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 😉

Motherhood Madness

Breakfast is free at my kids school. It. Is. Free. I don’t like to make myself something early in the morning when they haven’t gone to school yet. So I usually wait or pick something up on the way to work. However this morning I want to make it to work on time and I prefer not to be hungry so I pop some quick cinnamon rolls in the oven for the girls while starting some simple eggs and toast for myself. The girls venture into the kitchen like little birds, mouths wide open, stumbling around and touching EVERYTHING. Of course they want what I have instead. Of course. I make more eggs. My niece is dropped off as her dad heads to work. I make more eggs.

Toast? I’ve made 10 pieces of toast this morning. Where’s the butter? I just sat the butter on the table… *opens fridge, pulls butter back out for the 2nd time*. Maleah (age 9) is fast walking around the kitchen as if she has places to be, grabs the butter and yells, “WHO KEEPS LEAVING THE BUTTER OUT!” Me kid. It is I.. the butter bandit. I’ve pulled out all the bells and whistles for the perfect ‘mom makes breakfast before school picture’. You know, paper bowels and plastic utensils, perfect for clean up 😉. But do my kids use them? No ma’am. They are savages. Straight up savages.

That toast ain’t even got a plate man

Remember those cinnamon rolls I popped in the oven at the beginning. They’re done now but no one is touching them. I ask my teenage daughter if she’s going to have one? She says, “No I only like cinnamon rolls made from scratch, not a can”… so now I’m looking around trying to figure out where in the Betty Crocker hell this chick thinks she was raised! Whose mom has been making you cinnamon rolls from scratch? Huh? Tell her to pull up and we’ll have a pancake challenge! I have a big spatula and can flip 2 pancakes at a time ✌🏼.

Straight from the can

With all the little bellies full, I start in on the pre school interrogation. “Do you have your teeth brushed, where’s your shoes, hair… fix your hair, grab the back packs, has anyone fed the dog?”…. “Mom, the dog killed a possum!” Kali says all panicked. “Well don’t give him any wet food today, just the dry food since he is already getting his wet food elsewhere today”. Kali looks at me horrified. *blink, blink* where do you think that wet food comes from kid?

The madness of motherhood is doing the same things over and over, expecting a different result, only to find the butter has been placed back in the fridge for the 4th time in less than an hour. Over and out.

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.

Let’s play a game

I was picking my girls up from school yesterday, asking them the usual how was school questions. My teenager for the first time mirrored that question back at me and said how was your day mom? Can you believe that?! What a dear. I choose to answer questions like this with the best parts of my day, or the worse parts. Who likes the same ole same “my day was good”… bleh. Those people are boring. What was good or bad about your day, I want details! I told her that I made a spirit stick out of highlighters and how I challenged my wound tech to a race, and how she tricked me saying she wasn’t going to race me but took off running towards the mirror ball on the ceiling… that sneaky girl… I love her. My daughter looked at me with a smirk and said, “that doesn’t sound like work, sounds like you played all day”… haha well yes, I worked but between patients I played a little. Why not? If you are having a boring or hard day at work, I guarantee if you sneak a game in there it will brighten your day up, make you laugh, and give you a fun time to look back on! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve pulled my flashlight out, turned it up on my face in a dark room, just to call the measurements of a wound out in a haunting way 😂. There is no age limit to stop playing games. Recently I was telling a friend about my day at work, he said ‘I want to work where you work’ haha well I’m sure you could make your own workplace a fun place to!

Actually photo of me at work

I just started watching that tv series ‘This is us’. How have I missed this show all these years?! I love it! Something I thought was the most incredible thing was when the family had an awful Thanksgiving. They were at a motel, gas station hotdogs, hot as hades and the kids were miserable. The dad turned the entire thing into a game! Reminded me so much of my parents! What could’ve been the worse Thanksgiving for them turned into a ritual because he made it fun! I’ve done that with my girls countless times. I even convinced them during a scary thunderstorm that I was in charge of the weather and would anticipate a clap of thunder, raising my hands as if they were magic wands and throwing them out into the world. Those fear stricken kids turned into laughing, cackling, amused little girls. I’m going to challenge anyone reading this to play a game today. You will thank me later 😉

Behavior Modification

You know that old saying, “People don’t change”? Well that’s incorrect. Before posting those memes or quotes do yourself a favor and fact check them. Who said that? Were their words evidence based? What credentials does the person posting hold?

I testify that change is possible. The relationships you have can be mended, whether with your children, spouse, coworkers, friends, change is possible. You also have that extra tid bit added onto the saying, “people only change if they want to”… hmmm. That’s part of it but it’s only a half truth. People can change with a nudge in the right direction, encouragement, support, advice, and most of all RESPONSE!

One of my very favorite movies is War Room. If you haven’t seen it, add it to your watchlist! The story line is based on a married couple who are in the thick of it, constantly bickering, forgetting why they ever got married in the first place. An older woman comes into play to counsel the wife on how to create change in her relationship. The thing that happens here is that the counsel given to the wife was to change her own behavior. She had to change the way she acted and responded, she changed her life and worked on herself before her husbands behavior followed. And if it had played out another way she could’ve just left high and dry with her new found self. I think this is very wise information. No it doesn’t work every time, but it’s the best fighting chance for that change to happen.

Find it, watch it, live it.

If we have people in our lives that have continued behavior that effect our own lives, our response to that can change everything. I once went through a behavior modification course to work with people suffering from developmental disabilities. We were taught how to modify their behavior because most came from rough situations and displayed negative responses to situations, such as self mutilation when they felt they had done something wrong. The system for correction was categorized by cognitive function. I took this information home with me and practiced it on my own kids. It worked! It included praise, correction, consequence, and a way to respond to the situation in the future.

I feel like we too often forget our children are still learning, they need to know how to respond to future situations they are disciplined for. Instead of doing this do that! The way we respond to behavior displayed can change EVERYTHING!

It also works for behavior we want to see more often too! I remember being a young girl and having to do chores, one night I wiped the kitchen table off. I wasn’t expecting it but my mom walked by and said, ‘You did a really good job cleaning off that table Annabelle!’… you better believe that for the next week I cleaned that table every night even if it wasn’t on my chore list because I was the best dang table cleaner in the house! Praise the behavior you want to see more often. Change the way you respond to negative behavior, provide correction and consequence when need, and give an alternative for future mishaps.

Too much estrogen in here

Four females in one house… FOUR! Let it be known now that I used to pray for 10 kids and I wanted all girls. What I didn’t know I was getting at the time was all my dang clothes missing. Where’s my makeup kids? Has anyone seen the hairbrush? Why are you crying… why are you angry? What emotion is that?! Is that fingernail polish on the mirror? Oh honey, those are waxing strips not stickers, eeekkk!

Ignore the fire alarm on the wall… I smashed it with a hammer.

My washer malfunctioned last week and so on Sunday when my amazing self fixed her right up I did TEN loads of laundry! Ten loads and this morning I wake up to not 1 but all my kids prancing around in my clothes.

The kid told me to buy those pajama shorts cause they made me look like Kim Kardashian… I see your trickery kid… well played 😑

You may think well you have little Maleah and she into sports and picks up hulk mask at stores to chase people around, almost all her friends are boys and she’d be the first to tackle anyone messing with her but the girl has an extreme feminine side. She cries while watching full house, loves to model and has a very nurturing personality! Don’t let her fool you, I’ve seen her scavenging through my stuff… nothing is safe here.

Look at that sweet ball of emotions 😭

And who the heck is this Jo Jo chick with the big bows? Why do we need all her stuff and why does it all look like something the 80’s puked on? Kali, on the other end of the spectrum wants all this Billie Eilish crap, blue hair, baggy clothes… mom can I get my nose pierced… no ma’am. Then I get the clap back, well you have your nose pierced! You don’t want to have this fight with me kid. You won’t win.

We comprised on a Jo Jo bow that wouldn’t push her head off her neck.

I couldn’t tell you if boys are any easier because I have none. However I grew up with 6 brothers and I feel like I escaped death on a daily basis. A friend of mine has boys and has sent some photos of daily activities like climbing up trees and sorts, it gives me angina… go on girls, you go right ahead and paint that bathroom mirror to match your toes, I’m cool with it now.

Thanks for reading my morning mom rant. I know I’ll miss these days when they are off to college, living their adult lives… or perhaps I’ll be sitting on the beach writing a novel without the worry of the neighbors calling the police for a domestic violence dispute over the screaming sounds of little children fighting over who was looking at who first. That was the longest sentence I’ve ever wrote.

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.

The losing battle of the single mom

Restraining kids to their beds isn’t an option is it?  I need advice on how to keep my 4 year old from leaving her bed at night that also allows me to achieve a sane number of sleeping hours.  I told her that she could no longer sleep in her older sisters bed.  I want her to start sleeping in her own bed each night.  I spent an entire weekend painting and remodeling her room for her, I bought a bed, dresser, and a nightstand with a small tv.  The kid has it made, I slept in a sleeping bag my entire 2nd grade year and I didn’t have a dresser until I bought one when I was 18.  But does any of that matter? No.  She sneaks out of her room every night and crawls into her sisters bed.  I’ve tried to guard the door, I caught her twice last night but she is a night owl and always out last me!  I resulted to threats last night, I told her if I woke to find her in her sisters bed she would be punished.

img_3680

I woke up, went straight to her room, No Hailee?  Go to her sisters room look in bed, no Hailee?  Small heart attack, as I catch a glimpse of a small people on the floor.  It’s Hailee, sleeping in her sisters room on the floor.  I’m losing this fight.