Perspective

Life can be a challenge. Especially when it feels like you’re being kicked into the mud, then trampled upon, and then spat upon just for good measure. That’s the way it’s been around here lately. Family life itself has been fine more or less. About the worst that happens there is David’s temper. He gets so angry, but I think the majority of it is due to the fact that he doesn’t talk well. He is difficult to understand even when he says something that sounds like words. And he still gets picked on, being the little brother. All this ends up resulting in a volcanic eruption of temper every hour or so EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. But children squabbling aside there is still laughter, still smiles, and in general everyone is happy there.

But then comes the bad areas. First there is ex drama. Whether it’s the kids getting attitude or the ex starting drama, there is almost always tension in the house every single evening because of their mother. Then there are the that’s she gives, the misinformation she spreads, and the outright lies she spreads. That’s always fun to deal with the aftermath of that.

Then there’s money. While Shane is actually making decent money we can’t seem to get ahead between stuff breaking down and taking care off the kids. Our car needed repairing, so that was some money for parts. Then Emily broke the window killing a wasp and we had to go get that taken care of. Then there are the non-stop school fees that Emily and Matthew have at school. Did I mention how much I loathe public school?  I will be glad when the custody situation is resolved and we can just homeschool them. Which is another place our money is disappearing to – lawyer fees. Plus the absurdly high utility bills due to the poorly maintained trailer we live in. Our electricity bill was more than our rent and that’s more than a little crazy. We are looking into ways to resolve this situation but only time will tell what the outcome will be.

Then there is the issue of our rental trailer itself. It’s very rundown. It’s almost uninhabitable. The air conditioning barely works, there are rat goes all over the place, the cheap flooring is getting destroyed on a daily basis simply by walking in it and putting furniture on it, and the pipes are constantly breaking. On top of that, the landlord are the do it yourself sort, which is normally fine, but they seem to out us at a very low priority. We’ve had the air reported as an issue for over two weeks and it has yet to be repaired. They were supposed to come out last weekend but it didn’t happen and they were supposed to come out tonight but it didn’t happen. And then they called on the second to say we were late with rent….never mind that Shane was working on the first and couldn’t get the money to them. Just seems like a contradiction there.

I’m glad we have a place to live and that with effort we can live a decently clean life but I will be so glad when I no longer FEEL like poor white trash. It’s a hard feeling to overcome when you feel blessed at spending a cool day in the house rather than sweating like a stuck pig.

I feel like I’m complaining an awful lot but there are a lot of good times. We joke around at night. We watch Netflix as a family. I love watching my children being adorable. My eldest is doing very well in her homeschooling. And we have made it this far. We are now two months on our own after a year with Shane’s parents. We can feed everyone. We all have beds to sleep in and clean clothes. We can all wash our faces at night and brush our teeth. Even prego me can occasionally treat myself to something special. Life is not bad, even though it is rife with issues. God is there. He is always there helping me out of the muck in which I keep finding myself. He keeps me focused on the positive when I might otherwise descend into derision and self loathing. So no matter what – life is good. Life is awesome in fact.

God bless air conditioning!

So ever since we moved we’ve had intermittent issues with air conditioning. You see, there are two trailers on this property and we are renting the larger one. My husband called about a week before we moved to have the air turned on. They told him it would be 125 deposit on his first bill. He said ok great, turn it on.

So moving day comes. We get the uhaul all packed up and are ready to head out. Then we get a call from the landlord saying there’s no power in the trailer and did we have it turned on?  Shane calls the power company and verifies that it was turned on and about a two hour delay while the problem is sorted out. We find out that the power was turned on to the wrong trailer. In order to turn the power to our trailer we would have to wait for a technician to arrive on Monday. Shane flips out. He is thinking we should unpack the trailer and wait till he gets paid to turn on the power. The problem with that was the power at the house we were in was getting turned off in three days and it was in my mother-in-law’s name so we couldn’t cancel the order. Plus we were still on the line for the u haul. I told my husband we should just go, that it was just two days without power. Nevermind it’s the middle of summer and I’m pregnant. He agrees eventually and we go.

We arrive and camp out on mattresses in the den with a fan going from an extension cord hijacked from the other trailers power. It’s not ideal but we survive. Lots of cold baths. At least we had water.

Monday rolls around. Shane takes the lease to the power company to straighten out the mess. He returns home furious. They told him in order to turn our power on we have to pay $640 upfront, which we of course didn’t have. We sigh and plan to turn the power in that Friday when Shane gets paid.

On Friday Shane to pay and is told  they will send out a technician Monday. So now it is over a week with no power. I cook microwave spaghetti. We eat ramen noodles and cereal. We have to be very careful since our fridge isn’t working properly due to not have correct power output. We manage to hook up the tv to watch some dvds to kill time. The breakers flip a few times when we ruin the microwave but we get it up and ruining again. Imagine…a house with 8 kids and no power for over a week. It was epic.

Power finally gets turned on at the end of the day Monday and there it’s much rejoicing. We quickly move everything into place – beds into bedrooms, furniture to the right rooms etc. We cook real food, though only three of the four eyes on the stove are functional. BUT it’s a real meal. It’s progress.

Life goes on. The landlords eventually come by and finish fixing the floor (oh did I mention when we moved in it was wooden slats laid over the floor, not an actual floor?)  It’s not completely done but it’s enough we can move furniture and unpack all the boxes and get beds put on bed frames.

About three weeks after moving in we are finally able to SETTLE in. It has definitely been an exercise in endurance.

Then something “fun” happens. Our air stops working!  We panic and suffer through a sweltering summer day. It is too hot to move, too hot to nap, too hot to think. Children are pink cheeked and inactive. Finally Shane gets home from work and we realize it was a breaker that flipped. There is much rejoicing.

Then a few days later it goes out again. We are miserable. The breaker isn’t the problem this time. We sweat, moan, groan, etc. This time it turns out the refrigerant lines are freezing!  Which means for an hour or two several times a day we have to turn the air off. Outside temperatures are upper 90s and it is miserable. We call the landlord and they try to tell us it’s because we leave the door open all day because of our kids (we don’t).  They do say they will come out and look at least. When they do, they discover the air conditioner unit coils are filthy which apparently messes the unit up a good bit. Fact is though that it was not our fault after all (surprise surprise).  They say they’ll try to come back the next gay to clean it. Two days later and still no landlord here to clean the coils. Luckily, though, the air has been behaving in the interim.

There are several things in life, in America particularly, that people have and take for granted. We don’t really appreciate these things until they’re taken away from us. Things like clean, running water (we had pipes burst here for a couple days in a row and had no water which meant nothing to drink…), cold air conditioning, warm heat in the winter, clean and laundered clothes, hot food on the table – enough to feed everyone. Think about this the next time you take a luxuriant bath, or indulge in a cool, frothy glass of milk. The next time you get frustrated the piles of laundry you have to do, pick up a clean shirt and inhale deeply and be thankful it’s clean laundry. The next time it’s a scorcher outside and you’re inside drinking an ice tea and perfectly comfortable due to functional central air, give God a praise for providing your creature comforts. He truly deserves to be praised each day we are able to spend in relative comfort. It really puts into perspective the mini dramas we create, the things that truly don’t matter.

God is good. Praise God for air conditioning!

Been crazy

I promise I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth! Just a quick update because I’m sleepy. It’s been really crazy busy. We’ve moved to a new house, I’m pregnant with number six, and we currently have custody of my three stepkids and are working in court to make it permanent. So between the stress of dealing with Shane’s ex, the stress of moving, the stress of everyone on God’s green earth wanting their money NOW, and the complete lack of energy I have due to my little energy vampire, it’s been rough. I’ll try to start my regular postings up again this week!  More then.

Pregnancy is Kicking My Butt

As I yawn and look at the clock to see it’s only 10 a.m., I sigh slightly. This pregnancy is do kicking my butt. I have no energy, have trouble falling asleep at night, can’t nap well during the day and when I sleep in, I have more work to do in the form of cleaning up the messes the kids make.

Like this morning. I didn’t even sleep in but Jordan woke up before me and he is able to do so without waking me since he’s three. When I did get up with Mark and David, it was to see Jordan with a baby tray full of French fries and a huge wad of ketchup. Plus it was on my floor lol. The mere thought makes me more sleepy.

I have been falling behind on my laundry because my energy comes in spurts and every time I have some energy it seems someone else has shoved clothes in the washer.

I’m falling behind in my chores because I’m so sleepy, weak, and fatigued. These are not new symptoms for me though. I dislike this part of pregnancy. I’m a doer. Having to do nothing and delegate but not get it to the quality I prefer is frustrating.

I know it’s temporary but it’s still tough. The good news is that all my chores are on my to-do list. So if I miss them on the day they’re due I can make them up later in the week when I have more energy. And truth be told it is rather rewarding to be able to mark off twenty things from your to-do list!

One area that I’ve not fallen behind is homeschooling. The girls got bored and wanted to stay school so we did. And they seem to be enjoying themselves.

Hopefully soon the energy draining will pass. In the meantime I think I will be kind to myself and take a nap with my boys today instead of pushing myself. I read something yesterday talking about nap lengths. The ideal nap length is 90 minutes because it’s a full sleep cycle. I tell you… an hour and a half nap sounds awesome to me!

Feeling Guilty for Being Pregnant

Well since number six is baffling in the oven I’m finding the usual “first trimester energy drop” to be a mite overwhelming. I find it particularly annoying how the insomnia works too. I’ll stay up till midnight or so because I’m just not sleepy. I have too much on my mind. Too many things to take care of and it stops me from falling asleep. So I go to sleep at midnight. Then Mark wakes up around one to play for an hour against my will. I refuse to let him get up though because I don’t want to reinforce his night waking. So instead I nurse him and then try and get him back over to our side car crib. Sometimes it works and sometimes he giggles, coos, slaps David, and screams for an hour because he doesn’t want to sleep. So I ACTUALLY fall asleep around two or three fire to his night antics.

Then of course all three boys wake up between five and seven. I an physically unable to stay awake that early so I wake Lilly up and she watches then for an hour or two while I get some blissful sleep. The downside to this is that sometimes she gets distracted with tv or video games (never mind we tell her not to turn them on in the morning) and then I wake up to a huge mess. As I drink my morning coffee,I direct the children to clean up their mess because I definitely don’t have the energy to do it. Standing on my get for fifteen minutes is exhausting right now. Makes it hard to clean house.

I really do dislike being tired all the time. I feel useless. I feel like I am over burdening my children with work. I know these are inaccurate perceptions and I know that I do my fair share of work still. In fact normally I do most of the work and now I’ve simply distributed it more evenly. But it sol makes me feel guilty. Never mind that I should deserve a break according to every one lol. I still feel guilty. And it annoys me that I can’t just enjoy receiving help. Even when my husband helps me I feel guilty. How crazy is that?  Maybe one day I can get rid of Mr superwoman complex. Probably won’t be today though.

You gotta keep ‘em separated

So goes the Offspring song. But this post isn’t about gangs, but groceries. I imagine there aren’t tons of people in situation – adults living their parents or in-laws. But it causes tension. A lot of tension. When you try and merge two households suddenly you go from one queen bee to two queen bees. Now instead of cooking for one family there’s two. All with different likes, dislikes, and habits.

As you can imagine, this can cause a lot of fighting. Proper groceries not being bought, money wasted on what one queen thinks is unnecessary and the other considers essential. Multiple meals being prepared because both families prefer different things. One husband loves vegetable meals and the other doesn’t consider it a mask unless it’s “meat and potatoes” and won’t eat bean soup. After time this builds up a LOT of resentment between the families.

However… think of this – a lot of roommates buy and prepare their own things. Why should “roommate families” be any different?  So thus is what I’ve done. We have two refrigerators and two deep freezers already so this is fairly easy. I have told the kids they can only touch our refrigerator. Also we’ve split up the pantry. Highest two shelves for the in-laws, lowest two shelves for me and my family. That way the kids don’t have to climb to get to their food and the in-laws food IS out of reach. One spice rack for the in-laws, one for me. After all, we would naturally go through more of some things like salt since I prepare more food from scratch and am cooking for a larger family. Other things, like cumin, I almost never use whereas the mother-in-law uses it all the time. Easiest solution is just to split up spices and purchase individually those we need.

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Now the next bit might seem crazy and obsessive but hear me out. I split up the cookware and Tupperware into individual cabinets. One for me and one for the mother-in-law. Why you may ask?  Well it’s easy. Let’s say I plan to make a coffee cake and a casserole in my bake ware but my mother-in-law has used my dishes for some of her own cooking. This is going to cause a fight, butter feelings, or hidden resentment. The solution is that as much as possible we use our own stuff. Plus the added benefit is this is that I’d she doesn’t wash her dishes it’s easy to tell which ones are hers at a glance!

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We’re just now implementing this system but I think it will resolve a lot of issues that have been building up. I won’t have to be upset that my in-laws don’t like sourdough and they don’t have to worry about my monthly allotment of flour, sugar, butter, milk, and cheese!

It might seem crazy to have to do this but you think about it, it makes sense. We’re two families living under one roof, not one big family splitting rent, no matter how look at it. This gets rid of the pecking order issues in the kitchen two. Each matriarch is responsible for her own family!  Hopefully I won’t have to live with my in-laws forever but until the point where we can get our own place this is an excellent compromise!

You Might Be a Mother of Boys If…

Thought I’d make a fun post based on some of my observations of my wonderful little boys. They make me laugh, they make me pull out my hair, they warm my heart. So here’s is a small list ala “You Might Be a Redneck”.  I call it “You Might Be a Mother of Boys If…”

* You have to say the word wiener (or equivalent) more than once a day. “Pull up your pants – no one needs to see your wiener”, “Don’t put your wiener in that toy”, and in the bath – “Keep your hands on your own wiener boys!”
* Your children naturally know how to grunt and growl without being taught how
* Your boys are sitting side by side, arms around each other, and big goofy smiles on their faces because they’re best buddies but ten minutes ago they were screaming at each other and chasing each other around the house trying to be the last one to punch the other
* You hear “clomp clomp clomp clomp” down the hallway as your boys race each other around the house wearing their shoes, away from which they cannot be parted
* Your house is pretty much filled with screaming all day long – be it screams of anger because they’re fighting or screams of glee because they’re having a great time
* Farts, poop, burps, and pee are not only hilarious but they are requisite topics of conversation every day
* Additionally phrases like “pee pee poo poo doo doo Jordan” are the most hilarious jokes in the world
* Getting your child to color in his coloring book is just as difficult as getting him to NOT color on the wall
* Upside down is the preferred method of conversation
* If he isn’t the one allowed to fetch your coffee cup, or get you a baby wipe, or tell his uncle it’s dinner time, then your boy will literally throw himself onto the floor screaming as though he’d broken his leg, but if you then hand him the cup to let him give it to you last, then it’s all smiles again
* EVERYTHING goes in the pants pocket. Doesn’t matter if it’s solid or not.
* No hesitation when it comes to stomping roaches. All you need to say is “Kill it! Roach!” And then you have an army of bug stompers
* You realize that your children can in fact speak in tongues… but only when they’re really mad. And it’s not really a language so much as a humongous string of gibberish
* Your children have a line of thinking that says “bite first, ask questions later”
* Picking up his younger sibling and throwing him on the floor seems like the perfect response to the younger brother taking the toy the older brother wanted. Conversely, pinching two handfuls of back and biting the shoulder seems like a valid response to that.
* Asking to drink “baby milk” when he sees his baby brother nursing is absolutely hilarious. Bonus giggles if he sees the baby milk.
* Beating up dad is both a fun game and a bonding experience
* You are their favorite person. Nothing better in the world than giggly kisses and hugs.
* His first reaction to being reprimanded by you is to crawl into your lap and cry because Mommy makes everything better
* Bedtime and naptime are both the ultimate peak of hyperactivity, resulting in amazing acrobatics, not even seen in circuses
* No electronic in your house is safe. It will either be used, broken, or dissected.
* Finally – if you turn your back, all food and drink you left unattended will be gone when you get back!