ABC For You And Me

I wanted to do something different today, something fun. What’s more fun than hearing my inner thoughts?

A to Z Survey

A – Age: 33.

B – Biggest Fear: Missing it. Failing my kids.

C – Clock: 12:09 AM.

D – Drink You Had Last: Water; technically salt water, but I didn’t swallow that.

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: Um. I’m a pretty awkward person so…..My Mom? She let’s me go until her ears hurt. She knows I’ll eventually get to the point and make sense.

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F – Favorite Song: Goodness. SO MANY good songs. SO MANY. Current favorite is either “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan and Melissa Helser (or anything done by Bethel music)

Or “If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli.

G – Grossest Memory: 3YO thought it’d be cool to rip off her clothes and diaper and use her poop as paint on everything near.

H – Hometown: A village of 498 people; too small to be called a town.

I – In Love With: Jesus. My husband. My kids.

J – Jealous Of: People who control their tempers. Specifically parents. How do you people do it?

K – Kindest Person You Know: There are so many I get to call friends who give of themselves, their time, their possessions because someone has been going without. So many that love without cause or condition. That’s real kindness.

L – Longest Relationship:  My husband and I hit 14 years on the 11th. Frankly, I can’t remember any others with any sense of clarity. Of course, excepting my 15 year relationship with Christ.

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First Picture together.

M – Middle Name: Elizabeth. It’s clearly my parent’s fault I’m obsessed with Pride and Prejudice. 

N – Number of Siblings: Five: two step-sisters, half sister, half brother and full brother, but I never call them by those titles. I’m clearly too lazy for that.

O – One Wish: To get everything I want. Just kidding. I mean, yeah, that’d be nice and all, but probably not a good thing. To be able to drink hot coffee every day that didn’t have to be heated up? To be able to effectively talk about the love and salvation of Christ so that others come to really know Him.

To save every single child in this world from experiencing any of the horrors the world forces on them. To protect and deliver them from senseless acts of perversion and violence and unspeakable things. To never allow a single child to feel they aren’t good enough, they don’t make the grade or they aren’t loved.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Sort of my husband? I don’t do phone calls particularly well or successfully. While on the phone, I spent most of the time talking to the girls. By talking, I totally mean scolding them and reminding them why we don’t shove sisters on cement driveways.

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: “Oh, you’re a stay at home mom? Don’t you miss work?” or “Mom, can I watch Paw Patrol/ have candy?”

R – Reason To Smile: I have four amazing reasons to smile: My husband, my two girls and a Savior that gave everything so I wouldn’t have to die or be separate from Him. The same Savior that gives me the provisions to be able to stay at home with my babies.

S – Song You Last Sang: Currently singing along with Lauren Dangle’s cover of “In Christ Alone.”

T – Time You Woke Up: Tricky, tricky question. 4:30 AM, 6:45 AM, 6:53 AM, 7:01 AM, 7:09 AM and finally at 7:17 AM. My snooze only lasts 8 minutes, what do you want from me? The 4:30 wake up was a test. I failed.

U – Unexpected Event: The first church I was ever active in let members use the building whenever they needed to . There was a group of 4 or 5 of us that would get there around 11 at night until early morning to pray and worship. One of those nights I remember praying for protection over the church and visions to share and encourage others with. I felt compelled to look towards the front doors and I saw this massive white being standing the height and width of the doorway. It was huge, muscular. What struck me was the weaponry – a massive shield held in one hand and a sheathed sword (big one) on it’s hip. Until it turned it’s head to look at me; oh man. I’ve never felt so safe, so empowered, so emboldened and so in awe. He was beautiful and strong and as I watched him he smiled at me and nodded his head. Then he looked up and his lips started moving too. I remember knowing with absolute certainty that God heard our cries and that angel was standing guard praying with us while we interceded.

V – Vacation Destination: London (all of England) is one of my favorite places, but I’d love to go to Ireland or Greece. Italy is someplace I need to see, though. I have to.

W – Worst Habit: I have a tiny tendency to be late wherever I go, procrastinate on everything and lose my temper easily. I can’t pick the worst of the three.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: Last one was for my wisdom teeth.

Y – Your Favorite Food: Old Dutch Dill Pickle Potato Chips. It’s possible I just polished off (and started) a bag.

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Z – Zombie Apocalypse Leader: Rick Grimes. Duh.

Be honest, now; does this just raise more burning questions about me or what?

Feel free to copy and put your own answers in the comments!

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Writer Beware

I’ve thought long and hard about writing this post, as you can see from my two week absence. For part of that, however, I was recovering from the removal of four wisdom teeth. By recovering, I totally mean milking it. Hey, don’t judge me. When I see an opportunity for a break I’m taking it. I used that break to formulate a post about the publishing experience my mom and I had with our cookbook.

A vanity press is a publishing company that requires payment from an author to publish their book as well as little to no selection criteria. A solid publisher won’t require payment to publish your work; your book is supposed to make the money. They’re also going to be particular about what they choose for that reason.

Our “publishing company” was able to dodge that label (vanity press) by calling the $3990 requirement a marketing retainer. It was supposed to go towards a team that would actively promote our work.  They also wrote on their page and in initial e-mails that they were selective with acceptances. Keep this in mind as you read on.

Once they got the $3990 and our book was completed and entering the production phase, things started to go south. Right off the bat we submitted everything; photos (we paid our own photographer to take pictures of food we made and the author picture), completed manuscript, author information and everything necessary for the publication of the book. It took about two months for their “editing” team to go through the work and get it back to us. When we got it back, there were several errors to fix, but once those were fixed it advanced down the production line.

At that time they began to ask us to re-submit several things (although, they asked for submissions not re-submissions), pictures in particular. We had to submit pictures three times. Each time we let them know it had been done already, yet it remained unseen. It took another two months to get our completed book back for approval.

When we got it, we found even more mistakes than we’d originally corrected. When we made our correction notes on that, they would partially correct them and return the book with even more errors. It was almost like they changed things around on a whim. Because they kept changing items we didn’t authorize or ask for, this was the longest step of the process. It took about four months. Once we got those errors fixed (as much as we could), they sent us the agreement for the price and look of the book.

We didn’t agree with their price point (almost double what it is currently), so we had to fight to get it lower. We had to ask repeatedly for the price and appearance options available. After a week or two we finally agreed on a look and price and they began to send us physical copies to approve. First, the book came in black and white when it was supposed to be color. It also came non glossy when it was supposed to be glossy, as well as not including pictures. When we notified them of the problem, they would fix one issue at a time and tell us the printer was making mistakes, not them.

We didn’t receive a final physical proof, but after four proofs and written documentation, we mistakenly thought we were on the same page. In June of 2015, we ordered our first hundred books and the book was for sale through the “publisher.” My husband got his purchased copy before our books came and it was wrong. They were printing, selling and distributing books of lesser quality for a higher price. When we notified them, they said they had it in the system as something different but were unsure of why. So they “fixed” it.

When we got our books, not only was there a four week delay (without a word  or reason), but they were all wrong. Because they were wrong (and extremely late) we had to cancel signing events and wait another two months to get the correct books. On the national release date (9-8-15), the press release spelled one of our names wrong. The book was also unavailable on Amazon until February 2016. We wrote multiple inquiries and requests  fighting for their fulfillment of the contract to no avail.

Nothing changed until we got the BBB involved. Even then it was minimal at best. We’ve just finished our sixth quarter of sales with them, half of which we got sales reports for, and have yet to receive a single royalty check. In July they gave a false excuse as to why we hadn’t received it and stated they would create and send them that week. That was three months ago. We have, however, gotten something from them so they do have our address.

We are also our own marketing team. Although they gave us a three page marketing questionnaire, to which we gave an additional five pages of information, none of it was used. We were scheduled for an event but not notified of it (we found it on a Google search of our title), forcing us to cancel and look bad. The one event they scheduled for us in 15 months was two days in Canada. The businesses (two owned by one person) never agreed to two signings. In addition, we couldn’t even bring our books into Canada for sale.

We got radio silence from our author service representative from November 2015 to July 2016 with the exception of one e-mail. Our e-mails and phone calls went unanswered from February until July.

Now, the predicament is we’re not being allowed out of our contract unless we are able to financially and physically go to where our publisher is located and enter arbitration. So we’re unable to get our $3990 returned (because we can’t get there to legally terminate the contract), and we aren’t getting paid for any sales.

This process has put us through the ringer, so to speak, and is the reason for writing this. Prior to signing the contract, we had a lawyer look it over. He found it very author friendly, especially considering the clause allowing a termination of the contract if either party is found in breach. Unfortunately, there’s also a clause stating we have to go to them for legal action, making it very difficult to attain.

This post is longer than I usually make them, I know, but if you are an aspiring writer, I encourage you to keep putting yourself out there. If you have to pay to get your work published, let it be to a printer or a legitimate publisher. I want to warn you off going the path we took because we are not alone in this predicament. As a writer, you will experience rejection, but that doesn’t mean your work isn’t good. Keep pushing and keep looking. Don’t settle, and don’t make the mistakes we’ve made.

Writer, beware who you give your trust to. Has anyone else experienced this? Let us know in the comments!

 

UPDATE 3/19/17 – Tate has closed their doors as of January 17, 2017. Wanna know who didn’t get notified by them?  Yeah, we didn’t. I mean, a boat load of others didn’t either, but I’m still pretty ticked. I’m putting a link here to the public complaint I filed. Be aware that there are many typos. I was angry, what can I say?

 

Momster Mash

I’ve finally figured out the scariest Halloween costume. We don’t practice Halloween in our house, but I’ve always kind of wondered (in a back-of-my-mind, never-really-thought-about, detached kind of way) what it would be. I’m sure no one has actually realized the genius (or crazy) this costume requires. It’s not a zombie. It’s not a goblin. It’s not a toddler given too much candy.

It’s a Mom at home away from public view.

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The school year is officially swinging and there are activities and classes and extracurriculars and spouses who have to work real late. There are moms who can’t get their kids anywhere on time. Being a parent is no joke. It’s hard. It’s amazing. It’s tiring. It’s exhilarating. It’s irritating. It’s sweet. You see? Do you see all those oxymorons? I’m getting annoyed just reading them.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never verbally exploded or vomited (verbally, you sickos) on my kids in public. You better believe I came close more times than I can count, but the public has always been an unnoticed buffer for my kids. How many times have you heard your mom say to you, “You are in so much trouble when we get home.” Or, “You just wait until we get home.” No? No one’s going to fess up to that?  I will; oh man, nothing was scarier than my mom delivering very real threats through her teeth. Even though it was a daily occurrence (I was, what I like to call, spirited as a child), the the scare factor never left.

Don’t tell my mom, but even today if I heard those phrases come through her teeth, I would stop in my tracks as a trickle of sweat – that was produced at the mere sound of her angry voice – raced down my back.

My Mom is amazing and I’ve always said I want to be the Mom she is. Maybe that’s why I utter those same phrases to my misbehaving children. Granted, because they’re 6 and 3 I don’t have to do it often, but I still find the necessity from time to time.  It’s hard to know how to handle a 3YO who acts like she’s been wounded in war every time you suggest changing her diaper or a 6 YO who finds it liberating to frequently test her boundaries.

When people see me coming in late again they just think it’s because it’s me. Admittedly, I’ve almost always been late, but not like this. They don’t understand that some days I’ve genuinely forgotten what day it was, or that 3YO wouldn’t stop screaming until she went through three pairs of shoes to end up with the first pair. They don’t understand that 6YO wouldn’t stop offering toys to 3YO only to yank it away at the last minute. They don’t understand I clearly took no effort in my appearance, so it’s not my vanity causing my tardiness.

My point is, I’m late for everything every day and that makes me mad. I feel like I don’t have time for myself and that makes me mad. I get headaches from all the yelling and screaming, and that makes me mad. I am a woman and a mother and sometimes I’m just mad for no real reason. I’ll talk and lecture and, yes, sometimes yell at my kids until we exit the car at whatever destination we’ve made it to. The moment we hit fresh air, my switch flips and a (brittle) smile stays on my face, mostly.

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I somehow manage to keep my cool at the park when this happened. 

Some of those scenarios were exaggerated but in those moments when things are happening, that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s why we yell and why we feel like we’re going to lose it. When we’re in public, sometimes we’re forced to either see the situation in an new light and we apologize by giving of ourselves to our kids. If the situation is happening in public you realize how sad your life would be if you didn’t have your kids, so in the greatest battle of wills you’ve ever experienced, you manage to withhold the yelling until alone.

Kids: remember this golden nugget, because your parents (this one included) are going to do what’s necessary to keep you from it.

Parents: remember you’re human. You’re going to yell, you’re going to screw up, your kids are probably going to tell you that you’re ruining their lives or that they hate you at one point or another. Your job isn’t to be perfect or not make mistakes. Your job is to raise kids right. To raise kids who know they’re loved and they don’t have to be perfect. If you are a yeller, like me, it’s okay to apologize to them. In fact, I’m going to demand you get in the habit of apologizing more often.

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Somedays, it’s okay to let things get a little crazy. 

If you practice Halloween, you’ve got a pretty easy costume this year. If you’re like us and don’t practice the holiday, make sure when you answer the door you’re in mid at-home-mom mode. Give those kids a good healthy scare and make them be a little more thankful for their parents.

It takes a village, ya’ll, and I’ll help you out.

2016 A Scary Year to Be Alive

This will be my only (not a guarantee or promise, just something I’ll strive for) political post in this election season.

I try not to post on social media about the election because I don’t have the energy to fight with people over the internet. I’ll talk in person with anyone, but I feel like sometimes the internet affords people the benefit of being stupider without repercussions. It also makes people misinterpret bravery or boldness as attacking or demeaning or dehumanizing everyone. That’s not my bag; I’m not into that. Then, as I thought about tonight’s debate, I realized not talking about the candidates and not talking about platforms is contributing to wasted votes.

How many think the only candidates running are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? How many thought one or both of them was a joke? How many only knew of one of those candidates? How many knew there are three other candidates running?

There are a lot of phrases and misconceptions from voters during this election that I feel need to be addressed before we can really start talking.

First up: voting Clinton because she’ll be the first woman president. I was talking to someone about this election and they couldn’t believe I wasn’t concerned about her gender. We should be voting for candidates because we believe in their policies, we agree with their platforms and what they propose is what we believe will be good for our country. We shouldn’t be voting based on gender, race or religious background.

There has to be more than that.

Next up: voting Trump because he’s not afraid and doesn’t back down. That’s good and all, but what are his policy proposals? What does he believe in? Again, if you stand behind his platforms and policies and you think he will be good for our country, vote for him. Is it a good idea to vote based on personality alone, though?

There has to be more.

Lastly (maybe the most annoying thing I hear): voting third party is a wasted vote. Why? A vote is a vote and every vote counts. Especially for third party candidates fighting to get in the debates. It’s easy to complain about the state of things year after year and to talk about change, but the only way change happens is if we do something different. Unhappy with the two major parties? Look elsewhere.

There is more.

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Darrell Castle is running for president with Scott Bradley as his VP for the Constitution party. The Constitution Party is the fifth largest party in the US. According to ballotpedia, they are on the ballot in 48% of states (24 states) and in 20% (9 states) they are available as a write-in vote. Castle is for international trade, although he refers to it as international engagement. He believes war should be used in defense of the US. Castle is Pro-Life. He also feels we should suspend immigration until the borders are secure.

To learn more about Castle and Bradley, visit their website.

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Gary Johnson and William Weld are running on the Libertarian ticket. They have officially made the ballot in all 50 states. Johnson is for smaller government and opposes government mandated health insurance. He wants state and local governments to have more control over education. He has talked about his support for environmental regulations. Johnson believes in a free market as well as same sex marriage, abortion rights, term limits, gun rights and the separation of church and state.

To find out more about Johnson Weld 2016, visit their website.

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Jill Stein is running as presidential nominee with Ajamu Baraka as her vice president. They are running with the Green Party and are on the ballot in 44 states. Stein supports abortion rights, recreational and medicinal legalization of marijuana and marriage equality. She’s against privatizing public schools and “high stakes testing.” Stein believes everyone has the right to healthcare and wants to implement a public health insurance program.

To learn more about Stein and Baraka 2016, visit their website.

Donald Trump is running for president with running mate Mike Pence on the Republican ticket. They have the standard stances that most Republican members stand behind. There is variation, of course, but I feel like he gets enough air time being one of two main parties.

To learn more about Trump Pence 2016, visit their website.

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Last, but not least, Hillary Clinton is running for president as a Democrat with Tim Kaine as her vice president. Again, I feel like there is ample information available about these two candidates, especially considering they are one of two in the debates currently.

To find out more about Clinton and Kaine 2016, visit their website.

Basically, get informed. There are more than two parties running in this pivotal election. If you’re voting one of the main parties, I hope it’s because you agree with what they offer. I’ll tell you that I’m going for third party, but it’s not out of rebellion or because I don’t like Republicans or Democrats. I’m voting third party because after my research it makes sense to me; it fits.

If you’re still unsure, try the I Side With website – the results will give you a jumping off point.

The overviews for the candidates were  taken from their sites and BallotPedia.

Be informed. Be the Change. What are your thoughts on 2016?

I Did Whole30 And I Won

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I’ll admit, part of why I did Whole3o was to see if I could actually do it.  Call it a diet, a lifestyle or whatever you want, but let’s call a spade a spade here; it’s a challenge. Not only in the “I bet you could never do it without cheating,” aspect, but also whether or not it works. Does it actually make any noticeable difference? Is it sensible for a mother and family? Mostly it was the dare of it all, but the other aspects were certainly important, especially after seeing my body’s response.

It surprised me how easy it was to do and how normal it felt to stick to the rules. Maybe it’s because I’m already on a restrictive diet, but I found it easy from start to finish. Of course I had those moments of, “What? This has that in it?” I’m not a super genius; I don’t know what’s in everything. I don’t have time to stare at every label; that’s why I stuck to mostly whole produce and protein. I ate foods with good natural flavor and added a lot of herbs for seasoning. No fuss, no muss.

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Shrimp, eggs, tomatoes, green onion, carrots, spinach, lemon juice, oil and garlic.

I ended my Whole30 journey Thursday the 26. My daughter’s birthday was two days later. For me it meant no meal making Friday or Saturday. When I’m in party planning mode, I eat quick, easy and readily available. On Friday I ate my favorites that I thought I missed – chips, chocolate, etc. My standbys let me down miserably. Their flavors fell flat and I felt heavy and crappy after I, admittedly, enforced no boundaries.

Saturday I stayed away from that nonsense, but ate some gluten (that was just stupid; I’m aware I have Celiac). Because of my rebellious food streak, on Sunday I was actually craving fresh healthy food. The following Tuesday we left by car for a week long vacation where I was in party plan mode again. Tuesday was a road trip day (11 hours straight) so when we stopped at fast food places I got, again, my old standbys.

Ugh. I just felt heavy and every other synonym for crappy. While we were at family’s houses I ate pretty well; mostly salads, eggs, oatmeal, turkey bacon. Even at the wedding on Saturday I ate the good stuff or nothing, with the exception of cookies. I ate a lot of those. My body may have been 74% cookie by the end of the night.

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I also pounded water like it was my job. The real test was when we stopped at a restaurant on the 9 hour drive back. I looked at all the beautiful burgers and fries and good stuff, but none of it appealed to me the way it used to. I opted for soup and a grilled chicken sandwich on a GF bun. The heaviest thing I got was sweet potato fries. It was delicious, but I didn’t feel the desperation to overeat.

C’mon now, don’t act like you’ve never felt that desperation. Maybe you were the runt middle child and had to fight for your food. Maybe food was your best friend and you wanted to be as close as possible. I was in the latter category. This challenge changed how I viewed food, really. I’ve learned that in all relationships space is important. Making mentally and physically healthy choices is also something I’ve learned to implement into relationships. I didn’t learn this because it was laid out for me, I learned it because when I followed the rules I felt better, I figured it out. After years of food comas, you notice when you feel up. The water also helps with junk food cravings, for sure.

Now, I’m eating some treats (the school year started and I sometimes feel the very real and right need to have them), but it’s not every day and it’s not in access. I am drinking creamer in my coffee, but only a small amount and I no longer add sugar. I found sugar does the opposite of what I want it to. Remembering not that I loved the junk, but how it makes me feel continues to help me tamp down on the snacking urge. I just didn’t want it or need it.

Currently I’m doing a modified Whole30; a lot of fresh produce, natural seasonings and proteins. I try not to eat a lot of dairy because it makes me feel heavy and thick. God help me, I can’t think of another way to describe it. I’m eating a lot of good proteins and lean meats, and I now use coconut oil or light olive oil in the place of butter in everything. Butter doesn’t have the same pop as the oils and coconut oil is so good for you, relatively speaking. Try it, you won’t be sorry.

At the end of 30 days, I lost 13.8 pounds. I have energy to go all day without praying for a nap. I’m working out five days a week with ease, and cooking is fun again. It hasn’t been fun since we were creating our cookbook.

I’ve finally taken my own advice and took my kitchen back. I’m thinking of doing Whole30 every other month just to stay on track.

What has been your experience with Whole30?

Never Forget

2001, oh man what a year that was! It was the year I graduated high school. I remember laughing with the girl next to me through all of it, even though we didn’t get along for four years. We only remembered seeing maybe half the people who walked the stage, so we mocked and joked about that for hours.

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It was the year I got my very first apartment. I had a roommate who was a very good friend of mine. We enjoyed the same things and she lacked seriousness as much me. We were the epitome of newly freed, broke, drunk eighteen year olds. We painted a Christmas tree on our wall because we didn’t have enough money to buy one. We also had our friends leave messages on our walls with chalk; we were cool and artsy. A word of warning to you newly freed youngsters: even if the paint says washable, it’s not coming off drywall. Even if rain water washes chalk away from the driveway, water and soap won’t take it off your walls.

It was the year I became a Christian. Thank God it only took 6 months of stupidity in freedom before that. It was the greatest moment in my life. I’ve talked about this before and I don’t want to downplay the significance of that event, because I would be dead if that hadn’t happened, but there’s something maybe a little less poignant and equally jarring I remember.

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It was the year of 9/11 – the attack on the U.S. I can still remember everything about that day. Every year on this day it’s all brought back to me. I was a cook in the mall’s only food court restaurant and had to be there before 9. I left the house at 8:40ish, and at 8:46 my jam was interrupted on the radio to talk about a plane hitting some building. I very clearly remember saying out loud, “Who cares? I don’t even know where that is.”

I remember going through my duties wishing for my bed or a strong drink. Our food court didn’t typically see anyone until 9:30 or 10, so I finished my prep and went up front to turn on the lights and watch the big screen TV while I had my morning Dr. Pepper. That TV was almost always on some entertainment show, but on that morning, the customer service manager was in the middle of the court with the remote in hand watching the news. When they replayed the footage of the first tower hitting I remember thinking I could sort of see why it was a big deal.

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I remember watching the second plane hit the second tower at 9:03. I remember my shock and horror at seeing it hit. That’s when I noticed the bodies jumping from buildings. I may have been selfish, but I wasn’t made of stone. I remember how heavy my heart felt; how tortured I felt for those people and their families. At about 9:30 I remember watching the officers from each branch speed walk into the food court. It seems prudent to mention that every military branch had their recruiting offices in our mall.

I remember they were all dressed in their uniforms and stood at attention with their arms crossed. About 15 minutes later, all their cell phones rang at once. I remember thinking how absolutely scary that was, and how much more terrifying it was when they sprinted from the food court at the same time. A half hour later, they calmly reappeared in their civilian clothes. I remember wondering if we were actually in danger. That was when I remembered to call my uncle to see if my semper fi cousin was okay.

The only people we saw that day were either mall employees (a lot of mall employees) and the occasional shopper. I remember being annoyed at customers interrupting the news. I remember getting off of work and going straight to Grandma’s house to see if she knew the happenings. She was freaked out about gas prices spiking and not having enough canned goods, so I took her to lunch and to fill her car and pantry.

I remember having four friends in that week join the reserves. I remember being unable to think of anything but this for days. I remember being at Grandma’s house (she had the pretty, pretty cable) every day watching the news and scouring the internet. I even remember watching the live feed of the first nighttime touch down in Afghanistan.

Today, 15 years later, I still remember those things. I re-watched the footage with the girls today and told them what it meant. 6 YO very gently and compassionately took a napkin and wiped my tears. As she patted my shoulder and stopped me from wiping them away myself she said, “Mom, you don’t have to that. I’ll wipe them away for you.” She has the same heart of compassion that existed in the wake of 9/11. She has the desire to comfort that we all had for our fellow Americans in the months to follow 9/11.

This day and the footage from that day will never cease to bring out those emotions. I will always remember these things. I will never forget the palpable shift and the sacrifices made on that day.

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We watched first responders walk into those buildings knowing they wouldn’t survive but going in to save the lives of others anyway. We heard the recordings of airline passengers choosing the lives of others over their own.

There were so many heroes and noble sacrifices made on 9/11; we will never forget you or what you’ve done. Thank you seems like such a small word, but we mean it just the same.

For further 9/11 info.

The Day Every Mother Loves to Hate

Here I sit on a Tuesday night thoroughly exhausted and unable to have a coherent thought after my oldest’s first day of school. I sent my first child to her first day of first grade; there’s something I’ll never be able to say again.

The exhaustion is more mental than physical, I’m sure. I mean, yes, I forgot about all the pesky BTS shopping until yesterday (we had just gotten back from a week long vacation, don’t judge) so we spent hours frantically walking around trying to get the perfect items. Yes, I probably did get everything on the list (including the teacher’s wish list) in an effort to not be one of those moms. And yes, I did stay up way too late manually sharpening 50 number two pencils, eventually popping the burn blister on my index finger. I have to say, I don’t think saving those extra pennies on non sharpened pencils (or an electric sharpener) was worth it. I still can’t feel every part of that finger.

So, while my body is crying out for my bed my mind is, well, fried. Honestly, I’m trying to think of something encouraging or witty to say to all you moms and dads out there who had to watch their kids walk into their classroom without glancing back, but all I’m coming up with is try not to sob too loudly; they embarrass easily.

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For the past month I’ve only had one consistent thought: I can’t wait for school to start. I can’t wait for school to start. I can’t wait for school to start. When does school start? You get the point. I couldn’t see past the idea of a quiet house. 2 YO would have no one to scream at. She would have no one to antagonize or vice versa. She would have all the toys to herself. It was going to be glorious.

I forgot that when my 6 YO goes to school there will be 35 hours a week I won’t see her. Having the house quiet means she won’t be here thinking of great games for her and 2 YO to play. First grade means she’s another year older. She’s about to become even more dependent. How can one person (me) feel so relieved and so worried at the same time?

I am so relieved that I don’t have to separate a fight every 30 seconds or trip over as many toys. On the other hand I’m worried about whether or not she’s making friends or staying safe. I wonder, as every good parent does, if she’s missing me while I sit at home missing her. It’s the third year I’ve had to drop her off, but every year my involvement has to get less and less. It’s tough.

Because it’s tough and because parents are in public when they drop their kids off, I’ve come up with some tips that you’ll love to hate.

  1. Stay up really late the night prior.
    PRO: If you’re struggling to stay awake you have to work that much harder to remember everything you need to, so you don’t realize how sad you are (or that you are dropping your kid and leaving at all) until after you pick them up at the end of the day.
    CON: 3 hours of sleep doesn’t do a whole lot of good to a person’s grasp on their emotions. This can turn into extreme irritation (hello!) or prone to weeping. Don’t worry; it’s often the first.
  2. Wait until the last minute to do everything.
    PRO: All of your time is taken up by making sure you have everything and it’s all in it’s place. There is no time for worry or sadness.
    CON: You’re going to forget something. There’s no time for relief or peace.
  3. Focus on volume rather than reactions.
    PRO: Silent tears draw way less attention so your kid isn’t always aware of your inner pain.
    CON: The harder the silent cry, the uglier the cry face. That will not go unnoticed.
  4. Be honest.
    PRO: The teacher is used to emotional parents anyway. Let her know up front you’re not really crazy. Also, the more you let your kid know you love them, the less you have to worry about them not missing you.
    CON: Sometimes being very open with your kids about how much you love them may embarrass them. The older they get, the more fun that gets.
  5. Drink coffee – all of it.
    PRO: I should think it’s obvious.
    CON: Is there one?

If I could give you more pointers, I would, but I’m barely skirting by myself.

Before I attempt to regain my emotional equilibrium in sleep, what are your back to school survival tips? Share below and help all us parents out.