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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Changing Times...Changing Me....

I have two children in college now and only four at home.  It stills feels weirdly small and empty around here.

This past weekend I only had two children home, because two were in college and another two were at a church retreat.  Weird.  Weird.  Weird.  One of those children worked Saturday from about 4:30 to midnight,  and Rainman worked until 9:00 or so, so I was home alone with one child.  One.  Crazy.

I feel a bit like I am coming out the other side of a mid-life crisis that I didn't even know I was having.

You have seen me on here for a few years.  I had gained weight....a lot of weight.  I had let myself go.  I had given up.  I was sort of living life for the people that I was surrounded with...which is something all moms do....but, somehow I got lost in there, in a completely unintentional way.  I was quiet, subdued and really fat.

Things have changed.  I have started trying again and don't plan to give up anymore.  I am trying to say yes to stuff for me.  Just me.  Without feeling selfish and like I am the worst mom/wife/Christian in the world.

The first thing that has changed is I have given up sugar and flour and have lost 20 pounds thus far.  I still have a whole person yet to lose, but it feels weirdly doable....and not as horrific as I had imagined it would.

There is a sculpture of a woman chipping away at her fat self to reveal the thin person underneath....that is what it sort of feels like for me.  I will go see if I can find it.

Image result for thin woman inside sculpture
(By Brazilian sculptor, Gabriel D. Orazio)

Other changes around here are that my extra little people that I have been watching for 3 years now, don't need me as much because their mom has been able to go to part-time work (a long time desire of hers!).  I am thrilled for her to get to be with her babies, but sad that I am not such a large part of their lives anymore.  It left a hole physically and financially for me.

Enter my friend, T.....first a little background.  When we first moved to Georgia, we moved in next door to a single mom, named T, with two kids a little older than ours.  I am sure she was shocked when this clan of Minnesota speaking blond haired people moved in to her nice, quiet neighborhood!  But, she was so sweet and actually had 5 of the kids over to her house so Rainman and I (and tiny baby V-girl) could celebrate our anniversary with Chinese take-out at home the first year we lived here.  That was huge.  Because one of the hardest parts of the move was not having grandparents/aunts/uncles to handle the babysitting duties for these kinds of things.

If you have been reading my blog or know me in real life, you know we obviously moved away from T, but she and I kept in touch - mostly via Facebook.  She and her husband (she got remarried while we were still living next door to sweet, quiet J)....and recently decided to buy a new business.  The kids and I helped them unpack boxes and get inventory on the shelves and then wished them good luck and went back to our lives. 

About a month ago, I saw a Facebook ad for a job at her company and I gave her a call. She and I talked it over and found a lot of it can be done remotely and she hired me!  I can still homeschool, watch my extra kids, go to doctor/dentist appointments and still help ease T's load a bit.  So far, I think it has been a win/win.

Here it is, if you want to take a look:

Seriously, cute stuff and...ahem....dirt cheap!

It has been a weird mixed bag of blessings for me.  The financial rewards are super helpful as we have to dig out from some debt....again.  Ugg.  I will admit it was scary at first....dealing with things when I hardly had a clue of what I was supposed to be doing.  But, I think I have done quite well.  It reminded me that I used to be a very good Executive Secretary back before babies.

One of the things that I think gets lost when moms stay home with their that sense of accomplishment that we are actually good at something.  I can't really explain it, but it feels good.  I will admit that working 30+ hours a week at this job is somewhat stressful.  I am also still working for my old Minnesota company doing minutes for Council meetings too.  So, I am working well over 40 hours a week, but both jobs are flexible enough for me to be here at home (my favorite place to be) and teach the kids.

I have done two other things just for me this fall.  I joined a band.  Two of my musician friends from church joined this band last January and have been asking me to join on and off since then.  But, I could never make the rehearsals work with all the stuff going on with the kids lives.  So, I kept saying no.  They asked again at the end of August/early September and had changed rehearsal to one of my "easier" nights to be away from everyone.  So, I said yes.  I am mostly a back-up singer because the other female singer (single, no kids) actually joined the band last January.  It is a super fun and talented group.  We even have a horn section!  We do a bit of soul and rhythm and blues.  I am hoping to get out of the back-up singer box and do a little swing/standard type stuff (Rosemary Clooney, old Doris Day, Peggy Lee) one of these days.

I will admit to having a little mental health struggle with being the old, middle aged fat mom, singing back-up for the young girl with the nose ring (who is super sweet and not a diva - it would be a little easier if I could hate her....but I can't!  Ha!).  One of the wives of the band members came up to me at our first concert and said, "You must be the new backup singer!"  My heart sort of dropped.  I wanted to be considered one of the singers, but I am not.

It is a total ego thing.

I know I need to let go of it, but if I am honest it really sort of stinks.  I am feeling insecure in my talent and don't feel like I have shown the rest of the band what I am capable of....partly because I am coming to the game late and they had already picked all the songs....and the keys.....but partly because it is something that I have always struggled with.  It is a total roller coaster ride and I realize how whiny I may be sounding, but ever since I was little, I would get lots of compliments and people telling me I should be on the radio and make a living with my voice.  I sent out demo tapes and auditioned for a few things in my early 20's, but there were no, I thought maybe those people were wrong.  But, I still get some of those kinds of compliments today when I sing in church.  So, in my head, I thought maybe this was finally going to be "it" and I was going to get to answer those people from my past that ask what I am up to by legitimately being able to say ...."I sing in a band!".  "I sing back-up in a band", just doesn't sound as good, you know?  LOL.  But, I am not giving up.  I am going to keep singing.  Keep showing up.  Keep trying and, hopefully show them a song that is perfect for my voice and move out of the back-up box and into co-lead singer.

One other thing I have done is auditioned for some voice over work.  I have made the second round of auditions and had to submit a recording of one of their scripts.  If I get this job (which I can also do from home), I will be recording the voice over scripts for tutorials on their website.  I think I would be really good at this and even told the kids after I listened to myself, that I would hire me.  I think I sound friendly, approachable and professional.  So, we shall see.  I am proud of myself for trying and not talking myself out of it or downgrading my possible talent in this area.  (Michelle B. I am ...thanking you or blaming you.... because whenever I read in Sunday School, you always compliment me on my voice and say you could listen to me all day!)

Let's see...what else?  Oh, I went back to my natural blond hair.  Red was WAAAAAAY too hard to keep up with and I am not high maintenance enough to make a go of it.  I definitely feel more like myself now and like I belong with my little tow-headed offspring.

Here is a picture of me with my new hair right before my band's gig.  (See how cool I sound?  We had a gig! LOL)

And, yes....I totally look like the mother of the bride, but it was the best I could do.  I don't have a lot of call for performance clothing in my life.  Maybe that will change, but for now this is what I had that I could dig out from the back of the closet.

Okay, that is it.  That is my update on me.  I will fill you on on kid stuff soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A New Year

This summer was kind of a blur.  Some fun things, like lots of time in the pool and a few visits from family members from afar. 
(My mom and my younger sister)

Some not so fun things, one friend moving away, another friend in a horrible car accident (be praying for Debbie), and also a mini mental health flip out/break down by me.  (I may or may not tell you details, but I am thinking my feelings/reasons are probably fairly common among middle aged mothers)

Then, on July 31st, L-girl started her junior year in the local public high school.

This same week, D-man left to spend a week in Washington D.C. for a conference and then on  August 8th, moved back to his apartment on campus.

On August 10th, L-girl and A-man left for a 3 day leadership retreat.

On August 11th, we moved A-girl onto her campus - not the same one as D-man.

 It was very strange not to have the whole gang there to move her in and say goodbye...and somehow with less people there, I still managed to forget to get a picture of she and I.  (Oops.)  The drive home was even weirder with only 2 kids.  We were like a "normal" family driving down the road in our mini van!

We are down to a 4 kid household and let me tell you it feels very strange.  It is very quiet.  Even though the two oldest are not exactly our wildest/loudest children.  Somehow their absence makes it very, very quiet around here. 

We started our homeschool year yesterday.  We still have three doing school at home.  (I will be honest, I would like to continue homeschooling through high school.  I suspect I am going to be outvoted though.)

Rainman and I are doing things a bit differently this year and I think it is going to work out well.  We have actually divided the subjects, so he will officially teach/be in charge of some and I will officially teach/be in charge of some.  We didn't do a good job of co-teaching/communicating last year and things got lost in the shuffle.  His work schedule has changed in that he is off most Mondays and Tuesdays and most of his other shifts are from noon to 8 p.m. so he will have plenty of time to teach.  He does work a few 7 to 7 shifts, but, I don't think that will mess things up too much.

I am actually excited for the school year.  I think it is fairly rare in the homeschooling realm to have a husband/dad that actually wants to teach and be involved in the day to day things connected with our school.  Rainman has gotten more and more interested and involved every year.  But, what I think has happened in the last few years is that I have felt a little pushed aside by his interest and his own excitement to teach.  He is the kind of person that jumps in with both feet and doesn't test the waters.  So, he ended up jumping past me and took off swimming with the kids at his side, while I was still carefully hanging onto the railings and climbing into the water.  They unintentionally left me behind.

I mean, I was still involved, but it was more often than not having work delegated and assigned to me by Rainman.  Like, "Make sure they read this chapter."  "Here is the science quiz."  "Study the capitals with them before they take the test."   If you know me at all, you know I really don't like people telling me what to do....even if I am married to that person.  Or maybe I should say, especially if I am married to that person!  Ha!

Gone were the days of me  designing our days and taking off for a fun field trip to get donuts or popsicles, just because I felt like it or something meshed with my lesson plans.  Instead, I spent quite a bit of time just waiting for someone to need me and then when they did, having to catch up and figure out what they had been working on with Rainman because I wasn't as involved in the nitty gritty details of what they were learning.  Kind of hard to explain.

But, anyway this year, we are splitting the course work.  We are each creating our own lesson plans for the kids.  I will still have to see how I can work on the spontaneous field trips that won't interfere with Rainman's  school day plans.  But, I am more excited for this year of school than I have been for quite a while.  I am hoping that our two approaches and teaching styles will help our kids become even more well rounded in their education.  We shall see, I guess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Yup. It is May.

Seriously, if someone would have told me that I would be busier now than I was when I had 6 kids under the age of 12, all at home full-time, I would have called you crazy.  Having all six kids under my roof and controlling our schedules was a breeze compared to life now. 

Again, it is not like I am busy scheduling time to go visit kids in juvy or anything.  It is sports schedules, awards banquets, church obligations, work schedules....for me, Rainman, AND my three big kids...because we are trying to be productive members of society.

It is stuff like this...


 Tennis awards banquet (MVP second year in a row!)

 Honors award presentation (summa cum laude)

School signing day

 National Honors Society induction


 Official scholarship signing at her new school

 Golf awards banquet

County Leadership program graduation

Somehow, I don't have any pictures of A-man and his baseball team.  (I have one more game to remedy that mom-fail) 

Plus, there are still three  or four "awards nights" coming up! (I know....whine, whine, kids are getting awards.  Poor me!  😜 Although, let's be honest, half the "awards" are just their name printed fancy on a piece of thick paper.  But, that is a curmudgeonly post for another day!) There is also graduation and all the events that go along with that coming up too.  

Throw in an 11th, 16th and 18th birthday in there, and you will see why I am sighing....oh, and then there is this...

We are fostering Raquel, who seems to be making herself at home.  We are all fairly certain we are going to be a "foster fail" and just adopt her though. 

Busy with good things, still feels busy. 

But, we are happy and blessed, so I guess I will shut up, or at least try to shut up. 

The older I get, I realize the simpler I like my life.  No drama.  No endless "events" or even taking the kids a ton of places.  I like to hang out with my home.  Okay, I do like to go out to eat too, but, in general, give me some food and throw me out in the back yard to just chill with my people, listen to the birds, watch the deer, maybe read a book, and I am good to go! Really. So, I will not be mourning the end of the school year.  I will be rejoicing in the freedom to 

Ahhhhh....totally different kind of sigh. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sort of a Working Woman Again

Those of you that know me in real life, know that when we lived in Minnesota, I was a stay at home mom, that worked.  What is that acronym....WAHM? 

Rainman and I both had strange schedules, but my work was flexible so  I could pretty much schedule it around his and the kids needs.  It was pretty awesome.  Having the ability to bring in a little extra money, while still getting to be with my kids was spectacular.  Yes, I was tired, but, we had bills to pay.

Back in Minnesota, I had a few jobs, all at the same time. 

I was a massage therapist.  I spent time working a salon.  I spent time teaching at a school of massage, but mostly I just saw private clients.  Super flexible.

I was also what is called an off-site secretary.  I primarily worked for a group of commercial real estate brokers.  I would type correspondence, contracts and purchase agreements and help close big deals....from my home office.  I remember how fancy I felt when we were able to get my home system set up so I could just connect to the printers at their office and even their home and send over the completed contracts to be ready for them when they woke up in the morning.  (I did most of my work after kids were in bed.)

I was a transcriptionist.  Back when I worked in an office, I did medical transcription, but, at home, I did legal transcription work.  Mostly it was probate hearings that took place on an Indian reservation.  I am not afraid to admit this was hard.

I was also what is called a recording secretary.  This meant that I attended city council or corporate board meetings and took minutes.  Sort of like a court reporter, but with just a regular laptop.

Somehow, Rainman and I were able to sort of balance my work, his work, homeschool all of our kids and just other normal life stuff, without too much drama.  But, usually either Rainman or I were home with the kids.  Every now and then we would have to get an aunt or grandma to cover childcare, but that didn't happen very often.

When we got the news during my last pregnancy that we were going to have to relocate to Georgia, we paused for a bit.  We realized a few things:  Georgia handles licensing for massage therapists differently than Minnesota (so even though I had been working in the field since 1992, that meant nothing in Georgia); I couldn't work for either the realtors or the recording secretary company from Georgia (I actually could have kept the realtor job, but they were VERY nervous about me being in another state); I would be in a totally new state with 6 kids and no family or friends.

We made the decision to try to just let me be a stay at home mom and see how both our budget and my mental health did.

Both did pretty well.  I think my sadness and depression about being in Georgia was just because I missed my family, friends and church.  I don't think it had anything to do with me not earning my keep, if you know what I mean.  In a way, it was relaxing to just stay at home and take care of kids and the home, without having to feather in any work. (I did do some home school curriculum reviews in there, but I am not really counting that, since no money changed hands.)  In the last 8 years, I have done a bit of temp work here and there to bring in extra money, but nothing regular, like the olden days.

Fast forward 8 years and the realization that I sure had a lot of free time to read and drink wine on the back deck.  LOL  Seriously, I couldn't believe how many books I was able to read.  The house was fairly clean.  Actual meals were getting cooked.  The 3 kids that are still homeschooled were still getting a great education.  Yet, I had quite a bit of actual chunks of "free" time sprinkled throughout my days.  It was just the age old scenario of "the kids don't need me as much anymore".  (Now, I will put in the caveat that the free time was also because spring sports season had not yet arrived at my house.  Things are a lot busier when you have kids in golf, tennis and baseball at the same time!)

About this same time, Rainman and I sat down and had a budget talk.  Things are tighter than we would like.  Not awful.  Not great.  We have some debt that neither of us want and the sooner those payments are gone, the better!  So, I decided to see if I could find something to do again from home.  I decided to update my resume and references.  I had a possible lead on some clerical work from home at a company the sister of a friend of mine owned down here.

I am still Facebook friends with my past bosses (and their families), so I contacted the most recent ones to make sure it was still okay to include them as references and make sure that I still had the correct contact information.  They all said that they would be happy to be contacted about me.

The next morning, my phone rang.  It was the owners of the recording secretary company in Minnesota.  I have know them since I was a teenager.  We went to the same church.  I babysat their kids.  They gave me a chance and hired me when I had a bunch of little kids. 

Guess what she was calling about?

She basically asked if I wanted my old job back!  Technology has changed so much that recording secretaries no longer need to actually drive to the various cities and companies and sit there frantically typing what everyone is saying.  Most meetings are videotaped by the local cable companies and the ones that aren't have audio recordings.  So, since January, I have been working for various Minnesota cities taking minutes as I sit in my living room, in my sweats, with my feet up on a footstool.  I still teach the kids.  I still keep the house clean.  I still manage to cook fairly regularly (when I am not running here or there for sports drop offs/pick ups/games).  I even still have a little time for recreational reading and wine drinking.  So it is....all good. 

I still get to hold babies and play with toddlers too.

My first set of audio minutes took a REALLY long time.  I was really rusty.  I was scared that I was stupid to think I could still do this.  I didn't know the voices, so I couldn't concretely say who was talking and asking questions.  I kept rewinding and listening again.  It was tedious.  But, I have found, I possess a strange skill set and it was like riding a bicycle and it didn't take me long to get good and fast again.  I am feeling pretty confident in my abilities again.  It is a nice feeling.  Bringing in a small paycheck again is magical.  It is just helping me breathe a bit financially. 

I am going to get religious on you for a second here.  As I was thinking about trying to find work, I kept thinking and saying to people..."I wish I could find something like TimeSavers again! I want to find something where I can control my schedule and when I do the work. I want to be able to work around our lives, instead of it taking over our I had in Minnesota, with TimeSavers."

I really wasn't sure if it was even possible though.  It felt sort of selfish to basically say....yes, I want to work and make money....but I only want to do it when it is convenient for me and my family.  You know?

But, that was basically what I wanted.  To work when it worked for me.

It was like God looked down at said, "Well, Kayla, how about instead of finding something "like" TimeSavers, I just let you work for TimeSavers again?"

Seriously, it was like God could dream bigger than I could. (just like with our and here...)  To me, it was really one of those moments where I realized things really work better when you just get out of His way and let Him be in control,  I am sure there is a clever motivational t-shirt that says something like that.

I got this t-shirt from D-man and J-Girl for Christmas.  I LOVE it.  One fun side of working for Minnesota cities is I get to listen to Minnesota accents again on a regular basis.  Let me just say to my southern friends....okay, I hear it now.  LOL 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

February Summary - Part 2

Okay, I know I am boring some of you, but, I promised part 2, so here is part 2!

A-man had a buddy sleep over for his birthday.  They decided it was a great idea to jump in the pool so they could say they were the first ones in.  Lol! (If you can, zoom in on his face when we comes off the slide!)  They actually stayed in longer than I expected.  Good thing we splurged and got a hot tub too!

A-man, has also succumbed to the lure of the t.v. show Vampire Diaries....thanks to his older sisters.  Much of it is filmed in a nearby town, and friends just named their baby after one of the characters in the show. So, for his birthday lunch, he picked the restaurant from the show.  (I will admit I have never watched the show, so I know nothing about the show or the restaurant - but apparently it is a big deal to be in the same spot that you have seen in the show)

 Isn't he looking like a man?!?

I will say the food was quite good and not super expensive.

We didn't really celebrate A-man's birthday much on his actual birthday, because D-man wasn't around and Rainman was working.  We waiting until the next day, because we took a drive up to North Carolina to go tubing.  We have timeshare points that we could use up there, so we could stay for free.  With all the almost snow events we have had here that last few years, the kids have really just been heartbroken that they don't get to build real snowmen or go sledding.  So, Rainman said, this year we were going to take them up into the mountains and do some snow stuff.

We just barely succeeded.  They have had a very warm patch and we happened to get there on the very last day that they had the ski slopes and tubing hill open.  It was a balmy...50 or so.  It was wet and slushy on the hill and brown and bare ground everywhere else.  Not enough for snow for snowmen, but we did throw a bit of it at each other.

When we got to the hill, I scoffed at its size.  It seemed small and I totally did the mom thing  - inside my head "What a rip off!  We paid that much for this little baby hill!  What are we going to do for 2 hours?!?"

Let me just say, that hill was a lot scarier at the top than it was at the bottom.  We spent the entire 2 hours going down in various formations and partnerships.  All of us.  I will say I didn't go as many times as everyone else.  After the second time I landed at the bottom of the hill and whooshed right past the protective rubber mats onto the gravel and tar beyond, at speeds that made me realize why they had me sign a waiver acknowledging that I may get hurt and releasing them from any and all accountability, I took a break and watched.

I left my phone/camera in the car, but, luckily, my teenagers didn't and captured some of our fun for you.

 See?  It doesn't look that big and scary, does it?

We succeeded in doing an 8 person train a few times.  The people at the bottom said it was like a Christmas card was coming down the hill.  But, somehow, none of us thought to leave a camera with one of them and ask them to take our picture or a video while we careened down the hill.  So, we have these action shots instead.

The warm weather took its toll on the businesses around town too.  We had a hard time finding a restaurant that was open or didn't have an hour wait.  Plus, many of them seemed to be shutting down the next day for renovations or spring cleaning. (more later on why this is important) We ended up eating at the first place we had tried and walked out after were were told it would be an hour or so wait, not because they were busy, but because they had 3 staff members up and quit earlier that day.  But, as we traipsed around town trying to find something else that was open, the ones that were all had a long wait too.  We realized that the first place had smelled fantastic and was close to our hotel, so we really wanted to eat there.  So, we called them and made sure that they would still seat us if we came back and they did.  They even remembered that we were the big party with the birthday boy.

As D-man said later that night for a night were just about everything that could go wrong....actually went wrong, it was one of the best experiences that we have ever had at a restaurant. Food wise and service wise.  Seriously.  They had 3 workers quit and they were closing the very next day for renovations.  What went wrong?  For example, we would order a salad with spring greens and ranch.  The waiter would take our order.  Go to the kitchen.  Come back and say, that he was very sorry, they were out of spring greens....would be like a spinach salad instead.  Sure, we would say.  Then he would come back and say that they no longer had any ranch dressing and give us another option.  Seriously, just about everything we ordered initially they were out of and had to be tweaked somehow.  We lost count of how many trips back to the table our waiter and the manager made to apologize and offer us a different tweaked option than what was on the menu.  It was almost like we were being punk'd or on candid camera, except we weren't.  We just laughed.

The skeleton staff that was still employed there was super nice.  We were planning to go back to our hotel room and open presents, but A-man wanted to open up with birthday cards while we were there and lo and behold, turns out it was the manager's birthday also. (For real.  We thought maybe he was lying to try to bond with us, but we overheard him telling someone else it was actually his birthday, so we know he wasn't just sucking up to us.) We were just getting ready to leave and he sort of corralled us and said that we had to go sit back down.  Out he came with cupcakes for the whole family and singing Happy Birthday for A-man!

We realized later that we are pretty sure he sacrificed his own birthday cupcakes  that his staff or someone had gotten for him and gave them to A-man, because this was kind of a little hole in the wall bar and grill that didn't even have dessert options on the menu.

The next day, we drove about a 45 minute drive through the foggy mountain roads to visit with our niece and her family who run an outdoor store there.  We stopped to see a few waterfalls along the way.

This last one was a big beautiful one with walking trails down the side.  But, the path had a chain across it and said it was closed because of icy conditions.  Guess who that stopped?

A-girl and I were the only rule followers who wouldn't climb over the chain and go to the bottom.  LOL

D-man had to get back to campus, so he left from there and we took a different twisty road through the fog back to our hotel and the next day, headed back home again.  When we got home it was like summer.  It was in the high 70s/low 80s and the kids decided they were going in the pool....even though the water was only in the low 70s.  But, it was a fun finish to our quick trip away for some winter-ish fun. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February Summary - Part 1

This post will be a random round up of what we have been up to this month.  Good thing for you, there will be lots of pictures.

I got my red hair worked on a bit.  My blond was growing back in and I had sort of a skunk stripe down the middle of my head.  I have figured out that I am not made for the upkeep of coloring my hair, nor is my wallet.  So, we added some blond highlights to help me transition back to my normal color.  My kids think I look just like my sister, Karen.

My selfie skills are questionable, aren't they?  I look scared of myself here, don't I?

D-man got rid of his college hair that had to be stuffed under a hat and now looks like a young man.  Well, actually a young scientist with those glasses.  Love him.

All seven of us went to the salon for the afternoon.  Four of us were getting stuff done to our hair and the other three just came along because we LOVE the little restaurant next door and we were going to eat.  The stylist was running behind and all our services took forever.  My younger girls had never really witnessed everything that happens in a salon before and were intrigued by how relaxed we all looked when we were getting our hair washed.  They asked Kelly, the stylist, how much it would be just to get their hair shampooed by her.  She took me aside and asked if she could do it for free, because they were being so good, even though the day was sort of spiraling out of control.  I said she could.  But, then everything with us took longer than any of us planned, Kelly was exhausted, and we were all getting hungry, so we didn't do it.

But, sweet A-girl, remembered how I used to wash her and L-girl's hair on the counter when they were younger.  (My mom used to go my hair like that for years - until I barely could fit on the counter)

It was so cute.  Lots of giggling.

I got a few sweet Valentines, took the kids for our annual trip to the local coffee shop during the day (I LOVE homeschooling!) and S-girl made and decorated a cake for us.

A-man turned 13 and is now officially on Facebook.  He is also almost as tall as me.  Crazy.

I am back to watching my little extras now that their mom is done with maternity leave.  I am happy and any mouth injuries I may sustain are totally worth it. 

Looking through my pictures, I have a few more things from February, but I will tell you about them later because otherwise this post will get way too long.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hurricane Help

Obviously, I am very behind in sharing some of my life stories with you.  Last fall, Hurricane Irma was barreling towards Florida and it looked like it was going to be really bad.  I put out the messages to all my family and friends that live down there, that they could evacuate to our house here in Georgia. 

They all turned me down and decided to ride out the storm, except for my friend T.  T and I have known each other since.....I think 4th grade.  (I am getting old, so some details are getting fuzzy.  LOL)

She sent me a message and asked if she could really come escape the storm with us....and bring her two fur babies.  Yup, I said.  Come on!  And, she did.

It took her like 15 hours to drive the 500 or so miles to our place.  Yuck.

I will admit that I completely meant it when I said our home was open to friends and family.  I will also admit that when she said she was actually coming, I freaked out a bit.  T and I have known each other since elementary school, but she is not one of the people that I have kept in super close contact with since we graduated.  Facebook happy birthday greetings?  Clicking "like" on a funny meme about Minnesota winters? Yes.  Jamberry and other on-line parties?  Yes.   But, sharing life and conversations?  Nope.

So, I started thinking....what if we don't like each other anymore?  What if it is weird and awkward and we are trapped together in my house? 

But, you know?  It really wasn't weird.  It was sort of weirdly normal.  We were still essentially those same 4th grade girls - albeit less awkward and much more comfortable with our nerdiness.

We still liked each other.  We still understood each other. 

My kids loved hearing stories about our time in school....or even just how public school worked back then in rural Minnesota.  Like, how the boys could drive their trucks to school, park it in the lot with their gun on their gun rack. Because they had gotten in a little hunting before school and planned to go out right after school, if they had time.  No big deal.

My one and only experience with T.P-ing (I don't really know how to spell that...)  was at one of T's sleep overs in high school.  It was not a good experience for me.  I am such a rule follower...aka...nerd,  that I was terrified that we were going to get caught and arrested or get a stern talking to by somebodies mom or dad.  I don't like to get in trouble.  I don't even like the possibility of getting in trouble.  So,  I just sort of awkwardly crouched behind bushes and kept saying things like, "I think that is enough.  That is good.  Maybe we should go home now.", while everyone else gleefully chucked the rolls of toilet paper onto the trees.

It was sort of fun to know that I was basically the same person that I was back when I was a kid.  You know?  I have changed, but also, I haven't.

T stayed with us for about a week.  We just went about our normal lives and she just went along with our flow.  She even came to church with us and helped pack relief buckets for hurricane victims!  Her fur babies never really warmed up to us or the house though.  I don't know if it was because there are so many of us, or that we were too loud and moved too quickly.  But, they stayed in her bedroom for 99% of the time.

(This is another Florida evacuee that was staying with a friend from church.  Just cracks me up that they both ended up coming to help pack relief buckets with us.)

As a thank you gift for me, she ordered me these really cool rubber wine stopper things so I don't have to try to shove my cork back in the bottles now.  I can be classy like other people!

She also wanted to thank L-girl who had given up her room for T.  So, she surprised her and bought her the dress she wanted for Homecoming.  L-girl was thrilled.

It was nice to have someone to talk....Minnesotan with that had also moved down south.  It was fun talking about the things we have had to adjust to and things we thought were normal in Minnesota that are weird down here.  LOL

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


It may or may not surprise those of you who know me in real life, and, I guess, those of you who know me via my blog, that I am a thinker.  Some may call me a deep thinker, but I suspect more would refer to me as an over thinker.

"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes, I just sits." - A.A. Milne (muttered by Winnie the Pooh)

Image result for picture of pooh thinking

This image © The Walt Disney Studios

I really can't turn my brain off.  Even when I am quiet, my mind is mulling over something or the other.  Looking back, I am pretty sure both of my parents were also thinkers.  I can remember my dad just sitting back and watching when the whole family would get together.  He didn't talk much (unless you got him to talk about God or politics).  But, he would just sort of sit there, looking over his brood, every now and then we would get a smirk, or the ever elusive and rare smile....with teeth.  If you could get my dad to actually laugh out loud, it would give you an ego boost for years to come.

My mom is more of a quiet planner. She doesn't like to make moves or do anything until she is done thinking it over.  Top to bottom.  Left to right.  Backwards and frontwards.  She doesn't like to make a move on anything until she has thought it through and is ready.  She talks more than my dad did and we can get her to laugh quite a bit.  But, she will also be content just sitting and thinking, like my dad was.

I seem to have gotten both of their thinking proclivities.  Depending on who you ask, that may or may not be a good thing.  I have totally found myself sitting back and looking at my brood (plus my little extras that I watch) with that secret little smile on face, that I can totally remember seeing on his face and wondering what was going on in his mind.  For me, it is a sense of peace and contentment.  A sense that really as long as I have these people surrounding me, all will be right in the world.  I wonder if he was thinking some of those same thoughts?  I also do not like to make any moves until I am done thinking it through.  (I don't even like to hang pictures in the house until I have thought through every possible place they could go and picked the best one.  I don't want unnecessary nail holes, you know.)

The problem with my thinking comes in when you marry me off to Rainman.  You have heard me say that he is one of the smartest people I know.  He is.  But, the man is not a big thinker.  He is impulsive. He is a risk taker and likes to jump in.  No thinking.  No measuring.  No pros and cons list.  Gulp.  He plans a trip and before that one has even gotten here, he is working on planning our next two.  He spews dates, plans and hotels at me.  My eyes glaze over.  My upper lip breaks out in sweat.  My ears totally tune him out.  I do tell him that I can't think about it yet.  But, he is so caught up in his excitement, that he can't contain himself.

I can't do it.  I can't think about that until I am done with the most immediate thing, whether it be a work assignment, or an event at church.  I have to finish that up.  Put it behind me.  Then I can move onto thinking about the next thing.  This is sometimes where I wonder if I do actually have a waffle portion of my brain and that it isn't all spaghetti.

I assume it is because my brain is such a thorough thinker that it is trying to save me by not having me have too much information and too many things to be processing at once.  I know Rainman finds it annoying that I can't get excited about the next five trips he has planned, or even the next one, if he talks about it at the wrong time, but the very thought of it truly overwhelms me.  Again, it is not that I don't enjoy traveling.  It is not that I am incapable of letting loose and having fun.  I do and I can.

I find myself now, just sitting and drinking my coffee and looking outside.  Just like I used to see my mom do.  I also find myself sitting outside reading.  I can feel the sun on my face, the breeze on my skin and be able to hear the world around me.  Just like I used to see my dad do.

Am I the best of both of them....or the worse of them?  I guess it depends on who you ask. Ha!

I do know that I am not changing.  Rainman still doesn't understand me.  I can't seem to figure out a way to tell him  that his incessant trip planning and planning and planning truly overwhelms my heart and soul.  But, I assume that his planning and planning is just who he is also and he won't be changing anytime soon either.

We need to figure out a way for us both to be able to do our thing and not get in the others way.  Wonder if that is possible?

My thinking has also been the thing that has stopped me from blogging more often.  I actually have lots of stuff I would like to share with you guys.  But, then, I start thinking.....will this or that hurt the kids feelings?  Will this embarrass them?  Will they misunderstand my motives?  Will people think I am weird?  Will trolls be mean to me?

So, I end up in a never ending thinking loop that I can't get out of.  I am mentally paralyzed and don't do anything.  My friend Kristy, though, actually sent me a message and said she had missed my writing and asked if I was going to start up again.

I know you will be shocked to know that I thought about it....and decided to try to jump in again. Even though there really is a piece of me that thinks,  "Why would anybody care to spend time reading about my life, my thoughts, or my opinions?"

Honestly, this was way easier when my kids were younger. (That is not a sentence you hear very often, is it?)  They were just my little people...not really their own just yet.  Does that make sense?

I absolutely have thoughts, feelings and opinions on teenagers and the world around us, but because they are older now, I hesitate to share our stories for the world to see.  So, I am stuck.  I am not a food blogger or a home improvement blogger.  I am not even a homeschool blogger anymore, even though I am still 100% behind homeschooling.

If you have stuck with me and continued reading this, I will end with saying, I am going to try not to overthink and blog a little bit more.  It truly is a fun way to document our lives and the funny things the kids have said or done.  Sometimes, I will go back and read some of my old posts and had totally forgotten some of the stories and cute things the kids did.  It is fun.  Makes me feel bad that I am not doing as good of a job for my younger three as I did for the older three.  (just like with their actual scrapbooks....those poor children!)

I am going to try to do better.  That is all.