Friday, November 21, 2014

Notice the Fear

I'm working hard at not stressing out about  getting all my bloggy stuff in perfect order.  Right now it feels more messy than anything but I still think it's a good choice in the long run.  However I can't seem to figure out the WordPress reader!  My wonderful husband actually called tech support for me and apparently it's a problem on their end...this isn't a great start!  But oh well, shit happens.

Here's a peak at today's 5mf post:

I have noticed that I don’t write much about Marie these days. I write about general things.  But I have shied away from my thoughts and feelings about being her parent.  I think that’s a disservice to me and to those who read my blog.  My dealings with her are a large part of my daily life.  For me not to talk about those struggles is as if to omit them.  And for what purpose? 

Want the rest?  Visit my work-in-progress: Jessica's Grace

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Letter to the Others

It appears that I am indeed transitioning to my new site.  It will continue to change as Mr. Sexy finds time to help me with it.  He and I laugh together as I have ideas for new projects but find the start up to be completely overwhelming.  For instance:

Me: I'm definitely going to garden next year.

He looks over at me.

Me: Ugh, who am I kidding? It'll never happen.

Him: That's so funny because there is a perfect spot for a garden on the side of the house although I know you've never really ventured over there.

Me: Oh! Well, maybe if you get it all started for me then I could do it!

Him: So you want me to do the garden for you?

Me: That would be wonderful!  Thanks honey!

 Laughter ensues. (And he is already making plans.)

Anyways, I will continue to post here with a link to my new space.  If you would be so kind as to venture over there and give me a follow at some point that would be ever so wonderful.  As for today's post, here you go:

The following letter will not reach it’s recipients unless they happen upon this blog and this blog post.  If that were to happen, that would be an okay thing.  If not, well, it’s how I’m processing my frustration and if that’s the only purpose here then that’s just fine with me.

Dear Other Parents,
I’m sorry if I have offended you.  Offense is not my intention. While I’m not exactly sure how I have been so incredibly offensive, I would like to ask for your forgiveness anyways. Know that as I am being humbled in these moments with these words, it is a struggle to do so.
The rest of the letter is over here.  
Happy following!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Game Night

Monopoly was a family favorite growing up. It was our go-to game perhaps because it was one of the few games we had where we could all play together.  Still to this day, when we are together, competition is fierce.  Even when we were all little kids game nights were intense. So I suppose one might say I grew up in a competitive family.  In fact, my mom used to reminisce and tell me how she and my dad would race when making their bed together. Whoever got their side done first was the winner.  Or something like that.

It turns out that in many ways I married a man who is on the opposite end of the spectrum than me.  When he was first introduced to my family game nights he would laugh and shake his head at the high level of intensity. Everybody would be up in arms about who was doing this right and who was gloating too much and who was being the most annoying.  I'm not sure if he ever got the privilege of seeing anybody cry during one of these events though.

Catan, a family favorite.
Catan, a current family favorite.

You can probably gather that family game nights, at least for me, created more stress and strife than anything. As Mr. Sexy and I began growing our family and creating our own traditions, game night was something I wanted for my kids - but not with me up in arms over who was winning or losing at Candy Land.  Yes, Candy Land.  It happens. I became particularly concerned about my competitive nature when I saw the same qualities blooming in Michael.  Again, it was Candy Land.  Candy Land is where all game nights begin, I imagine. So Mr. Sexy and I began to coach Michael on breathing techniques and lecturing him that win or lose, the purpose is to have fun and enjoy each other's company.  I quickly realized I was learning right alongside Michael.

I began taking a few pages from my husband's book.  It started with an adult beverage during game night.  (We all gotta start somewhere!) I practiced saying as little as possible.  This would cause my heart to race and my body would become rigid from the desire to whine, gloat or say something snarky. That's when Michael's breathing techniques came in to play. It's still a little amazing how a few deep breaths can calm my racing heart.
It has been a few years but I think Mr. Sexy would agree: Game nights have improved.

Even a puzzle can be competitive.
Even a puzzle can be competitive.

Now, game nights when all my brothers and parents get together is still another story. I have decided to be very picky about when I choose to join in - for my own sanity, of course.  And even though I get chided for this, I know that it's in my best interest. I also have a rule that ANY game with these crazy family members of mine should be accompanied by an adult beverage of some sort. What can I say?  I'm an imperfect person and I really like being an adult.

All this to say, I'm incredibly thankful every day for the husband I have.  He continues to challenge me simply by how he lives his life in front of me. My kids are so blessed to have him around - if for no other reason than to keep their crazy mom in check!

He also has a crazy side.
He also has a crazy side.

Today is my first time joining Retired not Tired for Memory Monday!
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Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

P.S. I am in the process of creating a new blog space over here.  Actually, what am I saying?  Mr. Sexy has done all the work so far because he's amazing like that.  Anyways, I'm not sure when but there will be a transition. 

Friday, November 14, 2014


It's messy.  It's not edited.  It's raw. But it's honest.

The non communication between Michael's parents and Mr. Sexy and I drives me up the wall.  I'm sure it would most people.  From what I hear, co-parenting is never easy.  I get that.  Except for one thing.  Co-parenting has the term, "co," in it.  As in together.  Working as team.  Talking to each other.  Discussing issues at home or at school.

There is no "co" in our co-parenting system.  At least that's how it feels most of the time.  For instance:

Two days ago was the cookie dough pick up day.  I was really proud of Michael for partcipating in the fundraiser this year and he had goals of how much he wanted to sell in order to receive prizes.  I picked up his two boxes and headed home proudly.  Soon after I got a call from his dad.  Apparantley we picked up his cookie dough as well.  I was confused because I didn't see any names from that set of parents on the order form.

Upon opening the box I found an order form - however it wasn't one I had seen.  It from Michael's dad's family and friends.  I realized I picked up their cookie dough instead of ours.


Because Michael had two order forms, there was no accumulation of prizes.  He missed out.  Michael missed out on something good because his dad wasn't able to share information with me.

I'm still upset about it.  I feel like Michael was wronged.  I feel like he was let down. I feel like letting go of the "co" in parenting as Michael's other parents seem to do so often.

But I won't.  I'm better than that.  Mr. Sexy is better than that.

Today, I'm still fighting for the "co" in parenting.

Thanks for reading my unedited, unashamed 5 minutes of writing on the word: Still
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Consequences in Action

I love this kid. 

He's funny, energetic and is the highlight of the room. 

But he has another side. 

 First grade has been full of learning curves for Michael and for Mr. Sexy and I as his parents.  The parent-teacher conference we recently had brought a few things to light. What Mr. Sexy and I thought were minor issues at home were actually larger issues at school.  The past six months or so have been crazy for us.  But what's new?  However, I realize I have let Michael's behaviors fall to the way side more than I think I ever have.  Now we are seeing some of the effects. 

Michael is having a difficult time staying on task at school.  When he is on task he does his work slowly, meticulously.  If it's not perfect according to his standards, he is unhappy and will do it over if possible.  This behavior has caused him to not finish his work on a regular basis.  When asked to move on, I was told he cries about it.  Just about every day he cries.  (Yeah, my kid is THAT kid these days.) Up until very recently he was told to stay in during recess to finish his unfinished work.  Since he has told me how much he enjoys staying in, I have asked his teacher to send unfinished work home as homework and to force him outside to play.  I'm told even getting him out the door has been a struggle. 

Michael does have difficulty staying on task, even at home.  When doing something as simple as cleaning his dinner bowl, it can take him anywhere from 5-30 minutes.  This is with just about every task he is asked to complete.  

Now we set a timer for every task.  He can see it.  He can hear when it goes off.  Sometimes he gets his stuff done.  Other times, not even close. 

And that brings us to this morning. 

Michael has a timer for every step in his morning: Making his bed, getting dressed, making his lunch, eating breakfast, getting himself ready to go out the door.  Every day seems to bring a challenge but this morning was especially challenging. 

He couldn't find anything to wear. 

That's not an abnormal problem for anybody.  I understand this problem!  But, when push comes to shove, I always find pants and a t-shirt - even if I have to dig through the dirty laundry.  Lucky for Michael, I found him two pairs of pants and two long sleeve shirts last night and I told him so.  Yet this morning he came down stairs wearing Marie's jeans over his pajamas with a sad face saying, "Look!  These won't fit!"  That was our first clue the morning would be rough. 

Mr. Sexy and I have been working hard on making Michael think through problems for himself.  For some reason this has been a monstrous struggle for him.  (Well, I have my theories...there are two sets of parents in his life - but I won't go there...yet.) So of course, this morning Michael had an opportunity to look for pants and a shirt.  

Apparently there were none to be found.  His timer went off and his opportunity to get dressed passed.  On to breakfast.  Well that timer ended and he hadn't quite finished eating either (Denai took care of that later). At that point he had 12 minutes to get himself ready to go out the door.  Most of that time was spent wandering aimlessly around looking as though the entire world was against him.  As Mr. Sexy and I were up and about we noticed several pants and shirts scattered on his bedroom floor.  Yet Michael remained in his pajamas, every once in a while whining about not having any clothes to wear. 

That 12 minutes was stressful.  Do we send him to school in pj's?   How is that appropriate?  Do we give him clothes with a lecture?  That obviously hasn't worked in the past... Should we physically dress him like we do Denai?  As Mr. Sexy and I quietly discussed what to do we kept coming to the main point: He has clothes.  For some reason he is choosing not to see them

He needed to be pulled up short and sudden, as Marilla Cuthbert would say. 

 Our conclusion was painful for me.  But it was the right one.  Twelve minutes passed and we told Michael it was time for his shoes.  He would be attending school in his pajamas.

A conniption fit ensued.  He was almost carried to the truck this morning.  Almost.  

After they left I called his teacher and explained our morning.  Let's just say I LOVE HER.  She understands the concept of Love and Logic and supports it fully.  It was good I called so she would know and understand why Michael was in his pajamas and why he might be particularly upset.  His teacher also encouraged me in my efforts and even said, "You will win this.  Just stay firm a consistent.  You will win." 

So, Michael is in his pajamas at school.  I'm not sure what kind of attitude will enter the van when I pick him up.  But today's consequence was needed, as painful as it was for all of us.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Catching Up Tuesday

Today is going to be one of my rare catching up posts.  Perhaps only a few have noticed, but I have been MIA from this part of my life for a little over a week now.  Nothing traumatic was going on, I have just been incredibly busy and thus too exhausted to spend any time formulating coherent thoughts worthy of anybody reading.  I can barely get words on a page even right now.

So now, it's time to catch up.

First off, remember that I have a bunch of animals?  8 chickens, 1 rooster, 3 dogs, 1 cat and 1 turtle.  It's been fun to have so many animals running around outside.  Doing the dishes was  always entertaining because the coop and run were right there under the kitchen window.

I say was because chickens and rooster are no more.

The original 6 as chicks.

Long story short, Mr. Sexy and I have a history of making quick decisions and do our best to ignore potential red flags.  Rue and Atlas were one of those decisions. And now, Rue has officially killed off every single chicken we have owned.  Those two dogs are gone now.  And we are buying more chickens soon.  We are determined to get our own eggs regularly! At least now we can say: lesson learned.

Atlas, the brother who watches.
Rue, the hunter.

Now we have our one beloved dog, Winnie, and our 1 cat (though I haven't seen Whiskers for a few days) and our turtle, Shelly Sheldon Sexy.  I miss having a bunch of animals running around outside.

What has kept me most preoccupied this week is Marilla Cuthbert.  We opened Anne of Green
Gables this weekend so last week was excruciating.  I saw Mr. Sexy rarely and had 4 hour rehearsals every night.  I would come home full of energy so it took time to calm down and get to sleep.  Then I was tired the next morning and had no energy for things like laundry, dishes, sweeping or getting dressed.
Nervously yet happily waiting to go on stage.

In one word: exhausting.

I knew I was becoming drained during a conversation with Mr. Sexy about some things that had been going on with Marie.  I said something but he reacted to what he heard which in turn hurt my feelings so I shut him out.  It wasn't long before we were able to talk it through and I realized the emotional toll the play was having on me.  Thankfully, crazy late nights are over - for now.

We did two shows this past weekend and we have 4 more next weekend and then we are done. I tend to get really nervous about stupid things like birthday parties where I know people. It's ridiculous.  So imagine my nerves on opening night... I was shaking when I went on stage and the nerves didn't calm until halfway through the first act.

What I found is that as I accomplished each entrance, every line and every scene, my confidence boosted.  The second show wasn't quite so nerve-racking for me, either.  It was actually a lot of fun.

Well now, that's all I feel like talking about right now.  I have to get back in the swing of things.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Truth or...

The last time I played Truth or Dare was with my kids.  It was during one of my our many summer camping nights.  The idea of the game sprung from our adult version with our friends weeks before - on another camping trip, of course.  That's what our summer was all about after all.  Camping.  Memories.  Friends.

It took a bit for the kids to get into the game.  For instance, Michael used the same dare every time.  Finally we told him he should try something new because it was getting boring.  Marie seemed to be completely embarrassed by the game and copied what everyone else was doing.  Denai was in our tent talking to Siri until we confiscated that relationship.  Later we found her half off our blow up mattress snoring soundly.

Playing Truth or Dare with our kids was a different experience from playing with our adult friends.  Something as simple as a kiss on the cheek was an embarrassing dare for Marie.  For Michael, I dared him to do silly things like lick dad's shoe or climb to the top of pile of branches that were near to us.  When it came to licking things, Michael was freaked out.  But game rules prevailed.  And he had a blast.

And that's my five minutes on the word dare.

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