Incarceration Status

Do you know how hard it is to convince someone you are not incarcerated after you accidentally told them you were? I do. In February I realized my pre requisites for the lpn to rn program were due to expire in the coming year. I made the choice to reapply to school and finish what I started before I lost it all. I don’t have the money to do this, one course cost me approximately $900-$1500 and that doesn’t include tuition. My single income household with 3 growing children cannot survive an expense like that. So I applied for financial aid. Two weeks ago I got the news that my prayers had been answered and financial aid would be provided!

I started making preparations for what is to come. I turned my resignation in for my beloved wound care position and requested to work the weekends. I enrolled in my courses, sought out the different options for my end result career, looked at pre med and clinical research options in case that is where I end up, and then I completed some final questions for my financial aid. Unbeknownst to me I made a small error that turned into a big problem! I plead insanity. I was in a pure state of delirium having worked the night shift before and misread a question that asked if I was currently incarcerated. I answered yes.

What the…

My financial aid came to an abrupt halt with red bleeding all over my beautiful white application. I tried to explain to the financial aid advisor that I was not in jail and that I thought the question asked “are you willing to go to jail?”… to which she wanted to know why I was willing to go to jail. Listen lady I’ll do whatever it takes at this point, don’t judge me.

After I repeatedly stated my claim to confinement was indeed false, I finally found a way to resolve my error. It will take some time and I had to pay out of pocket for this semester but it will be a memory for the books.

If I need to go to jail to finish school then so be it!

In the midst of all the confusion I said a prayer that God would help me be prepared for what is to come. Not even 5 minutes later my mom walks in my front door with a huge black duffel bag. She says it’s a 3 day survival kit for 5 people. She got it for me in case I ever have to make a quick get away. While I may have done a belly laugh, I have always fantasized about having to make a quick get away so I enjoyed it. Then I thought back to my prayer and did a double take at the heavens questioning what God has in store for this next adventure of mine. This story is to be continued…

My get away bag!

To the soon to be new mother

You’ve got the glow. Everything is exciting and it should be. The veterans wants to give you their opinions and tell you what you need to prepare yourself. You haven’t hit the nesting stage yet, you’re still in the honeymoon phase. I can tell because I just read your baby registry and there are multiple car seats, pack and plays, cribs, themes. I’ve always withheld giving my opinion, usually I’ll just give an eye roll at the other veterans who tune in and want to tell you exactly what products they used to care for their little one and that it’s the “right way”. Don’t believe that trash. The right way to do it will be the way you do it. I do however want to tune in to your baby registry and give you some dos and donts to save your nesting self from your honeymoon self. Go ahead and open that registry, look at the car seats (do this on both your registry’s), decide which one you want and eliminate the others. This may be the part where you post on Facebook asking why people like them or their opinions, I don’t have an opinion on that… as long as the baby has a car seat that is safe then kudos. Next do the same with the cribs, and the pack and plays.

You can’t see it but I’m panicked, I forgot to pack nail clippers and she had already started scratching that sweet face up!

Now let’s chat about the bottle and pacifiers, I see you’ve got multiple brands. Pick one. Preferably one that will provide gas relief, they will be more expensive. You can go with the cheaper brands but you’ll have to add manual labor and time in its place because you’ll have to burp the air the bottle doesn’t filter out of your babies tummy. I don’t know about you but my time is more valuable than money. You may think why do I have to pick one? Because these little babies are picky suckers, literally. Once you give them a bottle or pacifier, that’s the one they will want forever and if you want to change brands revisit my sentence that talks about manual labor and time. You will have to rock and soothe the little addict as they make the transition for days sometimes weeks. Some will not even attempt to eat if the nipple isn’t right and then you’ve got a hungry addict on top of that. Again do your nesting self a favor and narrow down that baby registry to the brand of bottles and pacifiers you want and add multiples of the same brand. Look at the nipples on the bottles and pacifiers and try to match them… trickery will be your saving grace while you prep those 2am bottles.

Took me until the 3rd kid to realize the same bottle brand was the key to a happy meal for baby

The honeymoon phase isn’t all bad for your registry. Go crazy on the clothes and sizes, add all the diapers you want, wipes, the decor and neat little inventions mankind has created for the new babe. Those are the things where it’s okay to be extra, but when it comes to the essentials know what you need so those things get taken care of first. As a veteran myself, I, like I’m sure other moms do, look at the essentials that are still left on the registry and then go from there. That’s hard for me to do if I see multiples of the essentials on your registry so narrow it down momma! This will be your greatest adventure yet, let me help you prepare for it 😊.

It’s would be a good idea to remember all these things are temporary. Buying the most expensive brands and products should only come into play when it is beneficial to your child’s wellbeing, like gas relief bottles and car seats that are safe. Sure we all want the stylish outfits and accessories but they only last a season, choose where you spend your money wisely because unexpected cost WILL arise when your child gets sick, loses their bottle, diapers, the formula you use and have stocked could be the wrong brand for the babe and you may not produce enough breast milk, etc… so keep those hidden cost in mind when you want to splurge on the expensive nonessentials. Like the baby baths… non essential. A towel in the tub with a little water works way better than any bath and your child will never out grow it. Of course these are just my opinions and I’m a frugal mom so to each his own.

My brother Jo and I were talking about my skills one time so that I could start a business. I asked him what he thought I was really good at and he drew a blank… he finally said, “the only thing I think you are really great at is being a mom”. I could’ve been offended by that, as I value my other creative skills, but if being a great mom is my top skill then that is possibly the best compliment I have ever received! I am here for you if you need generalize advice but if you come at me with monogrammed momma problems then insert eye roll here and move along.

There’s uncle Jo!

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.

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.

Confessions of My Broken Tiara

I’ve never owned a pursue. The thought of having to keep track of a thing that holds my other things is exhausting. Have you ever tried to run with a pursue? I haven’t. Although, I’ve tried to run with a kid on my hip before and it’s not easy! There’s this thing that holds other things that won’t get you dead in a parking lot with a creep, it’s called a pocket. You can run with pockets, I do it ALL the time! And jewelry? Meh. I have a total of 9 piercing. I don’t know why. I can’t remember the last time I wore so much as an earring. My dad taught me that’s the first thing an attacker will go for in a fight. Slice my ear lobe in half? No thanks sir. I won’t give you that opportunity. I blame my dad for my fear of putting on the jewels. He made it seem like I’d be attacked a lot more as an adult.

I wore the same pair of tennis shoes to work for 10 years before being peer pressured into buying another. Shoes are expensive. I don’t even like wearing them. Church shoes are the worst. I’d rather be a woman of the Amazon and run barefoot throughout life. These new shoes should do me for another 10 years.

I’m not a cooker. I try. It doesn’t turn out. Probably because I’m not a big fan of instructions. I have an album on my phone titled “burnt food”. My wall fire alarm has been crippled with a hammer and the fire department has been summoned several times. You may be wondering how I’m surviving in the adult world. I’m wondering the same thing. Lord help any man who thinks he’s settling down with this princess.

Dinner’s ready

I am extremely proud of my flaws. It’s the reason for the imperfect photographs and post about failure. They make me human. I smile when I fail because I know already I’m going to try again until it’s perfect! Isn’t that the point of having weaknesses? To try again until it’s a strength? I’ll be perfecting my weaknesses with a fire extinguisher close by.

I may sound like a hazardous plain Jane. I’m not. I wear makeup. My daughter even commented on it the other day saying, ‘It’s not 2004 mom, what’s with the eyeliner?’ Well kid it’s 2019 and I hear they’re still selling eyeliner so step off.

I wear perfumes, lotions, smelly good stuff. I love candles and the smell of cleaning chemicals. Normal feminine attractions. Sometimes I even brush my hair. I’ll confess, I don’t brush my hair everyday… hurts my arm. I need to lift weights to manage this untamed Chewbacca like hair hosted up on my scalp.

Do you ever look at someone and think… that person right there would never survive a war… I say something similar when I go get a wax, I think… man I’d never survive a beauty pageant. These rituals normal females go through is like being a prisoner of war. It’s slow torture that doesn’t end. Painful shoes, bras that have wires stabbing you slowly in the rib cage as you walk, ripping the top layer of skin off repeatedly with waxing strips… slow and painful torture… just put me in the front line of this war and be done with me.

I admire those women who have all these qualities, you are all amazing for accomplishing these things routinely! I’m not ashamed that I don’t, I don’t like to. We are just different folks! It’d be boring if we were all the same right?! So while I’m admiring your qualities, respect mine. I won’t buy your makeup, or your thirty one bags. I pretty much have to force myself to enter a regular store let alone purchase something online. Seriously, I sit in my car for about 20 minutes debating on if it’s essential to walk into the grocery. I want watermelon but I don’t want to go inside, it’s a hard decision. Don’t waste your time on me, I’ll support you and tell people about your products but I’m not buyin. You do you boo boo.

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.

My Bathroom Fiasco

I thought demolition would be the hard part.  Man oh man was I wrong!  It took us a good four hours ripping my surround shower tub combo out. We used different saws and hammers to break it apart and then carried it out in chunks. The guys helping me capped the water off so that I’d still be able to use the sink and what not.  Let me state this now,  if you haven’t followed my previous blog we are all winging this!  None of us have ever redone a bath before and we have been prepping ourselves with YouTube videos and advice from people we meet!  On that note, my ex husband does drywall for a living and offered to handle that part.  He is also a compulsive liar and it’s rare for him to follow through with anything he says.  Thursday was our demolition day, my ex was supposed to drywall Friday, and then Saturday we would tile.  It’s Monday morning and here I sit staring at the unfinished wall in my bathroom.

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I’ve decided that after my morning class I am going to come back home and finish the job myself.  Heck, I watched him do it… he measured the wall, cut the hardie board with a razor and then screwed it to the wall, how hard could it be?  That’s only one of my dilemmas.  The other dilemma is that facet.  I think the guys helping me rigged it in the bathtub because it is not holding up well.

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It’s not centered and there is a big gap between the tub and the facet. I’m having a mini stroke just seeing it, and imagining how in the world we are going to fix it. If ANYONE, ANYWHERE has advice for me I would greatly appreciate it!!!

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.

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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.

Four year old grown up

Mornings are the busiest part of our day.  As I rush around reminding each kid of what they have left to do to get ready, I try to do various house chores.  I usually clean when I come home from work or school but throughout the night the kids get up and roam through the kitchen, Hailee may have an accident and change clothes, they secretly create a fort… whatever the case, there is always more work in the morning! A few days ago while we were in our morning rush my 4 year old daughter Hailee decided to change her clothes and leave them in the floor.  Fet up, I told her that she needed to pick her clothes up and walk them to the laundry hamper.  Then I continued to lecture her about how she needed to start taking care of herself because no one was going to clean up after her when she got older hahaha, I realize now how crazy I sound.  Well it turned out that Hailee took my words to heart.  Yesterday she made her own lunch, cleaned up her own messes all day and then she decided to make me dinner.

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She calls it lettuce soup.  It has celery, fruit loops, and milk in it.  She stood there with this super excited face just waiting for me to take a bite. So I did, I really did.  Oh my goodness, the things we do to make our children happy.  Needless to say, I won’t be giving Hailee anymore lectures until she learns her way around the kitchen.

Bathroom renovation

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Do you see that awful blue bath tub?  That’s my only bath tub and after 50 years in has finally given way and cracked at the bottom.   As you know I’m a single mom so paying someone to replace the tub is too expensive for my tight budget.   I had a lowes contractor come out and give me a quote on the labor which was $5,000…. um yikes!!!  The bathtub I found to replace it only cost $300 so that means if I can tear this thing out and replace it using YouTube videos I’d save money that I don’t have to spend.   I know it’s an awful idea but it’s pretty much my only option.   My friend Jacob offered to help although he has never done this before either.   Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! I spent my Saturday looking at tile because Jacob has a tile cutter and said we could easily do the shower walls with that.  We found this amazing place in Crossville, TN that will sale pallets of tile for $35 bucks!  The employees that worked there were super chill and offered to give me a great deal on this tile I liked for 10 cents each.  I hit the jackpot!  I’m going to spend the next few weeks researching out how to do this project and then update how it went.