Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back to Basics

So lately, every time I bust out the laptop it's to do work... So naturally writing my blog has been the last thing on my mind, as we are trying to make a deadline for our project. But in an effort to not drive myself completely insane with work, I thought I'd sit down while the mood strikes me and while I'm feeling inspired. 

This afternoon I put on some Beatles and while singing to The Padawan watching him dance to the music I grew up on, I was reminded of growing up in my Dad and Step-Mom's house. We had 6 kids and a daycare of sometimes 12 kids in a 4 bedroom house in the Mather area of Sacramento. It was crowded to say the least... But man, it was some of the happiest years of my childhood. We didn't live extravagantly, in fact... we were pretty broke. Vacations consisted of camping trips and eating out at a restaurant happened once in a blue moon. My Dad had the most hideous two tone brown dodge van at the time, the kind you would pray no one would see if you had to be picked up from school. At least I remember on a couple of occasions I didn't take the bus home. I would thank my lucky stars if my Dad was running behind and most of the kids had left school already, I wouldn't be seen getting into the Brady-Mobile as we so aptly named the van. But I loved that van too. We'd all pile in there, sing Beatles songs at the top of our lungs. My Dad would agonize over teaching each kid a separate harmony so we could all sing together and we'd be off to whatever destination, singing along together with huge smiles on our faces. During those days my Step-Mom would cook dinners like the macaroni goulash she would teach me to make, it took the longest time for me to learn how to cook for less than 8 people. We'd all sit down around the dinner table, sometimes my Dad would put Miles Davis or John Coltrane on in the background and we'd just have dinner together... simple, perfect, just a family eating dinner together. We'd talk about our days, our interests... I'm sure my Dad would tell us some corny joke. It was nothing fancy, but it was great. 

Now that I'm a mom, and for all intents and purposes a step-mom. I find I'm constantly going back to these times in my head to try and figure out how to be a better parent. Especially being a step-parent, it can be pretty challenging. So I try and remember how my Step-Mom went about things. I find myself in awe of my Step-Mom and Dad and how they raised 6 kids during that time on a shoestring budget. I mean, it's not to say they were perfect or didn't make mistakes. They totally did... But given the circumstance and looking back, they did pretty fucking good with all of us kids. I don't remember ever feeling like I had to go without or not feeling loved. I also know my parents were broke with 6 kids in the house. Even recently when we took the boys to the Monterey Aquarium for the weekend, it cost a small fortune, how did my parents ever take 6 of us kids anywhere without breaking the bank. What I've come to realize is we just need to keep it simple and go back to basics. I don't know if these days kids expectations have changed, or if us as parents think we need to go above and beyond to keep from feeling like we are depriving our kids. It may be a little of both. All I know is I was completely satisfied and felt more love than ever as a poor family in the suburbs of Sacramento during the 90's.

For a while there, I felt like we were really in a grove. I was cooking dinners and we were eating together. We were doing crafts with the kids. We had more of a routine. After the holidays everything sort of got scrambled and we unravelled. We really just need to get a better established routine and I'm hoping over the summer we can perfect that. 

We've been going to some pretty awesome parks in the area lately and I was telling The Old Man we should do more board games. Just simple things like turning off the T.V. and putting on music. I mean really it just seems like... DUH! Of course, but when you get wrapped up in schedules and homework, dinner and baths, karate, then soccer is coming. It seems like we constantly have something going on. But now is not the time to be a lazy parent. Especially with the boys getting older. We really need to create a more solid routine for them. I've known this for a while and we've done better, then life will get crazy and everything unravels and we fall out of step with the routine, then I start feeling like a bum of a parent.

I know I have to step up my game, or at least I feel I do. I've been stressed and a bit depressed lately. I'm not the best mom I can be when I'm in a dark place. But I realize, every mom and parent is stressed. It's all part of it. I can't feel sorry for myself. I have a job to do, and that's to be the best fucking mom I can be. The more I sit around and feel sorry for myself, the less time I'm available to the kids. 

I know we are moving in the right direction. As of today The Old Man has had 3 interviews in the last week. So I know we just have to keep doing what we are doing, and something will come around. Then once we can move... that will be huge!

It's such a difficult thing living in this house. I have never, ever once felt like my house. No matter how much we paint, replace, repair... It's just not my house. On top of the fact that its not worth the money we put in to it and I hate the street we live on. It makes me feel trapped, this place is really just to small for the 5 of us and it feels like we are treading water just to keep up on basic chores because we don't have enough room and the walls tend to close in on me sometimes. The main house (minus the converted garage which is now our bedroom) is less than 900 square feet. And not to mentionhis ex lived here for 7 years, then we all lived here together with the kids, his ex and her girlfriend. It wasn't a happy time and it brings up really bad memories that sometimes I feel like I'm stuck with forever. Maybe it's a bit petty of me. But hey, it is what it is and living here drives me up the wall most days. But we are working on moving. Hopefully by next year. We will see. And I know really, I shouldn't bitch about it. At least we have a roof over our heads, right?

For the time being I have to look at the big picture and celebrate the things we do have. We do have a house, our kids are happy and thriving. Things could be a lot worse, I know that for sure. Just because things aren't exactly ideal right now, doesn't mean we aren't making progress to get us to the point we want. And that's what The Old Man keeps telling me, one day I guess I will actually get it... but he keeps saying we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And it's true. Patience is not a virtue I possess. If it takes us a year to get to where we want to be, or even two... in the grand scheme of things... what's a couple of years?

One Love <3

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Let there be light

So, for the last couple weeks I've been like Artax sinking in the swap of sadness (you know, Atreyu's horse from the Never Ending Story) with little to no hope things will turn around for us at the Love Shack. That's kind of how I roll, I suppose. Worse case scenario is always right what I start thinking. It's really stupid and probably accounts for about 80% of my anxiety. But it's part of my brain I can't rewire.

Well, today we got a little piece of news that will help things out around here. Now we can get things straightened out until full time work comes for the old man... Which I am positive will happen soon. The old man keeps telling me, we just need to put one foot in front of the other. That's what we have been doing. We've talked about everything in depth, till our eyes are ready to bleed and I think we might just have a good plan...

Just like that I found energy to do stuff around the house and find a little bit of hope, instead of curling up with depression and shutting out the world. The storm clouds are lifting a bit and now it's just slightly overcast. Yippee!

The old man's birthday is this Wednesday and then comes Mothers Day and then our middlest birthday. So again, it will be a whirlwind for the next couple weeks at The Shack. I love doing stuff for the guys birthdays. It's so fun to gush with love for them. We have a lot of fun stuff planned. It will be nice to spend time with the boys and our families. 

Now if we could just get The Love Shack straightened up and ready for the summer, everything will be in order (for the most part).
I'm hopeful we are coming out of this dark cloud and we've got the ball rolling. I'm looking forward to BBQ's in the back yard with friends and family. We've talked to the boys about camping once they get out of school and I think that will be a lot of fun. Also I'm itching to get back up to my Grandma and Grandpas house, where everything seems right in the world. 

Perspective is a funny thing. When I got up this morning all I could see was doom and gloom. But tonight, I see a endless amount of possibilities and I think we might just be alright here at The Love Shack. It's not to say that we are out of the woods just yet. But at least we have a bit of a plan and we can hold on just a little bit longer. 

I'm can't tell you how lucky I am to have the support I do from my friends, family and Old Man. I know the path that has led me here has been long and twisted. But for tonight, I have my love, my family and the hope that we might just be okay.

One Love <3

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Time flies when you're being responsible...

So it's been a little while since I've posted. It's been a whirlwind around The Shack these days. The old man was gone for a weekend to officiate his best friends wedding. So the padawan and I did our best to keep busy without our Padre. Grocery shopping, playing, going to the park and visiting with our friends, all sorts of fun was had. 

The baby has been eating like a horse these days. I've been using the "more" sign with him for quite some time now, but we have discovered he has a modified sign where he points with his index finger into his palm to tell us he wants food. It's absolutely amazing to be able to communicate with him this way. I recently went and got him all sorts of stuff for his meals. I used the menu my step-mom had for her daycare when I was growing up, I am so happy with how rounded his meal are now. I had a concern he wasn't getting everything he needed because we would basically give him bits of whatever we were eating. Even though we eat pretty healthy for the most part, being the worry wort mom that I am, I just wanted to make absolutely certain. So just to make sure I got him his own items.

The older boys have started karate and Jaya and I are really excited about it. The boys seem to love it and I think it is going to be so great for them. I had suggested for them to go to Robinson's Tae Kwon Do because my old instructor Master Rankins is a part of Robinson's and I am familiar with their program (also I loved Master Rankins). The old man and the boys mom decided to go somewhere else where a bunch of kids from their elementary school go, which was great because their first day they knew all the kids in the class and loved it. I'm excited for them to be going. I think it made such an impact on me as a grade schooler and as I grew up, my Tae Kwon Do family was awesome. 

I'm loving my new job with the Rob, Arnie and Dawn show. It's fun and interesting and something new everyday. I feel so thankful to be given the opportunity to work there. The old man is still looking for work. He's applied to so many places, I've lost count but it's somewhere in the 100's. We got a couple of suggestions for places to check out and we've been sending in everything we can. Literally a minimum of 4 app's or resumes a day. Looking for a job has turned in to a full time job. I'm trying to relax and hope that things turn around for us. It's just really scary for me. Especially now that I'm a parent and I don't just have to worry about me. I don't know why but I have always been a worst case scenario thinker and I get super stressed out about the whole situation. Yesterday we blasted off probably 30 resumes or applications. I'm hoping that something come through. We sent out things from anything to a construction manager where he has a lot of experience to whole foods and warehouse work. It's just so frustrating and depressing and I'm trying to keep hope alive. 

Yesterday we took baby for a walk in old Fair Oaks. It was so nice, all the flowers in bloom, people out working in their yards. We talked and showed him the roosters and chickens and all the different flowers. I really love our little walks.

Today I have a to get through organizing and going through my clothes. I have 3 bags to take to sell at Freestyle or Crossroads. I'm really trying to pair everything down to give us some more room and not feel so cluttered. The Love Shack is pretty small for all of us, it's my hope that in the not so near future we can move from here. Some place we can make "our" home. Not somewhere where I have never felt was my home. It might be a silly, but it's really hard to live in this house where he lived with his ex. I know it's hard for him to think of moving. But I think we would do so much better in a little bit of a bigger place that doesn't require so much work on a day to day basis. I know I need to be realistic and the first thing for us to do is get him a job and then see where we're at. Maybe we should get a lotto ticket... Wouldn't that be nice?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oh Derby, You Evil Temptress...

Last night my friend Brittany and I went to go watch my roller derby teams season opener. Recently I decided to take a sabbatical from derby until I can balance "momhood" and derby. But watching bouts, knowing I could be skating if I would just stick in there... KILLS ME!

After I had my son, I rejoined the league last August again after moving to Texas, moving back then figuring out health benefits getting pregnant, having a baby, and then getting to a point where I was okay leaving to go practice. The league is a different league than the one I left when I moved to Texas. It's AWESOME! But it requires a ton of commitment with practice and participation. Which is great because before I left, I was a board member for the league and we were constantly hitting our heads against the wall to try and get this change to happen. I'm so happy to see the level of dedication and commitment the skaters have to the league now. It's amazing. 

So what's my problem? Why can't I just jump right back into it? Let me try to explain. 

I don't want to just half ass my commitment to derby and I know it will take a significant amount of dedication for me to skate. Not only skate, but get rostered for a team. The goal to go from the intra-league team to the B team, to the A team eventually. Which takes quite a bit of commitment. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to go back and at least get on the B team if I worked at it. But here's the thing, every time I would go to practice I'd feel guilty for leaving, and also for the old man with all three kids which can be a bit cumbersome for one person. In all honesty though, he supports me in 100% in whatever I want to do. I could tell him I was going to go be a tight rope walker and he would think it was a great idea. He just wants me to be happy in whatever I do. That doesn't change the fact though that I would feel guilty for leaving my baby. Then when I would skip practice to be with my family, I would feel guilty for slacking on my commitment to the league. So it was like a double edge guilt sword. On top of the fact I still have some significant pain in my "nether regions" from child birth. I've been putting it off, but I'm 90 percent sure I'm going to have to have some sort of reconstructive surgery (I know that might be too much information, but I'm an open book). Not to mention the money it takes to skate with dues and other expenses. It goes back to my guilt on spending money on things I "want" rather than "need". Especially right now when the old man is unemployed and we are working with a limited income. That said, I know the league has assistance programs for people who can't afford to pay 100% of the dues.

Since sending in my letter to the league that I wouldn't be returning this season, I don't feel the stress of constantly dealing with guilt. But, every time I see a bout... my heart bleeds to be on my skates. I'm hoping things financially turn around for us, maybe that would help me out a little bit not feeling bad about spending money on derby. And once we get things a little bit more figured out, he and I can work out a schedule and see what our work schedules will look like once he gets back to full time work.

What I may end up doing is joining the Rec League we have which is only 1 day a week and that way I at least would still be getting skating time in and when I was ready to go back, I'd still have my skate legs. Also it doesn't cost as much to do the Rec League.

We'll see. I just have to figure it out in my head what I can and can't do. And not feel bad one way or the other.

At any rate...
I'm off now to go deal with my mountain of clothes I need to purge.

One Love <3

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Cautionary Tale: The Perils of Online Retail Therapy

The Old Man once told me he use to think I was funky and kitschy, but it dawned on him I really just have the taste of an old lady. As time goes by, I realize he hit the nail on the head. This was painfully obvious a couple of days ago when I got a wild (grey) hair and went on a online shopping rager.

It started out innocently enough, I was looking for a set of vintage Corelle dishes. I have never owned a complete set of dinner dishes. When I had first moved out of my parents house as a teenager, I had gotten a couple of Fiestaware plates and bowls and eventually I would just add different plates and bowls from here and there, for a complete mismatched set. Over the years, and countless moves later, who knows where they've ended up. When we went to replace the mismatched stuff in the house, we ended up just getting some cheap all glass plates and dishes from Target. But I have always longed for a set of Corelle Butterfly Gold dishes. After scouring eBay and etsy I found a 10 person set, complete with serving platers and other pieces like a butter dish and gravy boat. After finding that, I was addicted. I had to find more things to complete our kitchen ware. I found some Corningware casserole dishes and skillets and some melemaine stuff too. Online shopping can get me in trouble because with a click of a button it's yours, then before you know you it you've spent too much money on stuff that in all reality, you probably don't "need".

And so, I struggle with guilt, for spending money on things I "want" instead of "need". Even though I know I find good deals on eBay and all that. I'm sure there are more responsible things I could spend money on. Here's a picture of the pattern I am in love with. It's called Butterfly Gold.

But... I do have a plan. I'm going to go through all our old mismatched stuff and also (for those of you who know me)my mountain of clothes to purge them yet again, but this time I'm really going to let go of a lot of stuff. For some reason in the past I would always hang on to some article of clothing thinking "I'll fit in this again one day." Or "One day I will find something to wear this too." Well not this time... I'm really going to purge as much as possible. I'm planning on taking them to Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads or Freestyle and selling them off. It probably won't be a lot of money, but it will make me feel better for my online splurge. When the weather gets better I'm thinking we can do a garage sale, since I wasn't able to get to my friends garage sale to sell stuff I needed to. We will see how that goes.

The kids are playing drums in the bedroom. What a wonderful thing, sounds like a perfect opportunity for me to clean the kitchen. So I'm off to get that started.

One love <3

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Salutations from The Love Shack

Since this is my first posting for my new blog. I feel the need to catch up to speed. My old blog "Hipster Dufus Mama" has been taken down because I felt the need to start over. A lot has happened since the old blogs last posting. First and foremost the birth of my son. He was born March 7th, 2011 and was a big boy at 9lbs 11oz and 22in. 

His birth was a bit traumatic for me and him. To make a long story short. He was almost two weeks overdue and I had to be induced. After they gave me the pitocin my contractions really kicked in. I had no choice but to get an epidural because the pain came on like a tsunami. The nurse told me Sebastian had the cord around his neck, so when they told me to push I pushed like I've never pushed before. Three pushes and he was out, but that did a number on my "nether regions". Needless to say I required a ton of stitches and also a blood transfusion due to the loss of blood. I had a hell of a recovery even after getting home. I can tell you I am so blessed to have my old man in my life. He took care of me, the kids and visiting family while I was unable to walk for a month. To this day I don't really feel normal down there, but that's for a different conversation. The old man continues to be Super Dad at every turn, it amazes me the amount of patience he has and his perspective on things really helps me when I need it.

Today my little padawan is a huge 13 month old. He loves his two older brothers more than anything. We have the older boys 50% of the time and the baby can hardly contain himself when they walk in the door. One of my favorite things is to watch them all play and squeal. Before I know it they will be all grown up and out of the house and I know I have to relish in this time before it's gone. Even today I was watching the padawan, who is painfully independent at times, eat his apple sauce all by himself with a big boy spoon. When did this happen? When did he get so old he can now feed himself? He didn't ask me if any of this growing up business is okay. But I guess that's what kids do. 

Unfortunately or fortunately (whatever way you want to look at it) The Old Man was laid off from his job. Instead of being negative about it, we realized it would truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend an amazing summer with the boys. And that's exactly we did. We took little weekend trips to a great cabin in Tahoe. We went to Disneyland and San Diego. Both of which I have been itching to go back to. The Disney's Grand Californian hotel is truly amazing, even for someone like me who doesn't want to be around other peoples kids. It was great. The pool was amazing, it was right inside the California Adventure park. Ah, I could go on and on. We loved it. San Diego was great too. Though I won't ever go back to Sea World again. It was sort of like a rubbish Santa Cruz board walk with whales. Totally not worth the money. I wish we would have just gone to the zoo everyday. The zoo was simply breathtaking. I loved it. All the lush greenery and flowers, leisurely walking through the bird aviaries that's bigger than our house by about three times, and of course the ocean and perfect San Diego weather. I was also able to go to Oklahoma for a month and visit some of my family out there which I loved every second of. Its hard to have them so far away. And then I went up to Northern California to visit my grandparents and aunt. It was such a great time. Grandmas house always feels like home and grounds me in a way that I can't describe. There's nothing like it. Homemade bread and wrapping up with grandmas quilts talking and laughing. I love it.

Now summer is over and the holiday season has come to a close, spring is here and we've really been looking hard and heavy for a decent job for the old man. He's sent out countless applications and resumes, with little no response. However, I got an amazing opportunity to work part-time at a radio show here in the area. So I suppose we are moving in the right direction and if we keep doing all we can, things will turn around. The important thing is that we have a roof over our head, food to eat and happy kids. We've managed to plan everything so we will be okay for a while, but me being the constant worrier, I worry what will happen if things don't turn around. For now, I will try to live in the moment and have faith the job market will get better.

Now it's time to relax with my guys and get some snuggle time in.

One love <3