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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 Tina's load a bit.  So far, I think it has been a win/win.

Here it is, if you want to take a look:  www.dirtcheapchristianwear.com

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 kids....is 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 takers....so, 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 to 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 toe-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

May....Sigh

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...

 Confirmation

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


 Honors award presentation (summa cum laude)



School signing day

 National Honors Society induction

 Prom

 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, whine....my 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 family...at 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 just....be. 

Ahhhhh....totally different kind of sigh.