Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Yesterday was the first day of school. For Ms. Underdog, it marked the last first day of high school she will ever have (hopefully!). I can still remember the first day of kindergarten, and the first day of middle school, just like they were yesterday. Time has flown so very fast...
It also marked the last first day of elementary school for Mr. Particular. That presents a whole new scary concept...I can't imagine my little boy going to middle school. I know, intellectually anyways, that I need to cut the apron strings, but I'm not sure how to do so. He definately has cut his attachment though. Yesterday, after a very small confrontation, I heard him (from another room) say he wished I would die. Pretty hard to hear, but harder to realize he either meant it or didn't realize the power of the spoken word. After calmly insisting he say to my face what he said behind my back, we discussed how much power words actually have, whether you intend them to or not. While I truly believe he didn't mean what he said, I will always remember he said it. He was pretty upset, and I can only hope the lessons stays with him. I know it will stay with me.
For all of you mothers out there sending your children back to school, hang in there. While it probably won't get better, you'll get used to it again.
We already have a book report, oral presentation and geography test due next week! Not sure when we'll find the time to get all of that done, since I'm sure I will need to help. We're really going to working hard on our organization this year, we have to do better.
We've set aside our "homework" supplies -- extra pencils, paper, erasers, scissors, markers, tape and glue. We've also established an official homework area -- at the kitchen center island. Mr. Particular does his homework while I'm making dinner, allowing me to help out when he needs it, but keeping my hands busy so I don't try to get to involved. If we don't have homework, we can talk about our day. I really want to try to get into that habit. I think sometimes my children start to think they'll have to e-mail me in order to get my attention. The sad thing is, I sometimes worry that may be the best route for them.
I'm running late, dinner is waiting to be cooked, so signing off for now!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I just got back from Las Vegas. I traveled with some girlfriends to celebrate a 40th birthday. We had a great time...way to much fun, and spent what little money we had. But it was nice to get home to my family and bed.
The kids missed me, and so did the hubby. I was amazed to find the house relatively clean, groceries stocked and dinner ready to be grilled. Sometimes it's nice to leave, if only to be welcomed home again.
We're getting ready for school to start next week. Schools supplies have been purchased, and clothing is being washed to readied for the new year. I was amazed to find no one is stocking 8.5 x 11 inch writing paper. Instead the stores are stocked with 8.5 x 10 inch paper. What's up with that? I finally gave in and purchased the weird sized paper. I doubt the teacher will measure it with her ruler.
Summer has passed in a blur, as usual. However, I think my daughter and I have reconnected. If I were to compare raising a teenager to the video games my 10-year old plays, I'd have to rank it at the highest difficulty rating. Someone should write a manual of how tos and how not tos, but even then it wouldn't be complete since we are each our own individual. Ms. Underdog and I have had some difficult bonding time. Funny, the situations she deals with really are no different than the ones I dealt with at her age, no matter how much I've tried to steer her clear of my own pitfalls. I guess that's part of what life is about, and parenting. Giving them the tools, unconditional love and support to go out in the world on their own, but providing a safe haven from the scary things.
Well, back to prep time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We had a fabulous weekend with our daughter. We actually emptied out a good portion of the garage, holding a yard sale on Saturday. Ms. Underdog and I spent some quality time talking about some deep issues for teenages, things that are hard for a mother to discuss, but I think necessary. I'm very touched that she feels she can discuss some of these hard issues with me, and trusts me enough to answer honestly, but I'll save that discussion for another day.
But back to the yard sale...The goal was to actually get rid of stuff, rather than make a ton of money, but I was hoping to make a few bucks. Sadly, I'm not the only person in the country hurting for money right now. I sold stuff cheap -- clothes for a quarter, books for a dime. It was an interesting wake-up call to see so many people just like me doing their school clothes shopping at my yard sale.
About a month ago, it became apparent we had to tighten our fidicuary belts, one way or another. I scrubbed our budget and cut, yet again, a chunk of our "discrentionary" spending. Everything from canned vegetables to gasoline has underwent a huge price increase. I suppose thats to be expected, considering fuel is needed to transport goods, and even people to perform services. Our money is just not stretching as far as it used to, which has become a major theme playing in my nightly dream-works theatre.
I keep hearing news tags indicating we're not yet in a recession. Fact is, you don't truly know if your in a recession until it's already hit -- I believe the definition is three consecutive quarters of no growth. We're pretty close right now. The first two quarters of 2008 had no growth, and the third was less than one percent (I think). Everyone around me is in the same position as me, struggling to make ends meet, pay the bills and feed the kids.
I guess theres a lesson in today's market -- financial responsibility at levels. My kids are struggling to understand what it really means to cut back. Its a pretty foreign concept the them. They're used to the good life -- finding what they want and negotiating fair payment terms with dear old mom. Mr. Particular and Ms. Underdog have not went without much in their short lives, and it's becoming apparent to both my husband and I that we're not doing them any favors in that area. I've recently brought back the soup and sandwich night thaqt may mom used to have each week. It seems to be a great way to make my grocery budget stretch. I'm also insisting we have left over night. I heat up the weeks left overs and everyone gets to choose what they want to eat -- the fridge gets cleaned out and my grocery budget continues to stretch.
On that note, we're getting ready for vacation, going to a friends place in Idaho on a very nice lake. We're very fortunate to have nice and generous friends who invite us to their lake place. We'll be sure to leave it in better condition than we found it, and follow up with a nice gift card. We're all looking forward to four days with just the four of us, the sun, water, good books and family games. The kids want to learn to play poker...we'll have to play for pennies these days, since mom and dad are broke and have to buy gas to get us home!
If you have any good cost savings suggestions out there, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Family Fortune Beginnings

When I told my mother I was going to start blogging she wanted to know why? Here it is: What better therapy -- or cheaper -- than writing in cyberspace about your deepest frustrations, hopes and joys. What a great way to let go of anger and hurt, and celebrate your fortune and success. So, here I am, ready to go, and wondering where do I start?

Who I Am
I'm a 30-something mother of two, a 10-year old boy, a 17-year old girl, a husband, three dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, I don't actually have the partridge in a pear tree. I have three dogs, and they would eat any birds they saw on sight. On top of all that, I'm a full-time Federal Government employee. (No, I don't work for the post office!)

The Family
My son, Mr. Particular, and daughter, Ms. Underdog, are both my reason for being and my reason for being insane. We never intended to have children seven years apart, but apparently he who laughs last laughs loudest. Our daughter was a wonderful, albeit very early surprise in our relationship. Who would have thought when we tried to get pregnant later it would turn out to be such a tedious and painful task. Thousands of dollars, and innumerable pin pricks and surgical procedures later, Mr. Particular stormed into our lives.

I've often pondered the irony of the situation. Whether it was truly God's will, or the will of my body, who knows. I'm a planner by nature. Perhaps this was the first of many lessons placed before me as I try to raise these unique and creative children to the best of my ability (no laughing here!).

My husband, whom I will fondly refer to as Mr. Brilliant, was a great sport through this exercise in fertility.

He was more than happy to hold my hand and offer support during our daughter's birth. When it was all said and done, it was pretty uneventful. Other than learning the birthing nurse was his former girlfriend...Aghhh! While she was no longer a rival for his attention, to this day I don't understand how he could think that detail would not matter. Any women wants to be at their best when meeting their husband, or boyfriends, former flame, and I was NOT at my best.

Several years later the true test came as we began hard core fertility treatments in an effort to conceive Mr. Particular. Brilliant became very skilled at sticking me in the butt with a needle several times a day. I looked like a pincushion, and acted like a psycho. But in the end, it was worth it. I should write about that experience sometime. It was far out!

Remember that commercial from the late 70s or early 80s -- I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in pan. I thought there was a law against false advertising?

Life is not a commercial. It's damn hard being a working mother and wife who can bring home the bacon AND fry it up AND help the kids with their homework AND clean the house AND do it all well -- I don't do it all well. Not even close, but I do try. My greatest worry in life -- my children will grow up and feel I've not met their needs. I'm sure millions of women across the planet go to bed every night with the same weight on their shoulders. I know I'm not alone, but sometimes it feels that way.

That's what this blog is all failure. It's my way of looking into my bubble and trying to learn from myself, and my family.

Someone once said if you weren't learning, you were dying. Well, I'm not ready to give up the ghost yet.

Stay tuned and I'm sure you'll get a few laughs, and maybe share a lesson or two with me.