Thursday, December 25, 2008

Single Mom’s Night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Every creature was stirring, but luckily, no mouse.
The stockings are here and one over there...
It is almost like nobody around here could care.
The children were wild and fighting, nowhere near their beds.
While helpless, I watch them hit each other's heads.
When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter.
We all ran out to see what was the matter.
Away to the door, I flew like a flash
Tripped on a car and then stepped on some trash.
I cursed out loud at the mess they had made
And said, “why can’t you put things way after you played.”
When what to my wondering eyes should I find,
But the dog and cat in quite a bind.
The dog was barking, the cat was hissing.
But good thing neither was missing.
The kids started shouting and making it worse.
I knew I had to take control, and started to converse.
“Now, Cowboy! Now Sebastian! Kids stop it right now!”
“Oh come on guys, I need a break, somehow.”
“Get in the house! And go to your rooms!”
“You in the kennel. No more of these volumes.”
With sad faces or tucked tails, and emotional display
They did march, but for once no words of back talk, they just did obey.
I sat for a moment, and paused at the scene.
And thought, “How many people live here? Fifteen?”
I had to clean before Santa could do his task.
I really had no choice and no time to bask.
I picked up and dusted, straightened and washed every dish
I was getting sleepy, cranky and downright childish.
I creeped down the hall to check on the kids.
I found even breathing and closed tight eyelids.
Then back down the hall to where presents were stashed,
And hoped that nothing got too smashed.
I started unpacking and sorting out gifts
Once, from the bedrooms, I heard tiny shifts,
So I paused and listened, and heard not a sound
I had to work fast before I was found!
All gifts were arranged, full stockings and candy canes hung on the tree,
It would be quite a sight for the first up to see.
I yawned and I stretched before turning out the light,
I reflected for a moment on what all happened that night.
I did this again by myself. Just one mother with three children
No partner around, just me to take action.
My children, my world. My everything in those three.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to thee.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Traffic Makes Poeple Crazy

I'm sure somewhere someone is doing a very expensive, time consuming study about this. And yes we have all heard about road rage.

Let me save you both time and money and give you the answer. Waiting in traffic makes people crazy!

They get mad, impatient and forget their manners. They yell, curse and flip off strangers. Cut in line, block intersections, drive on the shoulder, cut corners and just in general make it dangerous for others.

Am I guilty of some, if not all, of these? YES!

I sit in a lot of traffic and mostly, though, I am patient. My occasional yelling or impatience is at the idiot that I mentioned above.

Tonight, for example, we were sitting in a lot of traffic to only go a few miles at best. As soon as we were free, some one made the mistake of deciding to turn right.... the horror! The more important person in the car behind them decided they wanted to go in around instead of waiting the 1-2 seconds it would take for the person to turn. Problem was I was in the lane next to them. I honked, the VIP stayed in her lane.

I don't remember driving always being like this. I feel like I am driving into warfare or something. I have to be both offensive and defensive at the same time with my driving.

What I hate the most in the whole wide world is when a driver knows the lane ends, you have to merge, the continuing lane backs up, as drivers will go all the way to the end of the lane before getting over and basically "cut" in. What is worse is when they will continue on the shoulder until they can get in. I will let one car in. One car! That's all I "have" to let in. One car is polite! And yes sometimes I will let 2 in, but that is my limit! Why should I let 2, 3, 4 people over just so I have to sit there that much longer. What if every car in front of me let 2+ cars in line? That is why the line is sooo long in the first place! Duh!

Anyway, just had to vent since I almost got sideswapped tonight! (actually writing this on Monday but posting on Wednesday!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ban on Dogs or Owners

I don't usually write about "hot topics" but this one is a hot button for me.

There was this article about Texas Attorney General being asked his opinion on banning certain breeds of dogs. Very interesting, yet hot topic.

I don't know if I agree or disagree. But let me talk you through some of my thoughts on it.

I am a dog owner. I am not the best nor worst dog owner. I know what to do in theory with him but I don't always follow through as much as I should. One thing that I made sure I did was socialize him as a puppy but since I haven't been able to get him neutered yet (after the first of the year! snip, snip, baby) I haven't done as much socializing as he needs.

So I do try to be a responsible pet owner of a very powerful, strong and smart dog. He is a mix of two of the breeds on this list for home insurance and dog breeds that might raise your insurance rate or you may even get denied. (I was honestly surprised to see Husky because all of them that I have known are big teddy bears but they are strong dogs and in the wrong hands....I guess)

I knew this getting him so I had to take a firm hand (okay somewhat) from the beginning (he was sooo darn cute in the beginning).... He is still really cute and it is hard sometimes to follow through with disciplining him. I also try not to really play with him too much, like rough play (I will throw a ball or toy) but I don't want him to see me as an equal but as the alpha. I need to control the food and boundaries, etc. He can not win "games" with me. I have to win or I don't play.

So anyway, I would hate for my dog "breed" to be banned and I know many pit bull owners would be upset by it too.

However, I think that many of them would agree with me that in the wrong hands and with the crossed and bad bloodlines out there, they can be very dangerous. That isn't to say they all are, just that they can be.... They are smart, strong, powerful dogs. Then again, any dog can be bad in the wrong hands, over bred and after being abused.

So who do you "ban" the dog or the owner or maybe even a little of both? I think if they make it harder to get the dogs, it would help a bit but just like illegal drugs, people will find a way and I think that the dogs might even be treated worse, making them meaner. *shutter*

I thought talking it out would help me be on one side of the fence or the other. I am still clearly on the fence about this. I don't think there is a clear right or wrong answer on this issue because I see how these breeds can be (not just pits but all the "dangerous" dogs). However, how do you control the "bad" ones.... the owners and the mean dogs they created? I just don't think banning is the right answer.....

What do you think? What do you think of the list of dangerous dogs?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Alchemy of Loss

This is my second book review for TLC Books. I hope that I can continue to review books.

I was asked to read The Alchemy of Loss by Abigail Carter. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this or how I would feel or relate to a widow. I choose to not have a spouse any longer. She did not.

From the minute I picked up the book until it was done, I was hooked. Obviously I am reading a book about a widow, a widow of 9/11. I knew how the big story went. I knew that when she got the first phone call from him saying where he was, that it wasn't going to be a happy story; however, I was not expecting to be sucked in the way I was.

As she watched the news, as she waited for news, anything, I was waiting and hoping too. I felt silly because I knew it wasn't going to end with him coming home but she wrote it so well that I was waiting for him with her. I kept thinking was it because I had felt strong emotions over the event as well and so I knew how I felt not even having lost anyone or was it her writing. I am chalking it up to both because the rest of the book was written in much the same way and I was spellbound as I read it.

I also saw how I could relate to a widow in the pages. She was grieving and my own grieving a failed marriage is many of the same steps and emotions. There are many differences of course because I made a choice and I still see my ex.

I definitely would recommend this book to any reader. We can all relate in different ways to Abigail and her journey. I wish her luck.

So check it out!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just very random stuff

I have a lot on my mind so I haven't been doing great (again) at blogging. I keep wondering if I should give this up. I found myself a long time ago but at the same time there are always new things I find challenging with my role as a single mom. *sigh* I hope I can keep this going because honestly I do love it.

Anyway.... All my Christmas shopping is finally done! I got a later start than I wanted but today I bought the last of it. We have a tradition that "Santa" leaves Candy Canes on the tree. I had to buy the candy canes and I thought for sure that would be pretty easy. Not! My kids have been spoiled by the different flavored ones, not peppermint. They don't even eat those! So I have to buy the different flavors. I did find some but not the requested ones. Oh well. They are good enough.

Speaking of traditions, another one we do is on Christmas eve I give them pajamas. When K and H were little, I used to match them. But now it is just whatever looks good at the store. They each got two this year because they all need PJs. Plus I couldn't decide! I love PJs. Wish we could wear that to work.

Then tomorrow I do another book review. I am excited about this book. I love it. I think most of the people that read my blog would love it! No hints or giving it away but just check back tomorrow for the review. I need to find my notes that I wrote.... Hmmm....

The kids all went with their dad and stepmom to her mom's house in Austin. At first K wasn't going to go but about an hour before they got her, she changed her mind. We have all been sick this week so I was also worried they wouldn't go. I hate to be like ungrateful but I needed a break really bad. I love them to pieces! Can't live without them but I just need a break.... or really what I need is more help with them and from them but that is a whole other blog post.

Oh and look in my sidebar! I have a new widget.... It is my baby brother's band!!! He is the singer. I got goosebumps when I heard him. Not that I think they are superstars but I think they have a really great sound and with some more practice and the right breaks, they could good go far.

My other brother is in Iraq. I have emailed his wife... well just once. She is sad. I don't often like to wish away time, but I hope for her and him that the time seems to fly. I have been crying again too. Mostly when I think of him or something reminds me of him. Even when I think of her, I get choked up.

In other news, have you seen the commerical with the little boy that is yelling at his dad for eating the last cookie? "He's gonna leave! He's gonna leave!" (see video below)..... Cracks me up EVERYTIME! I love it. Not sure why but a few others loved it enough to put it on YouTube.

Soooo anyway, I wish you all a Merry Christmas (or whatever you celebrate). I will more than likely post more this week! I will actually not have to fight for the Computer!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lions and Tigers and ..... Okapi... Oh my!

From the zoo this past weekend.... I wish I could take credit for the first two pics, I can't. Those were K. She loves taking pics but especially of animals.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good or bad mom?? I am not sure

This weekend I went to the zoo with my kids, my aunt and her two grandchildren. It was a great day! Cool but not cold, just warm enough and not tooo sunny either. Just perfect.

The kids range in age from 14 to 2 yrs old. They all enjoyed it!!

So to back up a step or two, my daughter has never been very maternal, even for a child her age (now 14). I am not expecting her to be like all "Ooohhh babies!" and know what to do. However, I remember babysitting at age 11 and really knowing what to do most of the times... I mean as moms (and dads) we don't always know what is wrong for our kids.

Anyway, you know what I mean, some people just have a natural maternal/nurturing instinct.

Back to the day at the zoo. K was trying to keep up with her little cousin S. S is a typical 2 year old, busy and as a lot of new things to see and do. Now K, she likes little kids but like I said, no maternal instinct, very clumsy and looks to me like what the heck do I do? It was cute.

I mentioned to my Aunt my observation. She agreed but then said everyone used to say she would be a great mom and then she wasn't (or didn't feel like she was.... My cousin was a bit of a troublemaker. I love him but.... he got in some trouble. He is a great man now).

I said, I understand because I feel the same about me.... Not sure I am a good mom. I don't feel like I am. I get a lot of negative feedback. I have an ongoing self-esteem issue left by their dad. Many people comment how many boys are so loud or have to be kept very busy or they get bored, etc. I second guess myself all the time. I don't feel like I do enough or it isn't good enough and I am not as involved or they aren't.

I want someone, just one person, to reassure me. Someone that knows me, knows my kids, knows deep down, maybe, they are good kids. I mean really they aren't bad. There are some things I could do better but I am on my own against 3 so I pick my battles and it seems to work okay for us, and really isn't that what matters.... I just wish I could be so confident in my life and choices as I am writing this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Me and my brother

This is a picture me and my brother (I actually have two). He is 2 yrs younger than me and we used to be close. Now, not as much.

Anyway, he is in the Army and is deploying this week for the second time to Iraq.

I am so proud of him but at the same time, I am scared for him, for us.

He has three children and a new wife. He has just come back into our life's in the past few years and now will be gone for another year. I am not sure exactly when he is leaving, he could be gone now. I just know it is this week. His oldest and only son's bday is on Thursday.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He said if we do pull out of Iraq this year, he will be there longer than a year.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The bumps in the road....

I am often surprised that years after the divorce, years after being well over and ready for the divorce.... I still hit bumps in the road.

So today is would be my 15th wedding anniversary, instead, it is just another day. Small bump but not huge. I am definitely much happier post-divorce and away from him. That was a very bad relationship and I knew it for a long time. It was long over due but.... I see couples at the store, at the park, at restaurants, with their children or just each other, and it is another small bump.

Then because I am insane or nosy or both.... but the stepmom and I are "friends" on Myspace. Well she posted new pictures of them.... Christmas pictures of them. Happy, smiling couple. This is a big bump for me. Something I always wanted to do but only once did we take pictures together. One time. There they sit in their perfect house, fire, Christmas tree, stockings hanging on the mantle. Their dogs sitting with them.

Turns the stomach I tell you.


And I am not saying I really want that, for sure not life with him. I really do love my life and I am happy with my choices. It is just some little bumps of life after divorce... nothing more.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

In a blink of an eye....

If you have read my blog for a while, you know I have three children. K is 14 and a 9th grader and my only girl. H is 12 (nearly 13) a 7th grader..... and L is my surprise blessing, is age 6 and in 1st grade.

People tell you to enjoy them while they are young and I never understood that or the idea that "Time Flies" or "They grow up too fast." until I had kids. When I had my children, my life seemed to have sped up. Each year it goes faster. Especially with L. He is so much younger than the others that all his life he has done things faster than them. Rolled over, sat up, crawled, walked.... ran! All of it faster to try to keep up with his sister and brother.

I have tried to keep him little in other ways. I have spoiled him and not stuck to the same way of doing things as I did with K and H. I know I shouldn't and yet I keep doing it. I was an older mom and with the other two being 8 and 6 when he was born, I knew all too well how fast time flies. I felt like I enjoyed them but I realized I made them grow up too fast.... but I can't hold any of them back and I realize that....

However, yesterday showed me just how grown up he is getting and I really realized I can't stop it.

He was asked by a neighbor/friend to go help them pick out a Christmas tree and then go to lunch. My heart was screaming, "NO! He is not old enough for that." But my brain couldn't come up with one good reason why he couldn't. I know the mom and he and the boy are friends. Sooo I said yes. Then I gasped. What had I just said?? My baby could go with someone else! OMG! What was I doing? But I said yes.

As they left, I let out a sigh and my older two were like, "Wow he is growing up."

And so he is..... so they all are....

Friday, December 05, 2008

Finally House pics!

The remodel has been complete for a few weeks now but I have been lazy in taking pictures. Today I finally slowed down long enough to do it!!!!

So this first one is from the doorway looking into my room! Isn't it big? It is hard to see the color on the walls but it is gorgeous! You can kinda get an idea on the left side of the picture.

This one (below) is of course my bed. Don't you just love the lights and curtains! Thanks to Goofball for putting them up for me. Isn't he sweet!?

Below is a picture of the view from my bed.... well one of them. This is the back of the closet! I would like to move the tv/dresser here but my cable isn't there right now. Darn!

The other view from my bed, towards the door.

This is looking into my bathroom.

My closet!

Bathroom sink. I am a bit sad that I couldn't get better pictures of the colors but hopefully you can tell.

So that is my new room/bathroom. It is great! OMG! I can actually come home and hide a little bit. Just relax which I haven't been able to do for a long, long time!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holidays Post-Divorce

I was reading a new to me blog. She posted about the holidays and how this year would be here second since her divorce and she will have her daughter instead of last year when she didn't. Then on a message board I belong to, they have been talking a lot about custody and holiday schedules.

And yeah I complain that my ex doesn't have the kids regularly but that just means I get the kids for most of the holidays! Not to mention that we worked it out so that we each get them for the Christmas time. Last year they picked up the kids late afternoon on Christmas Day. This year they will get them until Christmas eve.

It isn't perfect but it works for us. This will actually be the 3rd Christmas that we have been apart.... or is it the 4th? I really don't know and I really don't care!

But I know many people will be going through this for the first time or even the second time and it is one of those hurtful moments when being divorced. I wish for them peace in this situation. That they can find some comfort and just try to enjoy the moments they do have.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A scared child and one that sleep walks = Long nights!

Soooo L has always been scared to sleep in his room. At first I gave in a lot because one he was cute (just 3 yrs old) and two I wasn't sharing my bed with anyone else. Okay so really I guess it started long before that even but I really gave in when his dad and I separated in 2005.

Anyway so it has been an uphill battle to get him to sleep in his bed for the past 1-2 yrs.

Well tonight was one of those battle nights. And as I listed for the billionth time that our house is safe (doors and windows locked, big brother in the room, big scary doggie... etc).... I took him by the hand and started to walk him to his room.

When I turned the corner and was eye to eye with a person. "HOLY CRAP!!!"

It was just his very sleepy, disoriented brother who has a very bad sleep walking habit and has since he was old enough to walk. Scared the crap out of me! I sent him back to bed.

And here I was trying to tell the little one how safe our house is only to squeal like I saw a mouse or something.

Crazy stuff.

I got his sister to sleep on one couch and him to sleep on another. No, no not some torture for her. She has actually said she prefers to sleep there. It is I who forces her to sleep in bed.

So everyone is finally tucked in. I just hope they all stay put!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

So I got this from a friend....

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

I thought it was really cute!

To update, I feel a tad better and I can't wait to go to my parents' house later. We are having a fairly decent sized crowd coming today! Originally it was only going to be my parents, me, my three, my two nieces and nephew and then my bro and his wife (maybe her two kids). Yeah that seems pretty big, huh? But now it is all those people plus my Aunt A, my Uncle J, my grandmother, my Aunt M and my cousin A and her husband C. Now that is more like it. Though we are still missing many people in my family.... I am thankfully so see so many. My Aunt D, Uncle E and my other grandmother (Dad's side of family) are planning to stop by later in the day to visit, but not have lunch.

And I will leave you with this.... For the record I am agnostic but I believe in a higher power of sorts and having a positive attitude is never a bad thing ....

"Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses;
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes;
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears;
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean;
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself."

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The one in which I whine a lot or one sick puppy

Soooo I just got back from the doctor. 3rd urinary tract infection in like 2 mths. Ack! But if that isn't bad enough.... sinus infection. Awesome!

This is miserable. Fever. Aches. Pain. Whine, whine, whine.

My brother is coming tomorrow for lunch. He will be going to Iraq again soon and I want to see him so I have to feel better or at least well enough to see him tomorrow.

But despite all that.... I am pretty thankful for well everything.... My kids. Goofball. My family. My house. My job.... etc....

So even if things seem miserable and you feel like crap! There is a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The one in which I forget to name it....

Gotta this from A Single Mom's Life. Love her blog!

7 things I plan to do before I die

1. Go to Europe!
2. Go on a cruise to Alaska
3. Go to Africa!
4. Get my MBA
5. Write (and actually finish) a book
6. Landscape my backyard!
7. Australia! Need I say more? (lots of travel)

7 things I do now

1. Work
2. Clean
3. Raise kiddos
4. Kiss a sexy guy! (whenever I get a chance)
5. Drive kids around.
6. Sleep
7. Hmmm, work?

7 things I can’t do

1. Keep my house clean! :)
2. Keep up with my children.
3. Spend enough time with a sexy man. (a specific one-BTW)
4. Find enough time to do things for myself
5. Keep my house clean!
6. Get organized.
7. Save for a rainy day.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex

1. Gotta make me laugh (even if it isn't completely outward laughing)
2. Great eyes.
3. Someone that is respectful, treats me great.
4. Great hands.
5. Is in to me!
6. Loves kids!
7. Loves animals, especially doggies.

7 things I say most often

1. Awesome.
2. Whatever.
3. Don't hit your brother. Don't yell out your brother. (etc)
4. "Feed the dog." "Would someone feed the dog!?"
5. I don't know, what do you want to do?
6. Down! Off! Stop! Leave it! (to the dog)
7. When I have enough time, I'll.....

7 celebrities I admire (This one is hard for me... I don't really admire many celebs)

1. Queen Latifah
2. Ellen Degeneres
3. Will Smith
4. Kevin James (he is sooo damn funny!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Keeping kids out of the middle

I was asked by TLC Book tours to read and review, Keeping Kids out of the Middle by Benjamin Garber, Ph.d.

This is my first so I hope I do a good job! I haven't talked much about it on this blog but I am a big time reader. I used to have more time for reading. I could always be found with a book. I typically used to read a book a day, sometimes two a day, depending on what was going on in my life at the time (more free time, more reading time!) I have books all over the house so I feel like I am well prepared for this review! :)

What is this book about?

The book is about being child-centered, not pulling our children into grown up fights and putting them in the middle of our issues. We are the adults, they are the children.

Who is this book for?

This book is for all parents (and that includes step parents)! While it is geared more towards parents that are separated or divorcing, it has a lot of great tips for all parents. Every one with kids or a big part of a child's life should read it.

What I thought:

This book was about two to three years too late for my divorce and much of the information is not completely relevant to me anymore (such as the parts about how to set up the custody agreement.) However, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it or that I didn't get anything out of it. I realized that many of the things that I thought I was doing was right were actually wrong! Wow, eye openers all through the book. I do wish this would have been around 3-4 years ago so I could avoid those mistakes.

Anyway, throughout the book, Dr. Garber gives examples of what to say to the kids when they have questions. He uses a grading scale of A - F, just like from school days. He would give different scenarios and then gives you various responses, saying things like if you say this, then you get an F, say this and you get a B, etc. He also had some interactive sections with quizzes. Always a plus with self-help style books (and yes I have read my fair share of them!)

As I read through, I highlighted lots of things! Many of it were mistakes I felt I made or things I had done right! Some of it was statements that left questions in my mind. Like how to explain to the kids about why the divorce happened (is happening). In the book, on page 110, he writes about the various responses to give for why did you get a divorce. Here is what the A answer was: The A answer? "What do you think?" opening the door to "We stopped loving each other," followed up with reassurance: "But your daddy will always love you, and I will always love you, no matter what."

I have a bit of a problem with this answer. This is exactly what I did with my kids but they immediately asked me "But if you can stop loving daddy, that means you can stop loving me." They believe that love ends. I have tried to explain that it is a different kind of love. Parent to child but they don't seem to buy it completely.

Then when they fight with their each other, they have asked if they can get a "divorce" or why can I divorce their dad and they can't divorce their sibling. I have explained that too but not sure if it fell on deaf ears or not. If you know me, you know that I complain a lot about the fighting between my kiddos and it is getting worse. So Dr. Garber, what do I say them?

There was also a section about when the child wants to go live with the other parent and how to handle it. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I have dealt with this. According to Dr. Garber, we did the right thing. Since I am the POD (parent on duty), I was the initial contact to this news. It caught me off guard so I basically tabled it until I could discuss with her dad. Then we agreed together that she was doing it for the wrong reasons. On pages 121 and 122, there is a highlighted section that talks about "Can some children choose." Dr. Garber gives 5 "if this, then yes" type of statements. We were spot on with our reasons for not letting her go. I think that if she were to make this choice now, it would be for the right reasons. We shall see what the future holds.

I guess the other thing that caught me off with the book but not because it was bad or wrong but because it was a hard thing to hear. There are rarely any true single parents. Basically it said if you have any support, you are not a single parent. He says if you are a single parent (no support) find it, even online. So for me, I have my parents, aunts and uncles, two grandmothers, friends and co-workers, as well as online friends. And while these people don't really help me with the care of the kids (my parents do some), they help me because I can vent and get advice from them. But really the parenting is all mine to do. I work, I come home to feed them, I do all the running around.... All of it. So I just don't know what to think about Dr. Garber's statement but I don't think I disagree.

Overall, I really liked his writing style. I really thought it was a well written and thought out book. It flowed well (and that is very important to me in a book!) While I didn't think much of it was useful for me, I still did find things that I can use and things I can change.

I do recommend this book to anyone who is conflicted in a marriage, going through separation or starting the divorce process. Even if you are happily married, I do think there are a lot of things in the book that you can use.

So check it out!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Howdy peeps!

Things are slowly getting back to normal in my neck of the woods. I have time to sit and think. Hurray!

The house is near done. Waiting on my custom shower door and my mirror. I have started moving all my stuff in. I should say I am nearly done moving stuff in. Thankfully Friday is my day off so I plan to work on it a lot. Also my mom and I are going to find some lights.... I have a plan in mind for what I am looking for so crossing fingers I find it! Then once I get it all set up, I will definitely take pics for y'all to see.

Tomorrow I will have posted a book review. My first! I was approached to review this book and I am really excited about it. I'm not going to say much about it.... but hope that you will come back tomorrow to check it out!

Sooo that is right now an update from Single Mom....

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mommy needs a time-out!

I am such an introvert that when things in my world are in chaos, I get depressed and can't seem to recharge. Right now my house is just a mess, making my whole life feel like chaos.... but the good news is we are about a week from it being finished! (Hurray!!! and pics soon)

I sooo CAN.NOT.WAIT!!!

I hate not having a place that I can go "hide"... My boys are very loud people. Most boys I have been around are loud and noisy and busy and it wears me out! But right now I can't get away from them for a "time-out" or anything. So I am just stuck in the loud, noise and business. Oh and don't get me wrong, I love the noise and enjoy it being here because if it was gone, I would so not be myself but I really need that downtime to recharge and refresh myself.

I feel like I am on the edge of just collapsing or crying or both. I'm exhausted all the time, edgy and I feel like I can't relax.

But very soon, very, very, VERY soon! I will be able to hide a little. I will be able to lock my door, climb in bed and just relax.

You have probably noticed I have been quieter, not commenting much on your blog (or yours or yours or yours).... I am truly sorry. I just do not have words right now. It has taken me days to just get this short little post put together.

Anyway, soon I hope to be back to normal and back to writing and commenting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Doggie, doggie

For Mrs. Really Long Name! (LOL... Love it).... I am posting new doggie pics. Overall, I still say best dog I have ever had but he really needs his yard back.

He is getting very frustrated being tied up and everyone but L has gotten caught in the rope at least once! (Even Goofball.... Sorry!) He has broken the rope several times and I bought one of these. He bent it sideways within a week and straightened the hook thingy that the lead clips to within 2 wks. Awesome. Thankfully he didn't realize it and we were able to come up with another solution but OMG! I want my fence back. Now that the roads are pretty much cleared of debris, we can walk him again but the first couple of minutes is me letting him know I am in control (NO PULLING, dude!) He is a very, very strong dog. But I used to run with huskies.... One was 80 lbs so I think I got this one who is maybe 60 lbs.

A lot of people are scared of him but I guess if you didn't know him, I could see why but he is really sweet. He is a good guard dog so far. With all the construction people around, he has had chances to let them know, "I don't know you."

We are still working with him on some "manners" and learning that L is not his litter mate, the cats are not toys and please do not bite the broom when I am sweeping.

Well anyway, without further ado.... Cowboy at 9 mths old (these were Sept)

Isn't he cute!?!?!? My big baby!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Okay so it is our busy time at work so I am coming home just flat out tired each day. Then it is my second (or really first job).... being mom!

Sooo I haven't had the energy to even think of anything to blog about nor go to many of my favorites to comment... but I am trying to get there.

I will just do a quick 5 things for you!

1. Remodel update: We finally passed the inspection! and they did the insulation today! Drywall on Monday and the contractor is going to drop off samples for me to pick tiles and my counter tops. I also need to pick the paint color! We are close!

2. H had a cyst removed today. Yikes! that was gross. He is doing okay.

3. K is going to the Homecoming Dance tonight. When did she get so grown?

4. L has a cut on his finger that got infected. Gross. I didn't even know he had a cut on his finger. I normally clean them, put anti-bacterial stuff on and bandage. Nope, he shows me once it is all gross and infected.

5. It is like what 6 wks since Ike came through and we still don't have a fence. Many, many, many people do not. Again, still lucky because some people don't have a home anymore or their house is just a wreck.... but given the limited amount of damage we had, I thought the fence would be back up by now. I threatened the dog today "If you get out one more time, I am not coming after you." Okay, don't tell him but I we were lucky because there were other dogs out in their own yard so he got really distracted with smelling butts. I then took him the long way home. He is now sleeping in his kennel.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The death of Customer Service

Who killed customer service? Where did the good customer service go?

I have thought about this post for quite some time but haven't written it until today.

Today I had two bad, very bad experiences with customer service.

The first. We have an outsourced company that does our benefits at work. I called as a HR representative on behalf of another employee. I just had a question nothing major and I forgot I had made the call!

Today they called me with a satisfaction survey. It did not go well from the minute I answered the phone. I know I won't be able to get her tone across in this but trust me she was not happy to be doing her job.

Her: This is "Sally" calling from the benefits company to ask you about the call you made last Thursday.

Me: Call?

Her: Yes the call you made last week to us.

Me: Hmm...

Her: YOU called on behalf of an employee. Do you remember THIS CALL?

Me: Oh yes. Sorry. I remember now.

(she kept interrupting me so I never got to ask a question or complete a sentence)

Her: I need to ask you a few questions about you satisfaction with that call do you have a minute.

Me: Yes.

Her: On a scale of 1 - 5, 1 being very dissatisfied and 5 being very satisfied, how would you rate the representative's effectiveness to answer your question?

Me: I guess average so 3.

Her (mean, frustrated tone): ON A SCALE of 1 -5..... (repeat above)

Me: I'm sorry I said 3, average service.

Her: (repeating the scale again)

Me: Hey if you are going to be rude I am not going to answer your questions.

Her: (even more rude and like she is just about to lose it): I am not being rude, if you would just....


That's enough of that. I just do not have time for this right now. I barely had a minute to talk to her in the first place but if she was just going to get angry when I tried to answer the questions!

Okay fast forward to tonight. I called one of the credit card companies. I have a payment plan with them that I pay a set amount each month. I can call in advance and change it if needed but I always pay. Always.

So here is how that went.

Me: Yes I would like to change my payment date to Nov 7th.

Her: Okay let's see. We can do Nov 5th. How is that?

Me: Well I don't get paid until Nov 7th is there anything you can do to change it to that date?

Her: No it would be a new billing cycle so just make sure you have money in your account. Then you can just pay back whomever you get the money from.

Me: (stunned) Okay well I guess Nov 5 will be fine. I'll figure something out.

Her: Yes so just make sure you get the funds in there or it will end your agreement and you will have to set up a new one.

Me: Oh so can I just cancel this one and start a new one then?

Her: Yes but just make sure the money is in there on Nov 5th.

Me: I don't have a way to get money by then.

Her: Okay well just make sure it is there. Is there anything else I can do?

Me: Nope thank you. I will make sure the money is in the account. I guess I can sell a kid.


And yes I really did say that!

Okay so maybe in that last call I was a little bitchy but OMG! I will have to call back tomorrow to make sure it all got changed. I do get my child support by the 5th so it is fine.

My head is still spinning though from the first call. Seriously I was just stunned by this call. I seriously wanted to ask her when I would get the call about how satisfied I was with her call.... It would not have been good!

Do you have any stories to share?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remodel hell

Okay not really hell but I didn't know what to call this post....

We have been remodeling the house since Mid-July.... and yes when I was truly in hell, I was having men in and out of my house. Joy and fun, joy and fun!

Well we are getting there but still a few weeks away from completion.

I am going CRAZY! I want my house back. I want my room back! I mean it is worth it, or hmm, it will be worth it. I will have a lot more privacy.

But OMG!

Next month I have to go to California for work, the ex is coming to stay in my house to watch the kids. (Yes he is the father but I feel like he is a babysitter.... Bad? Probably!) Anyway, I want my house done and back in order before that! How can I have my ex-husband who thought I was a bad wife and mother, and least we forget horrible at cleaning, in my house when it has been a wreck for several months.

It is gross. It is so gross. It is cluttered. It is a flat out mess!

I asked the contractor would it be done by November and he seems confident it will be. I wish I felt as confident....

Send good thoughts my way!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chaos is as chaos does

I have been quiet for several days without meaning to be. Life has just been busy. Kids, work and remodel have me feeling exhausted (but happy). And well actually while I am happy about the remodel, it is taking far too long and I am ready to have my house back.

At any rate, I have very little say right at this moment. I am working on some ideas but just trying to tweak them.

So in the meantime, just remember, it is still Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Have you done your self-exam yet?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Product Review: Tiny Prints

This is something new for me and I wanted to get it in before people order all their Holiday cards!

I have never done a product review before and I am happy to say that my first is for Tiny Prints. People Magazine has done a review so I am thinking I am right up there with People mag! Awesome!

They approached me before Hurricane Ike but it took me a while to get to it plus the samples were delayed because of the storm.

However, I have to say, their product sample that I received was very good. I was impressed. The paper they used was what I first noticed. Great, thick card stock.

The picture quality was the next thing I noticed. Very, very good!

The different styles were very eye catching and modern. Love the colors used in most all of the designs.

I played around on their website too. Very easy to move around and find stuff. Lots and lots of great products, not just Holiday cards but birth announcements, invitations and personal stationary.

The prices vary. I saw some from $.99 on up. Right now they are offering a special on shipping if you spend $99.00.

So check them out!! You will be happy you did.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Of Christmases Past…. And gift giving…

So this would be our 3rd Christmas since we started dating. First year too soon for gifts, but we did give cards. Perfect. Second year bowling bag for him, wireless router for me. Stories behind these? Yes. Practical gifts? Yes probably.

Now we are staring down the barrel of another holiday/gift giving season and what do you give someone who really needs very little, that you don’t live with but have known for going on 3 yr?? Oh and are super crazy about!

I know I’m clueless too.

He and I recently discussed this. He brought it up saying he was going to write about it and it was funny because I have been thinking about writing about this very topic.

We talked briefly about gift giving and our exes. Mine was not very good at this but not because I had high standards. I love kitchen items but honestly folks they make shredded cheese for people just like me (read: LAZY!)…. What do I want with an electric cheese grater? No not a food processor because that would make too much sense…. A gadget that you have to hold a button on each side of, push at the same time and then a blade moves up and down while you hold the cheese with your other hand. Awesome.

My list has almost always been the same basic list….. Candles, bath stuff (go to Bath and Body works and buy just about anything, I’m happy), pajamas and books (I read just about anything!)….. That’s it! I always told him the same things each year because he had “themed” gift giving. “Oh look a workout video…. Oh and another one…. Oh and workout clothes…. Wait, hmmm what are you saying? Oh I get it.” Then the Christmas everything was apple stuff for the kitchen. Yes I liked apples and thought they were cute in the kitchen, and yes I bought a few items but that was all I wanted…. If I was at the store and said, “Oh that is cute.” I didn’t mean “oh that is cute please buy me every piece possible.”

But I digress.

You will notice though that jewelry is not on my list. I am not a super big jewelry girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love jewelry and I think it is fun to get it but at the same time, it kinda makes me panic and I have a hard time breathing if I receive it. Why? Baggage. My ex went through a spell when he gave me a lot of jewelry. It was in 1998 which I identify as the turning point in my marriage. The point when I knew this was not the person I was going to grow old with. He bought me a $3,000 ring. Why? I don’t know… I called it the guilt ring. At first I wore it because I really did want my marriage to work but at some point I took it off, put it back in the box and gave it back. He didn’t take it so in a box it sat most of the time. Sometimes I would take it out and look it. Usually I would shake my head and put it back.

I’m a simply gal. A simple ring, a simple necklace, earrings, bracelet… these are the things I like but simple or even unique is the key. I don’t even know what the difference is in jewelry from this store or that. I hear all the commercials for this big chain or that one but truly have no idea the quality difference or even if there is one. And what do I need with fancy jewelry anyway? I go no where fancy and have no clothing to match it!

Sadly I typically by jewelry at Claire’s, Icing, Charming Charlie’s or even Target. Places like this.

Does this make it hard to buy me gifts? Gosh I hope not! I am really not picky and would be happy with anything that I thought the giver had put thought into, especially if it is something like a wireless router. That was probably one of the coolest gifts I have been given…. Why?? Because it was very thoughtful and given for a great reason. I use it everyday! What could be better?!

As to what I might want this year….. hell I don’t know!? I need almost nothing. Like I said I am simple and practical. I have been on my own too long, I just buy the things I want and need. Like I told the kids I want something to put my make up in but then I said but I’ll probably buy that. Then I want a new bird feeder but this time I want to actually hang it or attach it to the tree or fence some how. But I will probably end up doing that too. Or a wind chime for outside my new window or a new teddy bear…. My kids keep stealing all mine! Or a new spatula…. Yes seriously!

But this doesn’t solve my problem…. What do I give this amazing man?! :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Crazy week and it is only Tuesday!

I have not seemed to sit my butt down to blog lately. I have a ton to write about but I just can't slow my brain to focus.

And then Monday was just plain weird.... I have been getting busier with work and it is exhausting but fun so no I am not complaining but just sayin'.....

So then I get home and I can't deal with dinner so Papa John's to the rescue. Get dinner eaten and cleaned up but before I can get to dishes I start to smell something.

Like a burned rubber or plastic smell. GROSS! It was horrible and was stronger in my kitchen/laundry room area but I just couldn't find it.

One of my biggest fears is a house fire.

So I checked the stove, dryer, water heater, frig.... everything I could think of. Called the folks for their opinion. They had no idea either. Crap.

About five minutes later, pow..... No power. Damn!

I knew exactly the problem. Breaker box (or circuit box or whatever you call it). Called the folks and they came to the rescue. Dad said, "Yep breaker box. Why don't y'all pack and come say with us?" Alrighty then.... Packed by flashlight and just hoped we got everything we would need.

Couldn't take the pets so of course I worried all night.

Had to be home early enough in the morning to take care of Cowboy and kitties. Also to get everyone on the bus.... K at 6:30 (yikes), I have to leave by 7, H takes L to the bus stop at 7:15 and H catches his bus at 7:40. Soooo that was interesting this morning.

Anywho, called the contractor this morning, "Hey breaker box is fried, what's the plan?"

It is fixed now.... Awesome.

Today was another busy day at work and I am wiped but I am smiling so at the end of the day that is all that matters, right?

Work will only get busier but finally coming to a screeching halt for the holidays and by holidays I mean after Thanksgiving, not before. Fun, fun!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Random Mom Stuff

I will admit I am a nerd for commercials and really any marketing. I should so write a marketing blog (analyze commercials or something). When I go back to school, I am leaning heavily towards marketing.

So anyway, I have been seeing a commercial for a pre-packaged/cooked meat. This woman (mom) is describing her day. Her tone and body language suggest that she is tired and stressed by her day. Here is how it goes (sort of, I don’t remember each line):
* Wake up call 6:00 AM
* Kids up and off to school
* Then her 9-5 job
* “And then home to dinner that is waiting for me (pause for dramatic effect… long enough?) for me to cook it.”

Oh yes, this is soooo my day! I am exhausted by my day, my life most of the time. And, despite the fact that I love my job, I’m exhausted most evenings. I have a fairly flexible work schedule with every other Friday off. I truly enjoy what I do, though most of the time it is a high stress, fast-paced job. It is what I love to do! (Okay aside from my interest in marketing…. I would soooo be all over that!)

Then I go home to be the mom. Again I love my kids and I love being mom but….

I saw this Lifetime movie once, Fifteen and Pregnant, Park Overall’s character says “Babies take more than they give.”

Ahem, sista! This doesn’t just stop with babies either. And while the balance does start to shift slightly closer to being even the older they get, it is still way off balance….

Like, for example, K will make me a hot cup of tea sometimes. But I also run her little social butterfly self everywhere. To school for this or that activity. To church (sometimes). To a friend’s house. To a party. Whatever it is.

H helps me by taking the garbage out and carrying the laundry for me.

And L is just… well comic relief at this point.

They all help with feeding the dog and cats (but there is a lot of whining). They have chores (again much whining).

But what do I do? All the “grown-up” responsibility stuff (bills, laundry, scrub the toilet) and hey let’s not forget who “grew” them for 9 mths. (Okay maybe that doesn’t count…. )

But I do have to admit the thing I like about having older kids is that I can have actual conversations with them. In the store the other day, K and I were discussing the election (she will be old enough to vote in the next Presidential election…. How scary and exciting is that!) She was saying, “People shouldn’t just vote for a person because they are a woman or African American or whatever. They should be listening to what they have to say and doing research on them.” And yes folks she has an opinion on who she would vote for this year and she has done the research and is still doing that research, watching, listening and discussing.

I also encourage my kids to question things like beliefs and politics and whatnot. I have heard so many people praise their children for believing exactly what the parents believe…. Not because the child came to that opinion on their own but because the parents believe that. I mean that is okay for them and I am not really criticizing but I am saying for me, I want them to challenge my beliefs on things. I don’t go to church but K does and H had on occasion. I have my own set of beliefs that don’t match any church I have been to. But that isn’t the point, it took me years of research and going to church after church to come to this conclusion for myself. I talk very freely with them about religion and don’t try to sway them one way or the other. If they have a question about something, I have an answer or get them one. Politics the same. I have no intention of saying they have to believe the same as me. If they do, I want to know why. If they can say anything other than “Because you do.” Then awesome. I feel I then did my job.

Again, not downing others…. It works for you. I give my kids soda and you probably don’t believe in that. Everyone is different and I love that. Oh and for the record I am not trying to raise people that listen to just one resource or believe everything the media says. I have taught them to get as many points of views as possible. They have seen first hand how the media will overplay something for ratings or edit something to look worse than it is.

Back on point, I enjoy my kids and enjoy the people they are turning into, but it is true they take more than they give. I am exhausted by my dual roles as mom and fulltime worker but it has its rewards.

So while most night’s dinner is waiting for me…. (Pause for dramatic effect) to cook it. There are some rare nights that it is waiting for me to just eat it. And those nights are the ones to cherish the most because some day the kids will be gone and I will go home and eat a bowl of cereal or oatmeal or a sandwich because there will be no one to cook for but myself (unless, hmm…. Well??….the future is a question mark after all).

Friday, October 03, 2008

People on pedestals

.... are bound to fall off.

This is something I have dealt with before and this post is in general. However, I am writing it now because I recently let go of a friendship.

There is a lesson that I have learned from Goofball. Well several but one of the most valuable is "No expectations." It took me a while to figure out what that meant or how to apply that to my life. But now that I have, I see things very differently.

However, most of these people on pedestals were pre-no expectations living. They were people that I admired, looked up to and/or that gave me strength.

Only later did I realize that they were human. Only later did I realize that they had faults. Only later did they fall from those pedestals on which I put them.

It is really heartbreaking to feel this way but I let it happen. I had the expectations of hero/heroine. It wasn't them that climbed up there, they didn't ask for such glory in my life. I did it.

Sooo I have definitely learned a lesson in regards to myself and expectations for people. While it isn't wrong to look up to people or admire them, don't expect perfection or hero behavior. Expect that at times they won't live up to it and just accept that.

Or something like that! :)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wake up to Breast Health

This month Folgers is partnering with the National Breast Cancer Foundation in support of breast cancer awareness.

Look for the pink cans in stores. They are only out of a limited time!

Here is some information directly from Folgers:

This October, Folgers will partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to support breast cancer research and education for underserved women with its limited edition Pink Can, which will be available in grocery stores and convenience stores nationwide. In addition to the Pink Can, consumers will be able to visit to send a “wake up call” e-card to loved ones to make them aware of breast health and the importance of early detection.

Look around the store for other great companies offering products with special pink labels and/or ribbons on them. I will be posting other great reminders and products through out the month!

But tomorrow back to "normal" Single Mom Finding herself content.

Also note to those who have commented about other forms of cancer. I completely and totally understand because I have lost loved ones to other forms of cancer.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October Mean - Breast Cancer Awareness!!!

Hello all! It is that time of year again. Time to think about boobs and health, well honestly, you have to think about it everyday, or at least once a month.

This isn't just a problem that effects women, men can be diagnosed. So learn the facts! What are your risks?

With early detection, you have a good chance of becoming a survivor!! There are a lot of treatments.

As you may have noticed, my blog is pink. This is in honor of a very dear friend of mine who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been through a lot.... chemo, surgery, radiation. She has been doing great and has had some down moments (mostly in the beginning) but her spirit is one to admire and look up to.

I am dedicating this month to Breast Cancer Awareness and I have issued a challenge to all the bloggers to do something during this month. Post about Breast Cancer.... a story or an article. Something.

All cancer sucks (and tons of other diseases). I have lost a few close to me to other forms and someday I will dedicate time to those but for now I am doing this. I have always been very passionate about this.... I mean I have boobs and I like them. I like that a certain guy likes them.

Soooo bloggers, I hope you take me up on my challenge. Spread the word! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Trying to get back to blogging!

I miss it so much but I just can't seem to get organized enough again to do it. I have 50 million ideas and 50 million things I need to post about....

But I guess first things first....

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I will be doing highlighting some stories and highlighting some companies that support Breast Cancer Awareness.

I am offering a challenge to all the bloggers out there. Post at least one day about Breast Cancer Awareness. I am sure you know someone that has been touched in some way by Breast Cancer. So.... If you plan to post, let me know.

I also have at least one product review to post and will very, very soon! I think it is a good product and I hope you like it.

Thanks for sticking with me as I get back to normal. There are many, many of my neighbors, friends, family, and just fellow Texans who are not back to normal yet. I just want to keep them in my thoughts and hope that they are able to find some sort of normal....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Second guessing myself

A recent conversation with Goofball turned into me thinking and questioning myself.

I am not very word for word but basically I was saying I needed to swing by the store to pick up hot dogs, buns and Fritos.... I was making chili. I said the boys could eat hot dogs, K would have chili and I would have chili dogs. He said my meals were too complicated. Well we discussed and fine. I then mentioned that my ex used not like me to cut up/add onion and peppers or anything to spaghetti sauce. It had to be out of a can or jar.... nothing else.... Now I found out he eats it with stuff added. Goofball's reasoning "New wife".... Yes probably. He has changed a lot and that's fine. He is allowed, I guess....

But I honestly don't remember what it was that he said but it was basically that I didn't push to make them all eat the way I want them to..... as in, I want chili dogs, we are having chili dogs. Why should I do that when I can separate the ingredients and everyone is happy.

Does this make me a bad person? I mean I know my kids are picky eaters.... they are getting better but still not nearly to the point I want them at but I don't push them. I am too sensitive to eating disorders which they already have signs of (emotional eating) and I hate that.

Ya know when they were babies I did all the "right" things. I offered a variety of foods, veggies and fruits. They ate everything for the most part. H didn't eat spinach but that wasn't a big deal to me..... More for me! But this was really the only restriction.... Then suddenly around age 4, they both stopped eating like the used to. They became picky. They got to the point that they wouldn't eat at all... Just refuse. So I started just adapting my menu. So spaghetti became either with sauce or mac-n-chz. (Noodles with cheese on them). Chili dogs became choices.... but basically the same meal, just changed a bit.

L offered a new challenge for me. I made all his baby food. I didn't buy one jar of food for him. With K, I ONLY feed her baby food. I followed the book to the letter.... What can I say? I was young. With H, he was hard to get full so I started feeding him pretty much straight from the table around 6 months. But with L, I thought, "I can totally make all his food!" See my thing was I had a really hard time breastfeeding. I wanted to but I always seemed to fail. I didn't realize all the great resources that could have helped me or I would have tried anything. So when I heard how easy it really was to make baby food (easy peezy!!! I swear), I did it. I worked every Sunday making sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pears and apple sauce.... etc... It was so much fun and he ate so well! His fave was avocado and banana. Turns out avocados are a great first food, then added with banana makes a great "second stage" food. It was great. He was not picky until...... age 2..... He has been my worst one of them all. He often doesn't even eat the adapted meals I make. I can't get this kid to eat period. So I adjust.... I'm easy.

But I often feel like I am a terrible parent for not pushing this. I decided a long time ago that I would pick my battles. If this doesn't bother me, why push the issue? Like I said it is easier for me to just cook what they like rather than what they don't. And now nobody else put the four of us live here so why not. Oh and trust me it was worse with their dad here.... He was King of the Picky eaters. I figured it was my punishment for being picky as a child..... but I learned that I am not a picky eater.... Oh don't get me wrong there are things I would prefer not to eat (why waste calories) but my mom has said that I wasn't picky. She said if I didn't like say the onions in something, I would just push them to the side a little and not say a word. Then when I cleared my plate, I threw them out.

At any rate, I am always questioning my decisions, especially now.... It is almost 100% on me to make decisions for them, 100% for the day to day things, only like 80-90% on bigger things. So I question and second guess everything. But I have to just say this, I am not sorry that I have adapted my cooking and menu to fit their tastes. I picked my battles and this is not worth my time. I do feel like I put my foot down when it counts. (Like just a minute ago with the dishes)

So I guess what I am saying is that I am just doing the best I can and hoping they turn out okay. What more can I ask for?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hurricane Ike and the Single Mom

Okay this MIGHT be the last hurricane post..... I almost promise.

I have noticed that I am mildly depressed. Is it post-storm related or is it just my "normal" cycle with depression. I do not know. But I noticed I am not able to make eye contact as much as normal. I am withdrawing from people, withdrawing from my interests and just in general feeling blah.

Anyway, that is not exactly what this is about! This is about me and Hurricane Ike.

Pre-storm I was so nervous. Could I be strong enough for the children? Could I stay calm even though I was scared out of my mind at what was going to happen? I mean you just don't know what these storms will do or what they will be like. So back to my questions in my mind..... Was I prepared enough? Did I have enough supplies? Oh yes, there were more questions but I will spare you.

At any rate, I was strong enough, I was calm, I was prepared and I got us through it all. I am so proud. Now granted we were also EXTREMELY lucky!! Very little damage. Got power on rather quickly, etc.

But despite how easy it was for us, I also feel good that I was able to get us through the days I did. I calmed fears enough though I was scared too and needed the comfort. I know if this were to happen again, I could do it and I know I will be prepared. I will be more trusting of my own ability.

I do have to brag a little.... Goofball was a good support and an inspiration (via phone mostly). He still doesn't have power, so send him some "electric" vibes! I miss him terribly! It was almost 2 weeks from when I saw him last until I did get to see him again..... and I did get to see him a few days since. But right now it is ifie on when I will see him again.... Hopefully this weekend.

Anyway, that is how I learned just a little more about myself.... Everyday I find myself a little more!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Getting back to normal

This is pretty much the only damage I had to my house.... and this isn't even the house. I feel lucky. I have power, Internet, hot water. I have a frig full again with food.

We are getting back to normal but many of our neighbors, friends and family are not. Goofball, for one, has no power and no good sign of it coming on... At this point it sounds like he won't have it until next Friday.

I have a co-worker/friend that was in one of the hardest hit areas (Seabrook) and she will have a long recovery time.

Then I have family that live in Galveston (we are all from there originally!). My cousin lost his year old washer and dryer. They had some other damage in their house but last time I talked to them, they hadn't been able to get in.

I still don't know for sure about going back to work or the kids back to school. Right now I am planning to be back at work on Monday but they will have an update Sunday evening. The kids are suppose to go back either Tuesday or Wednesday. I have no idea. They said update on Sunday or Monday.

So that is an update from us. Please keep everyone in your thoughts!

Soon more normal Single Mom Finding Herself content! Promise!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sorta back, sorta not

So we have power and now Internet. Whoohooo. Only I am not quite ready to be back to blogging yet. Not ready to comment. I just don't feel like I have anything productive to say or add at the moment, not with so many of my friends, family and neighbors still having issues. No power, low on supplies, no homes, loss of possessions.

But we are good. We were some of the lucky ones and I feel blessed for that.

I will check back in soon and I will visit all the blogs I love but for now, I just want to keep those in our thoughts who are still trying to get back to normal..... I hope soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike is nearly here!

Yikes! I wasn't going to post because I wasn't sure I would have time. But I do so just a quick update.

We are ready!

We are waiting!

We are driving each other CRAZY!

Or maybe that is just the boys driving me crazy.

Anyway, will check in when I can. Keep us in your thoughts. It will be over soon, I hope! (maybe nearing the end this time tomorrow??)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike

He is on his way but where will he land!? Could it be here.... See the blue and gray line, they both come here. Yikes! I really, really hope it doesn't only because I am a bit anxious. No matter how many of these I go through, this would my first with just me and the kids. I am scared out of my mind to do this as a single mom. I have no plan at all and a million questions. I am prepared to stay put but what if I need to leave? I can't even take all my pets if I leave. How could I just leave my cats behind? How do I entertain three children if the power goes out.... alone?
Okay so I know there are people worse off than me and I hate to wish this storm on others but I really want it to stay far south of us.... or heck just disappear.
But it is coming near enough that we will have effects from it. We are suppose to get winds and rain starting Friday afternoon/evening. (Means I don't get to see Goofball on Friday, whah! but that's okay, we got children to take care of)
I got water, batteries, flashlights, snacks for if the power goes out. I got a couple of puzzles and a new game in case we have to entertain each other without power (I also have stacks of other games). I am going to make sure the cell phones are charged, MP3 players charged. The car is already full of gas. Yard is clean. I have emergency numbers that I need for work. My parents are close. My aunt and uncle are close. We have a couple of secure rooms if needed.
And, really I have done this several times before so I can do it. I have done it.
Now we wait.
I thought I would going to try to write something for each day through Saturday and have them automatically publish. But I have decided to take a temporary break instead. Just until the Hurricane passes and we get back to normal. I just can't think of anything else right now.
Please keep us all in your thoughts. I will keep checking blogs as long as we have power but I won't be writing until after.
UPDATE: It has taken a shift more East.... Towards us. Going to Freeport, Tx at this point. Freeport is where a lot of my Beach pics were taken. It is not that far.... well about an hour or so from here. Ack! I honestly don't know what to wish for because I don't want to wish it on the poor folks that got Rita, Gustav or Katrina.... They have had enough.... but who really says, "Cool, bring it on!" Okay maybe some but not most. Trying to stay calm for the kids. They are nervous enough.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More guys and relationship tips.

Amira at memoirs of a single mom made this list of lessons learning about guys.

I could not agree more with this list. I am not completely on board with 2, maybe I just haven't been screwed over and no that isn't an invitation to but still. and yeah I do agree with it a bit, not completely. And, that is not a slam to others who have. I just have gotten lucky!

Then numbers 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 13! Yes, yes, yes. Ladies, don't nag them, criticize them and don't expect mind reading. Sometimes they get lucky and do what we were thinking, but it isn't mind reading at all. Words are nice but actions are what counts.

At any rate, go over and visit her. Great list!

** Rewritten since this morning. I was half asleep and didn't have my "eyes" on yet. (read: no glasses or contacts)

Another September 9th post.

If you are new, September 9th is a very special day for me. It was a huge turning point in my life. It was when my life changed direction and took off. This is the third year that I have written about this.

I still miss that life and it has been 16 yrs since I left for Boot Camp. There are so many things I still remember from those days. (giggle, giggle....)

But this year there is a twist, ya see the stepmom's birthday is today too. She knows it is "my" day too.... in a way. We actually laughed about it when I found out.

I sent her a card. The kids will probably call to wish her happy birthday.

I know some people think it is weird that I have this relationship with her but honestly it works for us and like I told my friend today (who questioned me on it), "It is better than fighting." I do it for the kids. And in another time and another place, she and I might be friends so why let a little thing like an ex-husband stand in the way.

And next year, 09-09-09!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dating Online is okay..... if....

I know a lot of people are hesitate about the online dating thing. I had several reasons why I did it. The first is that I just don't go out much. I did the "club" scene years ago and it is just isn't for me now. Even if I went this route, I don't think this is a good way to get to know someone. They are there for a hook up, not a meaningful relationship of any type. The very few that might be there for that, get caught up in the "meat market" effect of these places.

Second my only other choice was to meet people are work. Hmmm, yeah, soo not going to happen. It is almost ALWAYS a bad idea to date someone at work. Been there, done that.

I also went to school online and I have friends online. To me it just made sense that I find someone online.

So online I went. With my mind open and not to take everyone for who they put out there.

When writing your profile, think about the words you use. If you say, "I want someone who is affectionate." Guys might read it as you are easy. Instead say exactly what you mean, "I like to hold hands." Some single parents wonder is it okay to say I have kids, YES! Do not surprise someone with this fact later. Honesty is the best policy. Do you really want to be with someone who doesn't like kids? Also give just enough information about yourself to get some one's attention, but not too much that they have nothing left to find out about you.

Then when you put pics of yourself up, ladies, if you put a shot of cleavage, who do you think will be looking at your profile? Guys looking for someone easy. Think about it? You may have great boobs but let that not be your opener. Do put updated pics of yourself. Do put normal pics of yourself on there. It is up to you whether these pics include your children or not, but I didn't include mine. I wasn't looking for another father for them, just a friend for me! So why should I have their pictures up there?

Then as you start to browse and receive emails, keep an open mind but also stick to your instincts. If there seemed to be a red flag in their story, I took it serious. Also Google is your friend. Find out as much about the person (or people) you are talking to. And if you can or have a friend that can do a background check, do it! I know it sounds bad but you have to protect yourself and if you are a single parent like me, you have to protect your kids. Do your homework.

Then take your time getting to know this person and when it is time to meet him (or her), meet at a public place and let other people know where you are going and what you are doing. Then call as soon as you have left. If it doesn't work, there are tons of others out there.

Another tip, try different sites. There are tons of them out there. Be on more than one at a time. Makes sense, huh? Don't get frustrated or discouraged. It does take some time to find someone worth the time. There are just so many people out there that you can find someone that will like you and you will like.

Anyway, I know online dating isn't for everyone. But it can be fun.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Dating and Relationship advice

I get emails from time to time, a lot more lately, asking my advice on relationships and dating. Wow. Who would have thought that I would be giving such advice? I am no expert and I don't claim to be.

**** NOTE: This advice can go for men or women but I am writing it as if I am talking to women about men.****

And I have given out a lot of advice (only when asked for it) but not many people seem to have taken it. They ask me because what they have been doing isn't working and then ask me, and then don't take my advice.... and so the relationship doesn't seem to work. Not saying it would have worked but ya know, your way isn't working.

Seems weird to ask a Single/Divorced mom about relationships too, doesn't it? I didn't date much before getting married. Enough but just a lot of casual sex.... Yeah I admit it. Then I was married for nearly 13 yrs and I really didn't date a whole lot after. I mean I meet Goofball (yeah he needs a new name) pretty soon after we filed for divorce. I did date though.

I guess what I know about my style of dating was I was doing it for fun and to have a grown up and a male to talk to. I went out with goals and an idea of what/who I wanted. I also really understood myself, though that does change over time, I am still finding pieces here and there of myself. I knew what I would put up with and what I just wouldn't. I wasn't going to settle.

Top on my list was respect. If you do not respect me, then see ya. I am not sure I can explain what respect is like for me, but I think it is little things like not asking me to change who I am to be who you think I should be.... Okay maybe that is a big thing. But, oh, oh what about opening doors for me. It doesn't have to be all the time, sometimes I get to the door first or am in a better position to open it, no bigs, but most of the time.... Awesome. Not walking in front of me like you "own" me. Again sometimes it will happen that I will just be behind but ya know, there is a difference.

Then there is affection, like hand holding, touching, little kisses. Even just telling me I am beautiful or sexy. Awesome. Yes words can be considered affection too.

And for activities and beliefs, well those don't have to jive completely but I want someone that likes music, likes kids and animals, that can be happy sitting around playing video games as he is going for a walk or to the zoo or to play tennis or bowling.

Really that is about it. Respect though is a big one.

So when I was ready to date I decided to do online dating. I do just about everything online as it is so it made sense to me. I also made up my mind not to get frustrated by it. If I found someone, cool and if I didn't, cool. Nothing serious either, I wasn't looking for a husband.

Then as I started to email with people, I wasn't pushy and if they stopped talking to me, well fine. I wasn't going to chase someone.

But I will admit here that when I started emailing Goofball, there was a time when I didn't hear from him for about 24 hours and given the days (or the week) before, he had emailed me much more regularly. So I did end up sending him something that said, "What would you do if you were emailing with someone and they suddenly stopped?" I think there was more but I really can't remember that was the jest of it though. I know that sounds like a hypocrite but I honestly wanted a guy to answer me that question. If he wasn't into me, fine, just answer that question. Do I move on and just assume he found someone else? Was he the person that just got in a massive wreck on the interstate? I just don't know. I just had gotten the impression that this guy was the right one to ask that question too. He wrote back and the rest was history.

I also fully believe in the "He is just not that into you" theory of thinking. Don't chase a "dead" relationship. If he isn't writing you back, calling and making time for you, and only seems to come around for sex, he isn't into you. Move on! There is someone out there who will be into you! You rock. You shouldn't settle (Okay serious not talking to anyone specific).

Be yourself but don't be pushy. Do not email him 50x a day when he doesn't reply. This is being pushy.

Again, I will admit that I sometimes would email Goofball a few times in a row (still do). But I really tried to control myself and not be that girl. I have really tried hard to be the laid back, cool chic that I know I am but sometimes in a relationship I can go ape-crazy and be all needy. I have admitted to him when I have a weak moment or need some reassurance. It seems to work out because I just have my moment and he gives me what I am looking for, I move on. All happy.

I could go on and on but I will just say this one last thing. Do not ask other people to change for you. If he likes to watch football on Monday night, then just say, "Cool. I'll see you on Tuesday." Or whatever. This is who he was before you and do not expect him to change. NOW, if he likes to watch Monday night football and he wants to include you or misses it for you from time to time. Awesome but do not expect this to be the norm or that he is changing for you. He is adjusting to the relationship, he wants to spend some time with you and show you a different side of himself. It is an enjoy the moment type of situation. So enjoy it!

Have high standards but low or no expectations.
Enjoy the moments.
And bottom line love yourself and understand who you are.

Happy dating!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Nothing for Saturday.... Again!

Usually I write in advance and schedule when I want them to post or magically appear! But this week with the Blog Trip, I just wasn't ready. I would write something brilliant right now but I'm sleepy! Friday night's are Goofball nights. Tonight was no different. I went out and picked him up (Yes I did. He comes out to me a lot! It is only fair! Give and take baby, give and take). We went and did a little mini-golf, some ice cream and well great sex.

Great night.

We live about 20-25 miles apart. So after the great night, I am sleepy and then had to drive home, well my brain is shut down and after great, mind-numbing sex what can I say? I have no other words. Just enjoying the moments and wishing things that can't be.

So for now, I have nothing to say for Saturday. I hope you understand! :) But I will be live and loud on Sunday!

Blog Trip - Day 5 - Let's go sightseeing!

Welcome back to the final day of the blog trip!!! I hope you have enjoyed yourself and I really hope you will come back after the trip is over. I have learned a lot and meet a lot of great people! I definitely found some people that I will keep on readin'.

Anyway on to my town.

This really isn't a sightseeing type of town. Other than the new mall and the soon-to-be .... hmm mall? There isn't too much. Some movie theaters, a bowling alley, a place called Pitch-Putt-n-Play and a skating rink. That's pretty much it. We do have some good parks, one near my house has a great dog park and a sprinkler park for the kids. Awesome.

But, we do live in the shadow of Houston. There is a ton to do in the city. Museums, the zoo, Reliant Stadium and Minute Maid Park. There is the Toyota Center. And these are just a few things.

Then you could always head south to Galveston. This is my real hometown. I was born and raised there.... more or less.... So in Galveston you can visit the Strand, the beach, the Railroad Museum, Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn. Just to name a few things. Check out that first link to find all the things there are to do!

The Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston, Kemah Boardwalk and just something in every direction little things here and there to do and see.

So if you ever make your way to my little dot on the map, I will make sure you are fed well, get in some good shopping and get you enough life experiences to last a life time!

And that, my friends, concludes a fun, busy, exciting yet exhausting blog trip. I do hope you will come back to Single Mom Finding Herself again.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Blog Trip - Day 4 - Let's go shopping!

So it is day four! This Blog Trip is fun! (exhausting) but FUN! I know I have found some new blogs I will definitely be reading! and hope I have some new readers. For my regularly, we will be back from the trip soon and back to normal.

My town has some new shopping. It didn't have much of anything before that. We had to drive into Houston or over to Baybrook Mall (this is where I grew up shopping). But there were a few places around. Hidden Treasures for antiques. I have been in their old store in Pearland but not since they moved.

For clothes there is and has been for almost as long as I can remember a Palais Royal. I had never actually been there until a few months ago though. I don't know why. But they do have cute clothes!

We also have a new mall, just opened. It is an outdoor place and in the Texas heat, I am not sure what the developer was thinking but it is laid out nicely and has nice landscaping. There are great stores there too. I know that I will be spending some cash there come Christmas time! and I am always on the look out for great shoes.... okay great to me.

There is so much development that there will be tons of shopping! Something for everyone. So if you come on for a visit, I will take you shopping until you drop!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blog Trip - Day 3 - Hungry?

Welcome back to day 3! I hope you are enjoying your trip.

One thing we do here is eat. There is no lack of a place to go. The only problem you may have is just making a decision. I know the guidelines were to just name a one or two of our faves but.... Well you will see!

We have everything from fast food to need a reservation to get in. Among the typicals, McDs, Burger King, Sonic, Whataburger, Subway, Quiznos.... I could go on with quick places like this.

But of the faster places, I would recommend though Panera's Bread for breakfast or lunch. If you don't know what it is, it is not a fast food in the sense of having a drive-thru but it is fast service usually. If you want something quick and simple for breakfast, it is a good place for some coffee and a muffin or good breakfast bread. Then for lunch you can't beat a half a sandwich with some soup.

We have a lot of Mexican or Tex-Mex places too. I like Juanito's which you will find on Walnut, just over Highway 35. It is good food, family owned and I like it! There is also Don Pico's, not great service but pretty good food. And then a newer place for us out here, Los Cucos. It is pretty good. I took Goofball here for his Bday not too long ago. There are more, several more but those are the ones I have been to.

Then we have Saltgrass Steakhouse, Joe's Crabshack, Fuddruckers, Jake's Grill, Olive Garden, Chili's, Red Lobster, TGIFridays, On the Border, Red Robin and BJ's Brewhouse.

We have an Ihop and soon we will have a Denny's. But for a good breakfast try, Busy Bee near the railroad track on 35. The reviews online aren't great but I have been eating there for years and years..... and years!!! It is good but the service changes with the times, sometimes slow, sometimes great. Food is always good, I have never had bad food there.

We are getting a Cracker Barrel too. My kids like that place, but I think it is mostly for the country store.

For a really nice dinner, go to Killen's Steakhouse. Call for a reservation because it is a small place! and if you didn't know and were just driving by, you probably wouldn't expect what you find when you eat there. It is the best food I think I have ever had. I have only been lucky enough to go once but OH.MY.GOSH! Goood.

For dessert, try Marble Slab. There are now a few locations. But my now favorite one is at Pearland Towncenter. They have cinnamon ice cream at that one! Yum! We also have Cold Stone Creamery and Baskins Robbins. Not my faves but we have them. There are also two places now that serve gelato. One is new and I haven't been there. It is at the new Pearland Towncenter and is called Paciugo Gelato. I can't find the other so I can't tell you the name.... It is near Jake's Grill so if you eat a great burger at Jake's then walk down a few stores to it, it isn't bad.

These are just a few of the places you would find if you came to visit me here in Pearland, Texas. Seriously just a few!!! And then if we head in any direction from here, there are tons and tons of other great places to eat. It is overwhelming to say the least. No wonder I can't make a decision.

I hope that fills you up, you have no excuse to leave here hungry but I hope you didn't overeat too much!