Monday, November 14, 2016

We Have Now Entered The Crazy Time

This time of year gives me the shakes.

Make me contemplate, and perhaps occasionally participate in, day drinking.

November and December are the most insane time of year with to-dos, only rivaled closely by April and May.

It's mostly a happy to-do list, but it makes me want to go off the grid and reappear in January, perhaps having learned how to knit and make perfect gluten free baked goods.

Unfortunately I don't feel I'm adequately equipped to deal with isolation like that, but it has it's appeal right now.

In addition to a very serious case of post-election Facebook addiction, that then requires a lot of additional hours worrying about people's sanity, we are knee deep in the pre-holiday madness.

We have Thanksgiving meals for each child, on the same day, at slightly different overlapping times, in more than one location.

I literally JUST learned that Aiden has a school performance on Friday which means Cole also has one that I don't even know about yet.  It could be right now as I sit at home and type about my crazy schedule.

We have end of the season soccer tournaments (3 games in one day is too much!) right up against this season's piano recital, that I'm not sure anyone has been practicing for recently.

We have 8,302 projects due yesterday that are still "in the works."

There are invitations to respond to and extended family outings being planned.

There are sign ups for food, donations, and pictures.

Do I real think I can get a pie to the older kids' school and help a friend over coffee and remember to drop off a folding table for an event?

More importantly there are highlight appointments and lash extensions to be worked in to the mix.

The most basic of essential tasks.

To add to the madness, we have a supermoon tonight that I am supposed to remember to show the kids because they might not see it again for another million years or something, and if they miss it they may not have their interest in science sparked and they won't work to find the resolution to the hole in the ozone layer before we are all burnt to a crisp from exposure and that will all be on ME because I was too excited for them to get in bed so I could watch half a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie BY MYSELF while I try to strategically plot the next day's orthodontist appointment and overlapping hair appointment.

I just can't.

I do not want to be this busy.  I do not want to wear a badge of busy pride this time of year and respond to everyone that asks me how I'm doing with, "I am so busy!"

Though I have been afflicted by that busy addiction disease in the past I really don't want it.  It's a real problem for me right now though.

Yesterday we went through one of the most stressful events a mom of four children can do, family photos.

Holiday family photos.

We have never done the holiday family photo, because I have never mailed out Christmas cards.

Go ahead and judge me now.  Never a single Christmas card.

I'm 99% sure Jesus doesn't care, but it sure starts to feel like He might when I tell people that I have never taken the energy to figure this out. We've been parents for 11 Christmas seasons now and I have yet to get myself organized enough to make the card happen amongst all this other stuff.

The last few years I have made weak starts to get the ball rolling, but I quickly crap out with all the address gathering and zillion dollars on a card spending and the forgetting people and the perfection needed in it all.

So all of you that assumed you were being snubbed by me should rest easy, I'm not leaving you out, I'm just lazy.

This year my friend Samantha offered mini sessions with adorable holiday-esque scenery and because I am the easiest person to market to (just ask or maybe just mention) I signed up for our family to be part of the magic.

The actual photo taking was fantastic.  Samantha was wonderful and all my kids (and husband) had great attitudes.  Yay!

It was the getting ready for the photo that made me wonder why there isn't a prescription for Xanax distributed with the booking. This is clearly more than a normal Mom can handle.

The outfit selection nearly killed me.  I basically neglected everything else in my life while I traveled to multiple stores and malls and friends' closets and desperately sought the most perfect combination of clothing so we would appear effortless and cohesive while displaying each of our unique strengths and attributes.

My friend Keri devoted an entire day to shopping for this photo.  She'll never get that time back. She probably has PTSD from the tedious decisions about blending, but not matching, shades of khaki and grey and gold with the additional task to add a bit of color.

My friend Judy listened to the same annoying monologue from me on and on about outfits, then lent me jewelry and her husband's shirt for Alex.

FYI, men think that is weird and are not on board.

(Staci you definitely should still live here and save my other friends from me torturing me.)

How are people doing this during the holidays?

We now can check it off the list though.

Here is my single snapshot of the photo shoot in progress, in case I never do use the actual photos for Christmas cards.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Cole with the transitions lenses is killing me. He refused to have his photo taken without his glasses though.  Now I'll have to figure out a way to footnote that Cole has not actually starting getting high on Sunday mornings.

That I am aware of.  I may be too busy to even know.

I am my own worst enemy during my busy times though.  We hosted friends for dinner here Saturday night.  Friends that I know would be happy if I threw a paper plate at them and told them I burned dinner so we're ordering pizza and going to take shots of ouzo and laugh.

But I didn't do that.

I went another direction.



There is a lot of Greek food in the kitchen back there.

I love my people.  I love gathering them and being around them.

I have a difficult time saying no when we are invited somewhere or an opportunity arises for me to join amazing people to do fun things.  It's life giving to me to be in my community of people.

I have been with my people a lot lately though.



The result of that love of people and having four young kids though means I'm busy.

Really busy this time of year.

The challenge then is not whether or not I can say no more, which may be a good idea, but really more whether or not I can keep the gratitude for my busy from now until January 1st?

Can I do it?

I like to think that I can.

I think I can help it along by continuing to wear aprons like this around Aiden and his friends and see them get really uncomfortable, because that keeps my joy alive.

Apron courtesy of Grandma and Tractor's trip to Italy

It's artistic people.  I'm giving them culture and memories to last a lifetime.

I'm a good Mom.

How do you stay sane during this time of year?

Do you struggle with being-busy-addiction?

Judy and I are going to talk about being busy this week on our Facebook page, 2 Moms in a Bar.  You should like our page and share your thoughts/videos/questions about the state of being busy right now.  We would love it.  It would give us something to do.


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Thursday, November 10, 2016

#Perfumegate2016

Is anyone else getting trapped in a political post wormhole on Facebook?

I don't understand what is happening to me.  I physically and psychologically can not even read another opinion piece, look at another hateful protest/celebration, or sort through comments for a voice of reason.

(Sidenote:  I am finding there is usually at least one reasonable, non offensive, commenter amongst all the drama from both sides.  HOPE!  BRIDGES!)

Things are tense.

Is everyone feeling that?

It's awkward and emotions are running strong.  People feel scared and defensive and dismissed and attacked and straight up angry.  It's everywhere.

One of my "friends" on Facebook was enraged with this inflammatory post I wrote on Election Day.


"On this historic Election Day, I have finally reached a decision for myself that has been plaguing me for the last year.  After much researching and soul searching and prayers for guidance, I have decided to continue using Design by Paul Sebastian as my fragrance of choice.  It's been faithful to me since the 8th grade and despite it's decline from a department store perfume to a cast off bottle on the TJ Max clearance fragrance shelf, and possibly available at Walmart, it's steady and true to me.  Thank you all for your concern, questions, suggestions, and offerings of hope during my quest to reach this important decision.  I hope I can expect continued friendship and support even if this was not what you had hoped for me."

Can you believe I had the audacity to write that?

Can you believe my lack of morals?

id you ever fathom I would sink so very low?

This was her comment, "To me you are a weaker person for your daughter.  Maybe that's unfair, but crap posts like this make it true.  Shame on you." 

Additional comment moments later, "poor child."

She is really pissed about my perfume choice.

She must hate Paul Sebastian.

Maybe she knows him and he is an evil man that secretly feeds poison to baby kittens?  Or he steals elementary children's lunch money?

Maybe she is allergic to perfumes and is standing up for any and all people with scent intolerance?

Is all of this confusing to you?

Dear Lord, I hope so.

I have to admit that when I read this my heart started pounding and my hands were shaking.

I do NOT deal well with being in "trouble."

I am a pleaser.  I am middle ground.  I like everyone around me happy and amused.  It isn't always a productive position and I will now probably be attacked for this, but I think I am ok with that.

I felt attacked and shocked.

I understood, though strongly disagree with, her general idea.

I was posting about fluffy unimportant things on a monumental Election Day when she felt I should be shouting from the rooftops (of Facebook, the real source of political influence, of course,) my passion for my politics, especially as a woman.

Well, only if I were shouting about her candidate, obviously.

This comment on my fluffy post though was just a slice of the crazy I have read from people.

Can we all breathe?

I am not dismissing anyone's feelings and emotions here, through I am confident I might be accused of that after I post this blog. I know people with genuine fears, concerns, and frustrations and I understand.

If you feel the need to attack someone right now though for providing a moment of levity in a very stressful time then we're seriously doomed.

At the very least you are doomed to hate me so perhaps we should part ways.

I don't tell very many people this, but I am sarcastic.

Some people yell or bite their nails or demean others or drink or smoke or exercise, I make comments or jokes when things get tense and stressful.

I'm a sarcasm addict.

I am not seeking help.

Perhaps it isn't always appropriate, but I do like to think that most of the time these comments provide a moment to stop and smile.  An act I find quite lovely and necessary to most of life.

To imply that I am somehow a disgrace to women, or worse that I am teaching my daughter to be weak, to be kept by a man, or be less than she can be is straight up hateful.

Particularly harsh on a non-political post I might add.

Is this where we are going?

I don't think so.

I think this was an isolated (though I have seen other comments other places with similar sentiments about women in general) incident. I like to think that this friend was crazy with emotion and anger and I was just where those emotions landed.

It matters though.

It matters to be kind and respectful.

It matters to speak up when real wrong is taking place.

(Such as if I had chosen to start wearing Giorgio of Beverly Hills.)

It matters to teach your kids how to spell, or they really won't ever be president and will be forced to only care about perfume and other shiny things.

They might accidentally start aspiring to be a Badisno and who knows what kind of pain that could bring if we ever find out what it is.

Stella's actual attempt to write "I Could Be President" I love kindergarten.  


I'm ready for a little joy folks.

I'm ready for random acts of kindness to flood my Facebook newsfeed.

I'm ready for people to put their passion in to productivity to make positive change.

I'm ready for someone else to figure out exactly how that happens because I can barely figure out how to get my kids to unpack their lunch boxes so I am out on the big idea discussion for politics.

I'm still an awesome Mom though and I'm killing it as a sarcastic woman.

Random Facebook hate will not bring me down.

Well, for long.  I was pretty emotional for a few minutes.

Then I remembered that the comment was inappropriate and unkind and I reject it.

Go find your joy friends!

And.....If you haven't done so already, please check out my friend Judy and my new Facebook page, 2 Moms In A Bar.  Like us and then watch us yammer on about all sorts of important topics.  We'll probably discuss perfume and other hard hitting topics soon.

This week we covered some friendship thoughts and would love to hear from you about things you would like discussed, questions you have, things you have been wrestling with, etc.

It's fun.

Don't you want to have a little fun?




Monday, October 24, 2016

I Jump On The Campaign Trail

I read an article last week that really resonated with me.

I'm not sure it can be called an article. I read it via a FB link and it was essentially the Cliff Notes version of a sermon a pastor gave regarding the upcoming Presidential Election.

I think my favorite part of the whole thing was that he didn't mention either candidate.

He didn't talk about anything remotely political or personal.

It was dreamy.

I have no interest in engaging in any type of debate on the issues or the candidates.

I think we can all agree things are a bit of a shit show though.

Or you don't agree.

Whatever.

I personally think things are a bit crazy.

I'm not enthusiastic about either candidate, but I do strongly oppose one of them.

What I have abhorred most about this election though is the panic.

I'm guilty of this panic myself.

I know I have felt genuine fear about one of the candidates.  I have created a scary scenario in my head, told myself a frightening story that isn't true about the future of our country if either one of them are elected.

I know I am not alone.

Do you sort of wish I would just hurry up and give you the Cliff Notes version of this post about the Cliff Notes version of that sermon?

Fine.  Here it is.

It doesn't matter.

I mean it does.

But, it doesn't.

Allow me to clarify.

This pastor pointed out the hatred and despicable behavior by both candidates, but even more so by some of the people supporting the candidates.  Instead of a dialogue about issues and opinions and real discussions about how different laws and perspectives change real people's lives, it's, well....it's a shit show.

The pastor didn't say shit show.

He probably isn't supposed to say shit show.

I can say it all I want to say it.

It's dangerous for us to spread the message of doom and gloom if one candidate is or is not elected.  

It's irresponsible for us to feed our children fear, or worse, hatred.

(The desire to not feed my children a message of hatred has been a challenge this year when confronted by such a strongly disturbing person.)

I know people on both sides who have brain washed their children to violently hate the other candidate.  This feels wrong to me in so many ways.  I get it, but I feel like it starts a habit to shut out the voice of someone you disagree with rather than hearing their views, doing your own research, and making your own educated opinions.

We should be brainwashing our kids about good things.  How about training them to listen to good music or love all things about the 1990s?

At dinner every night I have my children say one nice compliment and one constructive criticism about each candidate.

Such as Donald Trump wears nice suits, but I feel his foreign policy is too polarizing.

Or, Hilary Clinton seems to really want to help people, but I feel her lipstick is yucky.

Fine, we don't really do that.

We have had some great, though tricky car conversations though about building walls and abortions and welfare and the constitution and self tanner.

It's tricky because for these issues there are lots of opinions, lots of facts, lots of perspectives.  Some are perspectives that are affected by our family's faith, which also affects our family's sense of doing the right, kind thing.

I have an overall point.

Let's just all try to remember that regardless of who wins on November 8th, perpetuating a fear that America will basically be nearing destruction because of one person or the other is false and irresponsible.

No one is that powerful, except God.

And if you don't believe in God, then at least believe that Trump or Clinton alone are not the sole authors of our country's story, we are and will continue to be so much more than that.

Most importantly, kind.

Maybe I should have just posted a link to the pastor's summary?

It was significantly shorter and possibly far more meaningful.  Oh well, you've read this far.

Regardless of which side you are on....VOTE and show your kids that voting matters, even if you think it doesn't.  It's a parent's job to fake the importance of things we don't really want to do.

Like eating kale.

Voting is more important than eating kale.

I should clearly be on someone's campaign.



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Next Step

I knew my people wouldn't fail me.

My last blog post has elicited all sorts of ideas and discussions.

Let's have a moment of joy for how easy it is to share and connect with people about ideas right now.

I have received texts, phone calls, and emails with thoughts on the issue of being lost and suggestions of what I could do. I have also had lunch, breakfast, and another outing scheduled for tomorrow to help process through this.

My tribe is the best.

Get a good tribe.

I can be your tribe if you need one.

We can do this.

Turns out, this is extremely common.  Most of the women I heard from either did struggle or are struggling with finding their place.  Wanting more, but not sure what that more is or how to get it without sacrificing their current role of Mom/Worker/Both.

Or their small slices of freedom.

I'm not burdened with much freedom currently so I don't have an struggle with giving up all my free time.  I guess that is a perk right now.

Thank you Max!

I didn't feel insecure about feeling lost, I am usually quite comfortable in my challenges, but it is always nice to know that you are not the only person trying to find your way.

Unfortunately now I am in a race against all these other lost moms to find the most amazing thing to do before they find it and steal it from me and I am a total loser.

Nothing fuels a better world than the scarcity mentality.

Obviously I am kidding.

I'm not in a race with anyone because I have no idea what I would be racing them toward.  I'm not a huge fan of racing in general so I'm perfectly content to settle in for this journey of self discovery, potentially ending with me just readjusting to where I am.

I really am quite the go-getter.  Endless ambition right here.

I know you are dying to know the suggestions.

Run for School Board
Volunteer for School in some formal capacity
Bookkeeping
Write More
Revamp my Arbonne business
Help Friends with their current business
Go back to Law School - thank you Tractor

I also went shopping with a few friends yesterday (yes, current life has it's fantastic days,) and I did see this outside Anthropolgie.



I think we can all agree that me getting a job at Anthro would have catastrophic consequences on my marriage though, and I really like my husband.

Since I would be paying for childcare, plus spending every dollar I made, plus $1000, to purchase intricately knitted shawls and bohemian looking dresses that would make me want to run in a field...which I would never have time to do because I would be working retail around the holidays and my kids would be sad because we couldn't do any of the things we usually don't do anyway but they feel sad about suddenly because I am helping people buy clothes while they hang with a babysitter and fuel my guilt about never making homemade mac and cheese that I didn't make before I started at Anthro but now truly can't happen because I would never fit in my discounted AG jeans after eating that crap and Alex would be sad because he loved those jeans and now has to counsel our previously well-adjusted kids on why their Mom is always at the store instead of making their lives perfect.

I wonder if I would get a headset though?

I really, really want a headset in whatever I end up doing.

Ok, Anthropologie just isn't a good fit.

A friend of mine leads life balance retreats for women and she sent me some info on that, which did sound like a good idea.  Check out the link below.

www.familylifebalance.com

We could all do one together.

These are based on a book by Renee Trudeau called The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal so check that out if you feel called to do so.  Word on the street is that it's amazing.

She also told me about a fiction book that deals with this topic called The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer.  Unfortunately she doesn't recommend the book as a good read, but the title is just so perfect.

I keep thinking about that title.

This phase in life is like a really long nap for your brain and your sense of self, that totally exhausts you.  I have reached that ten year mark of doing this gig and am yearning to wake up, but Max.

Always, but Max.



I want to steal her title and write a better book.  Perhaps The Eleven Year Nap has a certain ring to it?

No?

Keep the ideas coming folks, please.

I'm honored and excited to hear when anyone is thinking about this sort of journey of re-self discovery....for me or one you are on for yourself.

I'm going to keep listening and being open.  I'll keep writing.

I'm also starting something random with my friend Judy because we amuse ourselves with our discussions.  Perhaps you'll find them amusing and relatable too?

Coming soon on Instagram and Facebook....2momsinabar

That's genuinely all I can say.

You should follow us just in case we're amazing.

Or not...you never know.




Monday, October 3, 2016

Lost, But Different From The TV Show

My last post had some people concerned that I may be feeling depressed.

(Hey Mom and Jenn Kloubec!  I love you!)

That is not true though.

I am no stranger to having dark days.

(I'm looking at you post-Aiden 2005 and post-Max 2015.)

I am not feeling depressed at all though. I am full functional Leslie, just a little lost.

As many of you know, Max's arrival was a complete surprise.

A complete surprise which I am eternally grateful for, but a surprise none the less.

There was a reason that Stella was to be our finale.

I was done.

I have served my time as the mom of the little ones.

I've arranged play dates in the park, joined mom's groups and attended Bible Studies for the free child care.

(And for the Jesus, but I really do remember holding a flier for the first Mom's Bible Study I ever participated in and tearing up when I saw that I all I had to do was buy my study book and then childcare was provided...for 2 hours!)

I have built train tracks and made my own play-doh and memorized the morning line up for PBS Kids.  I have figured nap schedules and tricks for healthy toddler snacks and researched the best Little People toys.

I am over it.

My brain truly CAN NOT handle another kid TV show.

I have memorized the theme songs for Handy Manny, Micky Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Sid The Science Guy, and Super Why.

I do not want to know what is going on with Daniel Tiger and Paw Patrol. Just no.  No.

I don't want to find myself singing their songs.  This information is part of a world that I am straight up not interested in being around.

A few weeks ago I was thrown in to a high profile position for a vigorous community action campaign.

Or perhaps I posted a few things on our neighborhood FB page and hosted a meeting at my house (which I typed up talking points to discuss!) for a neighborhood school awareness situation.

Potato - Potado

(Is that even how you would type that expression?  I hope you all understand.)

It felt good though.  It felt really good.

I had purpose beyond the walls of this house. I was using my brain and my voice to work toward an action.

It was life giving to me.

I also was on the news for approximately 20 seconds so it played well to my need for attention.

Very important.

It was less than a week of all consuming work. When it was over I was relieved to be able to get some of my daily "Mom life" tasks completed, (and get my lashes done,) but it also left me hungry for more.  The end of all that hustle and doing left me feeling all that much more empty when I searched for a way to entertain Max for a few hours at the park the following week.

The intensity had been too much, but I sorely missed the task and the purpose it had provided.

A friend and I are toying with the idea of starting a restyling/decorating business. We worked together on my remodel and found we loved collaborating.  She has a true talent to see a space and be able to come up with a way to make it work beautifully.  Decorating is not my natural gift, but I can hang with the idea collaborating and I am great with client finding.

I also provide witty banter and snacks.

I am a real catch.

We are working with a few friends for free to see if we like it.

(No, we are not taking on any more free clients.)

I love being with my friend.

I like the work.

I'm not on fire though.

I don't feel inspired and purposeful like I want to feel.

I certainly don't think we'll be on the news anytime soon, so what's really the point?

Totally kidding.

I have a decent sized Arbonne business that is rolling along in spite of my taking time off of working that business.  There is nothing that can pay me like Arbonne, truly if you need to make a lot of money and don't want to work full time you should be running to that organization.

Unfortunately, it's just not on my heart right now. It isn't speaking to me.

In some ways I wish it were.

I've prayed about this a lot lately.

I'm waiting to hear what speaks to me.

I'm mostly praying that when I do hear something it won't sound like that theme song from Paw Patrol.

I have been a full-time stay at home Mom since Aiden was born almost 11 years ago and I love that role.  I know there is real value and purpose here.

I also know there are lots of ways to be an amazing Mom and I'm not sure I still need to be the one building the train tracks or grocery shopping with my 20 month old while he refuses to hold the chocolate donut I gave him.



It's gross.  I realize.

This is where I am now though folks.  I am doing this stuff for the fourth time and I have simply lost steam.  I left this world of babies and toddlers and was pretty over the moon about it.

Max is worth being back.

Max is worth learning the theme to Paw Patrol....I just don't want to learn it.

I need a life coach.

Or a job.

Or both.

Or another baby.

KIDDING!!!!!

Call to action....Please call, text, write, or Facebook your detailed plan for my next phase in life.

I would like to be here for after school and evening time so take that in to consideration when you construct the perfect situation.

I would also like to bring in one million dollars a month and bring about world peace.

I feel so much better knowing you guys are working on this now so I can stop stressing.






Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lamest Blog Post Ever

It's hardest for me to start writing when I haven't for a while.

I usually have a big event that sparks my need to "write it out" and explore it in words on the screen, and then it feels easy to just keep going.

It's been a while though and lots of big things have happened, but I was lost in the chaos.  I never forced the moment to sit by my computer and ignore the chaos just long enough to express and process it.

So here we are, it's been over five months.

Nothing written.

I lost my big moments to start with some ease....so I am starting where I am.

Seems like a logical place to begin.

The last five months were packed with opportunities to make you laugh and make me see the funny side of the insanity that is my normal life.

The tough moments are my favorite to write about by far...and there were a few pickles this past summer.

The lice situation.


All but Alex had lice, even Max.  It sucked.  It really, really sucked.


The REMODEL.



I cannot stress enough that you should avoid having a toddler around when remodeling. This was only one of the "situations" we had during the process.





I am so grateful to be done, but that process consumed me and was pure torture with a toddler around.    

I eventually started having my trim carpenter make all my decisions because I simply was not capable of processing anything else.

That sounds absurd, because it is, but it was absolutely how things went down after I started losing all my marbles.

The death of two AC units also brought on a bit of torture in the middle of August, in Texas.  I don't have a photo of any of us sweaty and being extra cranky though because I rarely remember to pull out the camera in those times.

I have my faults.

I do have this photo of my children eating an overpriced meal once I went off the edge and Alex sent us away to a resort nearby where they had air conditioning and people named Robert who will bring you anything you want to drink.




There was definitely more good than bad this summer. 

There was joy in so many moments, in so many places.

Vail, Colorado in a fancy resort.




Bulk wine deliveries.


Neighborhood Swim Team


Quick access to Grandma and Tractor for dinner in a strange German restaurant where most of my children ordered the German classic...spaghetti.


My children helping to write blessings on the wall of a home being built for husband and wife veterans.


An adorable baby in a bucket of beer.




Nothing could top the return of school though. See the joy on Aiden's face?



Even Max has started his time at school with two days a week in a Mother's Day Out program.  It is glorious.



We are seven weeks in though and I am starting to feel lost again.

That initial euphoria of having a few hours to myself and many hours with just one toddler is waning.

I am losing my lunch packing steam.  Bagging my own chips feels like too much effort and I started buying the bagged Sun Chips.  My kids won't touch the onion ones though so I have so many extra bags of onion chips that I feel guilty and try to eat them myself, but I hate them too so I open them and then throw them out so I can at least say I tried. Soon I'll probably slip in to mini bags of Doritos because I can't be bothered to make a special trip for slightly better, prepackaged potato chips and I can't for the life of me stand to bag the chips the night before by myself because I am so over the day. I need some time to myself and bagging chips for my kids at 9 PM is just too much to ask. I WON'T DO IT!

These are the things that are wearing on me.

I realize the pathetic nature of all the words in that chip paragraph. It's just how it's going down right now though.

I feel overwhelmed.  

I feel I'm drowning.

I feel smothered.

I feel this is life and I need to just get a grip and get on with it.

But I am struggling.

But I really don't know why.

In general I can get all of my kids' needs taken care of without too much insanity.  Or a regular amount of insanity that I am comfortable with now that I have four children.

I can cook and take care of the house and laundry.

What it comes down to is I am craving something more.  I am restless. The kids and house are not enough.  They are not me.

What do I want to do though?

Lamest blog post ever.

This is where I am though.  Starting where I am.  No big thing to be funny.  Just me a little lost.

Next post will be more.

Promise.





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

If Only Aiden Would Commit a Crime

The summer before I met my high school boyfriend, Mike, he was on house arrest.

For the whole summer.

For destruction of federal property...he blew up a mailbox.

He was so cool.

I often think of how he told me he spent that summer talking on the phone and playing volleyball (by himself) up against the shed in his backyard.

He was bored, but he worked it out.

He didn't have a fancy smart phone to access unlimited You Tube clips and games and social media.

This was the early nineties, I don't even know what we were all doing.  I didn't even have cable TV going up so I don't think TV watching was a big pastime.

I swear I have a point.

On Sunday Aiden had his iPad privileges revoked for a week for lying.

Lying is pretty high on our "never do" list.  I

t's listed third on the Dadidakis Family Code, but it's punished like it's first.

Code you say?

Yes, we have a code.

 
The top reads "in progress," but it's pretty much finished.

No one around here has taken the time to retype it though and place things in the appropriate order, like moving God to the top, because we operate in a certain amount of chaos at all times.

No offense God, we're confident you understand.

Taking away iPad privileges is pretty much the worst thing you can do to Aiden.  He would rather be isolated from friends, locked in his room, or miss any big event than to not get to play Clash of Clans and check his Instagram feed for seven days.

This bothers me.

This bothers me a lot.

In his defense, sort of, I feel in a constant state of panic when my kids are on their iPads so I limit their time anyway.  Being allowed to play on an iPad around here is usually a daily thing, but only after everything else is done, a timer has been set for thirty minutes, and I can't find a way to bribe them in to doing anything else.

We are a little more loose on the weekends or during a lengthy road trip or appointment wait or when I am ill...because my comfort actual does trump the preservation of my children's minds.

Comfort is my idol.

So perhaps I/we have perpetuated the scarcity mentality my boys have for iPad time and have created their panic to be able to get on it.

You can't convince me that they should play it whenever they like though, I tried that last summer and I had pasty white boys that couldn't stop looking at the screen of their iPads long enough to speak to me, go out with a friend, or swim in our pool.

Needless to say, Aiden is a bit down these last few days.

In addition to his loss of iPad, he has started a losing campaign for his own phone.

To be clear, I would be all for giving him a phone to talk to people and make emergency phone calls.

He's not interested in a phone though, he's interested in a smart phone.

Most of his arguments revolve around the fact that "all his friends have them," which isn't true anyway and is totally irrelevant.

My stance is firm.

Aiden usually ends up teary and convinced he has the worst parents ever at the end of one of our discussions about a phone.

(Nothing could scream JOB WELL DONE LESLIE! more than my kid thinking I'm the worst.)

(That's a sincere statement, no sarcasm.  If I am pleasing my kids all the time, I am failing and I am convinced that they will turn in to an ungrateful, lazy, entitled bunch that I will end up supporting for years post university...no thank you.)

Aiden typed up this adorable plea sheet for me a few days ago though.




I commended him for his effort, but quickly told him there is nothing he could do that would change my mind.

This led to more tears.

(I quickly pointed out to him that crying when told no only exemplifies my point of not being mature enough to handle a smart phone. Pointing this out did not help.)

He hated me, his life, his shared bedroom, Max's shouting, Stella's joy, the list could never end.

Tuesday though, he found a baby turtle.



He brought it inside, put it in a bowl and created a little turtle world for it out of a surprisingly appropriate collection of items he found in Stella's room, and focused on the turtle.

This is the type of stuff I want them to do all the time.

(And to be honest, they do love doing these things, and often do them, but not when iPad time is an option.)

So after school yesterday he decided to try to build it a home outside.

Max and I helped because it's fun to hang out with happy Aiden.

I gave him lots of good advice of about how to build the turtle structure.  Aiden complimented my new highlights while we worked and discussed how unfortunate it is for me that I don't have his natural highlights...he's literally one of my favorite people to be around.

Max ate dirt...which was also helpful.


I was so happy he was working on something rather than moping around the house about his horrible lot in life in landing me as a mom.

I had visions of him playing volleyball again our imaginary shed like Mike did and growing as a person because he had to entertain himself and make his own amusement. This turtle and the building of a habitat were going to help prove to Aiden that he didn't need any electronics to be ok for seven days.

He would probably even drop his plea for a phone.

He also would probably make a new list of all the reasons I am the best Mom ever and then write me a poem about how I helped form him in to a self-sufficient, hard-working man.

(This was really a long term vision.  I assume the poem would be something he would read to me at high school graduation, of course.)

Unfortunately, I might not have given the greatest advice and the turtle escaped when Aiden came inside to play a game of chess.

The speed with which that turtle escaped was pathetically fast for the reputation turtles carry.

I assume an owl carried it away.

That might not make sense, but it makes me feel better.

This was a major fail on my part, though in my defense, I never claimed to have actual turtle habitat knowledge.

Aiden was devastated.

He reverted back to his task of moping about his lack of iPad time and his loathing of me.

Does anyone else struggle with their kids finding peace without an electronic?

Is anyone else panicked about making their kids OK without them?

Does anyone have a turtle we could borrow?

Or a volleyball and a shed?