Gratitude

Lovely! I wrote a blog & it vanished. I have plenty of time to replace those spontaneous fleeting thoughts. I will try…
Reflecting on the fact that when you have a family or a crazy life you’re often feeling like you’re treading water. Gratitude keeps me afloat.
Today…It’s so stinkin cold, but we have a roof over our head & walls to protect us from the frigid outdoors.
We’ve been plagued with sickness but it’s sickness that passes. Grateful for healthy kids that don’t suffer for more than a couple days..health!
I checked the oil today & we need a refill. We just spent $1600 a month ago, but grateful we are making ends meet, and we are relatively warm.
The kids are fighting, whining, high maintenance,demanding & lazy, but they are the best gift a Mom could ask for. I adore them to pieces.
The kitchen sink & laundry are overflowing. Actually, the whole house needs special attention, which means we have what we need!
Dave is gone again tonight, working. So grateful he has an important job, helping those less fortunate. His work keeps us grounded.
A night of school work means my children are getting an education. & I happen to love the devoted school staff.
Outside, it’s cold, frigid & messy. I dream of summer. Flowers, gardens, yard play, no school, humidity, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, summer vacation…& wanting the kiddies to get back to school. Gotta love this glorious life because we all have what we need. Thank you God for another day. I love love love this life.

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cabin fever, solitude & madness

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January is the month I chose to detox from Facebook. Just about 2 weeks into detoxing my 3 heathens got 5 Virginia snow days conveniently placed between 2 weekends. Tomorrow is our 9th day of spontaneous unstructured winter holiday. Hubby also had his 4 day break this week. Not much of a rejuvenating break. In fact, he was ready to run out of the chaotic coo coo nest this morning, cheering! That is a tribute to homemakers. As a firefighter medic he gets more peacefulness with the constant risk of having to run into a burning building or try to keep someone from dying at a moment’s notice. That’s easier than the surprise attack of 5 snow days at home with three rambunctious kids. I’m right there with him and we feel bad about that. Honestly with 5 people in a family you can’t just go day to day staying indoors peacefully with no schedule. Someone is bound to go mad…every few hours. It’s either a squirrel brained mad kid deciding to scale a wall while the others laugh and cheer, or an exasperated parent wondering if our children have retained anything we have taught them about being civil human beings. And after 9 days indoors the little criminals have created their own justice system. If they have a disagreement, the obvious response is to fight and scream out the injustice followed by slamming a door & perhaps even poking someone in the eye intentionally <that happened. It’s the wild west.

So, of course I chose this month to detox from my mind numbing sedative, Facebook. I could really use a tranced scroll through the adult playground, mindlessly giving everything a thumbs up. I remember seeing a post about a death in the family and several people gave it a thumbs up. What is that? I’ve had time to think about FB and the time it has sucked from my life. Even though it is meant for connecting and interacting it does just the opposite. It waters down any intimacy. We have friend lists with hundreds of people. Some people post and interact a lot and others just scroll through everyone’s crap, not giving thumbs up or commenting..just looking, privately! Kinda creepy. I keep thinking FB is like a high school dance. You have the wallflowers who always show up and just watch all the loud mouth show-offs strut their flawless existence. And although the Wallflower rolls their eyes, they keep showing up to observe the nonsense. I admit I troll through people’s crap when I find them interesting, but I don’t do it all stalker. I comment on what I find amusing or inspiring. But I have to be honest, I really don’t make new friends on Facebook, despite the ever growing number of “friends”. It’s just a play and when the show is over everyone just leaves with the same friends they already had.

The combination of the snow days and being off FB has given me a lot of time to think and read and interact face to face with people. It’s been a bit of an overload. I read so much I resorted to looking at my husband’s bookshelf, which never happens. I started reading Kerouac’s, Big Sur. Amazingly, its amazing! It has evoked a lot of emotion.. Intense bricks on the chest gripping emotion. I love books that combine an inner journey of self with a physical journey outside of one’s normal environment. Eat, Pray, Love,  Into the Wild and now Big Sur.. My disconnect is creating changes, and I just might go mad if the snow days keep up. I need to be alone so I can introvert, but I appreciate my people I love so much more right now. Afterall, there really are a few people who are really present to experience the ups and downs of life with you. Providing an encouraging FB thumbs up doesn’t count. I really appreciate my people and I want to give them my time. These circumstances are bringing clarity to my life. I’m more present in my messy chaotic family..less distracted, less escapism. I’m really banking on an inner long lasting transformation.

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So not funny or perfect…but great!

So I thought I would take a break from serious stuff and complaining to tell a couple stories from my life that I think are somewhat entertaining. I will try to sum it up without to much unnecessary details.

If you know me, you know I am from Michigan. So, How did I get to Virginia? Well, I royally screwed up my first years of independence. I partied, created debt and basically had nothing to offer the world. I was given an escape route from my demise and a life living in the backwoods of Michigan. My Aunt was a nanny in VA and she somehow persuaded the family she worked for as a live-in nanny to give me a fresh start. Why? I have no clue. That’s not the funny part. That’s Luck! So I took them up on the offer because I literally had nothing to lose. I moved to Virginia and started to rebuild my life and pay debts. My aunt had my back in a big way. During this time I met Dave and worked at Starbucks and everything was improving for me.

After a couple years of rebuilding the family told me it was time to spread my wings and move on. My Aunt, who was also my only real network in VA was moving on to a new job in Ohio. I had no idea what I would do. I had not achieved complete successful independence as of yet. But given the situation, I began looking for places to stay. I was a single young woman in a fairly new state with no family and few connections. I made little money, $30,000 as an Assistant Manager at Starbucks, (chump change in VA) so the best bet was the only house of horrors in Great Falls VA…(a particularly wealthy part of Virginia). I know this because I served coffee to the pompous Starbuck clientele. Still, HOPE! There was ONE house of horrors off the beaten path that I could rent for $400/month with a month to month contract. Hey, it was the best I could do.

It was an old dilapidated plantation style house (reminiscent of an old horror movie backdrop) turned into several apartments. Fabulous, so I responded with interest to the ad in the paper and went to see the apartment. It was no dream, but I could make it work. Optimism. The shower had layers of bath mats serving as a floor. I eventually covered the entire shower with the paper you line cupboards with. bright paper that hid it all..Ha! There was a mattress filling a large space in the wall in my BEDROOM…No clue what was behind. What was I thinking? Weird & creepy in hindsight. There were many holes in the walls and undeniable evidence of mice…( traps) Still, this was the best I could do on my own. I actually felt proud. Dave was a downer and did not like that I lived with several male strangers with no lock on my door. Whatever! I, on the other hand, thought it would be fine. I could handle this independence thing.

I actually loved it! I lived alone and really enjoyed having my own weird space. Yes, creepy but it was my own. The first irritation I encountered in my humble abode was waking up, almost dead, choking on smoke. The guy below me had caught his TV on fire and put it out himself. There was literally ash on the toilet in my apartment above. Could have been the holes in the walls letting smoke in. No biggie!

Then,big disturbing irritation #2. I came home from work one day and my apartment was turned upside down. Mattresses flipped, yes the hole in the wall mattress too. Everything I owned had been searched. I immediately went to the lovely strangers I lived with to find out what happened. Certainly the strangers wouldn’t enter my unlocked apartment. Well they didn’t….actually! The burned TV guy informed me my apartment was searched by the FBI because the other stranger living behind the kitchen robbed a bank. Turns out he robbed the bank in the same strip mall I was working at in the neighboring town, McLean, VA a few days earlier.

Despite, these radical adventures, everything worked out because I had recently found out I was pregnant with Luke out of wedlock. BONUS! That certainly minimized the experiences.  Dave said, We are moving you out NOW! & that’s how our life together really moved forward. A fire, a robbery and an unplanned pregnancy.. I guess sometimes it takes tough weird stuff to change your situation! Life is funny the way it twists and turns. These messed up experiences brought me to my current life, which I love!

I recently watched an entertaining 80’s movie, for the first time the other night. Moonstruck-Cher & Nick Cage. A particular quote from it makes me laugh and remember our beginnings…I definitely prefer the intense adventure to this day, just a little less because I’m getting old. But still I LOVE this line from the movie.

Ronny Cammareri: Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and *die*. The storybooks are *bullshit*. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and *get* in my bed!

 

 

Detox

I decided to pull the plug on FB for now. It’s amazing how freeing it is to unplug. I realize how consuming it can be. For me it’s a constant background noise, always nagging to be checked on. It isn’t necessary to know what’s going on with “everyone” every day. Honestly, I’m guessing there’s about 10-20 actual friends on most people’s friend list. Mine, at least. That leaves 200+ people being a time suck… Not saying I don’t like them, but its a bit much. Deactivating my account has been lovely. I have so much extra time!

But honestly, the best part of disconnecting is connecting with what counts. Snuggling up with the kids to watch a movie, instead of numbing. Doing homework slowly and not in a rushed, just get it done way. Dancing with dear hubby! Love that! Talking with people who actually want to talk..not FB trolling zombies, like me. 😉
It does feel a bit lonely being disconnected from the masses, but it is so worth it! I’ve just started, but I want to try for 40 days. I wonder how much will open & blossom without this mindless numbing crutch? Feeling positive! 

 

Meet the lovely Sarah Homan.. a few reflections from our journey. :)

This is my blog, so I can write what I want without it littering a FB timeline. I want to crown a fabulous friend with a “you’re a perfect friend crown” so I will!
sarah wordpressSo I asked my friend Sarah if I could talk about our special friendship on my blog because I think she is fabulousness. So I met Sarah about 5 years ago because our boys played baseball together. We quickly hit it off because we had a lot in common, yet we have plenty of differences to keep things interesting. I immediately felt bad for her because she’s from Ohio, the worst state in America. We hung out a couple times, kids in tow, and it was fun…. Until she started stalking me. It was very overwhelming. She did things like call me on the phone regularly, which is time consuming. And eventually she even started to show up at my house unannounced. When people show up unannounced I feel the need to hide in the basement, rather than open the door. It’s very scary for me. It was imprinted in my social values from a young age that you don’t bother people. One night my family was all sitting in my messy house and her whole family (Hubby, 2 beautiful little daughters & cutey son) was knocking on my front door. UNANNOUNCED! It was a Homan Christmas Flashmob. Singing carols out loud, Homemade Cocoa mix, and cookies. For me – Anxiety..cocoa
Eventually, after enduring all this invasiveness, I got to thinking. At this point I didn’t really have any other people who liked me enough to seek me out like that. In fact I was knee deep in Mom of little kids phase. So, I kinda went with it. She taught me to relax a lot in this way. This was the first lesson I learned from her. Friends spend time with one another & I actually hadn’t done that for years. Very isolated. She’s really the ultimate girlfriend. She will drop everything in an instant for her friends, unless there’s dirty dishes in her sink. Then she’ll have to take care of that really quick.
That brings me to when our relationship began evolving past me just being nervous about her popping up out of nowhere. She forced me to start saying, Screw it, my house is never going to be perfect and sometimes I don’t shower until noon. Take it or leave it! Just a tad more vulnerable than I was use to. This was hard because her house is always perfect & apparently she has the kind of hair that looks great when she washes it twice a week. It’s true! & my hair must be washed once a day- or Eww! Raw deal! I wondered how she could talk on the phone so much and still qualify for Homemaker of the Year. When I talk on the phone, I sit still and listen to your words intently, taking in every detail. I like that, but it can be hard work for an introvert on a daily basis. Finally after quite some time, I realized she doesn’t sit still while on the phone or while having a coffee date. Sarah’s shoulder is an actual hand, a phone hand. She performs all her domestic duties, phone in shoulder efficiently. Hence, Lesson 2 from friendship- I don’t have to sit still and expect an intense deep conversation, at least with Sarah. I can & should; wash the dishes, sweep, fold laundry all while enjoying girl time. Amazing! That made girl time a lot lighter.
Here’s another difference between me & Sarah, She’s Crafty! She’s a Pinterest girl- the kind that can make Burlap and a mason jar beautiful! I, on the other hand, typically look up jokes or inspirational quotes on Pinterest! Sarah throws the decked out, organized, themed birthday parties for her kids that look wonderful and cost $30 total. 🙂 I tend to plan parties the day before they happen and spend the day cleaning to make the homefront acceptable. She has everyone’s Christmas gift complete at the beginning of December. I’m still not done, and its January 2…I will just wait until next year.
I feel like I just made Sarah look like Martha Stewart. I’m not really a fan of Martha. To Perfect & a bit boring, on camera at least. Once I started getting over the competitive girl stuff that we do. The sizing up, comparing, feeling like shit! I found a Forever Friend! See, she’s not just a Missy Perfect! First off, She’s hilarious! Our humor mixed together is the perfect recipe for the kind of laughing that makes your abdomen hurt. And our jokes are not clean. We are terrible when we get together. We could rival a sailor or a filthy trucker, whatever. IDK- We’re just obnoxious! She’s the first girl to hear my unclean jokes, and one up me without missing a beat! She’s one of my only friends who would rather hang with the guys, because it’s typically funnier!
We grew to have so much respect for our differences and enjoy thoroughly our similarities.
Now, Sarah and her family are in London for 3 years. 5 hour time difference is inconvenient, but we Skype a lot. We laugh, we have serious conversations, and we can’t wait to be in the same room again. So Sarah here are the endearing words I would use to sum you up -Yes crafty, homemeaker, communicator, extrovert. But more important! Loyal, when you choose who you really care about, you’re loyal to the end! Positive, you make the best of every situation and you embrace everything with a positive twist when you care. Beautiful, you appreciate beauty and embrace it and you’re gorgeous. Homemaker, Youre family has a dedicated matriarch that will do anything for her them. You love you’re family perfectly. Realist, you tell it how it is, especially when you’re comfortable with the people you are with. Generous & expressive, you shower your friends with love and caring. Chivalry, You love and appreciate your husband. You appreciate kindness. Interesting, You’re not boring! You know what I am saying. Homemaker- You rock it! Friend, you love friendship and that is awesome for your friends. Passion, You do everything with heart & soul! Missed, I miss you! & you are perhaps one of the few people who would be fine with me doing this on my blog. Thanks!
Love you girl & we miss you and your family everyday. & I love being able to feel confident in you feeling the same. Big Hugs!
awesome
kindred

Happy, Happy New Year! Happy or sad- We’re on the same path! xoxo

New Years Resolutions are exciting. Its a reset. A fresh start. We set goals we may have thought of for years- or even our whole adult life. I posted my resolutions publicly, because why not? I think we all have dreaming and hoping in common. So, why not be vulnerable and share them. God knows we can all be better. We all wish for more. That’s good, isn’t it?

Tonight, I see some people posting on FB about 2013 being the best year ever & others have shared publicly and privately that it frankly sucked, or it was stressful. I love the honesty. We’re all on the same path, we just have different routes. We have our own personal stories. 

So make your resolutions, AGAIN! I normally make them a month into the New Year, because procrastination is an issue. Regardless, we all have obstacles to conquer, this year or next, whenever! I hope from the bottom of my heart that you have abundant happiness this New Year. It’s going to be the best year yet. So, Love your people and your life and be grateful. Life is full of amazing beauty. If you are struggling, hang on! If you are happy, appreciate it! This is all a glorious journey. We are all blessed, whether we’re enjoying peaks or enduring valleys. I’m so glad to be here, living this life with all of you. Happy New Year Friends!

Joy, Peace, Happiness! Get some for you and yours!