Tooth Fairy or Not?

If it feels like you are doing something wrong then doesn’t that mean you usually ARE doing something wrong?! Well… that’s how I felt pretending to be the tooth fairy this morning. I felt deceitful. I felt sneaky. I felt… so alive. I’m starting to question my true calling in life. I could’ve been a spy. At approximately 6:03am my preset alarm went off notifying me that the tooth fairy needs to make her exchange. I, being said tooth fairy, entered operation sneaky mode. I tip toed into the next bedroom over trying not to breathe too loudly. Stepped on something wet in the floor, *please don’t be pee*, reached my hand under the sleeping child heads pillow annnnd… nothing.

I retracted my hand. Blinked to improve my night owl vision, and rubbed my hand on my pajama pants to stimulate my nerve endings so that they may be able to better detect said tooth. Then, for the second time I went back in. Ducking my head to the side, just in case sleeping beauty awakes. Nothing. “Where the heck is your tooth you rotten kid?”. I exited the room feeling a sense of defeat, grabbed a flashlight and went back in. This time from a different angle. “How are you sleeping through this? And where the heck is your pillow case?!”. Questions that will all have to be answered at another time. I let the light shine to the side of her face while examining the bed, careful not to beam the sucker in her eyes. And then I see it… I see a closed hand, tucked securely under the pillow. Oh dear, mercy!

This is what I have to work with

“So you wanna play hard ball, huh?” The things I whisper to my sleeping child as I’m trying to rob her of her baby teeth needs to be recorded somewhere. I turned the flash light off and wiggled my finger into the palm of her hand and found the TOOTH! Made my secret exchange and went back into mom mode. I turned on all the lights and told the girls to get ready for school. The kid didn’t even look under the pillow. Not even interested. I had to coax her to it. I did all of this, for an ooooh yeah, I forgot about that. Meh. I love you anyways. This tooth fairy may have just made her last run.

The Veils of Morality

I’ve heard that death is as easy as walking into another room. That there is a veil between this mortality and immortality. There is a sacred symbolic meaning behind the veil, it can mean obedience, modesty, concealing, humility or all of the above. I want to share the oddest dream I had the other night that changed the way I viewed the veils of our mortality.

I dreamt I was walking into work. It was quiet which is unusual for a nursing facility, there were no other employees, no call lights ringing off, and every patients room had a white veil hanging on the entrance to the doorway. In most of my dreams I can not talk, rather I feel what’s happening. I felt at peace in this one and continued to prepare myself to treat my patients. I approached a doorway and felt a voice ask me who I was. I’d describe it as a telepathic conversation as my mouth never opened but I answered with, “I am Annabelle”. The voice responded with the same question, “Who are you?” After a revolving Q&A with the same results I finally took a step back and thought there is a patient in there who needs my help and I am a nurse. The mystery voice said, “You May enter”. I stepped through the veil and only found the patient inside, no security guard at the door… it was odd but I didn’t question it. The patient was angry at me, he was asking why I took so long and why I hadn’t come to see him sooner. I wanted to respond with, “my child was sick and I’ve had a stomach ulcer so I’ve been out of work” but the voice in my head said again, even louder this time, “WHO ARE YOU?!”. I answered silently, “I am a nurse”. I felt a change internally, the stressors that control my time outside of that room quickly dissipated. I was no longer a woman who had only 4 hours of sleep, a sick child, a crippling stomach ulcer, or a single mom with bills racking up. That woman was not permitted into this room, only the nurse in me was extended an invitation. My response to the patient changed to, “I apologize for my absence but I am here now, how can I help?” The angry mood shifted as the patient allowed me to treat his wounds. I finished up and stepped back through the veil. As I entered the hallway I was Annabelle again, I was a mom, a painter, an adventurer, and a nurse all in one. But each time I approached the door to another room the same question was asked before entry was granted, “Who are you?”.

As I woke up I started pondering the dream with the veils. I thought about all the doors I walk through each day and the person in me who was permitted on the other side. When I come home am I bringing the stressors of work with me? Or am I stopping at the door and asking myself who am I with the response, “I am a mom”? Am I doing the same at work? It’s an interesting concept when I sit back and think about all the mortal doorways we each have in our own lives, with that invisible veil that only allows a part of us to enter. What have you come to that doorway to do? If it’s to give excuses when you get to the other side then take a step back and remind yourself who you are before you cross.

When I walked into work yesterday I couldn’t get the image of the veils out of my head. I believe the dream came about to remind me of who I needed to be in that room, and who I needed to be at home because I couldn’t be both. The hard days I have at work do not belong in my home with my children and the hard days I have with my family at home do not belong in the room with my patients. I thought to myself yesterday before I entered each room, “Who are you?” and that changed my entire day.

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s law is a cute nickname my kids have gifted to me, especially on vacations. I secretly love it. Kali, my 13 year old, says what’s weird is that when things go wrong like way wrong, I laugh about it. Yeah, I guess I do. Why not? I think it’s funny that crazy weird stuff happens… I’m the person who tries not to laugh when you trip in public but I am also the person that would help you up. Balance baby.

The girls have already started in on chanting “Murphy’s law” this fall break. Mind you, last fall break beat the books for all my cursed vacations. We were scheduled for a beach trip which at last minute we had to cancel and rebook for another beach because the red tide showed up, we arrived at the new beach and upon booking we were evacuated for a hurricane… decided to then drive to North Carolina to flee the hurricane where we were met with a tornado. It was like a sequel to final destination.

This time around we booked a tipee and vintage camper for our fall break just outside Gatlinburg. Little did I know my girls have never been camping in their lives. They were terrified. I had 3 kids stacked on top of me during the night, spooked about every little noise in the woods, and spiders… no ma’am. I made a fire around 4am to keep us warm and get some water boiling. A dog who lived on the camp site loved to run full speed at us anytime he heard us going to the outhouse. Full speed. Pitch black night, 7 year old walking in the woods, full speed running dog. She thought we were being attacked by a bear and clinged for dear life against my leg. There was also a kid on the site. He wore a black suit. In the woods. I didn’t have a good feeling about that… why was he wearing a suit?!

We left early morning and headed to their dad and stepmoms hotel to brush our teeth and get ready for the day. I decided that camping is clearly out of their comfort zone and since it’s vacation for these ladies it should be fun. So I cut my losses and rented a cottage instead. The kids have never been so grateful for running water and electricity in their lives!

We are settling into the new place. I even made breakfast this morning! And I only dropped the food ONCE. Tonia made it in late last night and after a night in the woods I barely had the strength to greet her while I was sunken into my memory foam mattress hahaha. I’m hoping the curse of Murphy’s law that follows me so closely will be lifted for the remainder of our vacation,and if not it will make for a great story 😉

NANNY MCPHEE WOULDN’T LIKE THIS

I love how my parents always made me feel free. I know right now if we were able to pick our own parents before this life that I would have picked mine over anyone else on this planet. They always made us kids feel like we could do anything we wanted as long as it was legal and not too dangerous and even then during the teenage years we walked on the edge of that line. I never realized how amazing the feeling of freedom was until I went through relationships and roommates and such that had rules and regulations… those are the worst. I don’t like rules. I don’t like waking up and feeling like ‘this is what you have to do today, and this is how you have to do it’. Have you ever heard that phrase, “choose your battles” when raising your children? My parents were experts at this. They didn’t focus on a military uniformed household, they instead chose to step in when it came to our safety. I could’ve woke up in the morning at 10 years old and decided, ‘I think I’ll give my wardrobe a make over’, start painting my shirts, cutting my sleeves, bedazzling my shoes… and my parents would’ve smiled and told me it was interesting. Mind you if I didn’t like my artistic work, I would’ve had to live with it because we only went shopping for clothes once a year haha. And that is something I have actually done.

When I would tell my friends at school some of my daily activities their mouths would drop open and they would say things like, “your parents let you do that?”. Well yeah… I mean I didn’t ask, but I didn’t get in trouble either. My 7 siblings and I used to do all sorts of things that you’d probably bust your kids hind end for. We used to make biscuit dough and throw it against the chimney to see who could get theirs to stick the highest, play volley ball inside, collect random animals, cut each other’s hair, paintball and firework wars, build forts and zip lines, make a slip and side in the kitchen floor with dish soap and water, carry our mattresses outside and jump through the windows onto them… you know things that would give your parents nightmares. Nanny McPhee would’ve needed some extra magic to subdue us. I didn’t feel like I ever had a bedtime. I didn’t feel like I needed permission to go out into the woods or walk to the neighbors. I didn’t ask if friends could come over or if I could have this dog I found. Sure we had chore lists and the consequences for our actions came from themselves and not my parents, like cutting our own hair was humiliating, no need for further punishment there, or having the chore of cleaning a room we just massacred. The freedom of choice did not come with the freedom of consequence but I’m glad my parents allowed us to learn from our own mistakes instead of forcing us to learn from theirs.

Perhaps it’s why I live the way I live now. Spontaneous trips and random projects. Creative and free. I planned to spend this week in Salem learning about the witch trials, only my flyer mile points don’t come in until the end of the week… meh. So instead we decided to visit with family and do a road trip, which at the last minute turned into a trip to the smokies. I don’t mind what we do, as long as my girls and I can spend time together, I’m sure we will make whatever we do interesting. I’ve been to the smokies countless times, that’s one of the reasons it wasn’t my first choice. I don’t want to relive the same vacation time and time again. I’m an adventurer. I need to explore and do new things. Then I started thinking, we don’t have to stay in the same cabin/hotel, eat the same breakfast and have the same vacation just because it’s the same place we’ve been before… we can do something different in this place. I’ve asked my sister in law who is meeting me there to brace herself for what we are about to do. It will push her comfort zone to the limits… it will test our survival skills… it will be glorious. It is camp grits. Our home away from home for the week.

Isn’t it lovely?

The girls and I will start our journey today and Tonia will join us tomorrow. Gives us an entire day to set up booby traps to keep things interesting for when the gang arrives. The facilities are probably my favorite part, you have to ask the host in advance to bath in this bath tub that’s out in the woods… that way they can light a fire to warm the bath water 😂. Stay tuned for an update on how to not only take a last minute trip with your family but how to do it on a budget! The total cost for this beauty is less than what the average nightly rate is in the Pigeon forge/Gatlinburg area. Even with the added cost of bug spray and fire wood! Let the adventure begin.

“That perfect Broken part of me”

I’ve always been a lover of broken things. I could enter a store and see all of these perfect pieces and the one thing I’m drawn to is the only thing tarnished, broken, unique. Sometimes I try to fix it or keep it just the way it is admiring the beauty of the imperfections. I think we spend too much time looking for the perfect thing, place, person, life… when life is perfect imperfect. Maybe the obsession with that picture perfect life is an association with cleanliness. When I think perfect I think clean. Clean is peaceful. Broken things can be clean.

I haven’t posted in my blog for almost a week. My goal was to do daily updates, but this past week I have made a dozen drafts and withheld publishing any of them. I’m saving them for later. I think one of the most helpful things to do in times of trial is to write them down, get it out on paper or type it out, as long as it is out of you. Removing that energy you want to rid yourself of.

This past week I took some time to myself to try to alleviate a decision I’ve made. I know it’s the right decision but it doesn’t make it any easier. I took a spontaneous trip to the middle of no where to visit with nature, old cars, good people and creepy baby dolls. It’s called old car city in Georgia. When I saw pictures online I imagined this place being packed with people and hoped I’d make it early enough to have some space to myself. I stayed most of the day and to my surprise the place was desolate. Imagine taking a trip to an abandon amusement park and having the place to yourself, that’s what this paradise was like. I shared the wooded area with only the creatures within, saw squirrels and a deer between the haunted vehicles. The untouched cars had trees growing inside of them along with the debris of the forest. It was incredible!

My sister flew home over the weekend for a final visit before she deploys. She is soaking up every minute with my girls and spending the days with my mom, siblings, and friends while she is home. We went to the pumpkin patch on opening day and played on all the attractions like little kids, went on a hayride to retrieve our pumpkins, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire before getting lost in a corn maze at night. I felt like I was on vacation as well. I’m working towards a schedule that will allow me to have more time home with my family. Time is important to me and spending it slaving the days away from my littles isn’t optimal. I miss this. Sometimes when I sit back and take a good long hard breath and look at the bigger picture I feel the best part of me is not being projected in the right places. I’m going to change that.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, he says, “We would do well to slow down a little focus on the significant & truly see the things that matter most”. I believe that. If we stay so busy that we miss those significant things in our lives then we are far busier than God intended us to be. I was able to accomplish several things I put off for months in one extended weekend I took off work. The dresser I rescued months ago has a new life now, my daughter has a new hair cut, my house is feeling more like home again and my time with my girls feels renewed.

I felt guilty for wanting time for myself this week. I spent the first few days worrying about all the people who would be upset of my absence. But the more time I had to reflect on things I realized I wasn’t just wanting time for myself but I needed it! There is nothing more important than self care, if you don’t take time to care for yourself you CANNOT care for others. I am blessed to have people in my life that respect that and allowed me this peaceful break! You all rock 😉

MAKE THE FAIR GREAT AGAIN

Since when did the fair become so slummish? I remember going when I was younger and it being similar to a ballgame experience. The smell of hotdogs, games being played, face painting, adults walking around holding their children’s hands with their khakis and fanny packs. Happiness in the air. I went to the fair this week. It’s one of those yearly experiences that I now dread. If I didn’t have children I wouldn’t go at all. The smell of cigarettes mixed with body odor and popcorn is on my top list of most hated smells. The carnival workers try to lure people in way more aggressively than your average mall salesman. Everyone walks slow as if they have been put in a trance by the illuminating attire selected by the townsfolk. The fair in the south is almost like a high school reunion, this is your moment to shine. It’s the time to wear brave eye shadow and break out the daisy dukes. The goal is to show up looking as if you are auditioning for a job as one of the carnival workers. I saw lots of belly buttons. Talked with people who had alcohol on their breath. Prison tattoos galore. Fair tip: wear all the jewelries, hairspray with starch ironing spray, all the makeup you own should be on your face and neck (this is very important), and lastly if your clothes fit then it’s too large… get in your daughters closet and find you something more fair appropriate 🤪

Best part of the fair is watching their faces during the ride 😂

I stood in 45 minute lines with kids who decided to show their rear ends since their parents weren’t around. Obviously human trafficking is no longer a concern for the parents around here, however the way those rotten kids were behaving I would place my money on the parents hoping someone would dare snatch them up. I’ve never in my life seen children yell out at elderly folks in such a manner that made me contemplate jail time for child abuse. I’m not sure my kids would behave any different if left unattended in a social environment among their friends, trying to impress the lot of them with their imaginary adult power but I would hope not. I have taught them well enough by example that our elderly move slower and hear harder, they require a immense amount of patience. I guess if they aren’t moving fast enough in a group of eager youth that permits them to yell out derogatory slurs as they push their way around them… never in my life.

Aside from all the late night carnival chaos, going during the day to visit the exhibits and food booths is quite pleasant. The crowd is much different. You have space to breath while the nightshifters are at home in dress rehearsal. I was able to visit with an old friend for a few minutes, bought some wizard wands from a booth under the grand stand, and picked up some fair food. The craft booths are my favorite! I love to study the pieces these people create and take notes on how it was done so I can go home and trial it myself. I always make sure to grab a business card too so that if my memory fails, I can look them up and study the details later.

Author of little things

IMG_4164My kids love to create stories.  I often wake up to small drawings such as the deathly hollows symbol above, as they like to take the drawings and create another story.   My favorite thing to do with my kids is to let them hear new music.  Instrumental music from movie soundtracks are our favorites!  We take the long way home every time we fall in love with a new song. Each of us take turns telling a story to what we see with the music.   They have become experts at creating these elaborate short stories!  So I have decided, this is the year I write their stories down!  I want to make a book for them to keep.  I’ve never done this before and I’m sure I’ll have to have someone proof read and edit it but I’m excited!  To me it doesn’t matter if these books sale or go big, I am doing this for my girls.   I want them to always remember and cherish our time spent together.

Death becomes him

img_3649Last night I watched my dad die again.  I relive the same event several times a month via dreams.  I see him laying on the floor in his office, my mom panicked over the top of him and my brother struggling to get to him.  I’m at the end of the long hallway and I’m screaming dad, as I run but I can never seem to reach him.  It always ends the same.  He dies, and then he comes back to tell me to stop watching him die.  I can’t.  I don’t know how.  It’s carved into my memory.  It’s hard to go to sleep at night, out of fear of how I’ll awake.  My dad was stronger than the Incredible Hulk, smarter than Iron Man, and he could beat Chuck Norris up all while painting his toe nails with me as we listened to Britney Spears.  The trauma of finding my hero wounded and dying has not left me even after 6 years.  My dreams have become the only place I can meet him, where I seek counsel and guidance….  If only that sweet reunion would end in a peaceful goodbye.