Most Frequently Asked Question

Originally posted on Living, Loving, and Leaning:

Since Andrew was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on October 29, 2014, the question I get asked the most is…What were the signs?

On October 17, 2014, I had Andrew and Isaac in our pediatrician’s office for their well child check up.  They share the same birthday, September 15, so they also share appointments.  :)  My three boys had not stepped foot in a doctor’s office in over a year.  We went from June of 2013 until October 17, 2014 without the need for a doctor.  I know, unbelievable!  Both Andrew and Isaac checked out fine during their well child check up on the 17th.  We’ve had the same pediatrician for 10 years.  She’s great and I think she sensed something but there was no real evidence.  She noticed during Andrew’s exam that he had a large bruise on his knee and asked him where he thought it came…

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Why are we meaner when we sit at our computers?

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Why are we meaner when we are at our computers? Why do we feel like we are 7 feet tall and invincible behind the screen?

I’m member of several community groups, military wife groups and author groups. I have sat at my computer and watched these groups post. Post after post, after post. Someone will ask a question or make a remark and they get trampled. I mean run over. You say green, and the entire goes after you because they love red. I thought the Mommy Wars were bad enough, but this crazy.

These are regular people. People with a lot of time of their hands apparently. They sit in these groups all day, and just attack each other, call each other out, try to embarrass each other, and hate on everyone and everything.

At first I thought it was just young people. I thought “these people are kids and immature.” But some of them, a lot more than I thought, aren’t kids. They aren’t even adults in their early 20’s, (whom I would still consider kids, but aren’t technically). They are grown adults. People in their 30’s, 40’s and some even older,….married, parents, knowledgeable and seemingly nice, well nice looking….until you say something they don’t agree with, which is almost everything.

I don’t understand why hiding behind your computer gives you the right to attack someone. They cuss and just go after each other, back and forth, back and forth. The language used by some of these people is disgusting. My husband is an actual Sailor and he doesn’t even talk like these people.

Then there are the people like me who just sit back and read it all because after all it is entertaining. These sites are like Kim Kardashian. They are addicting, time consuming, very entertaining, but you just know it’s going end in a train wreck. Some posts start off slow. Things seem ok, everything is going fine. Then someone makes a comment and it’s like flies on poop.

I just don’t understand it.

I think it is a combination of having too much time on their hands and not having to look everyone in the eye. If they had a life, business of their own to tend too and had to make their comment to the person’s face,….I think a lot of these “bad asses” would cower.

Bring on the New Year! Five things I need to change in 2015

2015I don’t know if  I believe in making resolutions. Statistics show that most people give up on them by mid February. I have made resolutions before about losing weight, being healthier, to stop biting my nails and stop cussing. Well I have come to a stalemate in my weight loss endeavor, I still bite my nails while I watch TV and read, and I cuss like a sailor.  I do, however, believe in reflecting on the past year ans trying to make the new year better.

So I have put together a little list of 5 things that I need to work on in 2015.

1) I need to stop posting and talking about myself so much. Honestly no one cares if I work out or go out to eat. I see posts (and post myself) about what I am wearing, who I saw today, what I eat, what my kids are doing, and if my house is clean. I have to remember that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and my blogs are ways to keep in touch with family, friends and followers. These social media sites are not my personal diary. Not only do people not care if I work out or not, it isn’t safe to post every move I make on the inter web. (Yes, I wrote inter web)

2) I have to get rid of the guilt. I feel guilty all the time. I feel about not spending enough time with my kids, spending too much money, not doing enough at home, not seeing my family enough or seeing my family too much. I feel guilty about wanting or doing anything on my own, if I skip a workout, if I eat a bunch a junk, taking naps, or wanting a new car. I let guilt determine most of the things I do. I let people and actions make me feel guilty all the time. I have to learn I can’t please everyone. It will never happen. I have to please myself. I have to make things work for me and stop feeling so guilty.

3) I have to learn to say “No”.  This goes along with #2. I say yes all the time to things I don’t want to do. I have to learn that it is ok not to do everything I am asked to do. I don’t have to make everyone happy if it makes me unhappy. I need less stress in my life and learning to say No will help.

4) I have to stop taking the bait! Social Media, News outlets, friends, and other blogs try to bait me all the time. They post about the “Mommy wars”, parenting issues, political things, religious issues and how to raise my kids, schools, and anything else you can think of to argue about. They want me to take the bait and comment, so someone else will comment, and someone will else will share. My opinion isn’t the right one for anyone else but me. I don’t have to comment or share my opinion with other people who don’t agree with me. I can keep my opinions to myself and keep on doing things the way I want to do them. I can read an article or post and move on with my life without letting the world know how I feel.

5) I have to taking my friends posts at face value and comparing my life to them. I get on my computer and see pictures of friends running 5k’s, going on cruises, taking their kids camping, or even just going to see a movie…..and I am jealous, then I go take a nap. I feel bad that I am not running the 5k too or going on a cruise. I feel guilty to not taking my kids camping. I instantly look at other people’s lives and feel like I should be doing something else with mine. I can’t compare my life to others. I have to live the best life I can and learn to be happy for others. Or delete them.

favorite day

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Mommy Wars!

mommywarsWe have all seen them and some of us (guilty) have participated in them. The Mommy wars. The media incites them, and then they sit back and watch while we go at each other. We spout out our proof positive methods on things ranging from breast feeding to home schooling, and tear down any other mothers that don’t have the same exact opinion that we do.

If you don’t breast feed you don’t love your children.

If you breast feed in public you are offensive.

If you home school, you want your kids to have a life without friends and no social interaction ever. You also probably make your own clothes and butter.

If you don’t home school your kids, you must want them to die in a school shooting, be forced to eat the unhealthy food they serve and only be taught to pass tests. Oh, and you have no religion.

If you let your kids sleep in your bed with you, you can’t control your kids and must give in to their every whim.

If you don’t let your kids sleep with you, you’re a monster and probably have them chained to their beds.

If you were able to drop the baby weight soon after (less than 2 years) having a baby, then you are motivated and healthy, but also body image crazy and self absorbed.

If you haven’t managed to lose the weight yet, and your kid has started school, (mine is in 6th grade), then you’re lazy and unorganized.

If you work outside the home, you should have never had children in the first place!

If you put your kids in daycare you must want them to be neglected, and learn about gays and sex at the age of 4.

If you stay at home with your kids then you must not be a high school graduate, have no skills what so ever, have no real ambition of your own, and wrap yourself in your kids lives.

These are just some of the ridiculous Mommy Wars we all read about. I hate them. I see them posted on the Today show website, GMA website, local news, even CNN. Most of the time I roll my eyes and don’t even read the article because I don’t want to read the comments. I don’t want to see how women are ripping each other to shreds. But other times, I just can’t help it. I click on the story and get sucked in. I even find myself typing out a commit to someone who didn’t do things the way I did or has put down the way I did it. A few times I hit post, and just add fuel to the fire. Other times, most of the time, I hit delete and move on.

The truth is, I’m a mother of 2 kids, (hence the name on the blog), I have done some things as a mother that worked and I have done some things that backfired in my face. There have been times I liked trying to figure things out on my own and other times when I was ripping my hair out that I needed help. I don’t know everything. I will never know everything. I am not an expert at being a mother and I do not pretend to be. My kids are 11 and 7, and I still learn new things every day. I struggle. I need advice. I need support.

There are ways to help each other without ripping into each other. We can offer opinions or advice and not make each other feel like crap in the process.

We have to support each other. Being a mother is hard. Making a person inside your body, then getting it out of your body (drugs or no drugs,…another Mommy war), taking care of it, teaching it a few things, and trying to make it a good person is hard. We need help. Doing it alone would be awful. I need the help of friends, other mothers and fathers, teachers, coaches, preachers, and other children. (Watching or listening to kids talk is a great source of inspiration) It really does take a village. Just because you chose to do things with your kid that I don’t do with mine doesn’t make you better or worse. It just makes us different.

I am a firm believer that we all do whatever works for us. I see friends post things all the time and I want to scream and virtually shake them. They complain about something they could have control over but let the kid run the show. But unless they ask me for advice or help, I keep quiet. I try to keep quiet. Sometimes I fail and for that I apologize.

If your things work, good for you. I applaud you for finding a parenting thing that works. But that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

All I am asking is to take the advice from Dalton, (Patrick Swayze) in the movie Road House and “just be nice”. You can give your opinion without being bitchy or ripping someone else up.

Please know that the media loves it. They put these stupid things out there to get us going. They know there tons of moms out there who can’t hold their tongues and love to argue. They want us to rip each other apart. So don’t. Don’t play into it. Try, try, and try harder to restrain yourself. I know it’s hard. Like I said, I fall for it myself sometimes. Thankfully I have friends that call me on my stupidity and pull me back in.

Not that your opinion is stupid, but arguing with a computer screen is stupid. You are not changing opinions by ranting on a computer. The women that read these articles and comment already have strong opinions. They already have a plan, they either breast feed or don’t, they either put their kids in daycare or don’t. You aren’t going to change minds. All you are doing is adding fuel the fire and it doesn’t need it.

I would love, just once, to see an article about another Mommy war and when I click on the comments there are none. Zero. Just 14 thousands likes, but no comments. One can dream. mommy-wars1

First Day of School 2014-15

After a very long summer, saying goodbye to family and friends in Virginia, driving across 6 states to my husband’s new duty station at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri,….my kids finally went back to school! As you know, this is the best time of the year for me! Shane of course didn’t want his picture taken.

 

1 He gave me one good one in the front yard,…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2   and I took anther as he walked to the bus. I hated riding the bus as a kid. I was picked on and I always sat right behind the bus driver, who never did anything about it. I wanted to go to the bus stop and take pictures too, but I knew I couldn’t do that without embarrassing him. So I bit my lip, and watched him walk down the street. He is the oldest, but he is still my baby. Starting a new school in the 6th grade,….I did the same thing when I was his age. I wanted to go with him and be with him when he went to class, but I had to let go. But I knew I would waiting on the porch when he got home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hailey on the other hand, did her usual first day of school photo shoot for me!

 

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It wasn’t until she got to school that she started to look a little nervous. At first she didn’t want me to walk her to class, but after we got there, she said, “Mom, don’t leave me yet.” We walked to class, and she held my hand the whole way. I remember the feeling of starting a new school after my parents divorced when I was 12 years old and I moved to another state. My heart broke for her. It would have been so much easier for her (and me) if her big brother was in the same school, but with 4 years apart that will never happen for them. 8

When she made it to her class room, she saw her teacher and was told to put her stuff in her locker, which she was very excited about. I asked if she was ok and she said, “I think so.”  I wasn’t convinced and wanted to stay with her as long as she thought she needed me. But then she said, “Ok, one more picture and then you can go.”

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I knew with this smile, this was my sweet girl and she was ready. I wasn’t ready, but she was,…so she gave me a hug and I let her go!

 

 

Happy School Year!

Road Trip

On July 9th my family and I started our long drive to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. My husband is in the US Navy and he will be stationed there, working as an instructor, for the next 3 (maybe 4) years.

We started out at 6:30am and headed North toward West Virginia. I had warned the kids that this was going to be a very long drive. I told them they needed to be prepared to be in the car for hours. I charged there portable DVD players, packed movies, made sure both had games downloaded on their tablets, I bought coloring books, a “Where’s Waldo” book, 6 different card games, and a few activity books for each of them. I figured they would sleep a lot, but I wanted them to have things to keep them busy.

12My first, “How much longer?” or “Are we there yet?” came about 4 hours into the drive. My daughter had already started to get antsy. I told her we had quite a bit longer to go and she seemed ok about it. Well it helped when I told her we would be stopping for lunch sometime. At this point it was only 10:30 in the morning, and I was sure we weren’t stopping until after noon, but she didn’t need to know that. I figured she would go back to sleep and she did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told my husband if it was at all possible I really wanted to stop at the state lines and take a picture. I am a scrapbooker and I wanted to document the trip. I knew it was too much to ask to have him pull over and actually let us go do something touristy in every state, so I settled for the state line signs. But I added that if there was a lot of traffic or it was just in a bad place, which most of them are, not to worry about it.

7We hit West Virginia maybe around noon. My husband very abruptly pulls off the side of the road and I panicked thinking something was wrong. Then I saw the sign. This was the only sign I was actually able to stop and take a picture of.  There wasn’t a lot of traffic at this point and there was somewhere to pull off the road. That wasn’t the case with any other sign.  Personally, I think there should be a sign that warns you about the state line sign ahead. So yes, I am admitting to you that the rest of the pictures in this blog entry are a fraud! But they will still be included in the “Road Trip” layout of my scrapbook.

 

 

 

Have I ever mentioned that I hate driving next to 16 wheelers? No? Well maybe I should have mentioned that to my husband before we moved. Driving through the hills of West Virginia was like a nightmare for me. Twists, turns, ups, downs and 16 wheelers on every inch of it. I couldn’t get the speed right, and when I did we started up a hill and I had to hit the gas so my little car could make it. Not to mention that on every twisted turn there is a sign warning you not to go very fast, and also for the truck drivers to slow down because they could turn over. A sign I don’t think the truck drivers have seen. On every turn I panicked thinking the big truck next to me was going to fall over on top of me.

To top it off there were 2 tolls! I actually had to pay to go through this roll coaster that kept my stomach in knots.

6After we stopped for lunch somewhere after the hills that were definitely not alive with the sound of music, it was mere minutes before we hit Kentucky. Upon entering Kentucky it looked a lot like West Virginia, which looked a lot like Northern Virginia. That is until we hit Lexington. Again I wish we had stopped. The city looked like fun and it was very nice to see something besides hills, interstate, and fields. 9

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t look at the map my husband had outlined of the trip, so I really had no idea what states we were going through. But for some crazy reason I thought Kentucky was it before Missouri. The kids and I were so excited when we hit Kentucky. We thought this was the homestretch and we would be in our new state soon. I wanted to stop, but I was excited to get to our destination. I also figured that living in Missouri for the next 3 years, I would have plenty of time to drive back and forth and stop.

5At this point the kids were getting antsy, but they were still being good. Every once in a while I would get a “Are we there yet?” from Hailey, and when I said no, she would go back to sleep or take out her book of activities. It didn’t take very long to drive through Kentucky and I was shocked when I saw the Indiana sign. Even though I have already admitted to being a fraud with most of my pictures, these are the actual signs that I saw. I made sure when I stole these off the internet I stole the signs that I actually passed.

Indiana was well,…it went back to fields and hills. We had stopped for gas a few times and lunch, but other than that we had been in the car since 6:30 that morning. When we hit Indiana it was late afternoon. We were all getting tired. It was probably around 6pm when I called my husband and asked him “Are we there yet?” He informed me that according the GPS we had about 4 more hours to go. If it up to him we would have kept driving all the way. If we didn’t have the kids with us, I would have been all for it, but they were tired of sitting in a car, my butt was dead, and I was getting hungry again. So we stopped in Evansville, Indiana to get some dinner and spend the night. IN156A1

 

 

 

We were only staying for one night, but we took enough stuff in to stay for a few months. Each of us had huge suitcases, a separate suitcase for all of our toiletries, and then of course all of my husbands guns. Yes, instead of taking them apart and shipping them with the household goods, we took with us. He didn’t want to leave them in the truck, but I had some issues with taking what looked like an arsenal inside a hotel. So we put them on the bottom of the bellmen’s cart and loaded the suitcases on top. I hoped no one would notice. I don’t don’t think anyone did, or if they did they didn’t say anything.

IFThe next morning we got up early, got some breakfast and hot the road again. According the GPS we would be in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo by 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Indiana was a lot of green or brown fields, as was Illinois.

Things didn’t start to change until we finally hit Missouri. St. Lois came up fast. We went from fields of nothing to city just like that.

3The Welcome to Missouri sign was very small and I almost missed it. The city looked amazing and very exciting. I am so happy we live only 2 hours from it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just after we passed the Missouri sign, we passed Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play. I did actually take that picture!

 

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I saw so many things I wanted to stop and take pictures of or go and do. But like a child, I was just ready to be there already! We were finally in Missouri and I just wanted to get there. After the city, we went back to the interstate, and we started seeing those hills, and green and brown hills I had grown so fond of. It was about 2 hours after we left the city when we stopped again. This time, to show our ID’s to the gate guards.

 

 

Welcome to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri! My new home for the next 3 years! 2

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