Sunday, May 16, 2010

Moving Day...

I hate moving... in real life, or on the internet... it is time consuming, irritating, and invariably, something (or someone) gets left behind. 
I'm hoping that doesn't happen in this case - I've been weighing my options for a while now, and everyone who's serious about blogging has told me that WordPress is the place to be... so - Magmiom is moving to WP. Yep, that's right folks - we're moving over there. So... if you are reading this post, it means two things: 
  1. You're in the wrong spot! Go here to catch up on things!
  2. You might want to update your RSS feed too! Clicky
Everything over here will remain, and I  will monitor for comments and such. 
As always thanks for stopping by - c'mon over to the new place - there is a fresh pot of coffee waiting for you!
Have a wonderful Sunday, 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Boxes, boxes, everywhere!

Gotta love the moving and packing thing!

I discovered some "treasure" while packing my books today. Treasure in the form of the printed page. Books I've had since I was young, books I've treasured most of my life. 
The stack you see in the photo above are my animal encyclopedias. They are actually called the New Illustrated ANIMAL KINGDOM and were written in 1952. There are 18 of them in the set. Publish Post

I cannot tell you how many science reports were written from these books! Especially since they were first used by my Aunt and Uncles when they went to school - we didn't get them from grandma until the 70's. 

When I was young, my grandfather lived with us. His favorite thing in the world was reading - period. He was pretty much self-educated having only completed the 6th grade in formal schooling. However, he was one of the most  intelligent persons I've ever known. My aunt would spend a LOT of time finding special books for my grandfather - books that would not only excite his reading muse, but books that were educational and beautiful as well. Now, I will tell you prior to showing these images these books are VERY old. I have done my best to preserve them, however most of them have been around for 30+ years so there is a bit of dust, dirt, and use showing. 
The first is this one: 
Yes, I took pictures of book jackets - too lazy to stand there and scan as I packed. 
this is Jacques Cousteu's The Ocean World. I spent hours pouring over this book when I was young. It is full of absolutely stunning photography of the ocean and its inhabitants. 
Next up: 
The National Geographic Society - 100 years of Adventure and Discovery 
If you've ever seen a Nat Geo magazine - then you know just how wonderful this book might be. This book was released on the 100th anniversary of the magazine and covered their first 100 years. For those who might not know - that was 1888 - 1988. 
Next up: 
China - The Land, The Cities, The People, The Culture, The Present

Another stunning photographic essay of China and it's people. It was so wonderfully written and presented that the Geography essay I did using it got me an A+ in high school! Not sure but I'm pretty sure this was 1987 or 89. 
The Good Earth -   The view from Audubon Magazine. 
Another wonderful "coffee table" book filled with amazing photographs from the Audubon Magazine. 

My children have loved these books as much as my grandfather and I did/do. My two oldest spent hours in his lap as little ones riffling through the pages and naming off fish, animals, birds and plants. They loved them - and they learned a lot from them. I'll be keeping these around for future generations. Even if it's in these: 
Yep, ALL of those boxes are books nothing but books. No magazines, no videos, no dvds or games.... all books! Whew - and I'm not done. But I am close! 
Tomorrow I will be packing up my great grandmothers china if I can find enough material to pack with. I'll share photos of those treasured pieces as well. Until then - Happy Saturday ya'll! 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh How I Hate Moving!!!

Any move is hard... it represents an unknown, if you will. It is change in environment, social circles, and location. In most cases it makes people both excited and uncomfortable. Its definitely  not settling to move. 
As of right now, we're beginning the packing process. I have stacks of boxes in the living room, just waiting for my families belongings. 
I am packing books today - hopefully with some form of organization... If I don't get overly frustrated, I will try to get some other things packed as well. But there are so many books in my house!!!! 

This is just one completely stuffed bookcase. Please note that both the top and bottom shelves are also totally stacked full as well. I have a full cabinet in the bedroom... and two more bookshelves in the hall, as well as one more in the living room. It's insane how many books we have. People say "well get rid of the ones you've read"... sorry... not gonna happen! 
I'm one of those that rereads books, over and over again. I cannot tell you how many time's I've read VC Andrews first series of books - and every subsequent series! Or Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Or Harry Potter, or Patricia Cornwell, or Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Tim Lahay, HOLY CRAP MAN! I got a lot of books!!!! 
I have ALL of the books ever written by some of the authors listed above, and that's just nuts. BUT I am not willing to part with them. Therefore I will be packing books all day. 

I just want to let everyone know that your kind and wonderful comments have been greatly appreciated. I feel like I have a "family" on the web with my supporters and frequent visitors - kind of an extended support system. Which is what I'm loving about the move - I get to take all of you with me!!!! 
It's my "stability" in my changing world. No matter where I am - you guys will always be there as long as I have my computer and wifi! YAY Internets!

Well, it's off to throw  gently place some books in boxes.
Happy Friday!!
PS: I forgot to show ya'll what Our Girl drew me for Mother's Day: 
I just adore the vibe of this picture! It's free and bright and happy, and it makes me smile. It's currently on the wall above my desk along with some other things she's done for me. I'm so blessed with wonderful children!!! Ok - NOW I'm really going to pack (I'm not stalling, really)!
PPS: Please don't forget that starting Monday, we'll be over at WordPress!!! You can head on over there now, and check things out - everything from here has already been transferred! Including your lovely comments, thanks so much! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May I have some cheese, please?

It should go rather well with my whine today. I try not to complain a lot, especially to the kids, and even more especially about things they have no control over. I hear our kids friends talk about some of their parents issues and I wonder how do they know this stuff? Now, don't get me wrong, I am a firm believer in letting kids know things that affect them. We sat our kids down when both of us lost our jobs within a month of each other, and we let them know that things would be very tight until we went back to work. We let them know that lights needed to be policed, the A/C needed to be used less, and no waste allowed. They understood and got on board. We have discussed my health issues with them, just so they understand that mommy hurts and they need to be careful when hugging or touching. They know the details they need to know and nothing more. I believe in protecting my kids to an extent from the depth of our issues. For instance, I would not whine to my kids about the fact that we got our last unemployment check yesterday, and we have no more money coming in until June 1. Not something they need to stress about the last two weeks of school. 
However, dear readers, you are not safe from my whine... sorry. If you would rather not hear my problems, then maybe you should come back tomorrow. 
Last night we were discussing with Our Girl the fact that her room (which is the largest room in the entire house) would be used for staging as we pack to move. Meaning she would need to clear out one end of the room so we could use it. She got mad. I don't mean a little mad, I mean MAD mad! She just cannot understand why we would want to put boxes out of the way in her room, why not her brothers room? Her brothers room is a standard 12X10 bedroom, with two twin beds, two dressers and nightstands. BOTH boys reside in there when Little Man is home - there isn't ROOM for boxes. Then she wanted to know why I couldn't keep them in the hallway and laundry room. I explained that we use the hallway to get to the bathroom and the laundry room to wash clothing - no space for boxes there. So she went on to ask "well, if we're moving anyway, why can't we just put the boxes in your office - it's not like you're using it all the time"... WHAT? MY OFFICE? Ummm... I think not sweetheart - this office is my refuge away from it all. It's the only place in the house I can go to get peace, quiet, and connect with my muse. Not. Gonna. Happen. Our Girl's room? Yeah - the darn thing is 20x40 - it was supposed to be TWO rooms, and we didn't get around to putting a divider in - she was supposed to get the back half, and the front half was going to be a Kids Den. But she took over the entire room, spread out all over the place, and we of course ran out of money/time to get the divider up so she wound up with the whole thing. And now she's pissed that I want to use half of it for boxes.... hrmph.. Guess where my boxes are going to be???? HA! 
Her other issue last night was one I almost laughed at. She asked her dad if she would get a room just as big as the one she's in now at our new house - because she didn't think she could handle going to one the size of her brothers room now. I swear ya'll I nearly died laughing. This is pretty much how that conversation went: 
US: Dad and I will get the master, the boys will share, she'll get a room and my son will, as always sleep on the couch. You will be in a regular bedroom. 
HER: Well, I will get the bigger of the other bedrooms, right?
US: Umm... NO - you have two brothers who will be sharing a bedroom, they get the bigger room. 
HER: Well that's not fair I'm the oldest. (at this point I'm not laughing anymore because she's being a pain in the butt and I still have a freaking headache). 
US: Well, it really is fair because there are two of them, and they have to share a room. (and because I get a little cranky over my son) I said: You know, you are not the oldest - Jon is the oldest. Jon is also the only one who has sacrificed a bed and privacy for you kids. He gave up his bedroom for the boys, and never got it back
HER: Oh, so he's going to get the biggest room.
US: NO! Did you even hear what we just said???
HER: Well, not really I was thinking.... 


You know, I love my kids, and most of the time I don't differentiate between my kids and his kids - but when she starts the crap about how she's the oldest, and deserves all this stuff - I have to say something. It's like she forgets that he even lives with us. Not that it would matter much, because she's sixteen and we all know what that means. Drama. 

But, at this point its all good. We're working with the Realtor now to see when we can get the payment on the house - and how long we have until we have to move. If we can play this right and get the customary 30 days - then we're golden, we can pop on up to Chattanooga for a couple of days and house hunt. Then we'll have a place to put all these darned boxes while we get out of here. I'm hoping it works out that way - I hate moving to a storage unit, then to a home - it take so much time and is such a waste of effort. It's NOT efficient. 

Well, I guess that's my whine and cheese party for today. What's making you whine? 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Everybody's Workin' for the Weekend

Everybody's working for the weekend
Everybody wants a little romance
Everybody's goin' off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance, oh
You want a piece of my heart
You better start from start
You wanna be in the show
Come on baby lets go!

Yep, I'm a child of the 80's... can you tell? Heh. THIS stupid song got stuck in my head this afternoon and I cannot get rid of it - I've even tried listening to it all the way through (usually that works) but even that didn't solve the issue. 

After my debacle yesterday with Our Girl it seems things have evened out a bit again - she apologized for arguing with me and I apologized for snapping, and now we're back to our normal selves. She even volunteered to fix dinner tonight - well, actually she commandeered dinner preparation because she knew my head was still freaking pounding. Unfortunately it's beginning to look like this is going to be one of those bouts of Fibro - the ones that send me to bed for days on end, the ones that even mass amounts of anti-anxiety, muscle relaxers, or pain killers can stop. It's a nightmare when it starts, and it continues to be a nightmare for several days. And of course it could not have come at a better time - of course! We got an offer on our house this week. We have about 60 days to make our decision. 60 days to pack up a house, get medical and school records for three children, decide on mental health placement for our youngest son (if he's not released by closing), and find a place to live in our new city. It should get pretty interesting around here! 
In a way I'm excited because we will be "starting over" in a new town, and in another way I'm really apprehensive because we will be starting over in a new town. I guess it's just a matter of perspective. We can be positive and look at this as a huge opportunity for better - or we can be negative and look at it as losing our home, that's paid for because we can't find work here. 
I prefer to take the positive route, and even if we take a hit on the value of the house - it's all CASH money in our pocket - every dime. And that will give us a nice cushion to live on until we do find work. I can only hope this headache disappears soon - I've got packing to do!!!

Tuesday's Time Out

I guess I need a time-out... 
Yesterday was a really rough day for me! After doing my bloggy thing and writing a post for Monday Monkey Minute I had a monster of a headache. Of course the headache is directly related to my Fibromyalgia - and tends to make me quite an irritable mom. 
My children KNOW this - yet they don't seem to understand that it doesn't matter to my pain what day it is, what event is planned, or what I want to do. I am a total slave to the pain when it rears its ugly head. A combination of weather and stress caused this recent uproar, and it won't stop until the pressure rises some more. 
So, last night, even though I planned to cook a lovely dinner for everyone, we wound up having hot dogs. Mainly because I was in too much pain to cook, and because Our Girl neglected about half the kitchen when she was cleaning Sunday night. I STILL have dishes in my sink even after she had kitchen again last night. 
When she was asked to do the kitchen, she calmly informed me (in her stooped over posture) that her back hurt too bad to stand in front of the sink...
Umm.... WHAT? 
Ok, so I will have to say that she went out Saturday with her BF and they picked strawberries, all afternoon. She came home with a sunburn across the small of her back. So I'm sure it aches a bit, and it's tender. 
But, after a day like yesterday filled with painful naps and tender spots all over my body - I lost it. 
I looked at her and quite calmly said "You know Girl, I don't care one iota about your minuscule back pain. Your pain is going to go away in a day or two, and honestly won't get better if you baby it - however my pain is gonna last until the good Lord sees fit to take me out of this world. I didn't CHOOSE this disease, it chose me. I did not wake up one morning and say - Wow, I wish a different part of my body would hurt so bad I want to cut it off - every day of my life. No, I did not! However, Our Girl DID decide to go stoop in a strawberry patch for an entire day, she should OWN her pain.
Needless to say, I hurt her feelings, callus and cold as I am. Which in turn hurt my feelings because I can't stand to make my kids feel bad about things. 
What makes my outburst even worse... the damned strawberries? They were used in a strawberry pie for my mothers day gift. (Even though I don't LIKE strawberries, didn't have the heart to tell her that). 
I managed to not only make her mad, but her dad stopped the "Family Movie" with dinner - which managed to piss everyone else off. So I whipped out my standard apology - Sorry guys, I guess it's just been one of those days... and I skulked off to my room. 
I feel bad, of course, and I'll speak with her when she gets home to apologize "for real", but it won't matter, because Our Girl holds a grudge. I'm in for a week of hell and I brought it on myself. I know that I did... and for that I need a time-out
So, what have you done to deserve a time-out lately? 
As always, thanks for stopping by! Don't forget, this time next week, we'll be over at WordPress!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Monkey Minute


It never ceases to amaze me the wonderful people I find on the internet. The bloggy world is full of them. Folks with amazing stories about overcoming adversity, abuse, or divorce. People who have or are fighting amazing battles with disease, mental disorders or sickness. Very rarely do I come across these stories as they unfold, until now. 
There is a lovely blog I follow called My Pixie Dreams, the wonderful mommy of this brood of pixies has just been informed that her barely 16 month old daughter has cancer. So - the blog community is getting together to show some love for this wonderful little family - and I'm joining in the fun. 
So - without further ado - Todays Monday Monkey Minute! Please link up and show the love!!!


Now, here is what you should do - first head over to Ian's place and grab the button! 
Next - link up on his list, and post using the questions below! 

1 –  How old do you act? Hmm... I think I pretty much act my age most days, others - I'm WAY older than in reality. Fibromyalgia can do that!
2 – As far back as you can remember, what did you want to be when you grew up? A mom! That was my biggest aspiration as a child, second place was Nurse. I've got seven kids, guess we all know what I got to do! 
3 – If you were to write a book based on your life, what would the title be? The Mad Mad Mad World of Magimom
4 – What’s something that you do that’s considered “childish” by most? I get excited over little things, like baby animals and stuff... I am not very good at containing my excitement! 
5 – The last question isn’t a question.  Write a story of a time of when you or someone you know overcame great adversity. 

My mother is my hero in overcoming adversity. She lost my dad just after I turned 13 (three days). Needless to say, she persevered when she felt like crying. She not only cared for me, but for her aging parents as well. She finished her education and started a new career all while doing her job as a wonderful mother and daughter. She taught me how to live, love, and rejoice in life's little things - for that I am eternally grateful! 

SO, now go show Michelle some love, link up with the Monday Monkey Minute, and have a Happy Monday! 

Holy Monday Batman!

So here we are, Monday - after Mother's Day weekend. Seems to me that last week FLEW by and that the weekend was here and gone without me even realizing it! When the alarm went off for Our Girl this morning I wanted to shoot it in the face! Thankfully the hubs takes her to school, so no face-shooting was required. However 15 minutes after they left it went off again - then I really wanted to shoot it in the face - until I realized it wasn't an alarm, it was the low battery warning, and if Our Girl was going to get to school on time the rest of the week, then I needed to put it on the charger. You see, something funny happens to hubster when his phone dies... He seems to be able to perfectly time anything he needs to do in between those annoying beeps. If he goes to the bathroom he usually walks in right after it beeps and is out of the bedroom before the next one has time to go off... or he just doesn't hear it period. So I got up and found the charger - and a free outlet in which to plug it. So now I'm up - funny thing, hubs got home and went straight back to bed this morning... sigh... 

As for the original intention of this post - well - I had planned on getting everything switched up and moved over the weekend, and to announce that we were picking up stakes and moving over to WordPress. But, alas, the best laid plans of gerbils and women - things went awry. Not the blog - the blog is good, both copies running just fine in both places. Maybe I should say I went awry. I'm still trying to solidify my decision. I've been on blogger for over a year and it's served me well. However, within a DAY of putting my Photography Blog over on WordPress I already had a follower and comments! What??? How the heck does THAT happen? So... this week is preparation, and I will mention it every day that I post. Then, next Monday - you will find us here! I have manged to get everything except the last couple of posts imported over there, with comments - and will do the same this Sunday to pull the remaining posts and comments over. Then it will be all WP all the time! 

So, tell me dear readers - mistake, or best thing that ever happened to my blog? What service do you use to blog and do you like it? 

Happy Monday All - 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

Dare I say we've made it another year moms... by now everyone has opened the homemade card containing the macaroni necklace, mason lid pincushion, handprint in plaster or other equally adorable, precious memory of our babies childhood. After all it is these things that make us smile on a rainy day as we happen to find that sweet little card from a bright 6 year old. Nothing warms my heart more than opening my "scrapbook box" and digging through the items inside. Cards from years gone by, gifts on paper, artwork, and a myriad of memories float up out of the box. 
I think of my mom, and the many sacrifices and heart aches she had because of me. Raising me - a headstrong, opinionated, fearless child, who knew no boundaries and rules. 
I used to go to Hallmark and pick out the prettiest, sweetest, heartfelt card I could and I would give it to my mother after writing a quick note inside. Usually the note read something like this: 

Words cannot express how much you mean to me! After lots of looking I found one card, that said some of what I want to say... I love you mom! Happy Mothers Day. 

My mother invariably cried. Every time she opened the cards - she would first read my handwritten note, then the message, then she'd bawl. 
"You always know the perfect thing to say"... 
Well, I may not know what to say, but I know how it needs to be said, I choose cards that evoke strong emotion in me. If I read it and nearly cry thinking "That is MY mom" then it's right... 

I don't do Hallmark anymore, or cards at all really. I call my mom and we talk for hours, about me when I was little, her memories of her mom, my childhood memories... we remember the things that made our relationship comfortable and strong like it is today. 
I'll be calling mom in a few hours, she had to work today... of all days! But she'll be home tonight, and once she settles in, we will talk awhile, and maybe, just maybe I won't miss her so damned much. 

I love you Mom! Thank you for giving me life!
To all my "Mommy Readers" - Thank you for giving my blog life - and Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday - I'm Bored

Finally! It's here! Saturday! Woohoo! NO school and two bored teenagers! I cannot be more happy - not! 
It never ceases to amaze me that in a house with five computers, three televisions and three Xbox game systems someone could be bored... I don't get it - I mean, we've got plenty of electronic entertainment - and an entire LIBRARY of books I know my kids haven't read yet. So why the boredom? Because they've done it all - seen it all - played it all - and yes, read it all... hmmm - I think not... but whatever?!
Our guy hates not having his computer, unfortunately right now he's sharing said computer with my son Jon. Jon is in college and taking classes online, so his computer time is infinitely more important than Our Guy's. Our Girl is still in trouble and not allowed messenger or Facebook/Myspace applications right now, so in her words "the computer is a paper weight". She got a new book yesterday, so she should be good. However, when I made the suggestion that Our Guy use her computer to check on his game forums and such - she LOST IT!. NO WAY was he using her computer - regardless of whether she's using it or not... UGGGH 
So, now she's gone for the day, Jon is working on a project for school, and Our Guy is bored... I'm so tempted to hand him his sisters laptop and tell him to have fun... however the war that would wage between them regardless of who gave permission would probably set the house into a spin - witches would be killed... I'm just sayin... 
Boredom - is an emotional state experienced during periods lacking activity or when individuals are uninterested in the opportunities surrounding them. I love that last line - uninterested in the opportunities surrounding them. This is the way it is here - there is PLENTY to do - they just don't want to do it. They have books to read, games to play, and pets to love on and hang out with. We have an acre of woods behind our house, with miles of dirt trails and creeks beyond. When I was a teenager I would have gotten up, gotten breakfast, and GOTTEN OUT! - Not my kids... they're too "technically inclined" to enjoy a romp in the great outdoors. If they don't need a controller to play they don't want to play. So for the most part, boredom wins out for them most of the time. Not today - today I will show them that there really IS something to do. 
Today I have a plan. Today - if you are bored? Find something to do - or I will find something FOR YOU to do. 
Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Why I Love My Mother 3

My mother was such an inspiration to me. She was only 30 when my father passed away, so young to be a widow. So young to have to face the world alone with a child. My mother had a job as a nursing assistant then - she only worked part time evenings - to give her and dad some "fun money". When dad died, it was her only income - and she decided to make more of it. So, at the age of 32 my mother went back to school and got her nursing license. She is a registered nurse to this day. NOW she works 12 hour days - 3 on, 4 off. She likes it that way, it gives her more time for her grandchildren and her yard. 
While mom was in school, year three of her four year program, her mother got sick. We took her to the doctor and the diagnosis was grim. My grandmother had end stage bladder cancer that had metastasized to her lungs. They gave her three months to live. It was her 75th birthday. My grandmother started chemo that same week - she asked the doctor to work for a year - she wanted to live long enough to see her great grandchildren come into the world.  My cousins wife and I were pregnant at the same time - two great grand babies - due at the same time!!
The chemo was taxing on her I know - but it had to be ten times worse for my mother. She worked nights, cared for grandma during the day, and then tried her best to keep me sorted out with my myriad of pregnant teenager issues.
That had to be the hardest year my mother ever went through. 
Once my daughter arrived my grandmother seemed content. Photos of my cousins daughter soon arrived - she was born one week to the day (nearly the hour) after my daughter arrived.
Then grandma started to have problems. She became depressed and suicidal, and it was so hard for my mother to concentrate on school, home, and grandma. So in my second semester of college I took some time off. It was November, and I could use the break from things - so I took care of grandma. I also took care of grandpa, who was not paying attention to his own health, the sicker grandma got. 
When my grandmother died - I was at school picking up my grades, and my mother was at school (the other end of town) taking a final exam. My aunt called the school, and I zoomed home. My mother wasn't far behind. I walked into her room, took her hand in mine and told her goodbye. I also checked her pulse and respirations (Paramedic classes, couldn't help it), and called 911. Thankfully, the dispatcher put me through to our fire chief, who I grew up with, and he sent the ambulance out only as a courtesy to me. They left their equipment outside when they came to pronounce my grandmother dead. They knew she was a no-code. I called the funeral home when they left, and made my grandmothers funeral arrangements. My mother and my aunt were in no condition to handle it at the time, after all their mother had just died. It was her 76th birthday. 
My mother struggled so hard that year, with me pregnant and only 17, her mother dying, her father struggling with the grief that goes with losing a spouse of 50 years... she had it rough - but she toughed it out, and she made it. She showed me that no matter how hard things seem to be, no matter how much it hurts, no matter what the cost - you have to continue living your life. You have to do things that make you happy, you have to continue to love yourself, and most of all, you have to keep going. One foot in front of the other. Keep your sunny side up. Those are words that were passed from my granddad, to my mom, to me - and now on to my kids. I grew up hearing it - and I say it to myself every single day. 
My mother surely taught me how to live life to its fullest, even when you are looking deep despair in the eye. Just keep your sunny side up, and put one foot in front of the other. 
I love you mom!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why I Love My Mother 2

My mother taught me about being a loving parent, who loved her parents. That's my mom, sitting in her daddy's lap. We were a close-knit family.

I was a teenage mother. I gave birth to my oldest daughter two weeks before my 18th birthday. When my mom found out that I was pregnant, she immediately swung into action. She called my aunts and told them, got the prayer chain and support line going. Then she made appointments with the best OB/GYN in town for my prenatal care. She spared no expense in seeing that her only daughter had everything necessary to have a healthy baby. 
I left the high-school I was attending to attend a breakthrough school called LAMP - Lee Adolescent Mother's Program. At the time it was a ground breaking philosophy - allow pregnant girls and new mothers to attend school in a nonjudgemental environment. Where all your classmates understand where you are, because they are right there with you. Once the baby was born you could bring the baby to school with you on the bus! Daycare was provided - breastfeeding was encouraged. Mom's could go in and hang out with their babies between classes, at lunch, during 'life skills classes'. Everything necessary to run a home, from cleaning and cooking to laundry and diaper changing was taught. With a healthy dose of math, science, english, and history. We still had regular classes, but on top of that we had to learn how to be parents. 
Some of the girls were lucky like me. They had supportive parents or family and were happy, well adjusted young women. Others - well, others weren't so lucky. The "other girls" the orphaned mommy's  as we called them lived in group housing with the nuns of the local Catholic parish. They were well fed, had wonderful housing conditions - usually only 3 girls and one sister per home. Most of the homes were three bedroom, two bath houses on the Catholic campus. We also had a nunnery (right word? dunno - not Catholic). 
But the orphaned mommy's had only each other and a sister for support. They formed tight little families, and shared goals, dreams, and life lessons. But they were in so much pain. Their own mothers either abandoned or gave up on them. They were not present to provide support. I only knew one girl who's mother had passed away, and she lived with her mom's sister - who promptly threw her out as soon as she got pregnant out of wedlock. 
The rest were throw aways. It was sad, to me, to see these young ladies grow and mature as they did without a parent standing beside them, proud of their accomplishments instead of ashamed of a mistake. 
My mother wasn't that way... she saw things as they were. A mistake is a mistake, you accept the consequences, and move on. Make the best of the hand you are dealt. So when she discovered my pregnancy, I was given choices. It was my decision - keep the baby, adopt, or abort. Abortion was out of the question, for me, it was wrong. Adoption sounded like a possibility, but I was my mother's daughter. If she taught me one thing it was to take responsibility for my actions. If I was going to do that, then I needed to keep my child and raise her to the best of my ability. Now, before you say anything -  I do not believe that this is the best choice for everyone. It was the best choice for me. 
I was able to get my GED - 6 months prior to my scheduled graduation, and start college two weeks after my daughter was born. 
I was able to go to school and work, and had child care in the form of my grand parents who lived with us. 
I was able to raise my daughter my way, with the gentle guidance and unconditional love and support from my family. My grand parents or mom would watch her only when I went to work or school. Otherwise I was on my own with her. 
When my daughter was three months old she came down with colic. She finally grew out of it at five months. For two months of her life my baby screamed uncontrollably from midnight until six am - every blessed night. I was a wreck. I was going to class from eight am until two pm, then to my job as a cashier at the local grocery store from three until eleven. Then home to my baby and sleep... only I still had homework to do. If I was lucky I could get it done just before she woke up at midnight. 
Bless my mothers heart, and her dad - they both would take turns getting up with her during scream fits - walking her and stuff so I could sleep two or three hours at least. There were many nights I would wake up in the rocking chair sans baby - only to find her in the hallway looking at pictures with my grandfather - bounce, walk, bounce, walk, bounce, hour after hour. 
My mother was always there when I needed her. She supported every choice I made, good or bad. It didn't matter what she thought about things, it mattered to her that I was happy with my choices. 
She encouraged me to be the best at whatever I chose to do, and left things at that. Then showed genuine excitement at my accomplishments, and commiserated with me over failures. Unconditionally she loved and supported me through every bad, and stupid thing I pursued all through my life. 
Just one more reason why I love my mother! 
Why do you love your mom?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why I Love My Mother

Today, I am posting about why I love my mother, in the first of several that will be posted this week. With Mother's Day just a few days away, I thought I would give tribute to the most awesome woman in my life. 

Meet My Mom: Patrica Johnson (nee Nelson)
That's us, on my third birthday. The year was 1969. Our lives were idyllic for 10 more years. 
My mother is the most incredible person I've ever known. She's strong, intelligent, resilient, and loving. She has seen incredible tragedy, more than once, and come through the fire tested, but not burned. 
When I was 12 my father who was my mothers heart and soul, was killed in an accident on the job. Three days after my birthday. Heartbroken, crushed, and widowed at 26 my mother took the challenge of raising me alone to heart. She went back to school, and in three short years - graduated with high marks from the Nursing school she attended as an RN. She worked nights, weekends, and overtime to provide a home and life for me. She cared for her aging parents and a whiny teenage girl without batting an eye or one word of complaint. She was my rock, my touchstone, and my heart. We survived the storm of losing my father, then my grandmother, and finally my grandfather. We put countless pets "out of their misery" together. And we ate a lot of ice-cream, punctuated with incredible shopping trips, and girl talk until the wee hours. 
We were more than mother and daughter - we were friends and companions too. She taught me how to handle upsets and tragedy, how to cope with losing someone, and how to live life to its fullest. She never let a setback stand in her way. 
She was a fierce protector, a loving mentor, and a lively companion. I love my mother! She's awesome and wonderful. She has been my constant source of comfort and  inspiration all my life and for that I want to thank her. 
Thank you mom, for not being defeated when life through you curve balls. Thank you for showing me that running from your problems is not an option, and that you must look a challenge dead in the eye to master it. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, especially when I did stupid things and made bad choices. Thank you for telling me no, and making me stand on my own two feet - God knows I never would have done it on my own. Thank you for keeping my grandparents close so that I could learn from them and experience the love they had for me. Thank you for standing up for me when I was right, and for making me accept the consequences when I wasn't. You still are my rock, my touchstone, and my heart. Even though we don't talk often enough, I love you! I miss you more than words can express!
Thank you mom, for being my  mother!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Le Sigh... or Frustrations of Living with SED

So, the phone rang this morning... it was Little Man. As some of you know, Little Man is away right now, in the hospital receiving long term treatment for his PTSD, OCD, and other problems. He's been in the hospital since January so, as parents we figure 5 months now, shoot he should be doing really well. Then our world crashes down... With Little Man that happens a lot. I know that I posted our evaluation on Story of a Life the other day, and it sounded promising. However, after this phone call - we're worried again. Frustrated and worried. You see, Little Man has had a really, really rough life. He spent eight years in the prison hell that was his mother's egg donor's house - right along with her crack-addicted boyfriends, lovers, and thieves. In his short 14 years, he's been hospitalized 11 times that we know of. He is paranoid, talks to the voices in his head, and sees things that aren't there. He also believes that everyone in our house and elsewhere is out to get him. 
Today's phone call was nothing short of a 30 minute argument with him about what was right and good to do, and what he should avoid. All part of the therapy... but - we're not seeing much more improvement over what it was like before he went. 
Everything with him is a frustration - to the point we want to pull out our hair, and scream at the top of our lungs to the Gods - WHY HIM? 
Why did our child have to go through the horrible experiences, why does Our Guy have to live with the guilt of coming through the abuse and horror relatively unscathed while Little Man suffers? 
Little Man has no self-worth, he feels that everything is his fault, and that he is the reason behind everything that happened to him - if he'd just been born better he wouldn't have gone through what he did... 
My frustration stems from the fact that as a mom, I feel like I should be doing more, to help him. I don't know what the hell I'm doing... but I should be doing more of it... Right?! Yeah, that's going to work... NOT. 
No matter what you say to LM he still argues that No, he's not a good kid, No, he's not really smart - he just heard that amazing fact somewhere - he doesn't really know it. 
As a parent, we pride ourselves in knowing just how to fix things when they go wrong with our kids - and if we can't fix it - we are generally able to find someone who can. In LMs case - this is the biggest misconception we ever had. He's unique and challenging - and has issues that even stump his therapist and doctors daily. 
We were terribly saddened by his call today, but not to the point of giving up the hope we have for his restoration. We'll never, ever give up on that  - but we're beginning to see the depth of his issues now, and that's scary. The doctors aren't hopeful that he'll ever be "normal" whatever the hell that is. They are, however, hopeful that in time Little Man will be able to function enough to live on his own (in a halfway house or transitional situation), hold a job (with a job coach in attendance), and go to college (again with a coach). These are all bright hopes for someone who just two  years ago could not tie their own shoes, or get through a day at school without a major meltdown. So improvement, while slow and painful, is coming. 
I think the biggest issue we have as his parents is that we want  him home, we miss him terribly, and we can't have that right now - because as his therapist says "He's resistant to therapy and help". In his mind, he deserves to feel the way he does. 
We know that this is only temporary, and that in a couple of months LM will be home - but right now, that does not help our feelings and the depth of the hole in our lives without him here. We can only continue to hope and pray that LM will stop resisting and start participating. Therapy right now is his only stop gap too - everything else - school, group, interactions - all improving. His mental state - not so much. Le Sigh....
It's just one of those things that make me feel inadequate as a parent, and that's not a feeling I like. I've had six successes - the other six children are great, four of them grown, two with kids of their own... They've had their problems, but we know beyond a doubt that they'll manage on their own. We're proud of our accomplishments with the rest of the brood - but that is always overshadowed by our seeming failures with Little Man. Thankfully, even the doctors are saying "It is not your fault - you cannot fix this at home". Doesn't make us feel much better, but it's a salve to a mother's broken heart. 
So, if you pray - say a prayer for Little Man today. If you don't pray, send some positive energy, thoughts, or love his way - he could use all he can get! 
As always - thanks for stopping by!!! 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Introductions au deux

As I said yesterday, I have decided to fulfill the promise I made in one of the first few posts on my blog. Today I am going to introduce the "middle children" of our little pet family. Kitty and Footnote.
Now I know you've met Footnote, on more than one occasion, but this will be his formal introduction... 

Footnote the Fearful
Footnote used to look like the photo above - then it got hot. So now he looks like this: 

He's quite unhappy with me right now, he is about two weeks post haircut, and now it's starting to grow on him. 
Footnote came to us by way of my sister in law. She brought him to us the day we took Little Man to the hospital for PRTF (you can see his story here). He is a very special little guy in our home. He took the place of companion with Our Guy when Little Man went away. He followed him everywhere, slept in his bed, even came to the name "Little Man" for a while. He was a healing balm for Our Guy when he needed him most. Now, he's my shadow, and my posting buddy. He is currently perched on the footrest of the recliner as I write. He's definitely Our Guy and I's special baby. 
Which leads to the other "middle child" of our doggie family. Kitty. 
Kitty is about the ugliest cute dog I've ever seen. She's Little Man's buddy, and misses him terribly now that he's gone. It's cute. She also has become besties with Footnote, which makes it even cuter! 
Pre-haircut cleaning... she loves to clean him up, and lick ears. It's precious when it's the other dogs -  not so much when it's  you... 
So there you have it - 2 more of our lovely pets. Let's see - Now you have met our Grace, Kitty, Footnote, and Magi! Whew... three kids, eight pets, three adults - one house. How do we do it? One day at a time, my friend... one day at a time!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


In going back over my blog today in an attempt to do some "housekeeping", like tags and such (I'm so BAD at remembering tags) I stumbled across some of my introductory posts back when I first started up here. It wasn't that long ago - but it was long enough for me to sleep since then - so I had totally forgotten that I promised more introductions to the family! Specifically, the four-legged children of our home. ;) Thanks to Mindee over at Our Front Door - I found my old intro posts, an the unfulfilled promise!
So - until I run out of pets, I'll be sharing one of my beloved babies with you. 
Also, if you haven't met the munchings - please take a look, here! We are a large family, full of love, excitement, and frustration... lots of frustration on some days.
But - again, digressing! Without further ado - I shall introduce you to the Matriarch's of the Family - Magi the Cat, and Gracie the Dog

Magi the Cat

Magi is my sweet, loving, thirteen year old cat. I have had her since I broke up with The Guy and moved to North Carolina 13 years ago. She's opinionated, cranky, and very set in her ways. But I love her dearly, she's a sweet baby - and has been my companion through some very trying and dark times of healing and restoration in myself. She was a touchstone when I needed one, and I will miss her so very much when she is gone. 

Magi and Shakespeare, enjoying a nap

She has made friends with my sons cat Shakespeare, and they truly do enjoy their naps in my bed most afternoons. She is a comfortable reminder of how far I've come in my life. 

Gracie the Dog

Gracie, or Miss Grace, Graciegirl, or Piggy as we are wont to call her at times, is the indisputable alpha dog of the house. She bosses everyone around and brooks NO dispute. She is tough and strong and mighty and fierce. Also... she weighs 8 lbs soaking wet and can put a 90-lb. boxer/lab mix on his haunches in 2.2 seconds - no kidding. She is the "mama" of the pack I would say. When inside all dogs bow to Grace. She also runs the children, giving them away when they're doing stuff they're not supposed to. If one of them hits the other - she barks, loudly to tell on the aggressor. She never lies, either! 
She's about 10 years old, and is starting now to show her age - she moves slower these days, and isn't as able to get up on the chair or couch as in days gone by. We love her, however, we know that the life expectancy of small dogs is not as long as cats or big dogs. So our time with her is growing shorter - she may live to as old as 17, but age is not her friend. 
She's a feisty one though, and the first to bark warning when something moves... anything - a leaf, a tree, a dog, a person... her yip seems to say "It's a Thing, It's a Thing, It's a Thing!!! OMG ITS A THING!!
Funny, and annoying, but she keeps us entertained. 

So there you have it - top cat, and top dog! Welcome to our little world, hope you can visit often!

Five Things

Happy Sunday! Today is our final day of rest before the work week begins. 
Today I am going to post five things. I'm thinking of making this a weekly thing, so let me know what you think... 

Sunday's Five Things - Five things I do that make my teenager hate me. 

1. I make my kids do chores. Yep, I said it - my kids do chores. And mean mommy that I am, they do not get monetary compensation for said chores. But, Magimom, what about rewarding good deeds? I do reward them, my kids have their own computers, Xbox game systems, televisions, and games. They have freedom to go with their friends, stay home, or explore our neighborhood. This is their reward. It is also something they don't get to do if their chores aren't done. 
2. I am teaching my kids to cook. Even with insolence and irritation at my side, one or both of my teenagers is in the kitchen with me, every night. Sometimes it's Our Girl, with the camera helping me photograph for Hopelessly In Love with Food, other times it's Our Guy learning the art of frying chicken or pork chops. Or even Little Man, when he's home - handing me spoons, getting ingredients, or doing whatever task his emotional state allows. My oldest son knows how to cook, and does so very, very well. This is something I want to instill in all my kids, a desire and love for cooking, along with a basic knowledge that allows them the freedom to experiment and learn new things. 
3. I hold my kids accountable for their actions. If they get in trouble elsewhere, at a friends house or school, for example, my kids know that when they get home, they're really in trouble. I don't go by the "one punishment is good enough" philosophy of modern parenting, because for one - schools don't have the authority they once did. Suspend my child for a day, and my child will spend that day doing "extra chores" around the house, cleaning out the litter box, scrubbing the toilets and shower, and basically doing all the "grunt work". I don't allow my kids to spend a day of suspension seated at their computer, talking on the phone, or playing games. They're being punished for an infraction at school, it should not be all fun and games at home! This makes for children who act out at school simply to get suspended and go home to play. 
4. You must be throwing up, bleeding, or running a fever to stay home from school. Headache? Here's some Advil, get ready for school. My tummy hurts! Really? I'm sorry, here's some Pepto, get ready for school. I don't feel good. No fever, no blood, no vomit, no way - get ready for school. My children have tried over the years to "fake me out" with varied illnesses from blindness (my personal favorite) to a sore throat. One thing I've learned in 26 years as a mom - children lie. I cannot tell you the number of times I have called the school to say one of my seven children would not be in attendance - to be told oh... well they have a test today that counts for 1/2 of their grade... Therefore at my house, you better be really, really sick before you even ask to stay home. 
5. I watch what my kids wear. This is a constant argument for Our Girl and I. She wants to wear cute little tank tops with no bra, or with bra straps hanging out all over, short little dresses that require shorts, tiny shorts that should really be a swimsuit, string bikinis... that sort of thing. Yeah... not happening. Our Guy? His favorite is a pair of cammo pants that he wears every day after school These pants have been known to sneak out of his room while he's at school and wash themselves they get so funky. And he's always trying to sneak out to school in them. We have had so many arguments over the years about clothing - too short, too long (you are ripping the hem our of that $40 pair of jeans!!! Relax, mom, it's the style), too tight, too loose, dirty, or generally not fit for wear. They fight, argue, and scream - but I control what clothing they wear when they leave my house. And yes I do search backpacks and purses, I also look under what Our Girl is wearing when we have a particularly nasty clothing battle. 

The point of these things is not to make my children hate me, but to instill in them the following key attributes for healthy adults: 

  • Work ethic
  • Honesty
  • Modesty
  • Self preservation skills
My kids will be able to go out into the world and accomplish much with the skills I have taught them. I will worry less, knowing that they can fend for themselves. They will go to work even when they feel "bad" because I've taught them that it's important. They know how to dress appropriately, and they know that first impressions count for a lot. 
If they hate me now? It means I'm doing my job right. It means they're learning, and it means I'm a mom. I can live with that - because at the end of the day - these smiles are all you need to show you've done well: 

Happy Sunday! 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Muse

I think that I've had enough sorrow and heartache for one week. So, I'm ending the week on a positive note! Maybe this will become a regular Friday thing. 

This week my muse came from the beauty of spring in my yard, colored with the notes of sadness. 

I have to remember that even though there is sadness around me, the beauty of spring still abounds. The world is fresh and new. Life is an incredible journey  across mountains and through great divides. It is not something to be taken for granted. Life is too short for unhappiness. So - Have a Happy Weekend!