Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Chocolate Milk Meltdown

My nerves have finally settled down to their proper place in my body.... allowing me to write about our melodramatic morning which was a result of an impatient little blue eyed, blond haired 4 year old….A little 4 year old who may never again savor the sweet taste of chocolate milk as long as she lives .I’m not sure I will ever understand the mechanics of a child’s brain. I invite you to come into the remembrance of my morning….
It begins with sweet hugs and kisses and simple chatter about nothing at all. Awe, aren’t they sweet when they are asleep, unconscious? I still have quite a bit of work to do on my blemish filled face, bird nest style hair, therefore I suggest to Kylee that I put her movie on while I begin getting ready for the day. She eagerly accepts as I carry her to the living room put her movie on, and she makes the first request of the day, chocolate milk…. Now if you are wondering, is this really going to be about chocolate milk? Yes… YES IT IS!!! On go, I tell her to please hold on and before I could get the last sound of the word ‘on’ out of my mouth, she shrieks, “Ugh I want chocolate milk!!!” As if the chocolate milk is a necessity to her next breath she takes. Like a diabetic needs their insulin, or someone with asthma needs their inhaler… I wasn’t asking her to wait until after school, or suggesting another beverage…I was simply requesting a spare minute to finish putting HER movie on. Why am I even trying to justify this to my blog? If I needed 15 minutes or an hour, I’m the mom, I’m the boss, and I’m in charge here!!! KYLEE!!!! This might come to as a shock to you all, as it especially did to Kylee, but I cannot put a DVD in and pour chocolate milk at the same time. Unless we start keeping the milk in the entertainment center. This completely spiraled out of control all morning. Continuous reminders to her that screaming like psycho will not work…She continued to bawl and sob for her chocolate milk….Same result. Then Kylee made a pathetic attempt to establish dominance in this situation by refusing to walk to the car. As if she had the option to stand on the doorstep until I succumbed to her need for chocolate milk. Much to her surprise, I don’t just wear a belt to hold my pants up. Needless to say, in due course she walked to the car, without chocolate milk. The car ride was as much fun as a trip to the gynecologist, however if I had the choice, where do I undress?  
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love these children from their biggest accomplishments to their ugliest flaws. I accept that Kylee isn’t ever going to be that child with few to no demands. She will always have an idea of how she expects things to happen, and will easily be derailed off of the happy train if everything doesn’t fall perfectly in place. She will always have small threshold for pain, and the smallest scratch will warrant a severe meltdown. I am convinced she will never eat a green bean as long as she lives. I will never persuade her that orange and pink do not match. She came into this world pushing boundaries and I think it is embedded in her blood to do so.
I will always push back in love. It is why moms are so strong…Because we push. Lord, give me the strength to never STOP pushing.
P.S.
There are many happy moments about this single parenting gig and I promise to blog more about that soon. This was just so fresh I had to put it out there. So go ahead all you nay-sayers and judge me. I will put some happy-go-lucky stuff up soon! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Mourning After

It is going to be quite the task to blog about the emotional turmoil I have experienced over this past week and weekend. So let me catch you up first.
My last post was about the awesome Easter weekend I had planned; which actually did turn out pretty darn fantastic if I do say so myself. Kylee and I had an amazing day on Friday. We ran our errands, had lunch and really relished in the one-on-one time together. The rehearsal dinner went okay…. Logan was all over the place, like most 18 month olds are and the wedding coordinator didn’t take too fondly to this…. (smirk) The day of the wedding was kind of hectic, but we made it. Kylee was the sweetest flower girl in the history of weddings! Of course, she refused to walk hand in hand with the ring barer because JB is her boyfriend. DUH! At the table, she announced to everyone that holding hands with him would have been “awkward.” What a word for a 4 year old. But it produced quite the laughter from everyone. There was one point during the reception that all the kids were just running wild, dancing, playing hide-and-seek, and just having fun…..and then Kylee seemed to evaporate….I saw her on the dance floor, turned around, and she was gone. Like all the MISSING PERSONS reports begin…. My body immediately started to tingle down to my toes…My heart was beating to a new rhythm I have never felt before… I was certain others could see my chest pulsing in and out….I frantically ran upstairs to the bridal room, no Kylee….The upstairs bathroom, no Kylee… The empty offices, rooms and hallways, no Kylee…. Tears were forming and bleeding from my eyes. Inconceivable thoughts were bombarding my imagination. We finally found her in the downstairs bathroom…. Perfectly unaware that my world was crumbling apart at a rapid speed. I dropped to my knees to hug her and just began to cry and thank God that she was okay…Not that she was ever in any real danger. She consoled me and said, Mommy, it’s ok…I’m here….Like I have said uncountable times to her…The reconciled moment was caught on camera, not that I would ever need a picture to remember it.
I found her!

Mommy and Flowergirl

Me and Mom

No words.....

I hope you dance....

Best flowergirl in the world!

Fast forward to Easter Sunday. A day that families spend together…Go to church together, watch their kids hunt eggs together, dinner together and share in the candy together…. Mine was not that picture perfect holiday. It was my first Easter alone, without the Ex… Logan was with the Ex, so Kylee and I woke up Sunday, put on our matching Easter dresses, and headed off to church. A tidal wave of sadness hit me right in the gut as we walked in, just us with no husband or daddy. I could physically feel the pain in my stomach growing like a sponge in water. I looked at the empty seat next to me…The same empty seat that is there every Sunday… But this particular Sunday, it seemed to be taunting me. I felt like there was a spotlight on it for everyone to see. So my sorrow sponge continued to grow. I mustarded up the strength to readdress my thoughts on the only One who can heal my wounds. And I praised Him.
After service, we mingled and chatted. We headed out to pick up Logan from daddy’s house. They went to church too and I wondered if the Ex felt the same painful sensations I felt that morning. I have been dissecting my emotions and trying to figure out WHY I feel so vacant. Aside from the obvious explanations.  Why are these emotions just now surfacing? Why the delay? Did I glaze over the important mourning phase? Did I actually believe I could skip a grade and graduate into a healed future without doing the work? The answer is, I guess so. Not a good enough answer, apparently. So now, I have come to the realization that I have to face the fact that I am mourning… The last person close to me that died was my grandma, and I was a kid…My coping skills were not quite up to par, and unfortunately, mourning is not something you can really practice how to do the right way. I am a creature of preparation. This is just not something I was ever prepared for or could ever train for. Here I am, completely caught off guard and entering unchartered waters with no real expectations. I typically like to play out every possible outcome and attempt to prepare for each one. It is quite difficult to do this, without knowing what to expect…I can imagine this is what playing dodge ball blindfolded would feel like. I thoroughly underestimated that worn-out saying “Divorce is like a death.” Well, dress me up in black because I am in full blown mourning. I wrote in my “Marriage Muscle” blog that I had mourned….Apparently, redirecting my attention to my kids, work, church and other spinning plates in my life is not the correct definition of mourning… Now I am face to face with this monster of death and without a shield to protect myself. I guess that is the point. I am not supposed to protect myself. I am supposed to embrace and surrender to this uncomfortable, painful, depressing, heartbreaking and discouraging thing into my well organized and misplaced emotional life. As cliché as that divorce is like a death analogy is, at least it breeds some normalcy into my situation. I felt crazy for crying over a year old piece of emotional baggage. Knowing that this is normal makes me feel a little less crazy. So when I am blow drying my hair and out of nowhere the floodgates are open, I can find rest in the fact that this is part of the mourning phase… That I am not lost, I am on the right track. Where the track actually leads is completely beyond me…

Thursday, April 21, 2011

GREAT Friday!

I don’t want to overload my many, many readers (LOL) with an obnoxious blog of how awesome my weekend is going to be. So I will be brief, and water this down as best I can. I am off tomorrow. YAY!!! Thank you Jesus!! Literally, GOOD FRIDAY!
Logan’s schedule will not be interrupted. He will go to daycare as usual, but Kylee and I have a total prissy, girly day planned. With the loose ends of my sister’s wedding to tie, Kylee and I have a day planned to get shoes, Easter dresses, and mani and pedis and lunch of course!!! Tomorrow night is the rehearsal dinner. Kylee gets to practice being a flower girl, I get to practice walking down the aisle outside in heals…Yeah…that always goes well… Tomorrow will consist of hair and makeup, a few vows, dinner and dancing. Logan will be with his daddy so it is totally a girl weekend. Long overdue.
I can’t wait and I am happy to report that Kylee is pretty stoked as well.
And in closing, this weekend means more to me than any other weekend of the year. A weekend for our Lord and Savior, whether you have received Him or not, that is what He. Jesus was crucified for our sins… Died for them, washed them away with His holy blood….The grave could not hold him so He is alive today, for us… There are not enough words to describe my deep love for Him. There needs to be a word invented to replace LOVE…It just isn’t strong enough. Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DON'T EMBARASS ME IN TARGET!!!

I’m not a licensed therapist, counselor, or doctor. I have no certification in anything and never completed any type of training that would deem me worthy of what I am about to conclude…With that warning and foreword, I have deduced that kids are unpredictable…. And parents are clueless. That’s right! I said it! Now take a few moments to relish in this revelation.  
I saw something at the store the other day that flat out astounded me. I stopped and starred in the same manner we tell our kids NOT TO. I couldn’t help myself….Kylee’s reaction to what we saw gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe I AM doing this mom thing right…Just maybe….Fingers crossed.
There we were, in the place I go for refuge…Peace, tranquility and harmony…. The big red circle symbol that draws me in like a bee to pollen… or dogs to trees.… That unexplainable, magnetic pull that men and husbands can’t understand and women can’t elucidate. Some pronounce it Tar-jay….and some just call it TARGET. Wow, there is power in the word alone. Ok, maybe I am taking my obsession to a new level…But seriously, I love this store. Who doesn’t??
We were making our way to the shoes and as I passed the women’s clothes, I noticed a familiar face…Couldn’t quite put my finger on how I knew this woman….(which is irrelevant to the point of this story) Then Kylee saw her two boys and said, Hey, that boy used to be in my class….I realized she was another mom I frequently passed coming in or leaving daycare… OK, good to know, moving on… Later on, I saw the same woman browsing through the new summer arrivals… and her two boys (approximately 2 and 4) were having a UFC match right there between the new V-neck T’s and rompers. One boy had a death grip on his brother’s shirt, the other one had him by his shorts….It was a messy knot of kids, entangled in fury. The guy in Electronics could hear this ruckus, but somehow, the mother had mastered the art of pure ignorance. She didn’t so much as twitch her eye, turn her head, roll her eyes, pop a vein or rip off her belt… She did NOTHING except check to see what size shirt she had in her hands. Before I could even begin to cast judgment, Kylee interrupted my critical thoughts with the following dialogue…
Kylee: I would never treat my brother like that!!!
Me: I know babe.. And if you did…..
Kylee interrupts me: You would spank us!
Me: Well, yea sweetie, I would…. There is absolutely NO good reason for those children to behave like that.
I took that impromptu moment to really press in the behavioral dysfunction that she had just witnessed. I explained that we all get angry at stuff. Sometimes we feel so mad we want to slam the door, or hit something or someone…But WHY it is not acceptable to release your emotions this way. If you have read a few of my past blogs, you know we are working on teaching Kylee the proper way to filter her emotions, and consequences for her actions. I can tell that by observing the emotional meltdown of those two little boys had some type of an effect on her. Those boys are probably perfectly normal and right on track as far as developmental chart is concerned. I can only base this conclusion on what I saw while in Target, but they appear to be the product of the NO DISCIPLINE, JUST IGNORE IT way of parenting. Again, this is why I say children are unpredictable, and parents are clueless…We are all just going through trials and many errors, hoping to find our groove, establish authority, instill obedience, and receive respect. I am very aware every child is different and what might work on Jack won’t work on Jill….But if it had been me, I would have purchased a belt specifically for them when we got home…. Just sayin…
The truth is, no one has all the answers. No one can control the actions of another person, old or young. Of course as soon as we got into the car, Logan began his tantrum. I roll my eyes to the sky and say out loud, “OK, I GET IT!” I sit quietly in the driver’s seat, grinding my teeth, choking the wheel, I can see my blond hair turning grey. I can feel my shoulder muscles getting tighter. The pressure and anxiety builds up and I literally feel as though I am going to rupture. I was thankful it happened in the privacy of our car and didn’t cause a disturbance in the sacred place of Target…It stressed me out nonetheless.
When these outbursts happen in the car, I feel trapped. Like I can’t take a timeout and close a door to gather my composure. It’s like putting a frazzled feline in a shoe box with a mouse. Home is the finish line….Home is the goal…If I can just get home and out of this car, everything will be fine…I somehow trick myself into believing that…. Every.single.time.   
Ahhhhhh, home sweet home. Our routine begins again. The cycle of controlled chaos. Cooking dinner and coloring at the same time…Dancing to music and watching ICarly at the same time. Wrestling Logan while carrying Kylee on my back. It’s a noisy and hectic day in the life of us…..But hey, it’s all a stage right??? RIGHT?!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do you have 2 true friends? GO FISH!

I guess keeping my relationships tree watered and prospering is not my forte. I have somehow, successfully demolished two friendships without really knowing, how…. The details really aren’t as important as the fact that this is just another relationship battle I have to fight and accept that relationships aren’t solely dependent on one person. No matter what I did or didn’t do, the outcome would be the same regardless…. I am declaring the death of one friendship due to the lack of responses to my many calls, texts, emails and other desperate attempts to resuscitate.  There is no evidence of a pulse there…. So once again, I embark on the all too familiar path of healing and mourning a dead relationship that I did all I could to mend it…..Whatever IT was…. The other friendship that seemed to die of natural causes caught me a little off guard… However, to some degree I always suspected that this one was not beneficial to either one of us and I guess it ran its course.
My best friend told me this morning that sometimes God has a way of pruning friends away; Similar to an overgrown shrub. Maybe He saw these friendships as useless, or hindering to a higher purpose He has for my life…. His vision, while it is very unclear at times, I have to constantly remember that His perspective on my life is much more profound than my own vision.  I am not saying that one friendship is more important to me than the other…..Well, actually, yes that is what I’m saying. I can be real here can’t I??? One of my friends, let’s just call her “Winter” held my hand every step of the divorce process. She supported me, let me lean on her, cry on her, vent to her, and never once turned her back on me…. Until now… I know in the past, I offended her, unknowingly, but nonetheless. She was hurt. And I caused the hurt. I apologized, she “accepted” my apology and I thought we were moving past it.  I was wrong. I have sent her numerous emails, no response. I sent her text messages, no response. I sent friendly invites for dinner or a movie, no response. I flirted with the loser line. I felt an overwhelming wave of rejection, defeat, loss and pure sadness for the friendship I was certain could withstand anything…. I was wrong, yet again. LIFE: 3  AMANDA: 0
My life is quickly accumulating a nice deficit when it comes to relationships… The way the other friendship died was more personally insulting than a loss for me. The long and short of it was, her ex used me as a scapegoat for some pretty unethical things. Dragging my character and integrity through the mud. However, when people hurl their lies and insecurities at me in efforts to cover up their own scarlet letters, I tend to feel like I get up clean in the eyes of God.
I sat on a big uncomfortable grudge all weekend. Re-reading the text over and over… Dissecting, analyzing, examining and considering all possible explanations for this abrupt and deplorable text message from who I thought was a friend…. Reaching new levels of annoyance every time I read it. Until it hit me, like a sack of potatoes right between the eyes…. WHO CARES?! Aside from the fact that this “friend” has children around the same age as mine, went through a divorce around the same time I did, lives in Texas and wears women’s clothing like I do…We don’t have that much else in common. I realized that we were friends based on a few similarities we shared…Not because we clicked on any deeper levels… The more I examined my friendship with this girl, the more I realized that we have a lot more NOT in common than we actually share… I am outgoing, she is shy. I am outspoken, she hold it in. I am inappropriate; she is straight laced-by the book appropriate. I mean, this was a bad friend formula from the word HI… Not to say opposites can’t be best friends…But I think for me personally, I need more than comparable technicalities to make a friendship work. Even as I type, I am starting to think the only reason she entertained this friendship idea was to have me as a back-up babysitter. Ouch. Oh well. Moving on….
I went out Saturday night with my friend and met two girls who I don’t want to call replacements for my recently deceased and failed friendships…But it was just so unforced…So honest, easy, un-premeditated, uncomplicated, unexpecting, enjoyable and much needed.
I will really miss “Winter.” No amount of new friends will replace her. But in any relationship, you can’t be the only one pursuing them. I can’t travel down a one way street and risk hitting oncoming traffic. I am exiting this friendship with the small amount of dignity I have left. With remorse to our friendship… I am pulling the plug.
I have a lot optimistic hope that these new relationships will grow and cultivate into long lasting friendships. Here’s to hoping!

Friday, April 15, 2011

WEEK.END

Sometimes, I think to myself how in the world did I do this ‘mommy’ thing before the divorce and before non-custodial was in my vocabulary. I mean, by 5:32pm yesterday, I was ready and oh so willing to hand my children off to the lowest bidder. It started when I picked them up…. Apparently Logan was having way too good of a time on the rocking horse thing-a-ma-bob …. Kylee on the other hand was in pretty rare form… Yes maam this and Of course mommy that. Just easy-squeezy! My children seem to have a tag team schedule in place where one child is blissfully happy while the other one is in complete turmoil over….Well that is unknown….It is a mystery similar to Roswell… Or who shot Kennedy… Like we kinda think we know, but we don’t really ever know… That kind of unidentified mood swing mystery hangs over my shoulders on a daily basis. The 10 minute drive home, Logan serenaded us with his shrieks and wails of discontentment and anger that I made him get off of that damn horse thing. He insists on walking up the stairs all by his big boy self….Adding, ahhh, maybe another 7-10 minutes before actually getting inside….. When we finally make it inside, here is the soundtrack to my every day after school album:
                                Mommy can I have a show? I want Olivia…NO; I want Max and Ruby…
                                Can I have strawberry milk in a Sippy cup so I can drink it in the living room?
                                Do I have to put my shoes in my closet or can I just leave them here?
                                OUCH, Logan just pinched me and scratched my face!
                                Ugh, Logan! That’s mine, stop stealing and share with me!
                                Mommy, Logan needs to go to timeout!
                                I’m not hungry; I just want a snack please.
This is all before I put my purse down and shoes off….. Yesterday it seemed to be on repeat and Logan was completely inconsolable. He was evidently holding a grudge against me. So it is approximately 5:35ish…. The Ex was due to pick them up by 6pm. Kylee, in typical Kylee fashion went from sweet to spicy in .5 seconds and had an attitude about, well that too is unknown. Maybe she just wanted to be like Logan, maybe she knew I had to be somewhere later and her attitude would delay me in getting ready. I honestly don’t know what makes her shift gears so quickly but it is always so abrupt and bewildering to me.
I just could not wait to have the screaming stop, the whining stop, the demands stop, the attitudes stop, the hitting stop and the tantrums to stop. Again, I’m not sure how I did it before the NC schedule. (Non-Custodial)  Because quite frankly, I NEED the break. The guilt free, well deserved, needed, anticipated, and free break. Not a babysitter type break. The break that is not only court ordered, but desired by the Ex. I know he loves being with them and enjoys the time; I know the kids adore him so they are excited as well… It is win-win for everyone involved! Or so I like to think it is.
When the kids left, I had just enough time to re-curl my hair, apply a little makeup, re-perfume and re-deodorize myself before my ride was there to pick me up. Not a hot date…Far from it actually. My friend’s grandfather passed away and we were going to the wake.
It is the Ex’s weekend with the kiddos…. I hope they are in better spirits when I pick them up today. If not, the horse thing is coming with me!!!  I get to have dinner with one of my best friends tonight, a date with Comet, Windex and a couple of tubs and toilets tomorrow….A lot of recorded trash TV to catch up on…. Laundry to, blah! And I couldn’t be more content with that.
I hope my 4 readers have a great weekend planned! Thanks for reading.  I hope it’s not too presumptuous of me to think anyone really cares what my plans are for the weekend. But I would like to think you do. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The night that ended at 6AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At the risk of sounding like a whining teenager, last night totally sucked!!! Well, before I unravel my night, let me tell you about our evening, which totally rocked!
I took Kylee and Logan on a walk for about an hour… Well, Kylee scooted on her scooter while Logan and I tried to keep up. Then we stopped at the playground where I got to witness my oldest child extend love and kindness to a total stranger. It warmed my heart to it’s very core. There was this girl playing by herself. She was about Kylee’s age…. And Kylee approached her and striked up a conversation with her about the usual 4 year old stuff…..Ya know, shoes, “school”, her brother, Justin Bieber….The norm… This girl seemed to have a serious speech impediment and Kylee was having a hard time understanding her… I saw more patience pour out of Kylee than I think I have personally demonstrated all week. We eventually figured out her name was Jasmine… (“like from Aladdin!!” – Kylee-) I observed Kylee and Jasmine’s attempt to have a normal conversation…And much like I do when Logan jibber jabbers, I pretend to know what he is saying and attempt to carry on a typical conversation…I watched Kylee ask Jasmine general questions such as age, do you live in these apartments too, do you have a scooter, do you have a brother, what’s your favorite color and so on….I could tell that Kylee had no idea what her answers to these questions were. Unless she has Rosetta Stone for jibberish….But Kylee pretended, without missing a beat that she knew exactly what her answers were and continued on this one sided conversation for a good 5-10 minutes before she invited Jasmine to ride on her scooter. Jasmine seemed so excited that A) Someone was finally talking to her B) That someone was sharing with her and C) That she made a new friend. Kylee asked me if we can go back to the playground soon so she could play with her new friend, Jasmine…
Fast forward to what I like to call, the night that ended at 6AM………………………………
Kylee woke up at 10:45pm to tell me Logan was awake…. This was obviously in her abnormal sized brain a free pass to get out of bed. How could mommy be mad at me if I am just trying to be her big helper with Logan? Nicely played my sweet child…. Nicely played. On go, I am back in my bed. Crinkling up my crispy cold sheets between my toes, nudging my head back into my pillow, stretched it out and allowing the relaxing waves of comfort flood my body and I literally thought to myself, “Aww, a full night’s sleep, here I come!” Ok powers at be, I get it, you’re hilarious! I was wrong…Oh so so so very wrong. Later, ah, around midnight, Kylee wakes up and tells me she needs to go potty…..Something she KNOWS she doesn’t need to wake me up for. I don’t have to help her, she doesn’t need an audience. I was on a need to know basis, and I.DID.NOT.NEED.TO.KNOW!!! Nonetheless, she felt compelled to ask for permission…Yes that’s right, doesn’t ask for permission to get a snack from the cupboard before dinner, or to use my sharpie markers, put stickers on my nightstand, play with my laptop or use my makeup …. But at midnight, she feels compelled to ask for permission for the first time in months….Got it!  
OK, so here we are…. Midnight…multiple hours after story time and prayer time…. I can hardly make it to midnight on New Year’s Eve…Let alone on a TUESDAY night…Oops, sorry, MORNING! But now, I am wide awake… I feel as though someone injected a triple shot of espresso into my blood. Sidebar: the NoNo’s of parenting, ya know, don’t let your child sleep with you, don’t let them run with scissors, no peanuts, etc all kind of flies right out the window at high speed when its hours past your bedtime! I invited Kylee into my bed in hopes she would peacefully doze off into her Non-rem cycle sleep…. To no avail. If you were a fly on the wall of my bedroom at 2am, you would find 2 wide eyed and bushy tailed girls with no hopes of falling asleep in their near future. Kylee began getting frustrated because she truly wanted to fall asleep and so did I. The last time I checked the clock it was 2:13am…. I haven’t seen the clock at 2am in quite a long time…Last time I did, I’m sure there was loud music and mixed drinks involved…One room over, Logan was soundly asleep with drumsticks prancing in his head. Turd!
What seemed like 10 minutes later, my alarmed sounded. Time to wake up. Its funny how waking up was so hard to do, but staying awake all night was something I had surrendered to. I conceded to the fact that we were not getting any sleep last night…My body felt heavy. My muscles felt like doe, my brain was using my skull as a hula hoop and spinning it round and round….Much like the aftershock of staying up until 2am for recreational purposes…Yet there was nothing recreational about my late night.
Being the sanguine person that I am, (insert mockery here) I found the bright side of the situation. Cuddling with Kylee and being the one to keep her company during her sleepless night was kinda, cherishable. (Yes, I make up words now)
Being a single mom, sleepless nights haven’t been something I struggle with.  By the time the sun goes down, it’s all I can do to just stay awake in the shower. But I do remember sleepless nights…Worrisome nights…helpless nights….exhausting morning and days to follow… I was alone during those nights….So I could imagine the comfort Kylee felt knowing I was right there with her. She wasn’t alone. And surprisingly enough, she wasn’t too grumpy this morning…Probably because the amount of sleep she got was equivalent to that of an extended nap…. So we stopped at McDonald’s this morning for pancakes…I felt she deserved a medal for how tired she was and is going to be all day long. She even told me she couldn’t wait for nap time…. Me too kid, me too!
Oh well, sleep is something I can catch up on. The unpredicted mother-daughter time is something I can never fill up on enough…Even at 2am. There’s the silver lining.  Now please excuse me as I drool on myself.


Monday, April 11, 2011

5 star weekend review *****

My weekend gets mixed reviews. On one hand I had some great quality time with the kids. We took full advantage of the weather and went to the park Saturday morning. My theory is kids are happier when outside of the confinements of their home. Especially on the weekends. My kids in particular are like caffeinated monkeys trapped in a cage.  I’d rather them exert their energy outside, then inside of our home. Kylee spent the night with her friend on Friday night, so Logan, myself and a friend went to the Dallas Baptist baseball game. Logan was so well behaved and the weather was perfect. On Saturday afternoon I took the kids to my step-sister’s wedding shower which is where I am convinced my allergies were conceived with a vengeance. I have never been one of those allergy stricken folk with burning eyes or itching throat. But apparently, the air in Mesquite is different than the air in Crowley because I have been battling the ghetto pollen ever since we left the red-neck BBQ  a.k.a Wedding Shower.
Being a mom is tough on any day ending with a Y, but particularly difficult when your energy level is in the red zone and your patience level is non-existent.  But I think we pulled it off with minimal damage to me or the kids. Luckily, Kylee LOVES to play doctor and Logan is blissfully ignorant to my mood swings.
Allow me to jump over to the “Red Neck BBQ/Wedding shower” topic. Usually, when talking about my step family, I choose to leave out the title of “Step” because I truly think of them all as my family. No “step” is needed. We have formed a bond that I never thought we would have. My brothers are amazing husbands and fathers, and my sister has a passion and love for people that makes me jealous. I wish I had a heart like hers. She is getting married to someone who I could have picked out of a lineup of unworthy men who will not even attempt to be the provider, spiritual leader, partner, friend or husband that she deserves. I don’t want to be so cynical and admit that I am convinced some girls just have to go through a divorce before they will believe that God has someone of value and worth for them….But much like a baby who falls off the couch….They have to learn that they can’t sit on the edge, backwards and be safe from falling… (Seems like mom’s only have baby and children analogies…. My apologies) my sister is young and in love. A combination for disaster if you ask me or even look at my own past. I so desperately want to be happy for her. So I put on the best face I can and pray for the best. I pray for an intervention on my soon to be brother in law’s heart. That God will intervene on my sister’s behalf and give him a clear vision of what a husband is called to be to his wife…. And that they won’t have to embark on the divorce journey just to realize it. On a sidebar, I called it the “Red Neck BBQ/Wedding shower” because, well, it had all the proper ingredients. “TEXAS” tattoos on forearms, ankle tattoos of men’s names accompanied by a cute little heart, true Texan accents, a trampoline with missing springs that left the kids with black stains on every part that came in contact with the tramp….Much like a dirty mechanic had just bounced on it for hours leaving his filthy residue all over the fun filled contraption.. … There were a couple of random strangers, who seem to have a starring disability, creating much awkwardness for all involved….. I had fun nonetheless. I got to play volleyball which is always a treat for me. Of course I took it too seriously considering my teammates and environment in general…. But that is something I always struggle with…Playing for “fun” makes no sense to me. Let’s go!
We got to the red neck extravaganza a little early, and ultimately ended up staying for quite a long time. Again, it was a fun time regardless. But as the 5th hour crept up on us, I was ready to get my dirty little munchkins home, bathed and in bed. Myself included. I found my grumpy self begin to rear its ugly head (that’s right, I get grumpy sometimes….) I was partially tired of being hot, tired of chasing the kids down, tired of the bee that kept following and taunting me, tired of thinking about the long drive home and in general, just tired. I full heartedly believe that moms don’t need any excuse to just be tired. Being a mom is excuse enough.  Well I had rounded up the kids and we were about to begin our long journey home when the cake got brought out. For some reason, being at any event for 4 hours or more isn’t sufficient. You have to see the cake being cut…At a wedding, a birthday party, baby shower, wedding shower or anything else. As if your attendance is considered void unless you view the cutting of the cake… How the cake becomes more significant than your actual presence still baffles me. Anywho, Kylee saw the cake and obviously it was unspeakable to leave without allowing her a piece. Domino effect….Logan now needs some too. At this point, even the wind was irritating me. I sat Kylee down with her ginarmous piece of cake in a chair big enough to sit Logan in as well… I sat back and watched my very grown up little girl feed her brother the FIRST bite…. If you know Kylee, this is a big feat. As Kylee loves cake as much as I do. But I watched as her love for anything sugar filled took second place to her love for her brother. The brother, who constantly hits, bites and pinches her. She still loves him so much. Continually forgiveness and grace. All the grumpiness left me as I got to witness this sibling love flourish right before my eyes.
We finally got out of hillbilly town and headed home. I got to sneak in a good conversation with my sister on the way back as the kids entertained one another. We got home and I washed the day off of the kids, layed Logan down and snuggled with Kylee, I had a moment of total peace….It could have been the allergy medicine I took to cure my awful congestion headache….But I choose to believe it was God reminding me how blessed I am. Because even in the midst of tiresome, He still shows me His love. And I am never too tired to receive that.
So with the consideration of the allergy attack, the entertainment from the hillbillies, the Kylee/Logan cake moment and extra snuggle time with Kylee, I have to give this weekend a 5 star review. Because without the bad, I couldn’t fully appreciate all the good.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Parenting Plan A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P---------

I’ve gotta admit, I have this parenting thing down pat! (Really, where is the sarcasm font when you need it?) But seriously I can see myself in 15 years finally getting the hang of this mommy thing as my kids are fleeing the nest. It’s good that we have 18 years for trial and error, and let me tell you I need it every day of those 18 years.
While I am fairly confident in my ability to teach them right from wrong, press in moral integrity to them and all the other important bullet points of parenting….I find myself not quite sure I am taking the correct approach with each child. I sometimes get so busy with the dishes, never ending laundry, errands, bath time, bed time, story time, coloring time,  Barbie time and then God willing, Me time… I tend to forget that although they are both my children, they are completely separate entities. I can’t combine the two. I can’t assume that one tactic or strategy that works wonders on Kylee will work on Logan. Case in point.
·         The Hitting Stage – I have partially convinced myself that hitting, in Logan’s mind is a term of endearment. It has to be. My sweet handsome little monkey would never hurt his big sister out of rebellion to her dictatorship personality! Right? That is my denial explanation to the situation. The realistic explanation to the “hitting stage” is he is 18 months old and that’s just want they do at this age….
Queue mom – this is where I come in. I have tried multiple approaches to this “stage” of “endearment.” Nothing has been ruled as a total success yet. We have tried the swat on the hand….He just stares at me as if thinking “Is that all ya got?” Kylee gives me an intense glare of injustice. As if the swat on the hand doesn’t come close to replacing the lock of beautiful blonde hair that is not longer rooted in her head, but rather in his tiny little hand. Obviously, that has not been effective…. Plan B in full force. TIME OUT! That’s right, he hits, he gets the corner….I know. So traditional and unexpected….. Apparently the door stoppers, you know…The little things on the wall to prevent the door handle from hitting and puncturing the wall….Well those are hilarious to my little man….So his TIME OUT spot has become quite the place of amusement. Crap! Plan C….Wait, there is no plan C….
I reach out to a good friend, very qualified mother and soon to be counselor for some much needed advice. To spare you all the psychological explanations to my children’s “normal” behavior, she offers a new technique to try…. ENFORCE GUILT! In all caps that looks bad. But according to the Ex, it worked so far! Allow me to elaborate. I picked the monkeys from daycare and we headed home. The Ex was coming to get them later. So this offered up a small window of quality time to spend with them. So I was on the floor playing with them, tickling, laughing and enjoying them to the fullest. When out of nowhere, Logan pinches me! Impromptu opportunity to implement our new Plan C. So I grab my arm, begin my hysterics and pretend to cry. I say all the right terms….OUCH, THAT HURT. NOT NICE. Well, this sends my overly aggressive, yet quite sensitive little angel into a traumatic tail spin. Face turns red, crying as if he can’t catch his breath, hands are shaking and he is reaching for me….Think I enforced the guilt correctly??? Sheesh! From the Ex’s report this morning, it apparently did the trick because he did not hit all night long! Ahhh the smell of success is in the air! And all this time I thought guilt came to us naturally. Silly me!
·         The Justin Bieber Stage – Who knew I would have to share my daughter’s lips with this little, un-puberty stricken child with Herbal Essence hair?! She claims Justin Bieber is her boyfriend “for real” and we can only kiss her on the cheek because she is “saving her lips for Justin Bieber.” I refuse to continue spelling out his name. So from here on out, JB is the child in whom my child lusts after. She has requested that we legally change her name to Selena Gomez…. And we are not allowed to sing his songs… I haven’t quite linked up the WHY on that one yet….But regardless and needless to say, I am over JB!!! I am not too concerned with this stage…. As I used to have a Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster on my ceiling!!! I know it will pass….As there came a point in my life I just had to let go of JTT! I have not settled nor accepted that her lips are reserved for a boy, so I sneak my kisses in when she least expects it!
So, here in lies my point. “letting it pass” with Kylee is acceptable in this scenario, whereas, I cannot let the hitting just pass by with Logan on the basis that he is just a boy, or it is just his age…. No matter how busy I get, I have to remember they are completely different and will take personalized approaches to their discipline in order to be effective.
Parenting really is like learning a foreign language. It is difficult, confusing and very frustrating, but extremely rewarding when you finally figure it out and it goes smooth without intentional effort. Way worth it!!!!
 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My kids are my glue

Being vulnerable, dependent, transparent and exposed have never been words that people would use to describe me. Quite the opposite unfortunately. While I truly believe that people who possess these qualities are brave, strong, bold and fearless when it comes to all things in life, I can’t quite master these traits. But nonetheless, I sit on the sidelines and admire all the women in my life who have them.
It’s difficult not to have a sense of jealously of the women in my life with successful families. It has always been my dream to have a strong knitted family. With a closeness that could never be tampered with. That was rooted in faith, watered with love, and grew wildly in life. Sadly, nothing I did right or wrong led me to this picture perfect life.
Here is my first attempt to be all of those traits I mentioned and I hope it portrays me, the way I see others who own them.
I have let go of my “picture perfect” dream. I had a funeral for it and mourned it. But the sting of death still appears in strange areas of my life and completely leave me blind-sided and gasping for air.  I guess I never thought that once I moved on, I would still have to actively deal with this from time to time. Why didn’t anyone tell me?
But more importantly to me, our kids…. Definition of Divorce - is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties.   (as if the legal duties and responsibilities of our marriage were ever taken seriously – but ok…) But we dissolved everything. Our life together, our home, our mutual friends, our property, everything was split or dissolved. Except our kids. They aren’t couches, dishes, cars or anything else that can be replaced. We have to share 2 humans for the rest of our lives….More specifically for 17 more years….We couldn’t make a 9 year relationship work, I am fearful of how successful we will be at our co-parenting relationship. If we fail at that, do we get a do-over? Do we fail as parents? Do the kids fail? How does this all work? All I know is it is emerged with fear and dripping in doubt.
As it is in any relationship, all you can control is you. Conduct yourself maturely, sympathetically, empathetically, lovingly and friendly… What you receive in return is never in your control. It’s a cycle of cause and effect, action and reaction. A dance I have yet to master all the steps to. But I am learning.
We share a mutual love that I know not a soul on this planet will ever possess.   The love for our kids. Whenever they accomplish something, hit a milestone; say something hysterical, it’s just an automatic response to want to share it with the one and only person who will grasp its significance. Coincidentally, he is the one person I probably need pure distance from. It’s all very confusing and ironic to say the least.
I want to whisper this softly because I am fearful that I will jinx it…..But the co-parenting is going a lot smoother than I anticipated it would. Of course, we have shattered hurdles getting to this place of…peace… For lack of a better word. It is above mere tolerance of one another, borderline friendly, and closer to civil then I ever expected to be with him.  And I have to say, I like it…. There are numerous moments of hesitation where I can’t help but question his motives or wonder what the expiration date to his maturity is. This comes from our history of every good deed has a selfish angle…..
Our children are like mirrors and sponges. They reflect off of me and the Ex. They soak up our emotions and actions. If we are good, they are good. If we are happy, they are happy. If we are sad, they share our burden. A burden that was never meant for them. And it still amazes me how Logan (my youngest)  can seem to miss something he never really had. The Ex and I split when Logan was too young to see color, let alone acknowledge the state of our marriage…. But still he seems to go through phases of sadness…When the Ex drops him off, or when I leave, or maybe he is just a normal toddler? Its hard to distinguish the difference between normal separation anxiety and divorce anxiety. But I can’t help but feel the weight of our choices upon his tiny little shoulders. I say OUR choices bc I don’t honestly feel like we are where we are based solely on the “final straw.” Or maybe it’s a way to remove some of the guilt I still allow to visit my life from time to time. But I think that is an entire separate blog topic.
Our oldest, Kylee is eccentric to say the least. One of the most animated people I know. She has a heart so full of emotion. I often picture a tornado of feelings circling inside of her with no real way of realsing them. Teaching her how to filter these emotions have always been a challenge, even pre-divorce. But now, post divorce, she seems to be unwilling to accept life’s harsh realities that the happy endings in her movies aren’t in the cards for us. It’s a sense of stubbornness I pray she carries with her in life and applies it to her goals and ambitions. But she is going through this divorce with full force and with as much intensity and heartache as we are. She randomly asks those unfiltered questions that puncture deep and the answer won’t provide her with the reassurance she is seeking. She has a very close bond with me and her daddy. A bond that won’t be easily shaken or destroyed. I don’t fear losing closeness with her. More so, I genuinely just want her to be content in her circumstance. We can’t force her to heal faster, accept it sooner, be happy with a choice we forced her into… Ultimately, this was completely out of her hands and she had no vote in the matter. I’d like to chalk it up to early life experience and practice for the kids… But I can’t help but feel responsible for making them endure the unfairness of life so early; an injustice against my children that I can’t make right.
What really grates all over my nerves, is that while I thought I only had to focus on one child mourning the loss of her family as she knew it, I now have to consider the likelihood that Logan recognizes what he is missing….Even though he has no recollection of that lifestyle. I guess it is ingrained in us to want both. To combine the love they have for each parent, put it under one roof and call it a day. I have random questions floating in my head…Do they feel apprehensive? Are they afraid? Do they feel safe, whole or even normal? Do they know what normal is? Because by the world’s standards, they ARE the normal ones…It isn’t my idea of normal….But that’s beside the point.
I really don’t have quite enough to worry about (sarcasm font - insert here) these days. I don’t worry about bills because I am filthy wealthy…( sarcasm font - insert here) I don’t worry about my career ( sarcasm font - insert here) I don’t worry about my future ( sarcasm font - insert here) I don’t worry about my relationships ( sarcasm font - insert here).
Honestly, I think it IS “normal” to worry about these things to some degree. Or at least I have convinced myself it is. Nothing means more to me or the Ex than our kids. I trust that even though our love wasn’t quite enough to hold our marriage together, the mutual love we share for our crumb snatchers will ultimately be the glue that holds us, as single parents, together.

High on PMS

I so badly want to be one of those women (if they do in fact exist. To this day I still believe them to be a myth) that don’t have PMS. Ya know, the kind that physically go through the treacherous and annoying symptoms but are so blissfully and ignorantly happy that it makes you wanna stick your foot out as they walk by your cubicle just to see if the fall will sour their day up just a tad? Yeah, those women….. The ones who always have some happy quote to post at 6:15am on the Facebook page as you can’t seem to find any socks without a hole in them, nothing to wear, kids “need”  chocolate milk as  struggle to get yourself looking somewhat presentable to the public.  One reason I no longer have a Facebook.
This is not an uplifting blog that will leave you inspired or full of hope….So, there, you have been warned…
But seriously, these commercials about the happy women playing Frisbee on the beach and doing cart wheels, claiming the medication they are advertising eliminates all of the unspeakable symptoms…Let me just tell you right here and now, I am immune to these magic beans! I have a 3 week training program in place specifically for this time of the month…. But come game time, it appears all my preparation becomes moot because everyone else seems to be taking “tick off Amanda pills” to counter all my efforts to be a pleasant peach!
I am convinced that the first of the month makes everyone I come in contact  with, hard of hearing. I find myself having to repeat myself multiple times before I give up or forget my original point!
I am convinced that my kids feel like they have precedence and authority over the bathrooms and I don’t deserve any privacy… Like it is a circus show that they arrive early to…
I am convinced that all traffic lights are preprogrammed to tick me off. That they sense my PMS coming and just like the ambulance signals the lights to turn green, my PMS signals them to turn red…No yellow, just straight from green to red.
I am convinced that lids to any kind of liquids malfunction only at the beginning of the month…
I am convinced that rent is due at the beginning of the month just to tick me off.
I am convinced that my toes look for things to stub against just to tick me off.
I am convinced that I do not have PMS, I believe everyone else has a problem staying out of my way.
Actually, I know it’s me…But here’s the deal, if I know the deal, and there are TV commercials constantly reminding YOU of the deal, then why is the burden on me to adjust? How about for one week, people just…um, stop ticking me off? Is there a pill for that? If so, take it and then I will begin doing my cart wheels!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Faith over Fear

The beginning of anything new often brings us a sense of joy, excitement, anticipation for new outcomes, new adventures, opportunities and new potential for our lives….. When we are presented with a new beginning like a new job, new relationships, new church, new bank, new apartment or even a new brand of soap, we often experience some degree of anxiety… Right? I mean, we too often get complacent with our patterns. Why fix what ain’t broke? Is that right? Or do we refuse to acknowledge the brokenness in our lives that need to be fixed in order to keep the patterns the same…? We compromise ourselves for our comfort…
Have you ever allowed yourself to get consumed with the What If game? What If I would have taken that other job? What if I said yes? What if I said No? What if I just got up and left? What if I would have stayed? What if I give up? I mean, in almost everything we do we compare to the WHAT IF’s….. So WHAT IF we just had some conviction for our choices and never felt the need to WHAT IF it to death? I can’t really even begin to imagine walking in pure confidence. I am not sure I have ever done anything without wondering if there is something I could have done different to get a better result…Nothing….I mean, that has to be a serious problem right? Am I the only one?
What if we layed down a new definition of courage as the foundation of our choices? Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of faith.
Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
I am constantly second guessing everything I do. From one extreme to the next. From how I raise my kids, to how I bake cookies! I feel like I never get it right. I am usually left with regret, doubt and fear in all choices I made for the day. And what frightens me even more, is IF I had a chance to redo it…I have no clue what I would have done different. Sometimes I know exactly what I would do different….But still, given that chance, I’m sure I would second guess THAT choice too!
I so desperately want to live a life full of confidence bc I know I allow God to lead my life. Don’t confidence and the Lord go hand and hand? If I am allowing God to lead this life, why do I constantly fear my choices I have made and decision that are to come?? I don’t really have an answer for this….. So what I do when I am out of answers is pray. Let’s do that…
Dear Heavenly Father,
I am afraid God. Afraid of what I have done in the past and will do in the future. I know confidence and love run parallel with You and Your ways. I believe You when you promise to never leave me or forsake me. Please replace my fear with your Holy confidence. I want to be a woman who is secure in her choices bc they were placed in my heart by Your Spirit. I pray my insecurities will be drowned and overwhelmed by courage and confidence. I release the hold on all the WHAT IF’s of my life and I pray you will fill that void with Your plans for me. I love You Lord and all You do for my life.
In Jesus Name, AMEN!

Friday, April 1, 2011

My marriage muscle

Ok well I would like to applaud myself for not publishing something like this sooner. But I am a newborn blogger. But someone put it to me so clearly...A divorce is the ripping and tearing away from someone, both physically and spiritually. Somewhat like when you pull a muscle....Which I oughta note that I have never done that...Anywho, when you pull a muscle, WebMD describes it as damage that can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area).

Well, I guess you could say the pain from my "muscle injury" is few and far between. God is so good and has healed me in such an awesome way. For that, I am grateful like none other! But from time to time, it still hurts.

The damage to the muscle includes bruising (CHECK) and pain, (CHECK) caused by irritation of the nerve endings (CHECK). I don't really know what that last part means, but it makes sense sort of....

You might be experiencing some of the following symptoms if you have a torn "muscle"
  • Swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts as a consequence of the injury
  • Pain at rest (Usually at night)
  • Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used (When you try to share your "muscle" with anyone new)
  • Weakness of the muscle or tendons (Enough said)
  • Inability to use the muscle at all (TERRIFYING)
The good news is the pain is temporary and eventually goes away. The bruises will fade away; there will be little evidence that your "muscle" was ever injured. God gave us the "muscle" to share with others. It is hard to look into the future without being reminded of your past injuries. It’s in moments of remembrance that bring back the memory of the pain we once felt. I honestly think once you tear a "muscle" the pain will always be lurking. When a song comes on, or a movie comes out, or a cologne is sprayed, or a name is mentioned. There are impromptu moments of availability for the pain to come in and remind you that your "muscle" will never quite be the same again.

A peach tree won't produce apples!!!

I know I know! It's disappointing isn't it? That you plant a peach tree expecting apples, then out of the clear blue, what you planted produces exactly what you put in the ground. How dare nature be so consistent?! RIGHT?! Why do we condition ourselves to do one thing, expecting the opposite in results? It is more than frustrating when someone we love so much creates their own chaos in an already chaotic and sinful world. I'm not quite ready to publish that can of worms.... SO......On a more upbeat note, it is more than rewarding to see those we love lavish in the rewards of the Lord for their harvest. And that is exactly what I want to blog about today. My best friend, sister in Christ, accountability partner, inspiration, girlfriend in God and everything else that translates into awesome woman!!!

Tammy is the perfect example of a faithful woman. She plants exactly what she wants to harvest. She waters her crop, she tends to her crop, she waits on her crop. There are droughts from time to time. Sure! I mean, we can't control the weather! But it's how she handles those droughts that leave my jaw on the ground in awe. A lot of her acts of obedience and faith are coming to fruition. It is a true blessing to be in the audience of her life. She is experiencing God's favor. Not favor by the world's standards, but by the Lord's presence daily. No matter what season is ahead, I have confidence that she will continue to walk blindly in faith and produce good crop along the way. Way to Go Tam! I love you and I am very proud of you!!!