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Monday, July 4, 2016

A Want, Not A Need

I got myself a "want" today.

Something I wanted, but did not "need".

It was hard.

As we were leaving the store, I said to Rainman, "I feel sort of sick to my stomach."

He said, "Why?  Because you spent money?"

Well, yes, actually.

LOL

It is funny, because you work and work to get to the point where you can buy things or spend money in life without guilt, or without going into debt.  Then, when you get there (if you are me) you have trouble actually doing it!

Want to know what I got?

First let me give you a little background story about how I even came to the point were I could sort of justify spending money on a "want" in the first place.

Remember, when we moved into this house, I hated the kitchen?  Rainman assured me that we could remodel it someday.  We had visions of blowing out walls, flipping the sink around so I can enjoy the gorgeous view of our backyard through the big picture window and building our own super long farm table that would fit all of us, and eventually spouses and grandkids.

Flash forward a few years and we have paid off our credit cards and are starting to have a little freed up money for projects.  We decided that now was the time to get the kitchen some help that would make me happy.  We have a really good friend who is a contractor, so I asked him to come over and take a look at some of the things I was hoping to do, so he could tell me if they were even possible, and get a really rough ballpark figure of what it would cost for someone to complete the work.

Well....it was a huge, astronomical figure.  A "NO WAY" figure.  So, I let go of my dreams and told Rainman that if I could have some money to paint the cabinets and get a gas stove, that I would be happy.

He happily agreed to that one.

I have started painting, but still haven't been able to find the time/energy and gumption to pay the $70/gallon for the Benjamin Moore Aura paint that I plan to use on the cupboards.

But, I have started the process and even with just messy primer on them, the kitchen looks tons better to me.

So, one day last week, a friend of D-man's who works at a big box electronics store and somehow knew that one day I wanted a gas stove, sent a message that they were having a 4th of July sale and some of the stoves were 40% off.

Gulp.

I like a good sale.

Rainman said we had already set aside money and budgeted for it, so I should go for it.

I hemmed and hawed for a bit because I didn't "need" the stove yet.  My cabinets weren't painted yet.  there wasn't anything wrong with the flat top electric stove.  I just hated cooking on it.

But, Rainman kept encouraging me to go for it.  So, I spent hours researching stoves on-line, comparing features, reading reviews and felt ready to make a somewhat educated purchase. I decided on this one.


It is a Whirlpool 5.8 cu. ft, 5 burner gas stove with a convection oven.  I am quite excited that the 5th burner is oval shaped, so I can use my big past iron rectangle skillet for pancakes again.  I am hoping I can just leave it sitting on top of the stove all the time, like I could I at our last house.

Sadly, I forgot to factor in taxes and the $140 installation fee, so I still had sticker shock at the check out counter.  I started backtracking saying that we could get the cheaper model and that if I got the expensive one I wanted I would have to cook more, so maybe I shouldn't spend such a big chunk of money on something that was only going to create more work for me in the end.

The ever so helpful young man that was checking us out, just laughed and exchanged a knowing look with Rainman.  I assume he hears this kind of panic a lot when people are getting the big ticket items.
Rainman is still laughing at me, because I really do feel sick to my stomach.  Really.  I am sure that I will love it when it gets here and is installed and everything, but for now, I still feel a little sick to my stomach because it feels like such a frivolous thing to spend money on.  You know?

You know how you always say things like, "If only we were rich...." or "it must be nice to have money"?  I have decided that I am just not built to be rich, because it is waaaaaay too hard for me to spend money,....and it actually makes me sick.  LOL







Monday, June 20, 2016

Thinking About Me

I have been thinking about myself quite a bit lately.

Want a little glimpse into what happens in this brain of mine?!?

If your answer was yes, read on!  If your answer was no, check back soon because I have graduation pictures and other stuff like that I will be sharing soon.  So, go ahead and scroll down for some pictures and ignore all the rambling thoughts I am about to share.

There is a constant mental conversation  (about me) happening inside of my head, but it gets shut down because of....life stuff.

Which leads me to these kinds of questions:

At what point in life or motherhood is it bad to think about yourself?

At what point in motherhood is it bad to think about your own goals?

Your wants?

Your wishes and dreams?

Even though I think about "me" all the time, it is still sort of hard for me to think about me.

Hahahaha....did you follow that train of thought with me?  Did I lose you?

But, like I said, I have been thinking about myself and my wants more and more lately.

Part of my thought process is that I am starting to feel my age.  Realizing that I am officially a middle aged person.  That I am not necessarily the "young mom" anywhere I turn.  I am the veteran now.

When did that happen?

I have wrinkles.  Rainman and I both just recently looked at a picture of us and said, "Wow....we look old!  When did that happen?"  We were both sort of shocked and sad.  (Me more than him, FYI)

I get that because of my age, I am not expected to be fashionable or to look like a Hollywood mom.  But, a little part (sometimes a big part) of me wants to be fashionable and praised for my style and looks.  I don't want to wear the "mom jeans", elastic waisted slacks (uggg) or those patterned shirts with the big prints.

Yes.  I am shallow.

I am also thinking about myself more lately because of a conversation I recently had with a friend. We were talking about the doctors telling me that part of the management of the pseudotumor cerebri thingie that I have,  is getting my weight down and keeping it down.

We were commiserating about how hard that is and she said something that really stuck with me.

She said, the problem with someone telling us that we have to lose weight is that the act of losing weight and everything that surrounds it....cooking differently.....exercising, etc., requires a certain level of selfishness and self focus - something we moms are horrible at.

Now, I am not one of those completely selfless moms that bends over backwards to do everything for my kids and make things easy for them.  I pride myself on helping create fairly independent, self sufficient children.  That being said, I am still a mom to 6 children (with 3 extras a few days of the week).  I love them all....dearly, whether they are my biologically connected people or not.





But, that love makes it hard to focus on me.  Just me.  There is just too much constantly swirling around me (diapers needing to be changed, somebody needing to be dropped off or picked up somewhere, meals to be made, cleaning to be done, boo-boos to be kissed, disagreements to be refereed) to really just focus on me.

And, to be shallow again for a moment, if you think for a second, that even in my late 40s that I do not want to turn heads and have strangers check me out, you would be wrong.  Completely, wrong.

No, I don't want to be harrassed, or objectified, but, I want that slight hesitation when I enter a room, a quick appreciative gaze and the sense of power that accompanies that feeling.

I remember that feeling.  It is a heady feeling.


(Apparently, I liked that moody/smirky look into the camera without smiling look back then!)

Have I just taken the advances of womankind back to the 50s?

The start of the whole pseudotumor cerebri thing started with a trip to the eye doctor to try and get fitted for contact lenses.  Why?

Vanity, that is why.

It started with a girls trip to Minnesota with my sisters and my mom.  My sister took my picture and we were getting a weird glare from my glasses, so she suggested I just take them off for the photo. When we looked at them later, I thought, wow....I look pretty.



I haven't seen myself as pretty for a very long time.

Which got me to thinking.....yes....about me....again.

I started wearing glasses exclusively when we moved to Georgia.  I started getting more and more creative with my frame choices too.  I saw it as a way to show creativity, quirkiness and some personality.

But, I think my glasses also became a way for me to hide when I started gaining weight. (As crazy as that sounds since I do not pick boring frames).  Maybe it was a a way to distract people.....like "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", Wizard of Oz kind of thing....in a way that said...."pay no attention to the girth you see down below....eyes up here, everyone!"

My best friend just recently told me that she has never liked my blue/aqua glasses because she felt like they took over my face and hid me.

I think subconsciously, that is exactly what I was going for.  Giving people a way to describe me "The lady with all the kids and the aqua glasses." Instead of, "The big lady with all the kids".

There is this little sermonette floating around on FB about the devil and who he chooses to try to work against......and why.  This clip is a might long, but she is pretty funny, so it is worth it, if you have the time to watch it (especially if you happen to have sons....).




I sort of love her tough, no nonsense approach, don't you?

Anyway, that got me to thinking.....about my kids and who they will be....but, about me....and who I am supposed to be.  Or, who I was supposed to be.  Know what I mean?  Am I Sarah Connor?

Am I her?  Or, have I let myself be distracted and derailed away from who I was supposed to be, by doing something stupid like getting fat?!?

Am I supposed to be the fit, fabulous lady with a bunch of kids that can go to a waterpark with them and actually put on my suit and join them and not just hold all the purses and towels?  Am I supposed to be the fit mom that can share clothes with my teenage girls.  (that thought just made me laugh - because my girls would be horrified!)  But, you know what I mean.  We have seen those moms out there that can pull it off.

Or, is it time for me to let go and just be about my kids?  Is my purpose here to raise amazing and awesome little people that will grow up and do spectacular things?

I don't know.

I just know that I want to be, if not skinny, then.....skinnier.  Normal sized, not super sized.  I want to feel pretty.  I want to feel powerful. I want to take moody/smirky pictures staring into the camera and like what I see when I load them on my computer.

So, yeah, welcome to the inside of my head.

Fun place, right?!?!

So, do you want more glimpses into my head or do you want D-man's graduation pictures next?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Prom and Then, Prom Again

Prom was a busy weekend for us.

The prom for D-man and A-girl's school was on a Friday night.  Then, the prom for J-girl's school was Saturday. Then, Sunday, was Youth Sunday at our church and D-man delivered one of the sermons.

Originally, D-man and J-girl had talked about saving money and just choosing one prom, but in the end, they decided it was their senior year and went to both.

But, I am going to start with A-girl.  They went with a group of kids.  A-girl went with her friend, C-girl.  (much more relaxing way to enjoy prom than on an awkward date with a boy you hardly know)

I  was so proud of her and her dress.

I am going to brag on her a bit.  She put this dress together for $15.  The top part was a dress she found on clearance at a local boutique.  The bottom tulle was from a different dress in our stash of clothes for repurposing for the fashion line she and L-girl have.  She sewed the tulle onto a separate underskirt, so she didn't have to alter the knee length dress at all and it could still be a little black dress for later in life.

Voila.....old Hollywood glamour for $15!



She was able to borrow earrings from my friend, Alex.


I wanted her to have a little something special for her first prom and since she wouldn't be getting a corsage from a boy, I made her a hair comb.  (I just noticed that it is sticking out a little funny in this picture, but you get the idea.)  I went to an antique store and found the sparkly leaf pin and then just used invisible thread to sew/attach it to a hair comb.  She will be able to wear it as a brooch (if she ever wants to).

D-man and J-girl:



I love that crazy haired man/boy.  He has a great group of friends.


Goofballs.


A good time was had by all.

Onto prom weekend, Part II.





 She adores her big bro.  She has gotten to the point where almost daily she will ask when he is leaving for college.  Then she sort of reassures herself that it is still a long time away (in her mind anyway.....in this mom's mind....it is coming up alarmingly fast)


When D-man and J-girl went to prom last year, I went with him to pick out her corsage at a local florists shop.  The lady behind the counter whipped around her shop, grabbing this rhinestone bracelet and that ribbon and said, okay, that will be.....$90.  I gulped   I looked at D-man.  He looked at me.  I said to the lady, "Is there anyway we can bring that price down some?"  She said we could take off the rhinestone studded bracelet and that would bring it down to like $75.

I looked at D-man and said something like, is that the amount you had planned to spend?  Is that in your budget?  That kind of thing.  I was trying to give him a graceful way to get out of this completely stupid expense.  He was offended/embarrassed that I had said anything and huffed at me, "Yes, mom, that is fine."  Took out his wallet and spent stupid money.

As we walked out to the car, I couldn't keep my mouth shut.  I uttered phrases like "complete and total rip off!"  "what a racket!" "Why would you think it is okay to spend that much money on flowers that are going to die?" "I could make something like that for under $20."

D-man, in turn, uttered phrases like, "Why did I even bring you with, mom?"  "Enough, mom, I get it!"

I made him promise me that next year (which is now this year) he wouldn't be so stupid with his money and would at least consider letting me make something for him.

As prom weekend was getting closer, I finally said to him "So, are you going to let me make J-girl's corsage this year?"  He said, "If it will save me money and still look good, then yes."

So, I did.  I had some ideas about what I wanted to do and put out a call to my friends to see if they had any costume jewelry or brooches that people didn't want or were just sitting in their drawers.  My friends Paula and Alex came through and gave me all kinds of stuff to choose from.

This started as one of those headbands.  I added an old earring in the center of the flower and the dangling key.

I made his boutonniere too.



Not sure if you can see it, but I cut apart a necklace that had hearts and keys and attached the heart to D-man's and the key to J-girls.


In the busy-ness of the weekend, I forgot to get close-ups of the ones I did for their second prom. This one shows them off pretty well though.  For this night, I gave her the heart hidden in her corsage and him the key.  I also went to an antique store and found a brooch/pin for the center of her flower.  So, she can leave it as a corsage, but also take it off and wear it as a pin somewhere down the road.

I was actually really proud of how they turned out.  I used stuff we already had, borrowed some ribbon from my friend, Sherri, had the jewelry from my friends, Alex and Paula and bought Dollar Store/Walmart flowers.  Seriously, I probably spent like $22 total and that covered A-girl's hair thing, plus 2 nights worth of corsages and boutonnieres.  .

J-girl says I should go into business making these next year.  She didn't realize that I had made them until Sunday when D-man told her.  (Thankfully she hadn't make any bad comments about them before she knew I had made them.  Whew!  She liked them, she really liked them.....)