on my anniversary

So, the results of my "poll" were mixed. The early comments picked the strapless satin dress as did my sister. Elisa, who's good taste I've mentioned before, Joe and my mother all picked the black dress. In the end, I picked the black dress. I was able to remove the bow from the front and get the cotton to heal. I also didn't wear the patent peep-toes in the original photos but rather matte leather sandals with about a 2 inch heel, though they look flat in the photo.
I'm glad that I went with this combo if only due to the fact that the restaurant wasn't as fancy as Joe thought it was and I would have been way out of place in the pink dress.
Sorry, I forgot to crop the photo and I'm too lazy to go back into PS again!

I wore my wedding jewelry which is white gold and pearls. It's hard to see here, but I like it just as much now as when I bought it. It's delicate and modern and one of the few things that expresses my thoughts on traditions. Well, traditional jewelry anyway.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I don't accept "Boys will be boys"

as an excuse for bad behavior. Sure boys are more likely to be obsessed with modes of transport, super heroes and sports. More likely to run around the park, sweating for an hour straight, to climb anything that stands still for 2 seconds, and to wrestle anybody near the same size and plenty of people who are more than twice his height as well. But, we all know they don't have a corner on the "boy" behavior market just as well as we know that even boys who exhibit all these typical traits might be found wearing fairy outfits while caring for doll babies.

The problem is when they relish in their aggressive play, and even just plain aggressiveness. Particularly when "they" is the nearly 3 year old boy that sprang forth from me after his 2 sisters. Laughing when he wrestles his protesting sister to the ground, smacking at some one for each irritation, greeting Aunts and Uncles with a barrage of punches {edited to add - this was playing for him, but damn he's strong and accurate!} (though they are the rough play types & responded to this in a positive reinforcement way {and adding that they would never let him get away with this if he were doing it out of frustration or for any reason to another kid}), refusing to apologize and worst of all laughing in our faces when we reprimand him. We're getting to our wits end. Which means we lose our tempers when dealing with him. But if we walk away to collect ourselves, that leaves him free to continue to beat up on his sisters. I certainly don't want to send the message of "I've seen you, I know what you are doing and I'm ignoring it." I think to a 3 year old that's almost as good as saying "What you just did is fine." At any rate, when we return to discipline we're still facing a child who will most likely laugh, refuse to say sorry and fight time out which will take 15-20 minutes before getting 3 minutes of compliance out of him.

Sure our girls have behaved this way on occasion, but I doubt even in their combined 10 years it was as many times as their brother displayed this behavior in a month. How do you deal with the pernicious side of "boys being boys?"

*Edited to add what our current methods are. Let's say he smacked his sister because of something at breakfast AND that we didn't have the additional issue of defiance and laughter. Get down on eye level. Tell him "We do not hit people" & "Tell your sister that you're sorry you hit her" (which included the words and a hug or other gentle touch) & "Now say 'No more hitting'" -- Then he does it again later. Get down on eye level. Tell him "You hit her, we do not hit people when we are mad" then the rest followed by "If you hit again you have to go to timeout" and if he does it again, he has to apologize then go to timeout until he stays there quietly for 3 minutes. Now, the reason he gets 2 (or is it 3?) chances is that he's little and I understand that he is still working out what to do when he's angry. His 4yo sister would get 1 chance and his 6yo sister wouldn't get any - for the violation of hitting or like behavior that is. We are not a spanking family, but both of us were raised in that environment. Since the defiance and laughter incenses my husband more than it does me, I am the one who has to handle it. But regardless of who handles it - this method is not working. And frankly, by the time we get to the 3rd or 4th cycle in a day of this whole routine, it is more yelling than stern talking to.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TV?

I did a pretty good job with AT, she didn't really watch TV until I got into the second trimester of my pregnancy with GR. So she was about 18 months at the time and I was more tired than she was on some days - the days she didn't go to preschool to be exact. I could easily have held off longer if only I weren't so tired. Oh well. By the time AK entered the world I had a 4yo and an 18month old so TV became an enticement, during the many, many nursings, to keep GR from drawing on the walls in the next room. While there are plenty of days that we don't watch TV, there are plenty that we watch a few shows and then I'll admit, on those days when sleep deprivation hits me like a
and I cannot stay awake as much as I try, the TV is on more than I even know. But still, for all these years I made myself one promise - I will not put TVs in my children's bedrooms. Then during spring break my 9yo niece stayed with us and the kids were driving me crazy so I begged Joe to drag the extra TV out of storage in the basement so they could watch a DVD in bed so I could decompress before bedtime routines. And he did, and they watched a movie and the TV stayed upstairs. At first, I moved it to the playroom, I could only slide it on the floor and I wanted it out of their room, and they could play Click Start in there. Then came a really long day, with excellent behavior from all my kids on a really tough day. As a reward they wanted a movie, but again I needed some peace so I scooted that TV right back into their room. And now I am that mom. I suppose it remains to be seen if I can stick to my new rules now that it's summer. There's only a DVD player and my main rules are that it can't be more than once a week, viewing can only start after PJs and teeth brushing and it must be completed before bedtime. I don't think that will be too hard, but if I find myself tempted to let it slide... I think I'll have to make Joe take the TV back down to the basement.
What are your rules for TV watching during school and during summer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

10th Anniversary Chronicle

Since I ended up giving almost a play-by-play of Mother's Day, I thought I would do the same for this day, my actual anniversary, and for our celebration day which will be Saturday. It's got to be better than the last special day simply for the fact that he is actually involved in the planning, nay, is doing most of the planning. So far, he has arranged childcare, researched restaurants and made reservations, picked out his clothes and has something to do for which he needs a couple of hours alone in the house before Sat.
This morning I was woken with gentle whispers of "Happy 10th Anniversary." Right at this moment, he is at the coffee shop where he hangs out doing his "work" with AK in tow. This was so that I could have a few minutes peace this morning to finish showering and eat breakfast - and to blog, though I'm sure he didn't have that specifically in mind! HAHA!
Now, I'm going to hit "publish" and then come back through the day / weekend to report on his progress. Hopefully, this will all be done with a smile on my face.

It's now nearly 6pm on Thursday. I've been doing power shopping and at least have something to wear to the apparently fancy restaurant we're going to. I actually bought 3 dresses but will only keep one, 2 pairs of shoes, though one has already been returned and a purse that I will replace if I find something better. I usually only buy things if they are on the upper end of "good enough", but I've got no time to waste and "OK" is better than nothing! However, I haven't been able to find what I want in a gift for Joe, grr. Normally I don't like to leave things like this to the last minute but I didn't know we were going to celebrate with the same budget we'd have if Joe was working. I'm not sure what I thought we'd do, but I've already spent more on clothes than I thought we'd use for presents. I only did that because last night Joe told me he's taking me to a semi-fancy restaurant, which to us means entrees start at $30, so I figured I should have a dress that costs at least as much as my meal will and nothing in my closet qualified for that save my bridesmaid's dress from last summer! I realize this isn't exactly an update on his behavior, but I haven't seen him since I picked AK up just after my initial post.

It's Friday, yesterday evening Joe returned home and took the kids outside for something mysterious. They returned and presented me with cards and roses and the night returned to normal. So, now I've just got to figure out what to wear!

Sunday: Yesterday was a whirl of activity to get ready for our date. We went tie shopping for Joe and I did find a gift for him - though I think I've about had it with our regular jewelry store. It's a funky store in midtown that carries a lot of modern and unusual items and we've been going there since before we got married. I saw exactly what I wanted in the front case so that part took about 5 minutes, but I was still in there nearly 45 minutes mostly waiting to get the sale completed by one of the 4 salesclerks - 2 of which were not helping other customers and they're the 2 that have been there a long time ugh! OK enough of that!
We went to a "continental" restaurant. Joe had a rustic thin crust margherita pizza and I had grilled lamb. Both were OK but we've had better of each. Then after dinner I was describing just the kind of dessert I'd like to have while we were waiting for our server to return so we could ask for the dessert menu. When she did return she carried a plate in her hand with a dessert that perfectly satisfied my craving! With a candle in it complements of the house as she noticed our gift exchange so knew we were celebrating. It was ricotta cake with a poached pear. That earned an eyes-rolling-MMMM from both of us. Afterward we went to our favorite dessert spot, though Joe had a coffee "cocktail" and I had another glass of wine.
So, gifts. While Joe and I appreciate traditions we are not what you would call "traditional". We both wanted to get the other a ring but neither could find just what we wanted, at least not in stock. Men's rings were gimmicky or wedding bands and the women's rings were too complicated to fit his idea & were frequently made with yellow gold. In the end we were able to find rings that fit the bill. This is a similar ring by the same company. While the sapphire ring is a close enough image I found on-line. (We had to exchange the rings we presented each other to order ones in our size)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Poor posture

The standard directions for correct posture often sound like "Pull back your shoulders and pull your tummy in but not your rear" oh.kay. I never really knew what that meant until I looked at my side view in the mirror and analyzed it. Pull back your shoulders so the joint in in line with your hip joints. Pull in your tummy to make your core muscles, in this case your abs, do their job and it keeps you from pushing your sternum out when you pull your shoulders back (a sternum sticking out is what makes your chest say "HEY Here are my boobs!"). Don't stick your butt out because it knocks your spine out of alignment and don't pull it in when you do your abs because it rounds your back and makes it hard to keep your shoulder and hip joints in line. Now, just because I know what correct posture is and what that looks like on me, doesn't mean I usually do it. However, here is a photo that shows the difference. Consider that I only have an A cup, so if you're more endowed the difference will be bigger. Your breasts wouldn't just recess like mine do, they'd appear droopy and they'd press on your abdomen, which would just make your tummy look that much bigger.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What I'm wearing?: Anniversary Edition

I mentioned in my Chronicle that I didn't know what our budget would be for this special occasion (heck, if you've been reading you may remember that I wasn't sure that I even wanted to celebrate it). But after talking to Joe Wednesday night, it was clear he intends to budget as though he had a job, so I guess that's what we're going to do. The problem is, that in order to feel like I'm dressed appropriately for a nice restaurant, I'd need to go shopping. I'll save you the details of why I have a hard time finding clothes that fit, but I only found 2 things yesterday and I don't know which to wear! What do you think?
They both need to be ironed, so ignore that. Joe and I each like a different one. I'm not fond of big sash bows on grown women, but both of these dresses have it. I think I need to try to take that bow off the front of the first one, but it's not just tacked on so I'm not sure the cotton underneath isn't scarred. And the second one, well take a look for yourself...
A free lesson on why correct posture is important

In the first photo, I'm standing correctly, but the shine and pleats don't exactly complement my baby belly (as in what was left AFTER babies). The middle one is also correct posture. The problem is that I don't always - or usually - stand with correct posture and the last photo is unflattering on the whole torso. (I noticed 2 things about the side views, the dress itself doesn't stick out past my butt, that's the sash and even though these 2 show the straps, I think I'll wear it strapless) Also, the cotton dress doesn't "hide" my baby belly, but since it's not pleated or shiny, it doesn't accent it either. So both dresses have their issues, but they're my choices. I need your honest opinion, unless you're going to tell me I look like a hag or resemble a troll, that opinion you can keep to yourself HA!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Almost there

Just a few days until my 10th anniversary. If you're one of my regulars, you know that Joe really screwed up Mother's Day - again. He has some behaviors that aren't acceptable, but I let his history excuse them away. It's not like he's a BAD guy.
I know that his trust issues come from being devastated by his first love. I know that his worth issues come from the horrible things his family said to him. I know that his abandonment issues come from his mother leaving for rehab with nothing really explained to him. I know his over-protectiveness comes from love and being very afraid of losing it - the first true love he has known. I know his self-centered-ness comes from having 2 of the most self-centered people I know as parents. When his mother was living with us she told me she had NO recollection of EVER telling Joe that she loves him. NONE. But that she was inspired by hearing us say it to each other and to her, to say it to us and to say it often. It wasn't, self-centered as she was, that she didn't love him, she just never verbally expressed it. It was quite possible her family never said it to each other when she was growing up either.
So, I know these things so it is hard to not let his crappy behavior get a pass. BUT I've been living with it for about 12 years AND with the words he uses to tell me that he is not the person still held back by those things, that through our relationship he is getting free and is changing. HOWEVER, progress is SLOW or not at all. I'm just tired of excuses all around. His reason for crappy Mother's Day, "It's not you, it's that all Mother's Days have been crappy." What? So one more is OK then? It's OK that because life surrounding us is crap that you don't have to try to carve out something special for me - for our kids to learn?
I'm so sick of hearing him talk, of hearing promises and plans, of excuses and denials. I'm tired of telling him that I want a marriage to the man he says he is & not the man he acts like. I'm tired of being the one to implement the plans for change that we make together only to find out that I'm the only one doing the work. I'm tired of living down to his level. He said a big mouthful of words tonight. I told him that if he went through with it, the actions would go a long way in fixing things for us. We'll just have to see if it happens, frankly I'm not holding my breath. And that makes me sad.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Me without makeup: Status Quo


I heard about this idea on twitter #bloggerswithoutmakeup
Here is a link to the original meme author, Mummy Mayhem, I know nothing else about her, though
Today bloggers are encouraged to show a photo of themselves without make up. The idea is that we feel perfectly comfortable putting all kinds of real, TMI stories about ourselves out there but pick perfectly coiffed and digitally adjusted photos to post.
Actually, I do wear mineral makeup base powder most days, but since the only easily seen aspect of my olive skin is the grease slick across my face, most of the powder gets wiped off before lunch. (as evidenced in the shiny forehead, which isn't too bad here but I still SO wanted to photoshop it out) Since this was taken after dinner there likely isn't any left. At any rate, it is only 1 of 3 photos, from the same night, that exist on my new computer and Joe has the camera.

I love the slightly worried, slightly perplexed look on my son as he gazes up at my bare face. Possibly he's wondering just how I got into that awkward posture - so am I. I'm making my head go forward, tilt sideways and look up all at the same time. Which I'm not sure I could recreate IRL, but so many photos of me exist with that pose! Hey, I figured that since finding me without make up is easy, I'd go ahead and take the challenge to be real to mean showing an unflattering pose. HAHA!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Looking back on a Sucky Sunday

Comments made by my family and by my lovely internet friends and visitors have led to more thought on the events last Sunday, aka Mother's Day.

1. Did he remember to do something for his mother?
Well... his mother died earlier this year, but in the past, no. I was the one who purchased and sent the card.

2. Did his feelings about the loss of his mother affect his behavior this year?
Perhaps, but this was just par for the course and not out of the ordinary.

3. What will I do for Father's Day?
A couple of years ago he gave me a 6 pack of a candy bar that is OK, but that I've never purchased for myself. For Father's Day that year, he received that very same pack of candy bars. It took a couple of weeks for him to realize it. I'm not sure how I give this back to him, but I like the suggestion from Alex to leave him with the kids so he can BE a father on Father's Day.

4. Did he go on to do anything to revive the day?
Not really. We got home quite late (OK it was 10:30 but that's late for a family with small kids) as he had to stop at the home where his father lives (it's not fully a nursing home) to change a bandage from surgery he had the other day. I was dead tired and climbed into bed fully clothed and with my glasses on. In recent years when I fall asleep with my glasses on, chances are I would wake up several hours later and take them off and turn off the lamp. In the past it was practically a given that Joe would remove them and turn off my lamp. Last night he took off my glasses and my jeans. He put pajama pants and socks on me. Exhibiting the kind of behavior that is part of why I fell in love with him was good, but really speaks to other issues between us rather than the MD debacle.

5. If this is typical, where do we go from here?
I do not know.

Thanks for listening guys.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seriously, I have a right to love Mother's Day

So in case you missed all the joy contained in my Mother's Day post here's a recap:
My morning started out by being woken up to clean pee off the floor so Joe could go back to sleep. I "made" breakfast, changed and dressed everyone, packed up supplies to go to my parents' procured lunch, and reminded my children to tell me "Happy Mother's Day."
That more than covers what I wrote about yesterday.
Once we finally arrived at my parents' Joe gave me a cursory apology and was ticked that I gave him my cheek when he wanted to "kiss and make up." "Is that all I get?" he asked, "Maybe I'll feel like kissing you when you feel like you're actually sorry," I replied to which he said "Well, I'm not going to give you the present until you kiss me for real." And off he went on an unnecessary errand with my dad, leaving me with the kids and another poopy diaper. They returned and mom and I went to rent a chick flick (which he complained about - both us leaving and our choice in movie) My dad made dinner, fixed our plates and later made & served us brownie sundaes. After dinner, I said it was time for presents and got snapped at because he even though his plate was empty, he wasn't done eating. So the kids passed out their cards and photos were snapped. He asked if I was going to kiss him so I could get my present. I asked if he were going to give me a real apology. So he said he was sorry and seemed sincere until he made me kiss him several times until I got it "right" - annoying!
He did the dishes (!) and watched the rest of the movie without any further complaints. But when it was time to leave, he came to announce it to me in a way that was clear he expected me to go get them ready argh! Instead I said "Well, have them potty, brush teeth and get in the car" and he huffed but sort of did the tasks. So that's it. I really can't believe that last year, when I still had to clean, change and dress the kids, feed them lunch, pack everything needed to leave the house, endure his bitching the whole weekend still counts as the best Mother's Day ever.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day's a bitch, no wait, my husband's just an ASS

This morning, I was woken up to the sound of my husband bursting through the bedroom door (it only opens quietly if you do it on purpose) and then slamming it shut. "What's wrong?" I ask. He replies in a loud and gruff voice, "AT peed on the floor, right in front of the refrigerator. She's cleaning it up." And he goes into the bathroom, slamming that door, too. He comes out declares "I only slept a couple of hours, I need more sleep" and crawls into bed. Conveniently leaving out the part about why he only slept a couple of hours. I'm 99% sure the answer is that he stayed up all night playing computer games - as usual. After a few minutes he says, "Are you going to give her a bath, or just wipe her down?" Happy Freakin Mother's Day to Me.

So, I go down stairs to find the giant puddle of pee left behind by a 6 year old whose bladder had been filling for 11 hours. (Yes, I have to make her go potty almost every morning because she almost always insists that she doesn't have to pee and YES Joe* knows this about her, but because I'm usually in charge an accident is very uncommon.) So she and I clean the pee and I mop, although since the sinks have been full for 4 days (his chore) and Joe ruined the mop bucket, it isn't an easy task. (stand off on chores = a whole other post, but let's just say he spent all the hours he was at home yesterday playing that same computer game with a little hockey watching thrown in.) OK that's done.

But where is the pancake breakfast in bed that the children have been asking Joe to do for 2 days? Hmm, first the kitchen would have to be clean enough to a. have enough room to move and b. have enough clean dishes to cook and eat on. Second, Joe would have to actually be awake and downstairs. So, children what did you have to eat? Nothing? Big surprise. Here's a fantastic breakfast: chocolate milk and doughnuts (boo, unfrosted cake doughnuts, I'm a meanine). While I'm fixing the breakfast of pee-on-the-floor-champions, AK comes and asks me to change him. Yep, they'd been up for an hour and a half (I know because they named the 3 shows they watched) and hadn't been taken to the toilet (even though she shouldn't have to be), had a diaper changed or fed. I wouldn't be so ticked if this weren't typical for the one day a week I ask to not be in charge in the morning, despite telling Joe repeatedly it's unacceptable.

And here we are at 9:30am and I can say yet another Mother's Day that sucks ass.

* names are no longer changed to protect the innocent, because, let's face it, he's not so innocent.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ramping up to the Anniversary

Still trying to make sure I do my 10 year justice, I've given some thought to some of the husband complaining that's going around the internet. I think blogs are great outlets for this activity, after all it was the primary reason I started this one. I had / have a quaint and much neglected little blog elsewhere, but technically all my family and friends know about it. I didn't want to start in on my complaints there because 1. some of my family and friends may have been tired of hearing me wax rhapsodic on the Hubs 2. I didn't want to share those kind of details with some of them and 3. I didn't want my complaints to color the view some people have of him. I only want to vent to people who will likely never meet him or who love him as I do i.e. despite his lazy behavior. Because, really, almost any complaint I have about the man boils down to laziness. Lack of follow through, not pulling his weight figuratively, not losing the actual weight he constantly complains about, leaving his damn dirty laundry in the small footpath I have right next to the laundry basket, etc. But yesterday, I gave some extra consideration to the irritations that are due to the male-female differences.

A couple of weeks ago when I gained a Twitter follower, @ToyWithMe, I didn't get very far in checking her out because, admittedly, I'm still a little uncomfortable with discussing and even reading anything to do with sex life outside my marital unit. However, yesterday another Tweeter (I don't remember who) sent a link to Toy With Me the blog. After reading the article about why men cheat (not a concern of mine, but I'm always interested in this topic) I looked around a bit and came to an article titled "Men - I'll Take the Good with the Bad." The Redhead (one of the contributors) touches on some fairly common husband/BF complaints and why she feels they are undue. Mostly I agree with her, but unless Hubs has just stepped out of the shower you will not find me relishing in his scent!

It is written from a humor stand point and not as a marital counseling article, so the parts I feel compelled to counter are irrelevant to the article itself, but pertain to the idea of complaints about husbands. While all those points on the natural behavior of men are good and true, there is a glaring omission that affects how we as women deal with it. Along with all our flaws, the average person is also equipped with self control, this includes men. They also have ears and brains that process and store information they gather via their ears. While there are positive aspects to the way men are wired, most of the drawbacks can be tempered if a man used his ears, brain and self-control.
(read the article, I'm about to vicariously bitch at my husband and it will make more sense if you know what she said.)
Seriously, who likes to be interrupted when recounting the problems of the day? Maybe it's not their problem solving instinct, but the interrupting and not listening part. I'm a problem solver, too, but I am usually able to listen to all the factors first. Being over-protective, too ready to get physical (fights and sex), possessiveness and being easily angered are all counter to the "sensibility" men supposedly have. It's all leaping before they look, not thinking it through. I really don't need you to drop everything you're doing and track me down in Target just because my cell doesn't get reception in there and you didn't know where I was every second that morning. You don't need you to drop it all either and if you could wait another 30 minutes, I'd be back on the grid. Here's another tip (that's oft repeated by me): If I've told you I've had a bad day, whether it's stress or headache or hormones, trying to feel me up isn't going to get you sex. The only dirty thing that will come from that is the look I'll give you while the dryer, oven and kids are all sounding their alarms while you're trying to get your hands down my pants. Use some of those problem solving skills: occupy the kids, fold the laundry, or bring me the ibuprofen and a glass of water. Anything that's helpful without me having to ask. Lord knows if you don't understand the basics of how a household works enough to figure that stuff out on your own, then you're just another kid to us and I'm pretty sure you'd rather have a partner relationship than a parent relationship with your wife. I know I would.

So, that's my husband rant for the day - just getting it out of my system people so I can, you know, be nice to him on our anniversary.

So hormonal

This past month has been really difficult hormone wise. It seems like any little thing can bring me to the edge of tears. Commercials, news, photographs, thinking of any member of my family, running out of something, realizing I bought something when there's already more than one in the pantry, watching Phineas and Ferb - just about anything.
I've also been very tired and extra forgetful. For instance, after I wrote the first paragraph, I picked up my kids from school and took a nap. Now I have no clue where I was going with this. Normally, when I forget what exactly it was that I was writing about I'll just abandon the post, but since this behavior actually fits in with the topic today I'm gracing you all with my hormonal joy.

What's the main emotional side effect of your hormonal days? (I was listing out some emotions but then it started to sound like an odd clan of 7 dwarves! Maybe I need another nap - or chocolate.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

BlogHer @ Home: Getting to know me

You'll find me around the web as Mommyiscranky and Cranky Sarah. In my real life I'm generally known as Mommy or Sarah. Bet you couldn't have guessed that. I'm tricky that way. I'm a SAHM (although trying to become a WAHM) of 3 kids - 4 if you count the one that came with my marriage certificate i.e. my husband. My sense of humor is dry yet easily provoked by odd &/or simple things. I got quite a chuckle this morning when I discovered a town/area called Flying S Ranchettes, no one else does, I realize. (and now I can't even get stupid google maps to bring it up again - of course, I saw it when I was getting google directions that turned out to be VERY wrong)

While I'm not always cranky, I'm not always the opposite of cranky either. Snowballing PPD and a seemingly clueless husband (who must also be deaf or at least lacking a memory chip) have left me in a bit of a low spot these last couple of years. I originally started this blog so I could get some of that crap off my chest. That's how it works for me, I vent and I forget - usually. Eventually, as I unloaded some of that baggage, this blog morphed into an expression of myself in general.

Like most other mothers, especially those with more than one kid, I'm always strapped for time, but when I can devote large chunks of time to projects you'll find me in home DIY and crafting a variety of items. I haven't been posting much lately but what I have done is over at Neoteric Traditional.

Thanks for visiting me from BlogHer @ Home - and if you came to me another way, please follow the link to check them out!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm sick, this is my confession

No, not in a creepy way, nor in a mental illness way, but in a regular "I have a cold and couldn't sleep last night. Therefore, I took a nap from 5-7 and so did my ill kids" way. The problems with this are 1. with long late naps, night time sleep will come late. 2. we still have to get up at the same time so now we'll be tired again tomorrow 3. I didn't start dinner until 7:30 and even then, I didn't want to.

Now, since the only thing I had in the fridge were chicken leg quarters, I knew it would be an hour with prep time before dinner. I fed the kids fruit and cheese before I started and while it cooked, I got them ready for bed (which totally didn't matter because as soon as they were out of my sight they took off their PJ's and played dress up). I fixed their plates and we all sat at the table. Here's where my confession comes in. My sense of taste has been off for several days, with today being the worst so far. I tried to pick out a vegetable, but the thought of tasting them, well it wasn't pleasant. SO I DIDN'T. The first thing AT says to me is "Where's the green vegetable?", "I hope it's green beans" chimes in GR "Me, too!" agrees AK. My kids are pretty good eaters and eat several greens, but most nights this requires frequent reminders from me, so on this night I thought they either would not notice or would be happy at their absence. Yeah right. I kept having to field questions about the lack of greens and hear their musings on which they would prefer having. I suppose their disappointment should come as no surprise to a mom who has planted brussel sprouts only at the insistence of her children. Especially since they are the first and only plant I've ever tried to grow from seed myself.
I'd like to add a side of Mommy Guilt with my NyQuil please.

P.S. However, when they were done eating what was on their plates and were still hungry, they didn't take me up on my offer to fix green beans.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

9 years 11 months

into my marriage. Does this mean 9 years 13 months ago I got married? (Have I mentioned that almost as soon as I learned I was pregnant the first time my math skills went out the window. Or more precisely down the drain as I was in the shower the first time I realized I had lost them when I tried to divide $933 by 2 and came up with $311. ooh so close yet so far away.)
The point is, that I'm fast approaching my tenth anniversary. So, I've been thinking about what I would write for you all. Each of these last few years has been more challenging than the last and there are days I struggle to recall why I married the man in the first place, let alone come up with a few dozen words celebrating our decade of marriage.
He annoys me to no end but he delights me to no end as well. He infuriates me and inflames my heart. I can't imagine going on with him but I can't imagine not having him. It's just that lately, my feelings have trended to one side more often than the other (guess which). So, I'm giving myself a big head start. 10 years here we come.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A first for my husband

I spent the night at my parents' house last night. None of the rest of my family did. Which was the first time any such situation has come up, and means my husband was alone with the kids all night and he got them ready for school by himself for the first time ever. Don't go patting him on the back just yet. I had to promise to layout every article of clothing in piles that are easily descernable for each child, make and pack snacks and lunches, prepare all school items, premake breakfast, write a highly detailed allergy treatment list and get the kids ready for bed. So really, he just woke them up, dressed the littlest and drove them to school, but he was technically alone for the first time while he did it.

As a sidebar, any of you have a business with tax numbers and licenses and permits and all that? Is it really as daunting as it all seems? Any advice or websites you can point me to? Because, you know, I'm not nearly busy enough as it is, I have to go and start my own business.

PS the shirt I picked out for the 6yo was a v-necked, collared shirt with a pocket on the front - except that she wore it backward and my husband didn't notice.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'd like to blame the tears on allergies

At each turning of the season, I find myself blubbering like a baby. Like an idiot. I go through dozens of items, clutching each one, recalling the memories surrounding it, lamenting all that this process symbolizes. I unpack the new, take out the old and set aside the rest for the future. This simple, oft done task reduces me to tears. Every. single. time. I mournfully contemplate the growth, tearfully recall the accomplishment, and lament the things not done. Who knew that some of the landmines of motherhood would be found in the children's clothes closets?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hi-ya!

Supposedly a new computer is on the horizon, but I'll believe it when I see it! HAHA!

Life is far from settled right now, but I just keep hoping that it will be soon. Somehow I stress over so many small and medium things, yet I'm able to keep a distance between me and some of the big things. Though, I do know this causes a shut down in other areas, too.

And now my computer time is at an end. I miss you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grasping at straws

I'm trying to write a new post, but time/family duties and other thoughts keep invading. What I've got is obviously written at more than one time. I just can't seem to finish the original thread now that the new thread has taken shape. Maybe I'll just have to leave it for a while and see if I can remember some of those other things that pop up when I'm nowhere near a computer. What do you do when so many thoughts are running around that you can't get a good hold on any one of them?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My marriage is not my parents'

One day, I found myself complaining about the lack of participation on my husband's part to my mother. She empathized saying she should have made my father do more when we were little because when he was finally around, none of us took it well. I realized that what I was saying may have seemed to be a judgment on their relationship, but it's not. While my husband and father share some traits that are the ones that made me say "I'll never marry a man like my father," and some that make them endearing in the same way, there are some key differences.

For instance, when my father decides to improve the house, he just goes and does it. There aren't years between the plan and the action and years between the start and finish. Dad doesn't always pick things my mother likes and sometimes doesn't get her input at all, but he does the tasks. Dad is also big into what I call "family spirit" when work allows. He likes hosting everyone, grilling, doing things as a family whether it be a day at the park or dragging my mother along on his jobs. Dad is in entrepreneurial construction. He started out as a handyman, then built restaurants, then homes for the restaurateurs and now does commercial roofing. He works hard in all weather. Even during the times he was trying things to get himself out of construction, he was always working. Hubs has a white collar job, that is to say, if he were employed it would be a white collar job. When in his 20's he did surveying and some construction, but for as long as I've known him, his job has mostly entailed sitting in front of a computer. And that difference is key to my expectations. Especially while Hubs is unemployed. He changed a poopy diaper at the hospital while my father never changed one until my daughter was over 2 - the first one EVER. Hubs does dishes, sometimes, and occasionally washes hair, reads stories, snuggles in bed, gets up in the middle of the night, brushes teeth or folds laundry. My dad played with us and took us places, maybe read a story or 2, but mostly he took care of the repairs/maintenance to the house and yard and recovered from his physically hard work. He wasn't tired because he stayed up late playing computer games, watching t.v., or because he had trouble sleeping due to lack of physical activity.

My expectations for my white collar, unemployed husband are vastly different from what they would be if he had a physically demanding job. It's not just that though. We are very different people from my parents and from his parents. We have different strengths and weaknesses; different quirks and needs and wants. Sure there are some similarities, but the sum of our personalities makes us quite different. We may repeat some of their mistakes, but I think we've learned from plenty too - leaving us to make our own.

Edited to add that Mama Kat and I are thinking on the same topic lines again this week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Need Atlanta Drivers

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen a couple of tweets over the last month or so complaining about the drivers I encounter. Believe me I see something really stupid every day. Going straight from the left turn lane, turning right from the straight lane, turning left from the far right lane: crossing the near right lane, the turn lane and the 2 left lanes (the ones that go the other way). And all that was by 1 driver on my less than 2 miles to the preschool.
But now, I need drivers - good ones that is. Well not me, but Anissa Mayhew. I'm sure that all the people who volunteered to travel to help her out had the best of intentions, but they also all canceled at the same time. The family seems reticent about revealing this (I understand that I don't like to ask for help either, even when I'm not being stubborn, because it is a little guilt inducing) but this is the internet age after all so the word is getting out. If you live in the Atlanta area, specifically near Decatur, where therapy is, or more to the south side (I don't know if the Mayhews have revealed their town so I won't either but I know one of their neighbors - again internet magic) and would be available to add some drive time to your week, please let me know or Lori, who is the one who let me know they needed some drivers. Anissa needs to arrive in Decatur by 8:30am and be picked up at 2:00pm. It's about an hour drive each way. Let's see if we can help fill in the blanks in their schedule.
Also, if you're in ATL or know someone in ATL, please pass it on.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To tell or not to tell

I wanted to get that last post off the top, but the circumstances that brought it to mind in the first place are still at play in my life. My mother-in-law passed away 2 weeks ago, which is why I had to be in the same place as my in-laws.

Mainly what I'm thinking about now is telling my children. The days after she died were not the right time to tell them. We were informed the morning of my birthday and AT(6) was quite excited about being part of the dinner preparations at home that night, then GR(4) was to get her weekend alone at my parents' starting the next afternoon and AT was going to her first spend the night and that Sunday, we were gathering at my parents' to have our usual celebration of my mother's and my birthdays (random interjection - I cannot figure out the proper grammar for that sentence.) Until that Sunday afternoon, when I discovered through the obituaries that the funeral was late in the week, we had thought we'd need to leave on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. It was a series of rushed, hectic and upsetting days. The children did not go with us and the time spent not telling them hasn't seemed quite right, but it also doesn't seem necessary as she hasn't been part of their lives in a long time. I initially wrote out the time line of her living with us, but basically she was in our house for the better part of 3 years including the first year and a half of AT's life. AT remembers her - I don't know how but she does - but by the time I was pregnant with my 3rd child(AK, 2.5) she had succumbed to senility and didn't understand who my husband was, didn't understand that she had a grown man as a child. So other than knowing the name "Granny" and seeing some pictures, she hasn't been part of their lives.

We know we can't shelter them from death forever, but being young we're not sure it's necessary to confront them with it now. Especially AT, who broke down sobbing last year when I read Charlotte's Web because it made her think of Hubs' father's mortality (he lives close to us) and she so far wants nothing further to do with the book. I think we are prepared with the words to tell them, but we're not sure we even should. What would you do, or did you do?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I was blind-sided

and am still reeling from it. Though I am linking up with Mama Kat, I had intended to tell some of this story anyway since I had to spend several hours with the antagonist last weekend. I wasn't sure how I was going to get into the story though, as there is so much of it, some of which is too raw and my husband wouldn't want me to share it all.
So, I'll tell the part that is the most mine to tell.

During the summer of 2003, my husband and his brother were in the process of moving their parents out of their home. Their parents were quite angry with each other at this time. Mother stayed with us for 3 months and then was spending the summer with Brother. During this time, Hubs was looking for a house for Father to move into as none of us were prepared to have him live with us and he didn't want to anyway. Hubs found a suitable place, told Brother the plan, including to say, "We're going to get him so he can see the house for himself and if he likes it, buy it. We're just going to get a few items: bed, chair etc so he can move in. He said that other than "his" things, he didn't care what Mother took." However, Big Brother felt it would be better for their whole family to drive 2 days so they could show up unexpected in the middle of everything. Lots of fighting between the parents ensued, lots of ugly things were said by Brother, selfish, money grubbing, mean, and untrue things. We were all shocked by the monetary demands he put towards his parents and by his reaction upon their refusal. Reactions which eventually came over a period of time, which revealed his true nature. These were bad enough, but the thing that blindsided me was the behavior of his wife.
While Hubs was trying to mediate between Brother and Father in the living room, I was in the dining room with Mother helping her sort items that she wanted to have at each of her son's house. Sister-In-Law comes in from the back, where presumably she was with her 2 kids. She comes up to me asking me all kinds of questions about the real estate in a threatening tone. There are no answers to her questions because she was coming at it from the idea that we'd already sold that house, bought another, and were packing up everything in this one to take with us. Despite what we'd told her, despite the short amount of time that had passed and despite the fact that there was only the smallest u-haul tow trailer behind our car. She became more and more irate, hissing hate at me and began to thrust her finger at me. Then she began to advance, poking her finger into my chest. I was effectively pushed into a corner and I didn't know what she would do next. Just then my husband entered the room, stuck his arm between us and then inserted his body in the space as she continued to advance. "You need to step back and get away from my wife," he said. She shouted some reply but I don't know what it was, "You need to get away from my wife" he said louder. She began to back away and then shouted, "Get away from me, don't you touch me. Don't you dare put your hands on me!" she was backing out of the room as she said this and then she heaved herself against the hallway wall. Then ran to a bedroom and slammed the door. Meanwhile my husband was still standing in front of me, so close we were touching. Her husband bustled her into their car, came and asked me if I was OK and they left. I was far from OK. No one had ever treated me that way, not even the middle school bullies, but certainly not someone I considered family. I was incredibly upset and developed a migraine almost the instant their car pulled out of the driveway and about a half hour later I began to vomit. About every 15 minutes for the next 6 hours, I vomited. Somewhere in there, after the 12th time, yes I kept track, I called my OB. I was just at the end of my first trimester of my first pregnancy. She told me to go to the ER. I continued the 6 hour heave even on meds, I took 2 bags of IV fluid and more meds. My baby and I were both on monitors. I described the various pains I was experiencing and saw the OB on staff. After about 9 hours I was discharged and went to Hub's Aunt's house to sleep a bit before having to make the 5 hour drive back because we had a deadline on the house the next morning. While we were there Brother called and informed us that SIL demanded an apology from my husband and I. Yes, from me too. He was informed, "That's not gonna happen" and things have continued to get worse over the years. At the time, I was able to remain calm because the pains I was experiencing were not the hard belly / back pain I was told to expect with labor and I knew I needed to try to not add anymore stressy body chemistry to my little baby. It wasn't until it was actually time to deliver the baby when I experienced my body's own version of labor that I realized I had been having contractions that summer.

I think back to that day and am thankful I didn't know I had been having contractions, though some of the things that happened in my haze at the hospital made more sense. I'm more than thankful that nothing came of it and my girl was born close to her due date, after another unexpected "visit" from Brother at our house. I've never personally experienced such greed, hate, and self-righteousness as I have during that evening nearly 7 years ago, nor did I think I'd still be dealing with my feelings about it after all these years. It makes me feel a little sick as I sit here telling my story knowing that it's still far from over.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm back

but hopefully, you didn't know I was gone - one of the cardinal rules of posting your life online: never let people know when your house is empty. In a way, I'm not sure it matters since the only reader who knows exactly where I live, can tell if anyone is home with a glance out her window, but I promised Hubs a long time ago I wouldn't reveal such information while I was, as he says, "Bloggity, bloggity, blah-blahing."
I know I will need to make a post about the circumstances surrounding our trip because it lays on me heavily, but for now I'll just try to catch up with my reading and visiting all you lovelies that visited me while I was away!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Goodbye cruel world,

Goodbye forever. Twas not meant to end this way, I thought our love would carry us through the good times and the bad. You tended to me ever so gently, took great pride in learning my secrets, did not discard me when irreparable blemishes besmirched my fair complexion and visited me often. But now it is time to part as I am lost to a world few really understand. Thank you for our many years together.
Love,
The Little Laptop

Dear Readers,
Fortunately LL was found before he had succumbed fully to the viruses and marauding trojans who had stealthily begun to take over his brain. We are doing everything we can to save him, but fear some of his vital components may be lost to us. Oh, Photoshop, we loved thee best of all, yet, were foolish in our placement of your hard copies while cleaning up from the flooded basement all those months ago. Our occasional friend, Hubs' Computer, will have to suffice for now, LL, but I will long for the days when it was just the 2 of us.
I thank you, Readers, for standing by me during this difficult time and perhaps during a prolonged absence.
Sincerely,
Cranky Sarah

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Following from The Bitchin' Wives Club

1. Families can really suck, especially in-laws

2. Families can be really great, even in-laws

3. I could take hugs and kisses all day, being the jungle gym, not so much

4. I like to make lists

5. I can rarely keep up with a list on a piece of paper

6. My middle child, GR, had the following conversation with her grandmother during a GR only weekend.

GR: I want to stay at your house for 2 more days, maybe 3, or how about 100
Granma: I love having you but your mommy would miss you too much
GR: Well then you'll have to detract her so she won't notice I'm gone
Granma: Why don't you want to go home?
GR: Because AK's mad at me or AT's mad at me or Daddy's mad at me or Mommy's mad at me
Granma: Why are they mad at you, you're so sweet
GR: Because I'm only sweet when I'm at your house

7. I really like my FSIL, but find it hard to believe my baby brother is at that stage of life, even though I got married when I was 4 years younger than he is now

8. FSIL has a life very similar to the one my 18 year old self thought I'd have at her age - even same career

9. I wouldn't trade the life I do have for anything - struggles, tiffs and crappy in-laws included - because losing the bad would change some of the good

10. I don't know if you noticed, but I have in-laws on the brain today. Just thought I'd point that out

11. I peek in at DWS every now and then, but I think they've succeeded in their goal to up viewership, I think even Hubs will watch this crazy cast

12. Thank you! I just don't think I say it enough

Saturday, February 27, 2010

OOTW

To steal a category from Elisa at Globetrotting in Heels: I present Outfit of the Week. With one big difference: you could watch me on any given week and see basically this same outfit at least 5/7 days. Jeans, long sleeve t-shirt, and sneakers. Sometimes I wear a sweater or corduroy pants, but in the winter, that's about all the variety there is.
Sheesh, I had to go back to November 2008 to find a suitable photo. Unfortunately, I look pretty much the same. Take away a little from the tummy and add a little to the hair and this could have been taken last week - when I wore that same outfit.


Getting dressed up in the winter is practically impossible for me. I HATE being cold so if I can't wear slacks and a sweater I don't know what to do. If I'm trying to look a little, well, enticing to my husband... this unfortunate outfit is what might happen.
Hello up there? Can you see me? I'm the one looking all nonchalant by the kids school calendars.
To be fair, the tights were way more electric red on than they appeared to be in the package.

I ate my lovingly prepared dinner with a space heater approximately 6 inches away.

So that's me. Now you see why I rated my fashion sense as high as I did.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My attempt at smokey eyes

I do believe this is the first picture (of my own) I've posted here, though I've linked to some in the past that are on my other blog. This is my makeup for my Valentine's Day Date. I have on what I thought was a lot of eyeshadow, but it doesn't look that way here. Perhaps if you could actually see my eyelids...
that must be what convinced my pediatrician to repeatedly ask my mother if either of my grandmothers was a Japanese WWII bride. Mentioning that makes me think that maybe I should seek out tutorials for eye makeup aimed at Asian women.
Even though I ended up using youtube when I was looking for some guidance on the ballet stage makeup required for my 15 year old's debut in the Nutcracker...

Wait, I forgot she was only 5

and has her own opinion on makeup application.

... it didn't occur to me to search youtube for makeup guidance for myself. Tweeter @tisworthwhile introduced me to the idea so I watched a few the other morning watching. Which is what convinced me it's the shape of my eyelid that's the problem. Oh well, I'm fine with that - no eye surgery for me! (I can barely tell the difference in the before-and-afters anyway) However,


Coming soon Valentine's Outfit AKA Floundering in Closet for 5 Minutes to get Dressed before Dinner got Cold but I'd Still Need Help Even if I had 50 Minutes. AKA Another mention of Globetrotting in Heels nee Unlikely Housewife.

Meanwhile, just after I wrote this and had just scheduled it to post this evening, I logged onto Twitter to find a message from @hipmom with an eyeliner review. Must be the cabin fever from being stuck inside with kids so much that's put this topic on the mind of so many moms. Check out #beautyparty or #smokeyeyes if you're on twitter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm sorry Hubs - sort of

I've mentioned it in the last few days that the basis for starting this blog is different from where I am coming from now. Sometimes, I need to write down the crap that happens to get it out of my brain, because if it stays in there it just bounces around and festers. However, I stopped doing it because I could never keep up with the stupid notebooks. I always meant to keep it in the bedside table, but it seems it was hardly ever there. Then I discovered blogging. Well actually, I discovered it, scoffed at it, found great DIY info on blogs, then accepted it into my life. I don't think I've ever misplaced my computer (not sure I will still be able to say this after I get a netbook though), so it seemed like a good repository for my bitching.

Now that more than 1 person is being exposed to my thoughts, I felt it was time to re-read the things I wrote about a year ago. First, I was shocked that even though we aren't actually fighting much these days, little has changed in his behavior or our patterns. Obviously something has changed in me: I think the PPD has finally realized that it overstayed its welcome as the baby is nearly 3. I still have bad days, I still feel like I'm in a fog most of the time, but the wild, overwhelming, funk that I was in isn't there so much.

So, I read my own words, refelt those feelings and contemplated where I want to go now. I still stand by what I wrote and I'm not embarrassed that I put some word-for-word spats out there for the world, but my husband might be. A year ago I didn't care because a) I didn't really tell any one about myself, this was more of a diary b) I wasn't concerning myself with him. Cranky Mommy was an accurate title rather than a tongue in cheek one. Now that I'm going with more of a working-my-way-out than I-don't-know-how-to-get-out view of depression, I think it's time to take down the nitty gritty. Don't get excited, it's not all that gritty.

OK so why am I bothering to tell you all this? Why don't I just take it down? Because there might be someone reading right now that could benefit from finding out another woman is married to a good guy who is often a crappy husband. It is a frustrating and isolating situation to be in. So, if you're so inclined there will be a few days to peruse but then I'll no longer embarrass my husband - in such great detail.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Time for a change

I'm not sure where this daily string of posts is coming from. Perhaps from a sense of deprivation for going so long without any? HA
Anyway, I feel cleansed of my feelings about the funeral and the over-worrying-over- active-imagination has ceased to dwell on that topic. So, I'm just making a post to get it off the top of my blog. Since I've gotta leave for the toddler program at the library this is all I've got time for. Aren't you glad you took the time to come see me? I know this post will be a commenting record breaker.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The funeral

(edited to add an apology for the disjointed nature of this post. I don't usually write at this time of day - too many distractions - and I haven't really had time to pull my thoughts together, but I wanted to get this out of my system.)

I went to the memorial service for FSIL's father today. It was the first one I've attended where the deceased had been cremated. Not that I've been to a lot of funerals, but that fact made it a bit different. He was also retired Air Force so there was the military aspect that was new as well. FSIL and her family handled it like champs. Their family has suffered several losses on her father's side in the past few years, so I suppose they've had unfortunate cause to practice grieving in public.

Funerals are odd places. The reason for being there is always sad but at the same time you are meeting new people and seeing ones you haven't seen in a long time. There are smiles, laughter, and heart wrenching tears all in one room. I met one of FSIL's dear friends after the service. She is a lovely woman, sweet and bubbly. I just kept thinking it was strange to learn of her exuberant personality in that room. But you know what? That's who she is. She deals with loss that way and she knows how to deal with it because she lost her dad last summer. Meeting the people who are important to her in this way... well we just envisioned it at an entirely different kind of ceremony.

My brother has grown into a wonderful and caring man. I already knew that, but today I got to see it in action. And hear about it, repeatedly from the other attendees. I know my mother was proud. Brother and FSIL are not actually engaged but have talked about it, he plans to ask and expects a "yes" (though to talk to her bubbly friend, you'd think the wedding was a month away HAHA). If there were any doubts in her mind if it was the right thing for them, after the way she spoke of him to Mom and I today it is clear that going through this tragic time together erased them.

Loss and love, tears and laughter. I know I would make it through if I were in her place, but I'm glad I'm not having to figure it out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Anissa Mayhew

Sometimes I check out the blog roll on other sites, because my Reader list is tiny and I need to find more ways to waste time on the internet than I currently have available, yeah. Anyway during the previous shift of actually having time to waste, or rather feeling so fed up with housework that I chose the internet over it, I saw a blog called Aiming Low. That sounded about right so I checked it out. It was mid November and the current post was very personal to them. One of their contributors, Anissa, had just had a massive stroke. I felt sad as I always do when I hear of such things. But I did something I don't always do, I intentionally went to find out more. Now don't get me wrong, I don't avoid these kinds of stories because I have no heart, but because I have too much. I take these things on in my soul, worrying over them as if it were happening in my own family. I just can't function like that so I say a prayer and praise the blessings in my life as well as theirs and try to move on. But not this time. Maybe because I have a friend who had a stroke when she was young (totally recovered). Maybe because I once had symptoms of a mini-stroke, a TIA, though I didn't know that as it was happening, but learned about it only after my neurologist wanted to do a scan. Fortunately, he saw no physical signs that a TIA had occurred. Although we never figured it out, it hasn't happened again. But I think about it because I just can't turn those kinds of thoughts off. And I'd been thinking of Anissa. I hadn't checked in on her since the end of January but I checked last Saturday and shared her story with my husband. I thought about her and about something else I realized - that she moved states last summer and now lives in the same metro area as I do. I'd been wondering if there was something I could do to help. But it's kind of weird. I could only offer time or service, but I'm a total stranger. She has kids, I have kids, would I want to accept in-person help from a total stranger? Allow them into a life that included my young children? She could easily live an hours drive from me and still be in the same metropolis but she could be in my same town. So with these thoughts, I checked her blog again yesterday (which she started when her daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia - talk about a double whammy). I, along with others touched by her story, found good news. Anissa is well enough to return home. The thing is that their insurance co-pay for the therapy she needs is quite high - to the tune of $4000. We may have run out of money like 2 weeks ago and it may be too weird to offer/accept my in-person help, but this, passing along her story, I can do.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A change in tone: Night Time Waking- Toddlers

When I originally started this blog, I had the idea that I'd use it simply as an outlet to vent - mostly about my marriage and financial situation. After all, I had other blogs, each with a different base topic to satisfy my compartmentalizing needs. But after the past few months, in which I didn't blog anywhere and barely made an appearance on any on-line outlet, I began to rethink my goals and needs. Instead of embracing the "cranky" part of this blog, I'm going to focus more on the "mommy" part, which is more than just my family title, as all you fellow moms know. To be sure, I will still have cranky days - mostly owing to lack of sleep. Like today since my son spent a very restless night in bed with me. This is something new, I don't think the girls ever spent a night in our bed, once they stopped night nursing, if they weren't quite sick and that hasn't happened often. I don't want to start a trend but I don't have the energy to figure out what is going on with AK (who's 2.5). Really, he's just been very cranky himself through the day and has been refusing afternoon naps in favor of late evening naps. This is a problem I haven't gotten figured out yet. I'll share my tips for the sleeping problems I did figure out and hope you'll share any tips you have for me on this one!

(The following post originally appeared on my "company manners" blog Neoteric Traditional)
No super parent am I, nor have I had terrible issues with my kids at night, but I've got some experience and some tips. This doesn't mean that I'm not awoken nearly every night by one thing or another, but sometimes it's my own sleep issues or more frequently it's the train rumbling past, oh wait, that's my husband's snoring.

To find the correct fix, you have to figure out why your child is waking up.

Are you in potty training mode? She could be waking as she pees or when it becomes uncomfortable. Is she dry when she wakes up in the middle of the night? One issue we went through was she was being alerted by her bladder but she was too sleepy to realize the cause / didn't know to go to the bathroom at night. When she woke up, I'd take her to the toilet and remind her that was why she woke up. As she went to bed I'd tell her "If you wake up at night, go to the potty, quietly and without me."

Is she a cover kicker or a night sweater? Try changing PJ types and different blankets. First, we practiced how to fix her cover during the day which worked sometimes, but eventually I turned the flat sheet perpendicular so I could snugly tuck in the "sides" and she couldn't get everything so twisted up. I kept the sheet a bit loose on her because she's an active sleeper but the length meant I could tuck in more sheet than she could kick.

Is this the start of nightmares? This one is a bit tougher, because when they're scared they just want you. Talk out the dream in the morning, ask her things that she could change or add to the dream to make it turn into a good one. Try to not give answers here, but if you do make sure they're as silly and as "rainbow-y" as you can think of. Bestow some magic powers on her favorite snugly or get a new one that can fix the scary dream. Flashlights, especially those with the silhouette caps are good at chasing bad dreams out the window.

Is she in a growth phase? Our bodies do most of their growth and repair at night but sometimes it can hurt. It might take you massaging her legs or arms for a few minutes but see if you can figure out something she can do herself. Try adding a little rub down to your nighttime routine and getting a funny little massager thing she can rub on her legs/arms. The one I have is just blue plastic but it's mine therefore special for her to use. There are ladybug shaped ones and plain wooden ones etc.

My final tip is to think about your and your spouse's sleep patterns. You kids could have similar patterns / issues. If they simply wake up at night make sure there are things to do at night in the bed or in easy reach. A dim lamp, nightlight, or flashlight so she can see what she's doing, some favorite books, little stuffed animals, a magna-doodle type board. Something she can do alone, quietly and that won't be wrecked when she falls back asleep on top of it.

Those are the 5 main reasons my girls have woken up at night and for the most part these fixes have worked. Let's not forget the boy though, and since I've publicly put in my 2 cents on this issue, he'll have bigger and harder to solve problems!

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See, I knew it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Marital Communi-whatzis?

If all a man's thinking went on in his brain, I believe a sizable chunk of marital miscommunication wouldn't exist. If I have told you dozens of times over the years that *standing too close* and rubbing my bicep doesn't get me in the mood, furthermore, that after all these years it is now an irritation, yet you still try it this morning, you must not be thinking with your brain. I know you are able because I can say to you "What are you singing? Is that something you made up or is it that band you like?" and you answer with "I made it up, it's not Soul Coughing" you know who I meant even though you haven't been really into them for about 7 years.
I'll concede that it may not be possible to think entirely with your brain, but at least get it involved.


What's that you say? Something about women and emotions? Hormones? What the hell are you getting at man? Are you saying that I don't always think completely rationally? Really? Yeah, I didn't think so. OK Baby, we'll talk later! *kiss*