Sunday, August 22, 2010

I've Moved!

I have very recently moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress and while doing so seem to have lost almost everyone who was subscribed to me.  :( 

The move has been a major learning experience but has also caused me a lot of frustration.  The loss of subscribers being one of them.  If you are still interested in my blog, please go to and you should arrive to my WordPress version and there you can re-subscribe.  I hope, as long as I have set it up correctly.  :) 

It is still very much a work in progress!

Thanks for your readership!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Innocence Stealing Text Message

WARNING:  To any relatives reading this post (i.e., my mother/my children's grandmother), it's contents will haunt you.

The other day my kids and I were sitting at the dinner table enjoying our homemade pizza and salad.  We were chatting about miscellaneous things and having a pleasant time.

Out of the blue my daughter says, "Neighbor Boy's mom  and her boyfriend are engaged."  "Really?", I say, a bit surprised because they haven't been dating very long. "JK", Lovey says. (There is a lot of JKing -just joking- that goes on these days, it must be a tween thing.)  Without pause she then says, "But Neighbor Boy told us about a text message he saw on his mom's phone." My attention is caught, I look across the table to Handsome who has quickly met eyes with his sister and I can tell he knows where she is going with this.

"What did it say?", I ask.

"Do you really want to know?", Lovey inquires.

"Sure", I say, trying to sound cool because I can tell something is up and I don't want her to chicken out.

Without further ado she says "It said 'I want to wake up with your pussy on my face, and I will be happy'."

Bam!  Shot right between the eyes.  I was expecting something, I was.  But not that.  I thought it was going to be something about them wanting to get married or a secret marriage, that involved not telling Neighbor Boy, something secretive, but NOT this.

Heart beating faster, palms sweating, face cringing.  The first words out of my mouth, "Oh Jesus."

And just in case that first shot between the eyes didn't do me in, Handsome, who is seven, asks, "What is a pussy anyway".

That one was felt piercing my heart.

"It's something really bad", I say to his sweet, wondering face.  Yep, that was my best answer.

"So Neighbor Boy saw this on her phone? Does she know he saw it?", I ask calmly.

"No, she doesn't know.  He looks at her phone all the time.", Lovey says.

"Well, you guys, that was a very inappropriate thing Neighbor Mom's Boyfriend wrote. People shouldn't say things like that.  And you two are not allowed to say anything like that."  And that was it.

I didn't want to over react, but did I under react?

I didn't ask Lovey if she knew what that word meant or if she knew what the whole text message meant.  She didn't ask, so I didn't either.  Maybe I should have?

I want to desperately tell Neighbor Lady that her son is looking at her phone and reading all of her nasty text messages but then chances are she'll say something to her son, who will then say something to my kids.  As much as hearing the word 'pussy' come out of my 11 and 7 year-old children's mouths was horrifying, I want them to tell me this kind of stuff.  And if I tell her, and she tells her kid, and he tells mine, then they will probably stop filling me in.

So I'm having a dilemma in my brain. 

Did I say enough?  Should I bring it up again or leave it alone?  Do I say something to the neighbor?       

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Friendly Divorce

An article titled More Couples Opt for Friendly Divorce in Sunday's Detroit Free Press is the prompt for this post.  You can find the article here.  The main idea of this article is that while the majority of divorcing couples still use lawyers, more and more couples are choosing to do a mediation type of divorce rather than the standard court divorce.

My divorce consisted of me and my attorney, and my ex-husband and his attorney.  Also involved were accountants for each of us, a business appraiser, a realtor, and a home appraiser.    So between the two of us, the total cost of our divorce was, well, really expensive.   Probably very close to what our wedding and honeymoon cost. Sad, I know, very sad.

I wouldn't call my divorce 'friendly' just because of the simple fact that we were divorcing, so obviously there were issues between us and on top of that, pile on the division of assets, the division of debt, what to do with the house, drama regarding a business and child support.  So, friendly?  No.  But we kept our anger, frustration and problems away from our kids.  We were always amicable in front of the kids, it was not easy, but it was necessary.

The article suggests that a mediated divorce could cost just a thousand dollars.  And when you are at the start line of divorce, that can sound really enticing.  But there are a few things that need to be considered.
Divorce is usually a traumatic, emotional time and most of us don't think clearly or make the best of decisions
during traumatic, emotional times.  So to guide yourself and look out for the best interests of your kids through such an extremely life changing event without legal representation, seems risky and scary to me. 

The article also implies that lawyers "fight to get the best deals for their clients" and that can cause further pain and damage to an already faulty relationship.  In my case, yes, my attorney did fight for me but I didn't hire her to get me the best deal.  I didn't hire her to allow me to walk away with loads of assests and money.  I hired her to be fair.  It was never an interest of mine to gauge my ex-husband and our final divorce decree would prove that.  I hired her because I needed to be sure I was covering all my bases.  I needed someone who was looking out 100% for me and my best interests, which included my children. 

Once those official divorce papers are signed and you've agreed to A,B & C, it can be very costly and time consuming to get things changed or reversed.  Mediation or 'do it yourself' divorce kits might work for some but in my opinion, the majority of divorcing couples, especially those with kids, need the advice of attorneys. 

Where the "friendly" part of divorce is important is after the papers have been filed and you begin your new lives, separate from one another but still connected by your children.  The friendly part needs to come in during your day to day lives and the lives of your children. 

Divorce is the cutting of ties with your spouse, legally and hopefully emotionally.  Divorce is the end of two people as a couple and with that should come the burying of the issues that drove you there.  It isn't easy, trust me.  And it won't happen immediately.  It will take time, but eventually there needs to be a peace and calm that your children can put trust in.  Because any continuing friction between ex spouses just adds confusion and pain to the children.

I have struggled with the feeling of 'If I'm nice to him, he'll think I'm OK with ____________.'  I didn't want my ex-husband to think that I was OK with some of the things he had done.   But I slowly remembered and realized that I had clearly told him how I felt about all of those things.  Many times I told him how I felt and what I thought, and I used an awesome variety of language and gestures to help prove my point.  So it was time to just bury it.   I try to see him now no longer as my ex-husband but as my children's dad. And that really helps me be friendly and civil with him.

As with many of life's biggest events, every situation is different.  Most importantly, trust your feelings and your gut instincts. And if there are children involved, the 'friendly post divorce' is an important step to healing.    

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Still Use a Bookmark

Technology has certainly given book lovers a new meaning to the word 'convenient'.  No longer must they endure the dreaded task* of going to the library or the book store to find the latest read.  Now they can simply download it onto a fancy high tech reader with one quick click.  *read with sarcasm

I would not call myself an avid reader.  Although I am a teacher, so I do read A LOT of 4th grade type material during the school year.  As for personal reading, the majority of that is done during the summer.
But I have a worry.  I have seen a fancy high tech reader and it was cool.  Simply stated.  I "ooohhed" and "aaahhed" while I held it and clicked the arrows back and forth.  Because, well, it's technology and that continues to amaze me!

I imagine this type of technology would be most useful to someone who travels a lot.  This device would allow such traveler to have access to endless reads while on plane, train or automobile and while passing time in hotel rooms.  It would make an extremely smart travel companion.
But for the rest of us, what is it's purpose?

It's gadgety, yes.

And convenient, seeing that those trips to the library or bookstore could be permanently checked off of the "to-do" list.

However, I can't help but think that some technology comes at a price we may not realize we are paying.

Such as: 
The way your fingers bump from one book spine to another while you peruse the titles.

The creak of the cover as you open it up to read the inside flap.

The colors and details of the illustrations.

The sound of your fingers drumming the back cover.

Your favorite handmade "I Love Mom" bookmark.

Your bookmark traveling deeper and deeper into the pages.

The inviting look the book has as it waits on your nightstand.

The simple pleasures of a book.  Not the story written on the pages but the actual, physical book.

I worry (it's the mom in me) that as we gain more and more technology conveniences we will continue to lose some of life's simplest pleasures. 

I really don't want to hear my great-grandchildren (yep I'm living that long) say, "Sweet, sweet Grandma, tell us a story about that library place you used to visit."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Same Old, Same Old ( A Rant About My Ex)

One of the many issues that were in my marriage was the assumption from my ex that I was always available and able to readily accept any unforeseen change of plans. 

Before I continue, let me clearly state that I understand and truly believe that there must be a certain amount of flexibility, cooperation, give & take and all that in a marriage.  I get it.  And I was.  However, in my opinion, it was very one-sided and I began to see myself as a doormat, with not much backbone.

And I HATED that.

Here are a few examples of the last minute changes that were an ever present part of my marriage:

Example 1:   Dinner is at 6:00p.m.  I get a call at 5:50p.m........"I won't be home for dinner because (insert lame excuse here) - This type of phone was received more times than I could ever remember.  It was embarrassing.   Dinner is 5 minutes from being ready, table is set and we're just waiting on him to arrive.
It made me feel incredibly insignificant.  However, I was very good at quietly ignoring those stupid feelings and hoping things would change.   But then the kids started to notice that dad wasn't home for dinner again, and as soon as they started to show signs of disappointment, well that's when the doormat came to life.  Because, as always, I can handle anything against me in stride, but once something negatively affects my children, watch out. 

Example 2:  He says in the morning, "I'll be home by 7:00 tonight".......I get a call at 7:30........."Sorry I won't be home until (insert any hour here, because I stopped listening after the word 'home').  And again when it was just me that was let down, well, it sucked but I was a strong girl and really, really hoped that it wasn't always going to be like that.  However, as the kids got older and they would be waiting for dad to come home and I'd get that effing phone call....well mama unleashed.

Example 3:  "Sorry, I can't take child to practice tonight as planned because (insert same old, same old here)."

These three examples were the most frequent ones and so unfortunately are still deeply embedded in my memory.  There were others but I think I've made the point. 

This brings us to today.  My little trip down memory lane was sparked by a phone call I received last night.
My children usually spend Thursday nights with their dad.  Last night, which was Wednesday, I received a call from him at 10:25p.m.  I let the call go to voicemail because I knew I would end up getting annoyed. 

The message was, "I'm sorry but I just realized I have a work problem and will need to stay over night in City X tomorrow night, so I won't be able to have the kids."

It's 10:25p.m.  You just now realized this work problem?

There was no 'Is it possible for the kids to stay with you?'  It was simply, 'I have to do this, so your on your own'.

My response, through text, because I could not listen to his voice was, "I am always more than flexible when it comes to your schedule but really 10:25 at night?  Clearly there is zero consideration for anyone other than yourself.  Did it occur to you that I might possibly have plans tomorrow night?  No, just the usual assumption that I am available."

And just to make it clear this has nothing to do with me having the kids for the night or not.  Becasue I am Mom and will drop or cancel anything for them, anytime.

The frustration is simply because in his mind, there is just him and his schedule and his needs.

So, tonight I'll summon up my Go Go Gadget self and get Handsome to football practice at 6:00, get to the library by 6:30 to tutor until 8:00 and then back to pick up Handsome at 8:30.  And both kids now will be thrilled to join me for 2 hours worth of tutoring in the library, tomorrow morning.

And really the above schedule is nothing, I've used my Go Go Gadget powers in much more time crunching situations. 

But that's not the point.  It's the same old, same old routine with him that drives me mad.  And, well, it's been many years now so I suppose this is just how he works.

I still don't understand how someone can be so clueless. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BlogHer Pity Party

All things bloggy are eye-opening to me.  I knew absolutely nothing about blogs, blogging, social media (except Facebook, of course), or online networking before I started my blog in June.  I was quickly overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised!

It didn't take long until I began to read about blogging conferences and workshops.  There are so many and they range from small group monthly get-togethers with local bloggers to nationwide conferences with tons of media attention.  From what I have gathered it seems as though the BlogHer Conference is the biggest of them all.

BlogHer 2010 is going on right now, August 6-August 7 in New York City.  It sounds like an amazing experience with networking, friend making&meeting, and learning galore!

So, today I have decided to join the not going to BlogHer Pity Party put on by Tina at Life Without Pink and Lori at Mommyfriend .

Reasons why I would love to be at BlogHer 2010:
1.  It's in New York City....plain and simple.
2.  Attending sessions about blogging to learn, learn & learn would be awesome.
3.  The opportunity to meet face to face some of the women behind the blogs I already love.

Reasons why I'm OK not going to BlogHer 2010:
1.  I am certain I would be totally overwhelmed with information - too much too soon!
2.  I would have to find a Sugar Daddy to fund the trip.
3.  And truth be told, I would probably feel left out since I'm a new blog and am not known by many.

So, to all those who are attending BlogHer 2010, have a marvelous time!
And to those of us staying home, CHEERS!  I'll be drinking later tonight after my kids are in bed. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What is Gluten Free? Why am I Gluten Free?

Chances are you have probably heard the words 'gluten free'. 

Being on a gluten free diet is very trendy right now.  So what exactly does it mean and why would anyone choose to go gluten free?

I am no expert but sometimes an amateur's explanation is more understandable, so here goes.

Let's start with the basics.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats.  So anything bready or doughy probably has gluten in it.  Such as, cereals, pastas, bread, rolls, biscuits, cookies, brownies, cake, yep, all that good stuff is gluten filled.

This is a typical gluten free symbol.  Clearly letting the consumer know that gluten is bad and therefore not in said product.

Before it became trendy, people who were on a gluten free diet had probably been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  Anyone who has this disease has a severe intolerance to gluten and must stay away from it completely.  Otherwise they can become extremely ill and possibly die, but don't quote me on that.  Read more about celiac disease here:

Why would anyone willingly choose a gluten free diet unless they were diagnosed with Celiac Diease? 

Here's why I did.

Last July was the start of an extremely stressful time in my life.  Anyone who enjoys soap operas would be ringing their hands to hear that story.  I'll spare all of the dramatic details but I will tell you it involved serious and scary financial issues (You know I'm divorced?  Go ahead and imagine a few scenarios....) and my Lovey having a difficult (read traumatic) time adjusting to some changes (You know I'm divorced?  Go ahead and imagine a few scenarios....).

So as the above mentioned crises played out, my body went funky with major stomach issues, weight gain and a mess of a complexion.

When I say stomach issues I mean bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas and pain. Everyday. ( I know, I know, TMI.)  You might wonder, as I did, how does one have diarrhea and constipation at the same time?  I'm not sure either.  It was misery.  Months and months of misery. 

When I say weight gain, well, I gained weight.  Mostly, I guess because I spent a lot of time at home.  Because of Scenario 1, I didn't have money to go out and because of Scenario 2, when the kids were not with me I was panic stricken and stayed home to worry and stress out.

No explanation needed about the mess of a complexion. 

So in addition to my mind racing with worry, my body was going to hell.  It sucked (understatement).

Let's fast forward to this past May.  By then much of the severe money stress had subsided so I was breathing a bit easier and Lovey was doing much better.  Thank God.

However, my stomach, the scale, and my face were not giving in.

So, I was advised by a doctor friend and a gluten free friend to try a gluten free diet and take a probiotic everyday for a few weeks and see if that might help.

So I did.  And guess what?  The bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas and cramping began to fade.  My face was clearing up.  After 3 weeks, my stomach felt completely back to normal and my face was totally clear.

And I must have lost weight because I couldn't eat bread, pasta, cookies or cake, right? 

Not so much. 

You see wine and chocolate are naturally gluten free.  And so are chips and salsa and cheese and rice and potatoes and popcorn with butter and parmesan cheese.  Oh and ice cream, too.  Totally, naturally gluten free.

And Betty Crocker joined the trend and made a heavenly gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix.  They are really good.

At first I was excited about this new diet and perhaps this new way of life.  So after about 4 weeks of being gluten free, I was shopping and decided to buy my first officially gluten free labeled food. 

I was dying for a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.  So I went to the gluten free section of Kroger and found a small loaf of rice bread, sounds yummy doesn't it?  It felt like a brick when I picked it up.  It also cost $6.00.  For a small loaf of rice bread.  Seriously?  A $6.00 loaf of bread does look good in the budget.

I felt a bit defeated but thought I would go ahead and just make the Cream of Tomato soup and dip some of my gluten free crackers in it.  That might feed the craving? 

So that night I got out the can of soup and just for 'fun' read the label.   Here comes the let down.....wheat flour.  Yep.  Gluten filled wheat flour is in my beloved Cream of Tomato soup.  And high fructose corn syrup, too.  Who knew?

"Screw this", I remember thinking.  I opened up that can of soup and made a grilled cheese sandwich on gluten filled glorious wheat bread.

I sat at the table and stared at my feast of gluten and then dug in.  I swallowed every drop of soup.  I ate every crumb of that grilled cheese sandwich.

And waited.


I went to bed that night feeling victorious.  Maybe I just needed a few weeks off of gluten to feel better.  I fell asleep happy.....dreaming of oatmeal for breakfast.

"Wakey, wakey", said the stomach cramps at 6:00 a.m. the next morning. 

"It's been awhile", smirked my bloated gut. 

"Don't worry, Mr. Constipation will be here later on today", they said in unison.

"Curses gluten!", I cried. 

Well, not really but you get the picture.  I woke up feeling like total crap.

So here I am today, still eating gluten free.  My stomach is good, all is working as it should.  My face is clear most of the time, so positive and positive.

But now I am that annoying woman who has to ask what ingredients are in the food. 

I am that annoying woman who travels with her own pasta, crackers, and gluten free cookies.

And I'm still trying to figure out how to work this insanely expensive diet into my budget.

Oh and my butt is still big.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dear Diary

While vacationing in the beautiful northern woods of Michigan I read an article in USA Today about good old fashioned journal/diary writing. 

Click below to view article:

And so the memories of my 'Dear Diary' days came flooding in and I searched for and found a few of my old diaries.

I have a handwritten account of my life from 1982-1990.  It is not a daily account, far from it.  But it provides a glimpse of my younger self.  
Here are a few goodies from my 10-12 year-old self: 

I thought listening to Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye was risky and delightful.
For some reason I was amazed by the movie Coal Miner's Daughter.
My record high for Atari's Pitfall was 64,000.
I got a lot of perms.
I had an obsession with super balls.
I desperately wanted to "go" with someone.
I carried a maxi pad in my Le Sports Sac purse.
I must have had hundreds of sleepovers.
Bubble exclamation marks littered my 'Dear Diary' pages.
Purchasing Bonjour jeans was worthy of it's very own entry.
I loved Oddball sweatshirts.

A few things from my tween and teen years:
Every boy was a 'massive babe'.
I used at least one of the following words in every entry:
    "Oh shure", "syke", "bogue", and "style" (sarcastic way of saying I didn't like something)
My braces - the tightening, the wires, the wax for the wires that would shred the inside of my mouth
There were many boys I liked that were 'too popular' for me.
Button fly jeans were cool.

The majority of my teen journaling cannot even be mentioned and will stay hidden behind little gold lock and key.  I had a nasty mouth and was self-centered and obnoxious!  I don't remember being so annoying.  How did my family stand me?

My tunnel vision teenager life revolved around boys, boys, boys and my friends.  

I like him, I love him, I want to go with him, I hate him. 
She's my friend, she's not my friend, she's my friend again. 

It was exhausting just reading it all.  It's no wonder teenagers are always tired.

I have a year and a half until Lovey turns 13.  Maybe revisiting my teen years will provide hope that there will be a normal, loving young adult who walks out the other side of all of that drama. 

I am so not ready for this.      

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fireman's Daughter

I am a fireman's daughter.  I have always said these words with such pride. 

As a kid it was cool to have a dad who was a fireman.  Those awesome red trucks, the equipment, the  uniforms and helmets.  Everyone loves firefighters and I loved telling people about my dad.  

Firefighters are brave and strong. They are heros and everyone knows it.

As a young girl, I got to visit the engine house and sit in the trucks and slide down the poles.  I bragged about it at school.  Kids were impressed.  My dad was cool. 

As a little girl I remember when my dad would return home from a 24 hour shift and I would greet him at the door because.... 1. I couldn't wait to see him and  2. sometimes he brought home the best donuts from a bakery near the engine house where he worked. 

Anyway, I loved his fireman smell.  His clothes and his hair would smell like fire and I loved it.  My brothers and I would ask him to tell us stories about the fires he had fought that night and we would ask if he saved any 'hurt guys'.

Being a firefighter comes with much sacrifice.  If you know a fireman chances are he does side jobs to bring in some extra money.  Although these men run into burning buildings to save people, belongings and even neighborhoods, they are not paid enough.  My dad had many side jobs like window washer, delivery man and airport shuttle service.  He did all of these things in addition to being a hero as a fireman and as a dad.

Firefighters sacrifice time with their families.  There were holidays when my dad was working.  However, I can't specifically remember us having a Christmas morning without him.  I believe the firemen with older children would take those shifts so those with little ones could be with their families.  You know that Christmas morning magic with little children is pretty special and so firemen sacrifice for each other too.  

I knew of the dangers my dad faced being a fireman without anyone ever telling me.  I don't remember my parents talking much about that part of the job in front of us kids.  I guess they wanted to shield us from that.  But of course, when your dad's job requires him to speed an enormous truck through red lights, climb through broken windows, walk up half fallen stairways and through buildings and homes engulfed in flames, well, you figure out pretty quick that his job is risky and dangerous. 

I can remember worrying about my dad when he was at work and being relieved when I would see or hear his truck pull into the driveway.  Which would lead to the greeting at the door, smelling the clothes, and searching for those donuts.

A few days ago, I saw a trailer for a documentary a few producers are trying to get off the ground.  This documentary will bring to light just what goes on during a firefighter's shift.  Although the documentary will be shot in Detroit and will also highlight the plight of that specific city, the core message will apply to all firefighters.

If you are interested in viewing the Burn trailer click on the link below. You won't be disappointed.

I have not been asked to promote this trailer and am not receiving any monetary gain for doing so.
Quite simply, as the daughter of a fireman who fought for 33 years to keep a city from crumbling, it is a personal mission to spread the word about these men and women who literally risk their lives to help strangers.      


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Life in a List

My kids and I are taking a vacation with my family in a few days.  The other night Lovey and I were making a list of all the things we wanted to take, our packing list.  We also were making a list of all the food we needed to buy, our grocery list.  And there's a list of all the things we need to do before we leave, the to-do list. 

I realize I am a list person, they keep me organized and on track.  I keep lists at home and lists at work.

I wonder are there people who don't use lists?  If so, how do they function?

This all got me to thinking about the different types of lists I have kept through the years.  So I did a little brainstorming and realized that the story of my life could be told through the lists I have made.  Below is a list of ten lists I have made during my almost 38 years.  There are many more than ten, but I'll contain it to the most significant ones.  If you piece them all together you'll have a snapshot of me!  Here we go:

My Life In List Form:

1.  Friend list - This list was created and tweaked countless times proving, beyond a doubt, that I am a female.

2.  Boys I've Kissed - I remember making this list in college.  This list was also tweaked and added to a few times, proving to most that I was not a long relationship kind of girl in college.  And I know that looks bad on paper!  But really it's not (really Mom & Dad, really!).  I just found boys needy and clingy.  Still kinda do.

3.  Wedding List - Yes, I was married and had a wonderful wedding.  And at this moment is the very first time I've thought about all the money my parents spent on that wedding and am feeling guilty because...well you'll see when we get to list # 7.

4.  Baby Name Lists - These two lists will let you know that we didn't find out the sex of either of children until they were yanked out of my girlie parts.  There were boy names and girl names for each of them.  These lists might also convince someone that we are Irish, especially the list of boy names.

5.  Class Lists - These types of lists are given to me every August.  These lists have my name printed on the top in BIG BOLD letters so everyone knows I am the teacher.

6.  Food Lists - The countless lists of food I've eaten, water I've drank and exercise I've done will clearly be a sign that I seem to be forever trying to lose a few pounds.

7.  Divorce Stuff List - This list contained questions for my attorney, my accountant and my pro-bono staff, meaning my brothers.  This list turned into a binder, with sections and included the purchase of a 3-hole-puncher.  This 'binder list' will show that with the help of the people listed above, I left no stone unturned.

8.  House Hunting List - I've made this type of list 3 times.  The most recent time was on my own.  It was an exciting and scary list to make.

9.  Credit Card List - OK calling this a "list" is a stretch but this arrives by mail every month and lets me know where all of my money has gone.  This list shows that I spend too much money at Target.

10. Ipod List - This list will not show a strong preference toward any one type of music.  It is a hodge-podge of music genres.

Bonus:  My Blog List - This list will show that I am already addicted to reading blogs and am in much need of some sort of blog reading management schedule. 

If my list of lists worked then you should now know a little bit about me!    


Monday, July 19, 2010

Second Chances

The first challenge for ProBlogger's 31DBBB is to think about and try to deliver the purpose for your blog.  The number one reason I created my blog was so I could write my Second Chance Moon story. 

It is a simple but meaningful reminder that second chances can be very powerful.  It is a lesson in not letting a bad decision, one lapse in judgement, one oversight or one moment in time take you down and keep you down.

From there I have just been writing about whatever comes to mind, a little about my kids, a little about being a single mom, a little about family and friends.  And I think when I return to school, my teacher life will creep in here also.  And although I've only been at this for just over a month, I feel like I'll be working this blog for a long time!  My purpose is very broad right now.  I know what it is, but it may take some time for it to shine through my blog. 

In my best effort to clarify my purpose for Second Chance Moon, I present two scenarios, both taking place in elevators:

Scenario 1:

I step onto an elevator with a stranger, who randomly poses the question, "Do you believe in second chances?"
I respond, "Second chances?  As in 'do over' or 'take two'?"
"Yes, that's right", says this strange man while pushing the "3" on the elevator number pad.
"Second chances are the reason I write my blog", I say confidently.  "I want to share decisions I make and experiences I have and how I'm finally realizing there is a place for second chances in my life.  So yes, I do believe in second chances."
Ding...the elevator doors open, strange man steps off, never to be seen again.
"OK that was odd", I think to myself.

Scenario 2:

I am stepping onto the elevator of the Waldorf Astoria in NYC to travel it up to the Penthouse Suite for an "A" List party.  I'm being honored as an international blogging success.

Just as the doors are about to close, a single, attractive, rich, humorous gentleman walks on.
"Hot Damn!" screams the voice in my head.

"I blog about first impressions", he says slyly.  "You know you never get a second chance to make a first impression", he adds, inching a bit closer.

"Well, technically, I suppose that's true", I say while trying to act all cool and hard-to-get, "I mean a first impression is a first impression, but what's wrong with attempting to make a second impression?" 
I pause and he's intrigued, no doubt, so I run with it.

"As a divorced mom of 2, I have experienced many changes and challenges but with encouragement, support and determination I am beginning to open myself up to the idea of second chances. People should be encouraged to take second chances, big and small.  If you give something your all but still mess up the first time, what's wrong with admitting it and trying again?  If you don't like where you're at in life you have the ability to change it.  To stay in a situation that you know is not for you, well, for what?"

The elevator is clipping along toward the Penthouse.  My new friend is nodding in agreement.  So I continue my pitch, while thinking to myself, "Wow, this really works.  Thanks ProBlogger!"

"I write my blog because I understand it can be overwhelming to start over, personally or professionally.  Doubt and fear are two very strong obstacles to overcome.  I hope my readers see me as a realistic writer who shares my everyday experiences, many of which include my personal attempts at second chances and the rewards they can bring.   There is power and strength in numbers and I use my writing as a stepping stone, for myself and for others to take second chances."

"Very nice", says my handsome friend, "Would you like to be my date for the party?"

Ding....the doors open up.  My totally awesome date and I step off the elevator and together live happily ever after.

So there are my elevator pitches.  Some silly person said that should have taken 15 minutes to do.  Not so much.  Assignment writing is much harder than 'off the top of my head' writing.  Bring on Day 2! 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

31 DBBB Blog Hop

Are you participating in the SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge?  Add your link below and add this hop to your blog!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm Fun! Kind Of....

I swapped kids with one of my BFFs last night.  She took Handsome for the night and I took her daughter to spend the night with Lovey and I.  After movies and popcorn, I was downstairs closing up the house, while the girls were settling in to go to sleep.  Lovey quietly approaches me and says, "Mom, I told Friend to be prepared because my mom is probably going to come up and get in between us in bed and chit chat."  "Oh, OK", I said. *Pause, Pause*  "OK Mom?", she says, giving me a look to make sure I understand this code which means when you come in, don't say I told you to come, just come in on your own.  Got it.

So moments later enters "annoying, silly mom" *wink wink* to get into bed with the girls. The lights are off, the three of us are cozy and the chit chatting begins.  We talked about vacations, why the Ouiji board doesn't work, the fast approaching beginning of middle school and then the conversation turned to Lovey's bed.

"When did I get this bed?" Lov asks me.  "Well, you were 4 or 5 I think."  "Let's see", I continue, "You first had your crib, of course, which you were in until you were 2 1/2 or so and then you had your bed on the floor", I continue on, and then feel a jab in my ribs from Lovey's finger and since my eyes have now adjusted to the darkness I see she is giving me the finger across the throat back and forth sign AKA "Shut It Off Mom".  OhhhhK. So talking about bed progression is off limits with my Tween.  Hmmmmm......good to know.

So then we start talking about Friend's pet fish which leads us to the topic of Sesame Street and Elmo's World and how Elmo's fish, Dorothy, always asked the questions that started the topics for that segment of the show. 

For example, Elmo would say, "Dorothy wants to know how to ride a bike."  "Good question Dorothy!"  And then Elmo's World would be about kids riding bikes.  I'm sure your following.

So, I say to the girls, "Dorothy wants to know why tweens are happy one minute and crying and mad the next.  "Good question Dorothy!"  Then, "Dorothy wants to know if either one of you brushed your teeth tonight because something stinks."  "Good question Dorothy!"  And another, "Dorothy wants to know who do you girls like like?"  "Good question Dorothy!" The girls were giggling and laughing.  I was a hit! 

With all of the good fun, thirty minutes had passed and I started to get up and Lovey says "Not yet Mom, just 2 more minutes?"  "Lovey, I'm tired", I say.  "But Mom, your fun", she says. *cricket noise, cricket noise*  "Kind of", she adds. 

This girl is good.  A compliment to the mom she really, really loves with a quick recovery to maintain her true Tween status.  Nice work Lovey.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wiener Talk

Boys and their wieners....  Handsome is like any other boy in many ways including his need to promote his wiener.  Usually around 9 a.m. I'll hear the call, "Attention!"  This means a few things.  One, that he is awake and will be ordering up his morning cup of chocolate milk and two, that he is saluting his attentive wiener.  I don't hear the command every morning, but enough times for me to wonder what I'm supposed to be saying to him about it.

The first time this "happened" he excitedly called me upstairs, "Mom come here!"  I entered his room to find him flat on his back, hands on his hips and well, you know the rest and he yelled out "Attention!".   Oh boy.

First I laughed, I mean it was really funny and totally caught me off guard.  Imagine all the grown up men who do the same thing each morning.  You know they do. 

He's asked a few times "Why is it doing that?"  And I never know what to say. I've tried "Because you have to go to the bathroom" and "That's just something it does after you've been asleep for awhile."  Seriously, I don't know?? 

I even demonstrated for him how to lean in over the toilet when it is 'like that' so he doesn't pee all over the bathroom.  

I'm certain this is not my territory and I've said some pretty stupid things like "OK Buddy, put it away" and "Ignore it and it'll go away."  *Laughing*  Two phrases I remember using when I was married.....minus "buddy" plus "a-hole".   

And lately I've noticed that this situation is coming 'up' at times other than early morning.  A few nights ago, he appeared after removing his baseball uniform which included his sports cup and "Bam!", there it was.  He was so proud.  Interesting how the pride is not taught, it's just instinctual.  

Again, I told him to go to the bathroom and then just sit down and it would go away. Really, I have no idea what I'm supposed to be saying.  I'm totally cool with being up front and open with him about all of this stuff, but he's just 7 years-old, so I'm not sure what I should or shouldn't be saying at this point.

At least I know that since he's still flaunting and parading it in front of his mom and his sister, he's still my little boy, because he doesn't know any better.  So that part, I'm happy about.  Maybe when I stop hearing about it is when I really need to worry.  


Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm A Single Mom

Who uses the term divorcee' anymore?  (I don't even know if I'm spelling it right with that little accent mark?)

I'm pretty sure no one has ever referred to me as such until this past Saturday night when I was at Handsome's football practice. 

I was lightly chatting with a dad and the conversation led to him asking, "Where does your son go to school?"  I replied, " _________ Elementary."  "Oh, so where do you live?", he then asked.  And I know he must think we're neighbors, which means that I have to explain that I live in City X, and their dad lives in City Y. City Y is the kids school district city so no, we are not neighbors, but he might be neighbors with my ex.  Lucky day.  After this explanation (which I find myself giving a lot), Football Practice Dad says, "Oh, you're a divorcee'?" 

What??  Come on.  People don't use that word anymore.  It is soooo1970s and I'm a child of the '70s so I know!  That word applies to someone kind of sultry and a bit hippie-ish.  Neither of those words fit my description at all!  A divorcee' wears flowing, drapey clothes and scarves around her neck or on her head and big earrings and high heels. And, well, I do some of that, but that doesn't make me a divorcee'!    

And if my 1970s' memory is correct, if you're a divorcee', you must also be a feminist, which is totally cool and all, but I like to have doors opened for me and I like when men buy me beer and food.  So that description does not fit me either.

My answer to his question was, "Oh, well, I guess, but I don't refer to myself as a divorcee'.  I'm a single mom."  Then there was a second or two of that 'awkward half smile, OK our conversation is over' kind of thing.   And that was it. 

But I keep thinking about it.  I wonder what my 1970s self would think of me becoming a divorcee'?  Exciting?  Risky?  Inappropriate?  Daring?  Hmmmm...probably all four and then some.

Women like me, we are independent, resilient, strong, flexible and patient.  Yep, that's more like me. 

I'm a single mom......that's soooo 21st century. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Do You Have a Bird Nest Near Your House?? Read This!

If you have a bird nest attached to or anywhere near your house you want to read this.  This is my PSA for the month.

One day, about 8 or 9 years ago, when Lovey was 2 or 3 years old, she began to get little red bumps on her skin.  One here, one there and they were itchy. 

On Day 2, there were a few more bumps and I worried it was chicken pox.  It was the weekend and her regular pediatrician was closed so I took her to the after hours clinic at the local hospital.  They determined it wasn't chicken pox and since we had 2 dogs at the time, the next assumption was that the dogs had fleas and they were bothering Lovey.  But why was she the only one with itchy bumps?  No answer.

So on Day 3,  I took both dogs to the vet and had them checked for fleas.  None.  But we put them on a high dose of flea killer anyway just to cover that base. 

Day 4, Lovey was still itchy with more red bumps.  I striped her bed, vacuumed her mattress and washed every piece of clothing in her room.  I also vacuumed the rest of the house like crazy and striped the other beds as well. 

Day 5, more bumps.  Then I saw it.  While putting clothes away in her room I saw a teeny tiny moving black speck on her dresser.  Then I saw another.  What the...??  I began to slowly scan her room and I saw a few more of those speckish bugs on one of her walls.  They weren't ants, they are much smaller than that.  If I didn't know better I would have assumed fleas, but we had already covered that.  Lice?  Do lice roam  around the room?  I didn't think so. 

I killed the few that I saw and throughout that day I scanned her room many times killing a few specks each time.  They seemed to always be on the same wall and the dresser near that wall, which also was the wall that Lovey's bed was against.  Lovey did not sleep in her room that night. 

Day 6, I went out and bought a heavy duty bug spray and sprayed the window panes in her room from the inside (she was on the 2nd floor) and the moldings at the top and bottom of her walls.  And continued to kill specks throughout the day.  It was also right around this day that I discovered a few bumps on my skin as well.  Awesome.

Day 7, my mom calls, says she's been researching on-line trying to figure out what the specks are and "Is there a bird nest anywhere on or near the house"?  Yes, there is.  It was tucked in a corner of the house where the house and garage came together.  Which happened to be right outside Lovey's room.  The specks in her room were bird mites, aka bird fleas.

Bird mites live on the baby birds in the nest and when the nest is abandoned, the bird mites are desperate to find another host.  So in our case, they found there way into Lovey's room and found their host.  Makes me sick to even write that.  My daughter was the host to a pack of bird fleas. 

I immediately called a handy-man friend and he came over that day and removed the bird nest which required removing a piece of siding because part of the nest was in between the siding and the house, right outside Lovey's room.  After removing the nest he sprayed the outside of the house with a heavy duty bug fogger.  I also called pest control and they exterminated the inside of the house.  Steam cleaners arrived to  steam clean Lovey's mattress and mine too, since she had been sleeping with me for a few days. 

I washed every piece of clothing, every sheet, every towel in the house probably 5 times.  I vacuumed everything over and over.   And although I was told I could "bag" her stuffed animals and the mites would eventually die and fall off of them (barf), I decided to throw them all away.

We were quickly free of bird mites, but the paranoia lasted for awhile.  I was a crazy lady with the vacuum and the washing machine.  And I was itchy, with that crawling skin feeling, for weeks.

So, if you have a nest anywhere near your home, keep an eye on it and AS SOON as it is empty, dispose of it.  I don't think you need to worry while the birds are still in it.  I would hate to see someone hurt the baby birds while they are still in the nest.  It is my understanding that the mites only wander after the birds are gone.  Be careful with the disposal though, you don't want to touch the nest because the mites can quickly use you as their next victim.  Use a shovel or something else to remove it and bag it.  Then dispose of it far, far away from your house.

Now is the time to go outside and investigate, because trust me and my host child, you do not want these nasty things coming after you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Texting V Calling

Hands down I would text over make a phone call any day.  And it's sad.  I feel guilty about it.  The simple reasons are:

1.  I am busy and/or tired and don't have time to/not in the mood to chat.
2.  Those who are on the receiving end are probably busy and/or tired and don't have time to/not in the mood to chat.

It's not right and I know it's not right.  I often feel guilty for not calling people just to chat.  However, if I were to call someone and say,  "Hey, just calling to talk", they would wonder what was really up because it is rare that I just call to chat.  Except my mom.  But mom is readily available almost always, she's retired and doesn't have kids around, so she's easy to call.

It's cliche, but so true, that the moment I do make a phone call or receive a call, my children are next to me.  Why?  They are not babies or toddlers but this still happens the majority of the time.  They can be outside playing for two straight hours with the neighborhood kids and I realize I could actually make a phone call and possibly have a decent conversation.  And just as I push the last number, one of them walks in  to complain, get a snack, doesn't want to play outside anymore, and "Who am I talking to?", and then shoves their face into the speaker of phone to say "HI"  no matter who it is I am talking to.  So, there goes the pleasant conversation, which leads back to the argument for texting.

There's a guy I know who only converses with me via text but he refers to it as "calling"  As in, "I called you yesterday" (written in a text).  My response "U (text form of  'you' of course) did?"  He replies with a confident "Yes".  And I say (write) "You didn't call, you sent a text".  He says (writes) "Same thing".  Which I know it is not. It is so not the same thing.  Just more convenient and efficient.  But those kinds of relationships are surface-y and not real.

Gone are the days of talking on the phone for HOURS.  I miss talking to my girlfriends for hours and hours, with a burning hot ear and still so much to say.  Laying on the floor, feet on the wall, phone cord no longer coiled, but mangled to a stretchy mess.  That doesn't happen anymore. Even though there is still so much to say. 

So, I feel guilty for not just calling to say "HI".  And I've decided...I'm going to do it!  I'm going to call my girlfriends one by one and call just to talk.  Maybe I'll send a text in advance stating "I'm calling u in 1 hour. Be prepared to chat."  A courtesy text, so kids and husbands can be in bed or eating popcorn or just starting a movie or something occupying when my phone call arrives. Then we can chat, even if it's just five minutes.  Five minutes of authentic, no BS, conversation time is better than none. 


Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The kids and I finally saw fireworks last night.  Handsome was sick for two days so Saturday and Sunday fireworks were not an option.  Thankfully a nearby city saved their display for July 5???  Worked for us! 

We sat on our blanket for an hour and a half watching the interesting parade of folks settle in for the show.  People wear some unfortunate outfits in public.  Seriously, there were A LOT of people who had gone to Walmart before showing up for the fireworks.  Daisy Dukes worn by the opposite of Daisy Duke, fat teenage boy with no shirt, woman wearing something that looked like a shirt in front but a bra in back, man wearing shorts with black knee socks and sneakers, just to name a few. Lots of smokers, too, huffing and puffing with their kids around.  Nasty. 
So the people show was almost as good as the actual fireworks.  For me at least. 

Finally the real show started and the three of us lounged on our blanket, together, gazing up at the always beautiful fireworks.  How often do you lay on a blanket outside with your children?  Not often, so I totally took in the moment.  There we were safe, happy, together.  I realize it won't be long until Lovey wants to go to the fireworks with friends and not her mom.  And Handsome will follow a few years later.  But last night was perfect.  The three of us, side by side, enjoying a very simple pleasure.  And when the finale was over Handsome yelled out "Hallelujah"!  Loved it.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Any Men Like My Brothers?

If I could find a man with half of the qualities as either one of my brothers I would be thankful.  My brothers, both older, and who were often E-VIL to grow up with are now top notch, cream of the crop guys.  They are both dads and fatherhood just seems to have come to them naturally. Both are hard workers, professionally and personally.  They have great friends and family. :)  They are just good guys, plain and simple.

Having such great brothers means that the bar is set pretty high for any potential future man in my life.  Which is good.  It's a great reinforcer of standards.  Just in case there is ever a moment of weakness and I think "Oh well, maybe it's OK that he's a little bit of a loser" look at my brothers and I would be quickly reminded of the qualities that make a good man.

Is it bad to be on a date and repeatedly refer to one's brothers?  I can't seem to help it though.  I heart them, and find them to be such good role models for the kind of man that is worth any ounce of time.  So, these brothers of mine just thrust themselves into my conversations.  Would a potential suitor find this annoying?  Maybe?  But I don't care, it's part of the weeding out process.  I guess it's one way of letting "other" men know, that there are already some really great men in my life, and if they don't intend on being just as fabulous, they ought to bow out immediately.

I'm not convinced, however, that there are many decent, dateable men available.  When people ask me about dating they often say "must be hard to date",  "all the good ones are taken",  "most guys must come with lots of baggage", and so on and so on with the encouraging comments.  So it can be a bit depressing if I really think about it. 

So the good news is, dating is not a big priority for me at the moment.  I am happy and busy with other things in my life.  I feel like I'm on a road leading to new opportunities and it is an exciting feeling!  I'm not sure I'm wanting to share much time with a man right now.   However, while it's not a necessity, should a good, brother approving man appear, it would be a bonus!


Friday, July 2, 2010

One Parent Household/Two Parent Household

Being a child of divorce sucks.  For sure.  I know this not as a child of divorce myself, but as the mother of children of divorce.  Your mom and dad live in separate houses.  That sucks.  You have separate vacations. Not ideal.  Your family pictures are with one parent, not two, makes me sad.  I hate all of this for my kids. 

However, being a child of divorce doesn't mean you're going to be screwed up. Really it doesn't.   Didn't hear that?  Let me state once more, being a child of divorce does not mean you're going to be a screw up.
So when I recently  saw a comment that said (and I'm paraphrasing so ignore the quotes) "you can pick out the 1 parent household children from the 2 parent household children", it made my blood boil.  I'm sorry, for real, I could have totally kicked ass right then. 

Do my children have worries, fears, confusions, and sadness because of divorce?  Yes. They. Do.  They have had to deal with emotions that many children have yet to experience.  It's not fair, I'll be the first one to say that and I totally believe that it is not fair. I'm even pissed at "their parents" for getting a divorce. But, can you "tell" they have divorced parents, good Lord I hope not
When I first saw that comment I was mad and offended and certain in my mind that no stranger would be able to "tell" my children had divorced parents.  But as I thought about it, I began to wonder.  Can you "tell"?  Are there apparent signs that my children have two homes, two beds, and that when they get a hug and kiss 'good night' from mom, they don't get one from dad? And when they get a hug and kiss 'good night' from dad, they don't get one from mom?  I hope not.

I try so hard to make my kids' lives as happy and loving as possible.  I know they miss out on certain things and I know they wish their parents weren't divorced.  I wish their parents weren't divorced, too, for them not for me.  That's a whole other story.

And I truly believe kids with divorced parents can be just as happy as kids with married parents.  And whose to say kids with married parents are under a healthy and loving roof?  We do the best we can and I pray that my kids are growing up feeling happy, loved and blessed.  I feel happy, loved and blessed because of them, that is for certain.       

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

That was NOT cheese

I've been pretty conscious about processed food lately.  By lately I mean the last few months.  I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with body and in doing so I've become very suspicious of processed food.  I bought a few books awhile back, The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food, both written by Michael Pollan.  One theme of both books is, if it doesn't grow on a tree or in the dirt be leery of it.  There's also a lot written about meat but I don't eat much of it so I've focus on the processed food parts.

So, my body has been acting really funky for nearly a year, not quite a full year, but almost.  It could totally be stress induced, cause there has been a lot going on, or maybe hormones or perhaps my diet?  I'm still in the process of investigating.  

Well, my daughter (aka Lovey) and I were watching my son (aka Handsome) play baseball last night.  During the game we wandered over to the concession stand.  And it doesn't take much to realize that when trying to avoid processed foods, the concession stand is NOT the place to be.  Anyways, for whatever reason, I don't know why, but I broke down and bought nachos with "cheese".  The woman behind the counter handed me a plastic bag of nacho chips and 2, yes 2, containers of "cheese".  The "cheese" wasn't even heated up, just disgustingly blobbed at room temperature into a container.  As she handed it to me I knew I didn't want it but took anyway.

So Lovey and I headed back to the bleachers and I began to eat.  Down went about 2/3 of the chips dipped into 3/4 of one of the containers of "cheese".  Almost instantly, my stomach was frantically sending messages to my brain like, WTF????  Why is this non-food being delivered down here?  What is it that you want us (stomach juices and what not) to do with this??  So in retaliation, my stomach cramped up like it has been doing this past year when it disagrees with any decision I have made, food related or not.   The rest of the night was misery and my brain punished me by replaying the step by step "cheese" eating over and over in my mind all night.

Thankfully, I am feeling better this morning but I swear and will write in blood that I will never eat that nastiness again.

Apple in the purse....good.  Concession stand nachos.....bad.       

Monday, June 28, 2010


So I had my 20 year high school reunion on Saturday.

In my eyes, the turn out was great! BFFs that I am still sister-close with and good friends that I don't get to see all that often, were there. People that were friends of mine but, for one reason or another I haven't seen since graduation day, they were there. And those that I didn't interact with at all during school, they were there too.

The thing that always gets me at these reunions is the easy conversations that can spark up with people I am certain I didn't make eye contact with in high school. You know how things are in high school. Some people you hang with and some you don't. But as I age, I have found, it is easy to talk to almost anyone. So, at the reunion I found myself having real conversations about work, kids, spouses or non-spouses with people I never talked to in high school. It can be awkward if you really think about it in the moment, a little fake maybe. But it was all sincere and they were real conversations.  How things can change after you've been away for a long while.

I guess I was a little cliquey in high school, I don't like to think I was nasty but perhaps a bit standoffish to some. A result of nothing other than my own insecurities, I'm sure. But that's how it is in high school, right? Different interests, different groups.

But I can't help but wish that there could have been a little "this is me now" whispering to the "that was me then". Little bits of advice like , "Go ahead and sing in the choir, you'll really like it." OR "Take out a map every now and then and pay attention to where you are in the world." OR "You'll feel really good about yourself when you are good to others." Or maybe this oldie but goodie, "Take advantage of all the learning opportunities in school, join clubs and get involved because the day will come when you have to pay for stuff like this!"  All things I'm sure my parents said, but who listens to their parents in high school?

Well, it was a splendid night!  What was the best part? Was it when one of my dear old (male) friends compared me to the "life sized girlfriend doll" of an old classmate?  Charmed, but no it wasn't that.  Was it the 'totally 80s' pre-party? Nope, not that. Maybe it was the sincere (I think) "You look great!" that I received from some, even though I feel like a beast these days? No, not that either.

The best part was seeing old friends, remembering the easy days of high school, and feeling that bond, still after 20 years, that you have with the people you grew up, yep that was it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Telling Your Kids

I have a lot of stories to tell from my last three years of dealing with divorce. I'm feeling very compelled to share some of them. I'm not sure why. It's not in an effort to air any dirty laundry more so to provide comfort and knowledge to someone like me. There are so many books and websites to read regarding the befores, durings and afters of divorce but I might be able to share some very real, relevant every day stuff that could maybe help someone out.

This is one of them:

The absolute most difficult day of my divorce process was the day we decided to tell our kids we were separating. I hate that day. My nights were consumed with the thought of telling our kids we were splitting up. I read several books about children and divorce and read endless things online. These resources were a good launching point but no situation is the same as yours and of course no children are the same as yours. Write down what is in your heart. Chances are you know what you want to say. You know what your children are able to understand. I took notes, I didn't want to forget to say certain things. I didn't want to tell them too much or too little.

My stomach is in knots and I cry as I write this, three years later, because it was surely the most difficult conversation I have ever had. How do you justify a decision that will hurt the two people you love most in the world?

However, if divorce is where circumstance has lead you, this is a conversation you must have. It is also a conversation you must have over and over. You cannot possibly anticipate the reaction of your children. But you must talk, ask, answer and comfort over and over. This is not a conversation you can have once and then breathe easy that it is over. You must continue to bring up the divorce, the changes your children are experiencing, their worries, their sadness, their anger. These are all things that cannot be ignored no matter how difficult it may be to talk about.

Even if your children say that they are OK, continue to ask them questions about their feelings, worries, struggles. Ask, talk, reassure again and again. Make sure your ex is talking to them as well.

Three years later this is still a conversation I have with my children. As they grow and develop new questions and concerns come up. Different situations make them sad and mad. This divorce was not final and finished two years ago at the courthouse. It is an evolving event that will need to be dealt with for the rest of their lives. I do my best to make sure they feel secure and loved always.

Socks on the Beach

After reading a post from my cousin's blog yesterday and writing this today I might be like the lady at Redbox in Kroger.....

My kids love music and being a totally cool mom, so do I. Soooooo, we're in the car this morning listening to California Gurls by Katy Perry w/ Snoop. Yes, I understand a song that involves Snoop might not be 100% appropriate for kids, but it has a great summertime beat! Also, I like to believe that they are not really paying attention to the words or to the meanings of the phrases in some songs. Kinda like me, when I was a kid listening to Darling Nikki and was completely, and I mean completely, clueless about its content. Pre-teen daughter is not this way. She is overly attentive to all that is going on around her.

So there we are in the car and as always my son tries to sing along with songs whether he knows the words or not (he gets that from his grandpa) and here comes the part where K. Perry sings "sex on the beach" and son sings "socks on the beach". Daughter immediately says "What did you just say?" Son says "socks on the beach" I quickly interject with a 'Don't say another word' look on my face in the direction of daughter. However, Dr. Ruth decides she wants to clear a few things up for her brother. "That's not what she says", she tries to explain. "Quiet", says now very annoyed mother. Daughter continues, "But mom, that's not what she says". "Dear daughter", I say, "Your brother is 7 and yes she says 'socks on the beach' ". "Let me explain, sweet innocent boy," I say, "Sometimes people go to the beach with socks and tennis shoes on and then when they get there, they take them off so they can put their feet in the water. So "socks on the beach" means that people have taken off their shoes and socks to go into the water to have a good time.

There, all set. Son stays innocent for another day and daughter is actually impressed with my quick response and entertained by my explanation. Tally one for mom and no more Snoop Dog with the kids in the car.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dog Knows Best

Anyone who has a dog has said at one time or another, "What a life you have (insert dog's name here)." Why is it that dogs have figured out the ideal lifestyle while most of the rest of us struggle to find balance? If my pooch could talk I'm certain she would have these words of advice:

1. Stare out the window as often as possible, there is so much to see if you take the time to look.
2. When not staring out the window, it is a good idea to take a nap.
3. Hover near people who have food.
4. A few extra pounds can actually make you look cuter.
5. Get really excited about any type of physical activity.
6. Be heard when you are suspicious of something or someone.
7. Back away from all unknown men. If they stick around and continue to talk to sweet to you then maybe they're not so bad.
8. Always greet your family at the door with an overwhelming welcome.
9. Stay close to those you love and trust during inclement weather (real and figuratively).
10. Always snuggle up close when a loved one asks you too and even when they don't.

This post is written on behalf of my loving and loyal dog, Maggie, and in memory of my big, beautiful, forever loving dog, Mandy. I miss you Della!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Clap Out

I almost titled this post "The Clap Out" but thought some might get the wrong idea seeing the words 'the' and 'clap' together. :) Yesterday my daughter officially finished elementary school. She'll be in 6th grade in September. A tradition at her school is to have the 5th graders walk through the entire building while all of the other kids, teachers and administration stand outside their rooms and clap, thus called Clap Out.

The Clap Out continues outside as the 5th graders walk through lines of parents clapping and cheering. The students look excited and proud, the parents also look proud, some are sad and others are relieved. Good thing I had my sunglasses on because the tears welling up in my eyes caught me off guard and would have "totally embarrassed" my daughter.

She passed 5th grade with flying colors including some courses that were not labeled on her report card. Such as:
sassiness - A
eye-rolling - B+
stomping - B
sighing - A
crying for no reason - B
Telling me I always say 'NO' - B
Threatening her brother's life - A+

Yes, she is officially a middle schooler. This all being said, when she rounded the end of the Clap Out she came over and allowed me to give her a giant hug and kiss. I also enjoyed several minutes of chit chat with her teacher and she smiled sweetly, waiting patiently. While out to lunch she told me I was a good mom because I flagged the waitress down to get her a refill of her drink. that all it takes??

So my little girl is really growing up. She's got the dramatic undertone of a 6th grader and barrels of sweetness in reserves to use at her discretion. So things are progressing as they should.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bad, Bad Snack Vendor

While on that wretched roller coaster I do believe, along for the ride, was a snack vendor. He was strapped in tightly, right next to me, and he offered endless amounts of comfort food. I don't like to think I'm an emotional eater but the scale is telling me otherwise.

Every twist and turn was endured with a snack in hand. I vaguely remember thinking....."Uh oh creepy, shaky, free fall coming up, hand me a bag of Skittles!" "Dark tunnel of the unknown on the horizon, quick, fix me up a plate of chips and cheese!" And of course, "This glass of wine will certainly smooth out some of these jerks and jolts!"

So unfortunately, I exited that coaster a "few pounds" heavier than when I first got strapped in. So now, as part of my "release that which I cannot control" mission I am hoping some of these unwanted pounds will be released as well. Because clearly that is something I can control.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I used to love roller coasters.....

As a kid, I was a frequent visitor to Cedar Point. I would ride just about anything except for that awful Witch's Wheel - BARF! What I loved most were the magnificent roller coasters filled with smiling, screaming children and adults...fabulous, fun, save me a place in line!

Unfortunately, I have been on a roller coaster of another kind. The dreadful, downer emotional roller coaster. This roller coaster does not allow quite the same thrill as those from my past.

This past year I had a non-stop ticket on one of those emotional roller coasters and my stomach has been twisted and turned more times than I can count. This ride had way too many dark tunnels, upside-down loops, scary plunges, and even the clank, clank, clank you hear as the train slowly climbs the track and you're not so sure this is what you bargained for.

Well, the time has come for me to gracefully step off this ride. My hair is a tangled mess, I have a strange look on my face, my stomach, I fear, will never be the same and my body feels a bit unbalanced. I'm sure this ride has more to offer but I'm good, I'm done, I'm gettin' off.

Now comes the easy part, or the not as hard as it 's been part, I hope. I am ready to release what I cannot control, lose the stress and stay true to myself and my kids. Good things are waiting for us! I just know it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Little About Me

First and foremost, I am a mom. I have two children, ages 7 & 11. In my professional world, I am a teacher. I am also divorced and my life as a single mother has involved much drama! I do believe that most of the time I am not the creator of this drama. Instead, I am the recipient and the 'cleaner-upper'.

I am often told I could write a book. The thought has crossed my mind because sometimes things are really juicy and I think to myself "Ohhh this would be a good read!" I'm trying out this blog business to see if it helps me to relieve some stress and maybe connect with others who are familiar with my type of life! :)

I am not and never will promote divorce but I do have a lot of first hand information that might be of use to someone who is contemplating a divorce, in the middle of a divorce or experiencing life as a single parent.

I am not an experienced blogger so I don't know the "rules". Do people reveal their identities on blogs??? For now, I will not use my name or the names of my kids, that just makes sense I think.

The story behind 'Second Chance Moon'

There was a full moon that Christmas Eve night. My children were excited as we gathered the carrots and reindeer dust to leave on the driveway for our late night visitors. The sky was clear and dark, except for the brilliant beam of the moon. However, I was not the one to notice it.

We stepped off the front porch. My daughter walked a few steps ahead. I was behind her holding my 2-year-old son’s hand. He slowly raised his chubby, little finger up to the sky and says, “Mamma, look at the moon."

“OK”, I said, “Come on, we have to get the food out for the reindeer." I moved him along quickly toward the driveway.

My heart sinks as I watch this video. I am standing at the kitchen counter four years later, watching this lost moment through the lens of my camcorder.

OK????? We have to get the food out for the reindeer?????
Were we doing our chores that night? Did we have a herd of reindeer that we tended to daily? My stomach is tight as I blankly stare off, the way you do when your mind is drenched in thought. Deep sadness takes over. I feel as though I’ve lost something. I begin to cry and the tears will not stop. What kind of mother am I?

This video haunts me for days. I feel an overwhelming sadness. The image of that little finger pointing toward the night sky plays over and over in my head. My "busy, busy, no time for distractions" attitude plays over and over in my head.

It had been less than a week since I had watched ‘the video’ when my kids and I were walking toward the car one evening after a school function. My daughter walks a few steps ahead. I am holding my 6-year-old son’s hand. “Look at the moon, Mom”, he says.

This child is not moon obsessed in any way and I am certain this is only the 2nd time he has ever said those words to me.

My feet stop, my stomach tightens. This is my second chance. This is my Second Chance Moon. We stand and stare at the moon. “It’s beautiful.”, I say. “Look how big it is!”, I say. “Do you know when the moon looks like this it’s called a full moon?”, I ask him. “It looks so big and bright, doesn’t it?”, I ask. What else? What else can I say about this moon?? I want this moment to last forever. I want to stand here with his little 6-year-old hand in mine forever and stare at this gorgeous moon.

I’m not sure how I got us home that night. My mind was full of the image of that moon and my heart was filled with joy and thanks. As I write this, my son most certainly does not remember that moon. I will never forget that moon.

I remember my Second Chance Moon when I feel crazed with life, which is often. It reminds me to slow down. I try to relax, watch closely and listen well.

Thank you God, message received.