Category Archives: Family Friday

Family Friday- Too Smart for Her Own Good

I have three genius children. Not just because I think they’re smart, but because they really are, and yes I know that I am very biased. My oldest girl tested in the genius level when my sister-in-law was working on her Master’s and needed a guinea pig on which to perform an IQ test. But with genius comes laziness. Or disorganization or something that causes her not to be able to turn in her work or pick up her room. I really don’t get it. I want to understand so I can help her fix it, but I just don’t.

We’ve had this problem since third grade. Probably before that, but third grade is when it became really evident. Syd doesn’t turn in class work. She starts the semester out strong, then doesn’t turn in her work and gets zeros. This year, we have the most amazing set of teachers who input their grades in a very timely manner. Last year, the teachers would do a mad scramble at the end of the grading period to input grades, so I didn’t have a good idea of what was going on until it was too late. This year, I receive a daily email report of Sydney’s grades. She had straight 100’s for quite awhile, then straight A’s until two days before the end of the grading period, and now three zeros and a 50 on a test! She’s worked with her math teacher and is working with her other teacher today. Both teachers quickly replied to me and said that they’d work with me and let me know if she got off track again. How is an honor student able to just completely fall off of the wagon?

So what do you do? We are working on a marble incentive plan right now. She gets so many marbles for each of her chores and some taken away when she doesn’t complete them. Homework is a chore, and so is looking at her binder. I am going to implement a three week plan for every three weeks she has no late assignments, we get a pedicure. Rewards haven’t worked in the past. Neither do consequences, but I am working on doing something consistent. I want her to have a very predictable schedule every day. Here is what you do, here is what I expect, here is what happens when you do it, here are the consequences if not. What else can I do?

This may sound like a complaint, but it is just a frustration that we are working through. She is so smart and doesn’t have to study, but that also hurts her when there is something even slightly challenging. If it challenges her, it motivates her. If it is too hard, she gives up. If it is boring, she gives up. What do you do? She can’t go through life being catered to. Not every teacher will push her or understand her. That isn’t their job, and that isn’t life. So, do we do what we did with Quinn at night, and just let her figure it out? We had to listen to Q cry every night for like two weeks, but she’s getting it. Do we need to suffer through some bad grades until Syd learns how to do it on her own without being pushed by Mom to make up the zeros? I haven’t read one parenting book that works with Syd. She is different than anyone I’ve ever met. This will be a huge asset, one day. Right now, it makes me a little nutty.

Here is what she does well. She is an excellent reader, made it to the top choir for her age level, awesome artist, and the kindest girl. She is funny, pretty, and a wonderful sister. I wish I was half the sister she is. She truly loves her babies, and they love her. I see all that she can do, and when she blatantly refuses to do something AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Serenity now!

My Daily Prayer: Dear God, please give me parental wisdom and the courage and strength to follow through. AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving: I am thankful for progress. It may be a baby step, but it is a step in the right direction.

When I Have Kardashian Kash: Laser skin firming treatments. Then if it is just a gimmick, the real Mommy Makeover complete with tummy tuck and new boobs. Yep, that is what I really want for Christmas.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day: Lime with lime curd in the middle. MMMMMMM!


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Family Friday- Bedtimes

What kind of sleep schedule is your family on? This is really new to me. I have always let my children stay up later so that I could get some quality time with them after homework and school. And, with so many activities and homework, it’s hard to go to bed at a normal hour. At the recommendation of a neighbor, I bought a book which I will review on Tuesday. Not only is it helping me to set a schedule for Baby Q, but I am learning about the needs of my older children that I didn’t know about.

My mother always says that my children don’t get enough sleep. Sydney has never been one to nap or go to bed early. She is emotional, but not one to meltdown due to being tired. When we went to Disney a few years back, she was able to go from park open to close with energy to spare. I thought she didn’t need much sleep. She only complains about stomach aches and headaches, something her doctor said was normal for her age. Turns out that is due to sleep deprivation. So, we now have an 8:30 bedtime. Yes, even on the weekends. She says she just lays in bed until ten, so why bother moving up the bedtime? I read that by moving it up, it will help the over tired child fall asleep easier. Last night was the first night she didn’t fight me on her new baby-like bed time, but I am waiting to ask her about her quality of sleep until this is well established.

On paper, this seemed very “duh”, but it is such a difficult change. Jeff doesn’t see the importance since I’m the one reading about the reasons, and Syd complains that she just lays there until ten or later. Easton was hard too because he wants one more show and doesn’t want to pee-pee before getting into bed. Well, after four or five days, last night I had no complaints! Easton was even in the middle of a show and didn’t argue. Sydney seems to fall asleep earlier. Q is going down without too long of crying, but that is still a work in progress.

I can’t wait to revisit this in a few months. Easton started waking in the middle of the night two and three times, which is what I read as an indicator of a too late of a bed time. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have an hour or two of quiet time in my home. I really enjoyed having my kids up and watching a show or reading, but I have and will have more quality time when we’re up. And, maybe this will help Sydney not be easily stressed, meltdown prone, and have so many aches and pains. I never noticed a problem when she was younger, but it is getting worse and worse. But, now I have a game plan! I am shocked that no doctor has mentioned the sleep factor. I am so thankful I read this book.

Now there’s sweet Baby Q. She’s never been a big napper, so we thought she was a junior Sydney. She slept through the night at two months old. She started waking up too much a few months ago, and Jeff and I still haven’t caught up on sleep. I am more of an attachment parenting type of person, but then quickly realized that I need her to have her own room and I need a little space. I guess I’m not the hippie that I thought I was. And, we’ve even started letting her cry it out. At first it was in 5-10 minute intervals, but now we put her in bed and let her go until she falls asleep. That may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done and against my every instinct. But guess what? She’s sleeping longer. Now, we’re trying to let her cry it out when she wakes up at night. Anyone who knows me know how I am a hard sleeper and how much I love my sleep. I was up listening to her cry for an hour. I went in half way through to see if I could soothe her, but think I undid the progress I had made. I really hope that this book is right and that after a few days it will start to pay off. I cannot take much more of this. Everything I have read has changed my mind about letting her cry and figure it out, but man oh man is it hard. I hate it. I am crying just thinking about it! But, if this works I may actually consider a fourth child if we can implement the sleep schedule from the beginning. May consider it, but don’t tell Jeff.

My Daily Prayer: Thank you God for hearing my prayers and providing me with answers in the form of books. Please give me the wisdom to be what my children need and to teach them the skills that will benefit their lives. Amen!

Daily Thanksgiving: I am thankful for a weekend nap, when I can catch one.

When I Have Kardashian Kash: I will buy all of the children at the Balloon Festival, State Fair, etc, unlimited play/ride bracelets so that they may experience what is magical in childhood.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day: Red Velvet- no Red Dye 40 here and it is still delish and quite red!

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Family Friday- Back to School

What are your school mornings like? I cannot tell you how fortunate I am to have to just get myself ready in the AM. Jeff should get father of the year for running the AM household. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a ton of hustle and bustle in the AM, but I get to miss out on the checklist: hair?, teeth?, lunch?, homework?, flute?, etc. I try to get that all together at night, but my sweet Sydster is a bigger procrastinator than I am.

The only thing that hitches up my AM is baby Q. Fortunately, she is almost exclusively on solids. That will really help me in the AM when Jeff can feed her and I don’t have to stop down to do it. Sweet freedom! But, there’s the last minute frosting of cupcakes, if I have an order, shower, hair, makeup, finding something to wear that I haven’t worn lately, grabbing breakfast, coffee, make my lunch, get my computer, cupcakes/whoopies for work and trying to get it all out the door in two hands. It is a big deal getting myself out the door. I don’t know how I can get kids out, too. Fortunately, Jeff was made for me. Unfortunately, I don’t do anything the night before. And I wonder where Sydney gets it!

But the afternoons are my super crazy times. I have to pick up Syd from school, pay the sitter, feed the baby, snack the big kids, start dinner, write my blog, work on my book, make whoopies/cupcakes, drive to choir in downtown Dallas in rush hour (I’m in a suburb about 30 minutes north of Dallas), soccer, band practice, PTA, neighborhood mommy group/play group, book club, and take pictures of my latest and greatest culinary creation so that I can eventually give my website a much needed overhaul. Once I leave work, it is on and doesn’t stop until I drop.

Sometimes I have great intentions, but none get done. Sometimes I do more than I planned. Fortunately, I can spread most of that out over the week. I would like to incorporate exercise again, but West Nile is pretty scary over here and I don’t have the energy by the time I’ve wrapped up my chores and baking. I’d also like to watch TV, but I can DVR it and watch it when I’m up with Q or have nothing going on. I do make time to read just about every day. And, I do insist on cooking most nights. There are some things I can give up or slack on, but cooking most nights isn’t one of them. But, I do enjoy pizza night now and again.

My Daily Prayer: Thank you God for helping me focus on what’s important. Help me to be what my family needs. Help me to hear what they say, see what they need, and savor every second of childhood. AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving: I am thankful that Jeff is a morning person. And that he’s organized. And that he does laundry.

When I Have Kardashian Kash: I won’t bite my nails because they will always be manicured. And if I do bite them, I can have them fixed right now.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Week: Amish Paradise- chocolate cookie/cake filled with vanilla crème. MMMMMMMMMMM. So good, you’ll cry out “WHOOPIE!”

Want an I heart Making Whoopie bumper sticker? Comment on this blog and we’ll pick random readers to send Whoopie swag.

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Family Friday- Date Night

This week has been about making choices and just doing it. In all of my previous relationships, I got to a point where we’d bicker worse than my brother, Nathan, and I would when stuck in the backseat of a tiny Hyundai together. Stupid, petty and nonstop bickering until the relationship fizzled out. It is really easy to go there even now. So I don’t. If I get snappy or sarcastic it just leads to Jeff doing the same. So first and foremost, talk kindly to each other. My worst habit is probably being so comfortable that I can tell him anything. I can’t tell anyone anything, but I sure can tell Jeff what I think and sometimes it isn’t kind. I have to make a real effort to talk to him like my best friend, because he is. If we’re in that mode of not being able to say anything nice, we walk away until we can. Not only talk nicely, but tell each other nice things. It is so easy to take someone for granted. When I hear that dinner is good, or that he notices my efforts to clean up after marathon midnight baking, I try really hard to continue. He is the best lawn care person I know and pool cleaner, but I need to tell him so that he knows that I see all that he does. Actions speak louder than words, but how do we know the other person sees our actions unless they affirm them?

When we were talking to our marriage officiate, Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad- seriously, he told us that he and his wife always had a weekly date night. Just them, no kids. That may be the best advice I’ve ever gotten. That’s probably the best advice Skinny Pete has ever given, but hey. Jeff and I can’t go out weekly, but we can take time out of each week to just be together and talk, no kids. It is too easy to focus on kids or friends or family if you don’t have some alone time. And alone sleeping doesn’t count. I’ve tried. Date night gives us a chance to fall in love again. It gives us a chance to talk about the future not just about the child situation at hand. Going out reminds us of why we got together in the first place. It is a chance to laugh at inappropriate jokes, talk about things big ears shouldn’t hear, and escaping anything Disney Junior related. It is something to be dressed up for, planned and looked forward to. It should be like dating was in the beginning.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make a decision to let some stuff go. It is easy to get irritated at almost anything when you’re rushing around getting dinner ready, homework done, soccer and choir practice, auditions and baking, and then on top of it someone forgets to lock the front door or put underwear in the right hamper, or feed the dog. Is it that important? Feeding the dog is important, but not big enough of a deal to yell over. Is it important enough to put strain on a relationship, or show your children that’s how you treat your beloved? Make a choice not to let it get to you. Simple, but not easy. I pray every day for the reminder to be cool. It is not an excuse to get walked all over. But, it is the reason not to nag, and to accept that sometimes messy people can’t change into the perfectly organized person you want.

Don’t play the blame game. It is really easy to get irritated at your partner’s habits and blaming them for the strain in your relationship. What can you do to alleviate that strain? Can you quit nagging? Can you pick up after yourself? Can you just decide to have a better attitude? Why are you with this person, and what is it that made you fall in love with them? Look at yourself. No matter what the problem is, and how much the other person is to blame, figure out what can you do to aid in getting back to the good ol days. And talk to your partner without using “you” in the sentence. Talk about the strain without putting all of the blame on them. Make them feel at ease and not like you are alienating them. You’re in this together, so both parties play a role in everything. EVERYTHING. Figure out your part.

Some relationships are irreparable. Some are abusive and need to be dissolved. This does not address those situations. Full time jobs, full time hobbies, mommy’s groups, fantasy foot and three children are no excuse for Jeff and me not to focus on our number one- each other. Tonight, we’re sending the kids off to anyone who will take them and we’re going to dinner and maybe some more car shopping. J Yee-haw that is what date night has become.

My Daily Prayer: Thank you God for a partner who builds me up, is strong where I am weak, and pushes me creatively. Thank you for helping me step back and seeing what is truly important to us, and reminding me that our values do not have to be the same as others’. AMEN!

When I have Kardashian Kash: A private beach sounds very good right now. Wonder how my llama will feel about traveling.

Manic Monday- Mercy Wine Bar and Car Shopping

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Week: Mojito! Cha-cha-cha your way into the weekend with a Mojito Whoopie or Mojito Cupcake. Keylime cake and lime, mint, rum butter cream with a hint of vanilla.

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Family Friday- Back to School Time

Back to school- just one more week.  One more glorious week!  What are your back to school traditions?  Some folks try to fit in one more vacation.  Then there’s tax free weekend.  Buying school supplies, clothes, signing up  for extracurricular activities.  What all do you do?  I always forget about the chaos and loads of dough I drop right before school starts.  The last two days have been a reminder.

Well, the Sydster is starting middle school.  She decided to play in band.  She auditioned for the top choir in the Greater Dallas Children’s Choir.  Somehow I didn’t think this through all the way.  I was excited that she was interested in trying something other than singing.  I was excited that she advanced in choir. I just got the bill.

To rent a flute, it is about 20-30/mo for 30 months.  $900!  I found a flute on Craig’s List for $200.  Good thing is they are averaging $375, so if she loses interest, I can get my investment back. Then I have to get her a metronome, stand, school issued book, and a bunch of other little odds and ends.  I will be up to about $300-$400 before she even picks up the flute.  Oh, and I haven’t even looked into the private lesson costs that the school keeps hinting that I need to purchase.  Oh my gatos.  Cha-ching.  This is only middle school.  No uniform yet!

And the top choir is $500 for the season, $75 for the dress, plus shoes plus tights, plus they travel this year!  And, it is a non-profit so there is lots of fundraising, benefits, donations, auctions, and paying to see each performance.  I think there are at least five this year at $20-$30 for tickets.  I heard that they travel.  Last year they went to Paris.  Not sure if it is the whole choir or a select few.  Syd seems to always get selected.  I’d love to go to Paris, but have I mentioned the sacrifices we’ve made for our art?  But, we’ve never wanted for anything and can find a way if we ever truly want something.  Still…cha-ching.

I took Syd to her sixth grade orientation and to do a walk through of her classes.  PTA- $18, directory-$3, field trip the first week of school- $6, supplies (thank goodness I’ve always been able to just buy them from the PTA)- $30, t-shirt- $15, yearbook-$30.  Holy cow.  I didn’t get the hoodie, bling shirt, car decal, or other stuff.  I dropped $90+, but could have easily spent another $50.

Easton starts preschool.  $185 enrollment fee.  And then $$ for all of the parties, teacher appreciation days, field trips, and special projects.  We love our church preschool.  It is very reasonable and the program is amazing.  But man it adds up quickly!  Then, we signed him up for soccer.  Under 5 is free, but it was a $10 registration fee, there will be shirts, shorts, shin guards, cleats, concessions, and I’m sure fundraisers.  So it begins…

Thank goodness Syd has a summer birthday.  Everyone gets her clothes.  One of my favorite things to do is to take her shopping right before school.  After the flute, choir and school supplies, I’m tapped for awhile.  Since when is the baby the cheap one?

My Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for providing.  AMEN!

When I Have Kardashian Kash:  I will sponsor kids who want to do a pricy extracurricular activity.  All kids should have the opportunity and not have to worry about cost.

Making Whoopie Flavor of the Day- Key Lime Whoopies with lime curd vanilla creme filling- yumm-o.  Lite, yet satisfies a sweet tooth.

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Family Friday- Siblings

I love my brother more than I could ever describe.  I was his defender at school, protector in life, and always there to make sure he had a snack, or brushed his teeth.  But there is no one who can irritate me quicker and more than my dear brother.  So, when we decided to have our third child, we didn’t want them to be two years apart like my brother and me.  Jeff and his sister have always been close and have an ideal brother-sister relationship.  They’re three years apart and I thought that was the magic number.

Easton shakes whenever baby Q gets near his stuff.  I thought it was a sharing issue, but it turns out that he doesn’t want her to slobber on his stuff.  He has no problem with her playing with toys in the living room and will even give her stuff to play with.  But, if she gets near something he set up or one of his toys, he can’t handle it.  But anytime I’m rocking Q to sleep or feeding her, Easton comes up and gently kisses her on the head.  And, if she’s crying, he sings her one of our baby songs.

And then there’s the older two.  They are seven years apart.  Easton screams, “NO SYDNEY” any time she gets near him.  Or he’ll hit her and then tell us that she’s bothering him.  He loves her friends and will walk into the room with a, “hello ladies” cracking everyone up.  He has to have anything she has and do whatever she does.  Her favorite singer is Adelle, so Easton sings “rumor has it, oooohhh” over and over and over.  Just those four words, not the whole song.  If Syd does it, Easton has to do it.  Fortunately, he hasn’t picked up on her disdain for tomatoes or general lack of fondness for vegetables.  He tells me that Brussels sprouts are very yummy.

I’ll go weeks without seeing or talking to my brother and then we’ll have him over.  A few years back, Sydney and I had spent like six hours making truffles and chocolate covered strawberries for valentine gifts.  Nate came over and we told him that he could have one and some strawberries, but please don’t mess with the rest because they are gifts.  And were very labor intensive, as well as expensive.  I woke up the next morning and only one was left.  ONE!  I have never been more angry in my life.  Yes, it was over chocolate, but the utter disrespect in my house.  And, after I had shared and…uhhhh!  It still makes my blood boil.  But, I love him and will drop anything to help him out.

When I do get my Making Whoopie bakery reality show, the first thing I will do is hire Nathan.  We will make great TV with our epic fights, but unwavering love.  We will make great TV.

My Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for reminding me to treat others the way You would want to be treated, and not treating them the way they treat me.  AMEN!

When I Have Kardashian Kash:  Jeff and I will spend a season following the Rangers throughout the season, and the Mavs, and the Cowboys.

Tomorrow:  Manic Monday

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Family Friday- The Box

I know I have been advertising the Family Bed all week.  But, you pretty much know my sleeping arrangements, and my lack of sleep.  Quick update, we’ve been doing the five minute intervals of crying it out for the last three nights.  It may have actually worked.  She sleeps for longer intervals.  But, what has been on my mind all day is the box.

Dad always wanted to be apart of Jeff’s and my projects.  We had just started working on our first one, and Dad told me that he was available if there were any roles for old men.  Unlike my step-dad, Dad actually thought me marrying an actor was pretty cool.  He was always pretty artsy himself, a natural comic, and not one to have regular employment or a steady income.  So being an actor was right up his ally.  Bob was much more traditional and wanted to make sure I married someone who could take care of his family.  Jeff does, we’re just different from traditional families.  But, that’s a whole other post!

Dad sang off key, but played a mean harmonica, made up his own songs, and learned to play the guitar left handed due to missing two fingers on his left hand.  His most famous comic routine was “learn to spell with Darnell.”  I wish I could remember some of his better ones, but the only one that I can think of is, “Learn to spell with Darnell.  Today’s word is axe. “A” “X” “E”.  Axe.  Now let’s use it in a sentence.  I need to axe yous a question.”  Off color, but clever and hilarious, unlike my example.  He wasn’t as obvious as I just was.  He could take any word and turn it into a Darnell sentence.  And it made us laugh, and roll our eyes, and man I wish I would have paid more attention to how clever some of them were!

Dad always played with us kids.  I remember him trying to play Barbies with me and I was doing him a favor of letting him play with me.  He paid attention to us, sent us books with taped recording of him reading them to us when he lived out of state, spent ridiculous amounts of money on us when he had it, and gave us his last penny when he didn’t have anything else to give.

But, there was also a the irresponsible side to Dad.  He wanted to get rich quick, and was witty and personable and could talk anyone into investing their savings into any one of his half a dozen companies.  Companies that wouldn’t last more than a year or two, then it was on to the next adventure.  We’d live in a house for six months to a year, then we had to move again.  I moved in with him when I was twelve, and by the time I was in high school, just two years later, we had already moved four times to four different cities.  I didn’t realize that they moved before they foreclosed. They would find a non-qualifing, assumable loan, move in and move out before it all went to hell in a hand basket.

Dad wasn’t a bad guy.  I learned from him that there isn’t a good or bad person, but we’re all complex mixes of good and bad.  He meant well, but always manged to screw over a lot of people, including family, with his big ideas for riches.  I never saw that or understood why we’d have family friends for a few years over at every holiday, then they’d just disappear.  They were investors whom I’m sure lost their shirts on my dad’s projects.  I’m sure he didn’t mean to lose their money, but he could barely manage his own life, so managing a company and other people’s money was probably not the right career move.

But Dad was smart and talented.  He could draw anything, paint, write songs and poetry, and do absolutely anything he put his mind to.  But he was addicted to a good time.  And an alcoholic.  He loved a good party and that took precedence over everything else.  Including his wives and children.  More than alcohol, he was addicted to anything that made him feel good and kept him feeling young.

After being married to his third wife for almost twenty years, my step mom who we lived with throughout middle and high school, Dad just up and left her.  He’d stay with Jeff and me here and there, and finally came to stay with us for a few weeks.  It was nice having him around since we’d been estranged basically since I’d moved out in high school.

Let me back up just a sec, I moved out right after high school and my relationship with my dad and step mom was non-existent for awhile, strained for the longest, and then minimal when I had Syd.  I needed something more stable, and had to find myself.  It was a long struggle, and other than getting pregnant early into my college career, I learned and grew up quickly.  Dad was so proud when I bought my first home.  He kept telling me how cool it was that I was where I was at in that stage of my life.  He was proud that his child was more focused and grounded than he.  It made me feel proud that he was so proud of me, and to this day when I accomplish something, I still think of how proud Dad would be.

So, Dad came to stay with us.  He was usually the Dog and Baby Whisperer, but for some reason Reno was not a fan.  She went from being a quiet and sweet wiener to a man hater and barker.  We still don’t know why or what happened.  Dad kept showing up late, or completely flaking out on us.  Then, we found out he was leaving my stepmother.  What’s funny is I had given him a gift for he and my stepmom, and a gift card for my stepbrother to take back home when he went down to San Antonio.  Somehow I saw that Nathan had that gift card, and he told me that Dad gave it to him for Christmas.  That was my dad.

But Dad stayed up in Dallas more and more, and in San Antonio less and less.  He finally told us that he was divorcing my step mom, and that he had hooked up with his high school sweetheart.  He was planning to help my mom out with my upcoming wedding, too.  I finally had my Dad and minimal drama.  Then I got the news.

When I told the doctor that they could pull the plug, I already knew that he probably had drank too much and took too many pills.  And I was right.  The cocktail that had kept him going finally ended him.  He was like a rock star.  But, with the way he ended it, and accidentally.  And ironically, Rock Star was the song that kept playing over and over when we were up in Casper dealing with the funeral and arrangements.  Man I hate that song, but at the same time it’s bittersweet because I think about how cool my cousin was in getting me away from drama and to having fun during the worst time in my life.

Those four days were the longest of my life.  The girlfriend and the family told me not to call my step mom, and that she was not welcome.  Although less drama was a good thing, I felt terribly, and I had plenty of drama already.  The girlfriend wanted some ashes as a keepsake, and my uncle felt that it was wrong to separate some ashes from the rest.  My grandmother was offended that I didn’t mention a grandfather I didn’t know in the obituary, and mentioned those left behind- his father and stepfather had been gone for many years, already.  And, how much experience with obituary etiquette does a twenty something have?  I had it proof read by family, and that was the best I could do.  Dad had no money, no insurance no nothing, so we were stuck with the bill.  My uncle told me he’d like to help, but Dad owed him money.  Who didn’t Dad owe money?  It was the most stressful time of my life.  And, Jeff and I got into it because I wasn’t emotionally available to him during the most exciting career achievement in his life, up to that point. He had booked his first guest starring role in a television show.  He was filming while I was at the hospital with Dad. There wasn’t anyone who I didn’t have a confrontation with, except my dear Aunt B, cousins, and Mom.

So, we got through the funeral, we all went home, and life went back to normal.  I’m home alone and the door bell rings.  It is the mailman with a brown paper covered box.  I signed for it and he walks off.  There is a neon green scrap of paper haphazardly taped to the top of the box with a stick figure with x’s for eyes and the words “cremation”.  Oh yeah, I had to hear about how no Pruitt had ever been cremated.  I’m sorry, but I don’t have $5-$10,000 for a proper burial.  The cheapest we could do was still well over $3000, and was a cremation.  I couldn’t bring Dad back home with me on the plane, so the funeral home mailed him to me.  And marked the package with a neon green slip of paper with a stick figure with x’s for eyes.  I will never forget the shock of the shock of neon green against the brown butcher paper.

I am not sure where everyone else was, but I was home alone and sat on the couch for hours, with Dad on my lap and Reno next to me, watching my first ever episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  It was a marathon and I watched episode after episode.  Jeff finally came home and took the box and put it somewhere.  Then took me out to margaritas and Mexican food.  It was a welcome diversion.  I indulge every once in awhile, but am scared to do more than that or to make it habitual.  But, I needed that.  Jeff kept me from getting into the funk that I ran away from in San Antonio.

So for the longest time I didn’t know where Dad was.  Until one day I couldn’t find Reno Beano.  She was under my bed curled around Dad.  The box.  And that is where he has been for five years.  He qualifies to go to Arlington National Cemetery, but I can’t face his family yet.  I am not yet ready for that drama, again.  None of them came to my wedding, except dear Aunt B, and I doubt anyone would travel to a second ceremony several years later, but I am not ready.  Maybe soon.

So, I wrote a story called, you guessed it, “The Box.”  Dad loved my stories.  He would have really loved a story inspired by him.  Jeff wrote the screen play.  And guess who is starring in it?  Not me, I haven’t had any acting lessons.  Dad, as the box.

My Daily Prayer:  Thank you God for opportunities, and guidance, and opening my eyes to your Way.  AMEN!

When I have Kardashian Kash:  I will have the plushest, most extensive library/lounge.  A quiet retreat when I need to just read, with a sunlit window seat.

Monday- My car dealership experiences.  Why do I get hounded by half a dozen salesmen on email, but when I tell them what I am looking for, no one calls or writes me back?

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Family Friday- teething buttheads

Teething babies confirm my feeling of not wanting to do this a fourth time. I love babies. I love kids. I love having a big family. But, I really love my sanity and so does my family. I hate being cranky and short of patience. I learned long ago not to ask for help with patience because this is exactly what I would be given!

Q is the most laid back baby. If she were either my first or second, I would have hurried up and had a few more within just a couple of years of each other. Right now, she is as needy as the first two were! She wants to eat every two hours, 24/7, she doesn’t want to be put down, and she is whiny. But, when you’re at your breaking point, she starts laughing and smiling or crawling toward someone’s pizza trying to eat it. She knows how to make everything okay.

Easton is going through a testing phase. He tests me by calling people butthead to see if I really will take away his swimming privilege. And I did, two days in a row. So he started calling people poopoo head. Yeah, not butthead, but still calling names. That will get swimming taken away, too! Hopefully, he will quickly see that I am serious and that he needs to stop the name calling. How’s that for a reaction, buddy? Not as good as Sydster’s shrieks of protest, but hey. And, we’ve been accident free for awhile!

Then there’s the Sydster. I have to say, she is getting better and better. She is handling the hormones of tweendom better than expected. She still frowns when we ask about chores, but in general, she has a good attitude and follows her routine. Her bedroom is our biggest battle ground, but it is far cleaner than mine ever was at her age. I want her to learn now how to put everything in its place. I want her to be better equipped than I was, but it is still a struggle sometimes. We went up to the church to help out a program where some homeless families stayed up there for the week. We did a day shift where we helped with lunch and played with the kids. When we left, she said, “well, they don’t have chores, huh? Lucky”. Yep, that’s the Sydster! Always seeing the positive. Kind of.

Fortunately, Jeffro and I aren’t generally cranky at the same time. He had a rough Saturday and Sunday was tough on me. Saturday, I tried to keep the kids entertained and did the bathing and nighttime routines so he could chill. On Sunday, he took Q grocery shopping while Easton and Syd napped/lay down so I could chill. He is pretty good about knowing when I need extra help and really steps it up. He has been extra good about getting Q at night and bringing her to me so that I don’t have to fully wake up twice. I can put her back down and try to fall back to sleep until the next round. Easton has been waking up too, but normally wakes up while I’m feeding Q, so Jeff gets to take care of him, too. I am very thankful for him and don’t know how I ever survived Sydney’s infancy without similar help. I am extremely grateful, even if I am quite tired and cranky.

My Daily Prayer: Thank you, God, for giving me only what I can handle. Thank you for your lessons and guiding me down your path. Thank you for the people in my life that help me when I can only do so much. AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving: I am thankful for healthy children, with VERY healthy appetites. I am thankful for Jeff stepping in when I am not 100%. He truly completes me.

When I have Kardashian Kash: I will pursue every one of my compulsive hair-brained ideas. I will start my tater-truck, run my Whoopie and More Bakery, make films, write a book, rescue animals, become a certified natural child-birth teacher, and learn how to cook from a professional. The next week, I am not sure where I’ll start, maybe rehabbing junk into treasure for my antique store.

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Family Friday-What’s In Your Wallet

I don’t know about wallet, but what’s in your purse? Man, I am always surprised by at least one item in there. Or, I am surprised not to find one of my staples in there. I hate when I lose my make up bag, or Syd steals my hairbrush, or my wallet is gone. Last week, I couldn’t find my sunglasses. Have you driven around during a Texas summer without sunglasses? I think I did eye damage. I see spots.

But, right now, I have one patent leather baby shoe, about 100 Special K meal bar coupons, calculator, raspberry vinaigrette, one sock (mine), grocery receipts, a hairbrush, wallet, makeup bag and some lotion. Oh, there is a card that you press your thumb to it for fifteen seconds to see how stressed you are. Mine always stays black. It’s from my insurance company, but I think it is the same technology as a mood ring, so that makes me feel great about my insurance coverage.

Have you had the Special K meal bars? That is how I start my work days. I am trying to diet, or watch my caloric intake, but I quit tracking my progress on Livestrong. There’s an app for that. I don’t want to know how many cals were in my taco lunch today. Or how many I consume at happy hour tonight. I probably should throw out the raspberry vinaigrette, but man only 50 cals and fat free.

I am not sure why I have a sock or a baby shoe. Or why Syd steals my brush when that is her least favorite thing in this world. I think she’d have dreadlocks if I’d let her. But, my boy gets mad if you touch his hair after you spray it. I’m hoping that by doing baby Q’s hair now, well putting a head band on her bald little head, will help her with her hair hygiene when she’s older. It’s too bad, Syd has such pretty blonde hair, but cries anytime I try to fix it and hardly fixes it herself. Not that I can talk, but I do try to make myself presentable when I go out. I really need a haircut and then I’ll be motivated to fix it again. Sorry Jeffro. How long can I use the “I just had a baby” excuse? My neighbors both just had babies and their hair is always done. Oh well. At least I get mascara, concealer and eyeliner on most days. And I manage to shave. I am in a capri rut right now. I am too big for my skinny clothes and too small for my fat clothes. If I buy this size, I will lose weight. So, capris and dresses it is. I sound hot, huh? I do make some effort! Some.

Daily Prayer: Thank you God for getting me through each day, and showing me everything for which I have to be thankful. AMEN!

My Daily Thanksgiving: I am thankful for having a purse in which to catch everything that clutters it.

If I had Kardashian Kash: I’d have a salon in my house so that I’d never need a haircut, manicure or pedicure. And a different purse for every outfit. And someone to transfer my stuff from one bag to the next.


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Family Friday-All You Didn’t Want to Know About Breastfeeding

Man, oh man. I had this whole post written out on my iPad on Friday. I just had to tweak and post. Somehow it was deleted! Probably a good thing because it was more complaining than it was my petty annoyances on one of the most important issues to me. So, before recreating my last post, let me introduce two new segments to follow after each post and daily prayer; Daily Thanksgiving and If I had Kardashian Kash- the ridiculous things I’d buy if I had money to blow like Kim K.

All You Didn’t Want to Know About Breastfeeding:

Did you know that the flanges on a pump (the thing that fits on you) comes in different sizes? And that you can get a blood blister from it being the wrong size or if you put it on wrong. Then while I was looking up blood blisters, unsuccessfully, I kept running across milk blister. And they are when skin grows over one of the nodes where the milk comes out, trapping milk, thus making a white blister. I had two previous babies and never heard of such a thing. Well, of course as soon as I read about it, I get to experience it. So, don’t go looking for ailments, in other words! I had some cracking with my first two, but after we established our routine, it was a cakewalk. Well, I don’t know about a cakewalk, but it wasn’t hard. Besides what could go wrong, hardly does.

There’s the nursing pads because you leak like a mother. 🙂 Showers make everything relax, so if you’re not quick, you’re making a mess or spraying something. Yes, I said spray, not drip. They are very powerful weapons. Fortunately, pads are better today than eleven years ago, or fortunately, I am not as leaky! I think it is the former and not the latter.

The hard part of all of breast feeding is listening to the pump for twenty minute intervals, two to three times a day. It makes this repetitive noise that hypnotizes and eventually you start hearing it talk to you. Ra-ra ba-daump, pump-it-up, never-stop, pump-pump-pump. And the falanges are clear so you can see yourself being sucked in and out, and it is reminiscent of cows at the stock show being milked by that sinister looking machine. Relief on one hand, but the ceaseless ba-da-de-dump of the machine and the pulling of the nips into Vienna sausages into the milker. Yes, it is a sexy site to behold.

With my first child, no one was allowed near me when I pumped. With Easton, I tried to pump in private because it is humillating and I feel less than desirable while doing it. But, Jeff or Sydney needed Mommy from time to time. This time, there is no hiding. Easton is fascinated, Jeff feels like we have no time together, so I pump and watch TV, and everyone just has a party. Yee-haw. Let me tell you how much fun that is! Easton never noticed how I fed Q until he walked in on me pumping. How do you explain that to a then two year old? I told him I was making bottles and he yelled, “from your boobies????” Yep. That is how they’re made. But, that was pretty much the end of the conversation. He was fascinated for about a week, and now it is just an everyday occurrence. Like making dinner, or doing the dishes. Mom makes baby bottles. And Mom just hopes the front door window shades are pulled. Pumping before 7PM inevitably invites neighbors to the door. I don’t have a battery pack, so I can’t run through the kitchen, out of site. And sitting on my bed is out of the question. I am thankful that my employer has a “Mother’s Room” in which I have a table and chair, and a dedicated fridge. And now I have to share with another mommy whose reading choices include a parenting book by Joan Lundon and the Bible.

So I spend about an hour and a half a day pumping, and at least that much time feeding Q. She’s into shiny objects, so there’s no more Words with Friends while I’m trying to get her down. She likes the bling on my case, and the light from my phone. I am exhausted after sitting and feeding her, so nothing gets done after I get her down. I wake up a couple times a night to feed her when she’s going through a growth spurt, but I’d rather lay with her than make a bottle and sit up while she eats. Although I can doze, imagine dozing while someone sucks on you making sounds that Jeff says sound like a cannibal. Nom-nom-nom. And it feels like she is leaving me with nothing. I am surprised I have any boobies left! Thanks Q-ster for that. Neither Syd nor Easton were that aggressive. I feel like a nanny-goat. Have you ever seen a baby goat nurse? They punch, jump and tug at their mamas. That is Q. She headbutts it, tugs, and squeezes. And, if she’s gassy, she contorts her body to pass it, pulling me along with her. Ouch! Don’t get me started on if she grabs on wrong. Hickeys don’t feel good!

But, it is all worth it. Watching her fall asleep and smiling at a dream is the best. Her hugging me, and cradleing the booby like it is her prized stuffed animal is precious. Knowing that no matter how she feels, I can usually fix what’s bothering her is like none other. Her milk-drunk smile and gigantic burps make the whole family laugh every night. Knowing that I am providing more nutrition than science can provide makes me feel blessed for being able to provide that. I know some women aren’t interested, some cannot nurse, and others run into issues along the way. There were times when I thought I wasn’t producing enough, but I knew that nature wouldn’t let me starve my baby and I’ve had three babies who are always in the 90-100 percentile for growth. Except for an occasional illness, none have anything chronic, nor do they have allergies, or food aversions (execpt we’re all slightly lactose intolerant). Everyone has to do what is best for themselves and their baby. For me, this is it. And, it is very inexpensive and I get to give her about 500 calories a day. Take ‘em baby! I love losing the baby weight and that makes it so much faster. Breastfeeding works for me, and I hope it works for anyone for whom it appeals.

My daily prayer: Thank you God for reminding me that I am a reflection of you and a witness to others. Please help me in those certain areas that I need some extra help. I am not asking for patience, but rather for the wisdom to do better than I did earlier. AMEN!

Daily Thanksgiving: Today I am thankful for have a job and schedule that allow me to nurse my baby in the easiest way possible! It is easier today than it was with Easton and certainly easier than with Sydney!

If I Had Kardashian Kash- I’d sign up for modeling classes to learn how to walk in redonkulouly high heels.

Manic Monday- Champion Pools, how they can turn a swamp into a beautifully clear pool WITHOUT draining it!

Book Club (and more) Tuesday- More Left Behind

Web Wednesday- Some websites to check out.

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