Jayden’s Morning Conversations……. With my mom?

Jayden scares me sometimes. In the early mornings before I go and get him out of his room, sometime after daddy leaves for work, I hear him in their chatting up a storm. Before I never really put too much thought to it, because he shared a room with Zechariah. In our new house, they don’t share a room any longer.

The last week or so, Jayden has been talking, and while I stand by his door for a minute or two I hear what he’s saying. It’s not his normal pretend play talk with his cars, or stuffed animals, it was a conversation with someone. This is what I heard before I opened the door:

Jayden: “I know, I try to be a good bubby, but Yack (Zech) is mean to me. He take my toys I like play (to) play with. He hit me! All the time, he hit me!” …………(silence for a few seconds)………………. “Yes I did hit him back.” …………..(silence)……………. “(Be)cause he hit me first!I donut (don’t) know why he hit me, or taked my toys, but he does. I tell him to stop that.” …………..(silence)………… ” Will baby cookie (Colton) take my toys too?” ……………(silence)…………… “I donut (don’t) like being the big bubby no more!” …………………(silence)…………. “Okay, I try to. I love you to, kiss kiss. (blows a kiss).”

When I opened the door, I looked around his room very curious to see what he was doing, or talking to. This was a very on point conversation he was having, sounds a lot like conversations we have with him about being nicer to brother, even when brother isn’t being nice to him. I asked him after we got Zech out of his room, and started down the stairs, who he was talking to.

Me: “Jay bear, who were you talking to this morning in your room before mommy opened the door?”

Jayden: “I called(ed) nana mama.”

Me: “You called nana baby?”

Jayden: “Yes I did.”

Me: “Oh, which nana?”

Jayden: “Nana that lives in Heaven with my other pawpaw and the baby Jesus.” (Yeah, we are working on him learning that the Baby Jesus is all grown up now.)

Me: “Oh, you mean mommies mama? How did you call her?”

Jayden: “Yes mommy, your mommy, (be)cause I already saw my oder (other) nana this yesterdays, yesterday.” (More like Saturday, but okay, yesterday to him.)

Me: “Okay, how did you call her though?”

Jayden: “Like dis (this) mama. (Holding his thumb and pinky in a “C” form, like a pretend phone, and put it up to his ear.) Den (then) I said, Hello? Baby Jesus, is my nana der (there)?”

Me: “Okay, then what happened?”

Jayden: “Nothing mama, nana come on the phone and I talked(ed) to her.”

Me: “Oh, well what did you and nana talk about?”

Jayden: “(A)bout bubby being mean to me, and taking my toys and hurting me. He hits me mama, so I told nana he hits me.”

Me: “Is that all Jay bear?”

Jayden: “Yes, and mama, I don’t want baby cookie (Colton) to be mean like Yack (Zeck), and take my toys or hit me mama. Will he be nicer to me?”

Me: “I don’t know, we will have to wait and see when baby Colton is born and gets older to play. You know mommy and daddy are working with your brother to not be so mean to him right? And you know you have to not be so mean to him, and share so he’s not mean to you, right?”

Jayden: “I’m not mean to Yack (Zeck) mama! I (will) try to be nice to baby Yack (Zeck). Okay mama!?”

Me: “Okay, Jay Bear. I love you bubby.”

Jayden: “I love you mama! Now I go pee in the potty, okay?”

Me: “(laughing) Okay Jay. Go pee.”

 

Okay, so my son is apparently talking to my mother. Man, what a conversation this morning. Got to say, I love my stinker bear. What a smart boy he is! I’m honestly a little shocked by this. Anyways, I have a doctors appointment to get to now, I will have to catch up more later.

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Things at Christmas that just Tar my Feathers!

A friend sent me a message this morning regarding an article from Fox News insider with Megyn; you can see the article here: Megyn Takes on Secularist for Forcing Schools to Cancel Christmas Toy Drive.

There’s this group called the American Humanist Association (AHA), headed by the director Roy Speckhardt, who believes that Christmas Box Toy donations at School’s, that are backed and sponsored by religious groups, “proselytize” children. (Proselytize: convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.) He further goes on to say that “These gifts are gifts with strings attached” because Christian organizations placed religious letters/pamphlets into these gift boxes. He namely attacks Samaritans Purse, that sponsor and distribute the Operation Christmas Child Box project. He recommends that the schools use organizations such as the Marines Toys for Tots; which I guess he isn’t aware is also backed and sponsored by The Salvation Army, which is also a religious association.

I’m seriously APPALLED at this! You don’t have to be “religious”, or Christian, to understand that for some, Christmas, and Christmas time is about the Spirit of Christmas, of all things that are good. About Love, giving, thankfulness, etc. Where is their heart?

As far back as I can remember, our school had ALWAYS had a toy drive! We ALWAYS gave what we could, and support people! Shame on you American Humanist Association for, forgetting what Christmas is about! Those toys, and gifts for these children, signify that they are not forgotten, that someone, somewhere loves them. Children NEED that! Shame on you for making this a “religious” thing, when it’s far more than that! I am truly disgusted!

This is what is happening to humanity now, cold heart, greedy Grinch’s, who rob people of peace, love, joy, and happiness. Maybe they need a visit from the three Ghosts of Christmas to get a reminder!

America has forgotten what we were founded on, who founded us, why we left England. Although many will beg to differ, you can’t deny undisputed facts! “In God we Trust”, “One Nation Under God…” I think some Atheist have taken it too far. Unfortunately, some on all sides take it too far. We simply live in a time, where nearly everyone feels the need to be right, and that they are solely right, and anyone else who differs in belief and or opinion is simply wrong and beneath them. Sad times we live in. This is why people don’t know their neighbors, and why no one helps people anymore. I am truly thankful we found a neighborhood, that we know and love our neighbors already! Yeah, okay, so it’s a little stepfordish, but it reminds me of the “good ole’ days” growing up. Where I don’t have to be afraid to let my children out of my house, and I can trust my neighbors. I can hang a friggen Christmas Wreath on my front door and not bolt it into the door, for fear someone will steal it!

This isn’t about me though, it’s about this association, that wants to rob innocent children of one day, one day that tells them, they are loved, they are not forgotten, that they mean something. He wants to rob communities from helping those who are less fortunate. He’s not hurting himself, or standing up for “what’s right” or “separation of church and state”, he’s being a dang Grinch, and he ought to be ashamed of himself!

How is the Christmas donations ANY different than politicians on Capital Hill who have secret agendas? Who make tea party pacts, and sneaky deals and offers under the table. “Hey Joe from California, if you vote my way on this, which you don’t really have a huge opinion on, I will vote your way on that, which I don’t really have a huge opinion on. What do you say? Is it a deal?” If you honestly don’t think this, doesn’t happen, then you don’t know a politician, or you never paid attention to History.

A pamphlet with information about who God and Jesus is, in a box, that is sent to a child somewhere for Christmas, isn’t even nearly the same. It’s a piece of paper, that a child may not even likely read, or even look at! It’s not making a secret pact, it’s not forcing it down their throats, it’s no more than a piece of paper with Christian Facts on it. They can chose to read it or not. At some point we all chose to believe or not. How is that ANY different? It’s not. It’s certainly NOT like it’s sitting at the schools either! The schools simply have donation boxes. That’s it. The church does the rest. I certainly do not see any “proselytizing” going on Mr. Speckhardt! Your facts are vastly skewed, and you are simply the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. For YOUNG children, especially ones that know NOTHING or very little of God, and Jesus, Christmas is about Jolly Old St. Nick, Santa, in his Big red suit, belly of jelly, 8 tiny reindeer, a sleigh, and a magic sack of gifts. Shame on you from taking that from them, because of a piece of paper, they might not even look at twice!

Christmas is ABOUT giving! It’s about helping those less fortunate, as adults, it’s about the joy, laughter, and happiness on Christmas morning when the kids faces light up this world! It’s ONE day we can all come together and be truly gleeful! Why would you take that away? Just because some religious group backed up with funding, means, and the heart to distribute these items? I certainly don’t see NON Christian or even Atheist groups creating organizations to do this. You’ll be hard pressed to find any other group that is not Christian affiliated doing anything of the sort.  I don’t see you and all of your wealth offering to do it either! I certainly hope you never fall victim to hard times, but if you do, and you find yourself standing in line to sign your children up for the Angel Tree, (again backed up by the Salvation Army, a religious group), I would hope you think back to this “victory” of yours, and remember how you potentially destroyed Christmas for so many innocent children, who just want to feel loved, and not forgotten for ONE DAY! If this were oz, you’d be the cowardly lion asking for a heart. All your little shenanigans is doing, is making more Christians LIKE MYSELF, make a bigger stink, and a bigger stand and going even MORE out of our way to prove that you are absolutely, inconsequentially wrong!

The Christmas Spirit will prevail, with your without your Blessing Mr. Speckhardt, and it will be a blessed one, and we will find other ways, despite your soul-less heart. Remember. Take a lesson, and take note Mr. Speckhardt, you may have won a very small battle, but you have now started a war, that you will not win.

I feel guilty when I feel jealous, but I can’t help it.

I look around to all of these other pregnant women and mommies, and how they just float about their days. How they can go about doing meaningless things, like pay the bills, run to the grocery store, run to the craft store, or simply take the kids to the park; without thinking about how much time it takes, and if they still have enough time to be able to stand and cook dinner long enough? I often wonder to myself, in slight jealousy, as to how did they get so lucky to have such an easy, relatively painless, smooth pregnancies. How did I get so unlucky to have difficult pregnancies, where I’m constantly have morning sickness, and battle high blood pressure, and pre term labor; stuck on bed rest? I’ve heard the spell from the doctors over and over again, “You have an inverted, tilted uterus, you’re lucky to be able to have children.” Sometimes, there’s no real explanation, and I often wonder if my uterus is the issue or if it’s simply a cop out they all use.

I’m a hands on, active person. I run a tight ship in my home, everything clean and in it’s place. With the move, it’s been hard to even unpack. I have to sacrifice having boxes every where, just to account for time cooking, taking the kids up and down the stairs from night and nap times, grocery shopping. I’ve had to get special permission to photograph basically from my couch, and do my school and class work from home. I’m a photographer, with two little boys. I’m an explorer. It KILLS me not taking them to the park, or to the playlands at a local fast food restaurant. You’d think I would be use to it by now. It just seems to get harder and harder with each child. I want to so badly be at the train table, creating worlds with them, and pushing trains around their train table, or at the craft easel with them, drawing with chalk or white wash markers. More than anything, I want to get out of the house, and not worry about the amount of time I’m “Up“.

It started in 2007. Our daughter, didn’t give any indication that we were to have rough waters, or that anything would be worse than morning sickness. Bare with me, because we all know I don’t talk about her, or that time, often. I still can’t bring myself to do so. I believe partly because she is, and will only be my only little girl, frozen in time, and partly because I feel guilty or responsible still. I had been having terrible pain, I looked it up online, and it seemed like normal pregnancy pains. I even called my doctor once or twice and he assured me, it was normal pregnancy pain, likely round ligament pain, and not to worry. Just take a hot shower or use a heating pad. To which I faithfully had done. This pain went on for well over a month, then one day, a gush of bright red blood streamed down my leg at work. I didn’t even notice it at first, a co worker did. I had taken Tylenol that day to take the edge off of the pain I was having, so I barely noticed the same pain I had been having. When I finally saw the look on my co workers face, and looked down, I was in shock, I honestly couldn’t move.

I don’t even remember driving myself to the hospital. All I can truly remember, is the doctor coming in and telling me that my placenta had torn from my uterine wall, and that she was coming now. No one had time to even make it to the hospital, before it all happened. Somehow, the cord made itself around her neck two times, and chocked her. They were not able to revive her. After I was released, I was told I would never have children because of the amount of damage done. I was cold and numb to people for a long time. There were many people who didn’t know I was pregnant, because I kept it a secret, my boyfriend (now husband) and I were not in the best of ways at that time. I even lied about why she was no longer here to people. I told some I was never pregnant to begin with, and I told others I aborted. I can’t even begin to describe my thought process as to why I did that. I just can’t. I know I hurt my best friend deeply with what I did and said to her about it. All I can say now, was I that I was jealous. She got to go on and have her daughter, while I buried mine. I thought it was life’s cruel joke on me, and it’s way of saying that I could never win and be happy.

Then in 2008, my first son, to which I lost him too. That, is just as traumatic and painful as Elizabeth’s death was. I was alone with no help or support during that pregnancy, my boyfriend and I called it quits before I even knew I was pregnant. I ran away to Prescott and hid from the whole world. I dropped off the face of the earth. My Angel boy is no longer here. I had another early miscarry the first part of January in 2009. I had not yet found out what the sex was, until I mis-carried him. That was a turning point for me. I turned my back on everything, and everyone I loved. I was lost, and gone.

October 2009, three days before Halloween, I got an unexpected visitor in Prescott. He slowly brought me back to life. Than visitor was my now husband.

February 2010, after my boyfriend (now husband) made fun of my changing body, I took a test, two blue lines came up. I instantly fell to the ground crying. I was not prepared to go through another loss. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough. When my Scott got home from work, I showed him the test. We both cried together. We saw the doctor two days later to confirm the pregnancy, and that afternoon, we went to see my mother who was hospitalized, trying to figure out what was wrong with her.

We walked into my moms hospital room, and just announced we were expecting. Within minutes my moms doctor came in with another doctor. He asked for all us except my mom and step dad to please leave the room. My mother told them, that whatever they needed to say, could be said in front of her parents, and us. The doctor asked her several times if she was sure, and each time, my mother said, that she was more than sure. That’s when the devastating news bomb dropped. All I remember hearing was, “cancer”, “stage 4”, “max 6 months”, that she wouldn’t live long enough to see this child born. Well, you can’t tell my mother no, or she can’t, or she won’t, because she is a stubborn one, and will make it happen. My mom did live long enough to see Jayden born, and to see Zechariah born, she is not here to see Colton born.

At about 12 weeks, I was  having heavy bleeding, and a lot of pain. We lived in North Phoenix between Paradise Valley and Scottsdale at the time. My OB delivered at both hospitals, so when we called, he told us to pick one and go to the er. L&D would not see me, or admit me because I was less than 20 weeks along. The er told us that we were having an ectopic miscarriage. That all I could do was go home, and let it naturally occur, then schedule a DNC with our OB. I was devastated, and I just didn’t feel like it was the truth. I don’t know what pushed me to ignore what PV Hospital told us. The next day when Scott got home from work, we went to Scottsdale Shae hospital. They found our little peanut growing safely in my womb, right where he was suppose to be, along with a strong little heartbeat. The bleeding was simply a period!

Unfortunately, that was not the only pregnancy issues we would encounter with Jayden. Starting at about 24 weeks, I started having pre term labor with Jayden at least every other weekend, and sometimes every weekend. Those pains I had with Elizabeth were back, and this time, I knew that they were pre term labor pains. Every weekend it seemed like I was spending it in the hospital battling pre term. Scott  joked about it, it was his way of dealing with it, he didn’t like seeing me in pain, or thinking that Jayden was going to make an escape early. However, he did like the fact that only half a dose of pain meds, and they knocked me out cold for almost the next 24 hours. Eventually we made it to 41 weeks, and the doctor asked if I wanted to continue or if I wanted to be induced. I was happy that I made it through an entire pregnancy finally, but I still feared the delivery, because of the past.

On the day we went into the hospital with our hospital bags, pillows, birthing plan, and everything else, I told Scott and Dr Moos, that I was okay, and didn’t fear anything, and I was ready, but that we need to just pray that his cord doesn’t wrap around his neck. The cord being around his neck was my biggest and worst fear. Finally after two days of laboring, Dr Moos finally broke my water and about an hour and a half later Jayden was ready to meet us. After my first push, Dr Moos, lovingly, calmly, and firmly told me that no matter what urge I got to push, that I needed to just not push for a bit. I just thought it was protocol, and really thought nothing much of it. I didn’t see the looks my husband and Dr Moos exchanged to one another. I would learn later, after holding our precious little boy in my arms; and watching him sleep after going into a mama’s milk coma, that his cord did wrap around his neck. Dr. Moos ever so carefully unwrapped it.

I remember freaking out when Jayden came out, because I heard no cry immediately. Everyone pushed me back down and told me not to worry, they were going to clean him off real quick. Dr. Moos just gave me the look that nothing was wrong, but it didn’t stop me from freaking out. It took a minute, and then I heard it, I heard his little whale of a cry, and my heart leap out of my chest, and I felt my nerves all slowly relax. The next second I was holding him, and as he looked up at me. I remember thinking to myself, here is my little miracle baby. Despite what we had been told and been through, I was holding my child, my baby.

In 2011, the day after Jayden’s first birthday we found out we were expecting another child. I didn’t freak out as much, but I knew, just like before we were on a bumpy road. We found an amazing doctor, since we had moved to Avondale. Zechariah gave us his own dose of mishaps; like pre-term labor, which I expected that. Even though Jayden was here, I still was worried my entire pregnancy with Zechy. I kept thinking, surely we couldn’t get lucky a second time. That no one, who has been through what we had been through, ever got lucky a second time. Yes I wanted him to be a girl, but more than that, I wanted him just to be born alive, like his brother. Nothing prepared me for what Zechariah would put us through.

I was diagnosed with per-eclamsia, and we found out during my third time in the hospital for pre-term labor that my cervix was weak. I had to have a cerclage put in; basically they stitch your cervix shut. It’s pretty painful, at least for me it was. Labor pains would have been more welcomed than to have to go through that again. Every week, my blood pressure increased higher and higher. I was now diagnosed with eclamsia, and put on bed rest. Then my blood pressure would stabilize and I could return normal activity, then the next week, back to bed rest. With pre-term labor and that, it was a never ending cycle. One I wanted off so badly, but endured with relatively no quarrels if it meant that at the end I would hold a healthy baby boy.

It was a Friday, early morning appointment, my regular check up, and NST (non stress test). Of course that morning Zechy didn’t feel like moving much, nor practice breathing and I was doing the test for well over an hour, when he finally took a practice breath, and the u/s tech was satisfied that he passed that days test. Every week from about 30 weeks on, I was in the doctors office for this test. At first it was great because the re assurance of seeing him okay was more than enough, but then it became draining, and I even resented spending so much time at the doctors office. During the check up part of my appointment, the nurse checked my blood pressure three times, without saying anything, and then left the room quickly. She left the door slightly open, and I heard her talk to Dr. Shaw.

“Dr. Shaw? You’d better come check this out, I checked it three times, and I don’t know what’s wrong.”

Dr. Shaw walked in very calmly, asked me how I was feeling, I said, “Well, fat, hungry, tired, and 35 weeks pregnant, I guess I’m feeling as I’m expected to feel with a toddler at home, right?”

She said, okay, lay back and I’m going to check you over. Again, Dr. Shaw checked my blood pressure three times. I could see her calm face slightly turn into concern. “Hey, we are going to move you over to our monitoring room for about an hour, and hook you up to a few monitors, nothing to be concerned about, but we just want to keep an eye on you for a bit.” Is what she told me.

After 30 mins, she came back in with a wheel chair, and her nurse. “April, you are having a baby today. I’m having my nurse roll you across the catwalk into the labor and delivery department and checking you in. You’ve been having some contractions at about 9 minutes apart, and your blood pressure just keeps going higher. At this point, you’ve hit toxemia, do you know what that is and what that means?”

I don’t know what I said, or even if I said anything, because I remember Dr. Shaw explain to me what toxemia was. I do remember her telling me that I had the option of being induced and hoping that my labor went fast enough to birth him naturally, or I could have a c-section. I remember her telling me that she knew how important having a natural birth was to me, and that she is okay with attempting a vaginal birth, so as long as it went smoothly. That I had to have a constant drip of magnesium, and be highly monitored., and that they would give a shot to boost his lungs.

I heard all of what she said, but my mind was else where. It was racing to my mom, who at that exact moment was in chemo across town. My mind was racing to my husband who was in Scottsdale working. My mind raced to my mother in law who was making her rounds with her patients. My mind raced to my son Jayden who was at our house with grandpa, my dad; and how I told him that mommy would be right back and then we could go to the park. I remember thinking that I was only 35 weeks, and no where near ready for him to be born yet! I remember thinking I didn’t want to have a baby that day. I wanted to at the very least wait until the next weekend when my mom would have more strength and not be chemo sick. No matter how I justified not wanting to have him yet, I think I was more terrified at the thought of losing him, because he was pre mature, or having his cord wrapped around his neck. I was terrified. I could do nothing but cry.

I some how managed to text my husband and my mother in law. I got a message to my dad to let Jayden know mommy was sorry, and wouldn’t be home, but I promised to take him to the park when we got home later that week. I finally got a message to my step dad, to get to my mom. When my mom finally convinced my husband to come get her late that night to bring her to me, she couldn’t drive being so chemo sick and my step dad was at work; she was admitted into the hospital for chemo complications. The hospital and Dr. Shaw were more than accommodating, in ensuring the all call was played three times for her to hear it, and they made a way for them to bring her to my PP room to meet him. I did miss her in the room though. I needed her there.

Despite everything, Zechariah came out during a vaginal birth, with no issues. No cord around his neck; in fact he was bigger than his 41 week brother, and scored the same on his APGAR that his brother did. He was healthy, and I even got to reach down, and pull him up and out to my chest. I was the first to touch him, and hold him. Here was my second little miracle baby; perfect and healthy.

The week before school started this fall semester, we again found ourselves looking at two blue lines. We are expecting our little Colton sometime in the early Spring of 2014. Our due date is March 17th, St. Patty’s day. However, due to our pass history with pregnancy, the doctor is estimating we will have in in February sometime.

Of course I’m still terrified during this pregnancy. Of course, it’s complicated like my other children. This time though, it just seems harder. How do you tell your pre-schooler and your toddler that I’m sorry, mommy can’t take you to the zoo, or to the park, or even to a store or mall to walk around or play? How do you tell your babies, they can’t climb up into your lap and snuggle like always, because baby brother, Colton, aka Baby Cookie as Jay is already calling him, is causing mommy a great amount of pain? How do you tell a photographer, and an active mother that she is to ONLY be up for a limited amount of time, and that I need to lay down as much as possible? It’s killing me! I can only watch so many movies, which all seem to make me cry these days, and play around so long online before I’m completely bored out of my mind.

I try and sit and do sit down crafts with the boys, but it seems, that I have not been keeping a keen eye on my supplies, because I’m extremely low on everything, including scrapbooking paper/supplies. I feel like a caged animal.

I am grateful for the out pour of love and support, but I can’t help but to look at women who are having uncomplicated pregnancies, and being envious. Women who get to walk around proudly with their baby bellies, and kids, while I’m stuck at home, looking like a slob and a mess, stuck on a couch. =/ My doctor told me, that if I have another round of pre-term labor as intense as the last was a few weeks ago, then I’m hospital bound. I would so die! We have at least 3 months left (preferably four). To spend 3-4 months in the hospital on bed rest would kill me! Honestly it would! Because I’d be hospitalized at Banner Estrella, not exactly close to my home, my babies, my church/friends/community/family. I’d miss my babies!!! So, instead of not seeing them at all, I sit here, and resent the couch, and the house; because at least I get to see my babies every day, and I wont miss thanksgiving or Christmas with them.

I still can’t stop from feeling jealous of these other moms and pregnant women, having no issues. I’d LOVE one day, just one, where I didn’t have high blood pressure, where I wasn’t in pain, or having contractions, to just explore with my boys. I like getting dirty and messy with my boys. Playing in the dirt is fun! I’m sure they’d love to get out of the house, longer than a few hours to go to church. I know, it will be all for the best in the end, but I can’t help but to wonder how it would be to have a NORMAL, non complicated pregnancy. Just once, or even for a little bit. I just keep reminding myself that soon, we will hold our healthy baby Colton in our arms, and that will make up for all of this.

I feel guilty when I feel jealous, but I can’t help it.

Poop Painting Artwork

I’m really at a loss for words at the moment. My boys have pooped painted their walls, toys, beds, and each other before. They haven’t since we’ve moved into our new house. Well, until today that is! They are in separate rooms now! They no longer share a room, and I guess I foolishly thought it would cut down on the bedroom shenanigans. Today, those sneaky, quiet little boys painted their rooms in poop!!!! OIY! Now I had TWO rooms to clean, instead of just one.

The sick artist side of me wants to be slightly proud, because when I asked Jayden why he did it, he said, because he wanted to paint…………… If it’s any cancellation prize, when I asked him what he painted a picture of, he said it was an airplane, he made a really good picture of what looked like an airplane; I could see the propellers, the fins, the cabin.

I honestly didn’t know what to say, so like last time I made him help me clean it up. Zechy just is not coordinated yet to help clean.

HOW DO YOU PUNISH this????? He has to know that painting his room in poop is NOT acceptable! I honestly thought poop painting was over with for Jayden since he has been doing SO well potty training. Did they conspire to BOTH do this on the same day, during the same nap???

I’m ALL for creativeness and expression, but can’t he chose to express his artistic side with something OTHER than poop! IT WAS EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Luckily very minimal on the carpet, just a dad and it came out with no issues. My walls had to get a good scrubbing, and luckily it didn’t damage the paint too bad, not enough to be noticeable from afar.

Seriously though, how do you punish this??? Making him help clean it up did no good really, he likes to help clean.

Honestly I should start cutting chunks of my wall out, framing it and selling it. (JUST JOKING!) Would anyone buy poop paintings from a pre schooler? They are always looking for new mediums, right? Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!

They need to sell chastity belts for little boys, and name them the No More Poopy Painting Belts!!!!!!!

Putting my mind to dinner, can’t think of this right now. Maybe I can figure out a “creative” way to avoid this and punish this behavior while I cook.

“Drug Addicts, Are they scum? What do you think?”

Every morning, after I get the kids from their rooms, come down stairs, make their sippy cups, get them their breakfast and change bums, I sit down as they are eating, and eat my breakfast. I check my news outlets via my smart phone, and then I check facebook (sometimes) and a mommy site of mine. It’s sort of my Hello, wake up, since I’ve had to cut down on coffee, being pregnant. =/ Oh, how I miss my morning coffee!

This morning, there was a post, “Drug Addicts…. are they ‘Scum‘ What do you think?” After reading this women’s post, she apparently had made another post prior to this one, talking about her drug addict daughter, and how she was arrested, and how the women on this site were so mean and ruthless about her daughter being scum. That the evening news was even worse about it, because her daughter was picked up during a sting operation.

I felt for this women, not because I felt the nasty replies were less than legit, but because I felt for her pain of losing someone you love to drugs. I sat for a minute or so, before I finally decided to reply, with my two cents.

My family has been riddled with drug abuse and addicts, (thankfully never myself, I watched it tear my family apart and nearly destroy some of my good friends, and I never wanted anything to do with it. I did however go through a time of heavily drinking; a short 6 month period of time.) My parents were into drugs when we were young children, I don’t remember when they started, all I know is it was the foundation of their demise, divorce and set the wheel in motion for our family to be shattered into pieces. Although my parents both EVENTUALLY cleaned up, it was not without consequences. The end result was we, the three of us children, aged out of the foster system. Our file had been deemed return to parent/s for the longest time. Then one day, suddenly it was changed, to “State Ward.” There would never be a chance again we’d be a family. In fact we all three went to separate state run group homes. By the time they changed our status to “State Ward” from return to parent, we were teens, no one wants to foster or adopt a teen, especially those with significant baggage. I fought long and hard for the three of us to be as close as possible and to remain in our schools we had grown up in, because I guess I just knew somehow that we needed some sort of familiarity with our chaotic life. We needed our family, which were our friends that became our family.

The three of us and our friends were all of our family we ever had, for the longest time. I kept my private life quiet. People who had known me my entire life, had NO idea what I was going through. I feared they would NEVER understand. See, our school, our home was in a “rich” area. We went to Garden Lakes Elem, which was considered a rich school, very charged in extra circulars, sports, and academics. After all I was on the advanced track. I just didn’t think that my “preppy” (as other schools claimed us to be), friends, classmates, peers could ever understand my deep dark secrets. They knew I lived with my grandparents for a long time, but they didn’t know about the abuse we endured, they didn’t know about the hell we were living through. They could never understand that I was working full time to support myself in my own apartment, they could never understand that I survived off of two to three hours of sleep, to make sure I finished all of my advanced course homework, after work, which was after track/cross country/band practice. They simply wouldn’t understand that I bought my furniture from Goodwill’s, and was sleeping on a little pull out cot. That I barely had enough food to sustain me. They would never understand that I lived on 83rd ave and almost McDowell, and I had to walk half a block to the bus stop at 430am, just to catch the bus, to take it to the Glendale Luke Link, so I could sprint another half a block to make it to the school bus stop by 6:45am, just to make it to school on time. There were no city bus systems that went anywhere near my school, when I was in high school. For two years, my Jr and Sr year, I lived through this. I was too poor for a car. I had no one to buy me a car. I felt jipped, my friends were getting their cars for their 16th  birthday’s and having a blast just being high schoolers. I was barely making it. On occasion I went a week without electric living out of an ice cooler until I could pay the electric bill that pay day. I finally got an amazing job January of my senior year, and I finally was able to buy this junk car, I paid $500 for it, and it worked right up until the moment I could afford to finance my first car, then it literally blew up in my face. Only a few of my CLOSET friends knew ANY of this, they never dared to speak of my secrets. They never dared to mention why I left my home, my school, my friends/family for three months my freshman year, when CPS ripped us out of my grandparents home, because the abuse got worse, or how hard I fought to get back. They never pointed out my bruises, cracked ribs, bald spots on the back of my head from having being dragged by my hair, and so on. They knew my secret, but we never spoke of them, we just went on as business as usual.

Why do I divulge these terrible secrets that very few knew about me? Because the ball that rolled down the hill, that created this life for me, was set in motion by drugs, drug addicts. My life was ripped apart, I lost my childhood, even before what I just described, I lost my family, and I lost me for a while.

When I was 6, I had started 1st grade, no one was home to watch my siblings, and even at 6, I just couldn’t in good conscious, leave my siblings at home. I used to go to our backyard (We sublet ted a small apartment home on a farm property, that usually had no electricity) and pick a grapefruit, or an orange, and feed it to my siblings, before getting them cleaned and ready to take them to school with me. I would walk a mile with them to my school. Then I would hide them in the bathrooms, I swear the teacher must have thought I had a bad bladder or something, because I was checking on them as often as I could. I would sneak my lunch outside, behind the building and bring my siblings, and would feed us. Then back to hiding them in the bathroom until school was out. When we got home, I would find whatever I could in the house for us to eat for dinner. I did this until my brother was in kindergarten.

Why do I bring up these events? Because again, drugs made my parents forget they had three small children depending on them. We ate like royalty on the weekends my grandparents would show up and take us to their homes for the weekends. One weekend it was my moms parents, the next it was my dads mom and step dad, the following it was my dads dad and step mom, and on the fourth weekend, I would shamelessly call my aunt, or a grandparent and get them to come get us. I would sneak food home from their houses, so I could feed us. Once I walked all the way from 35th ave and Bethany from my moms house, to 83rd and Mcdowell, all night, with my two sleeping siblings in the wagon behind me, to my dads, who took us to my grandparents so we could eat, we had not eaten in two days. This is what drugs do to a family.

Honestly I can’t tell you why, at 5,6,7, and 8 years old that I did what my parents should have been doing. I’ve been told that if it were not for me, and thinking about my siblings, who were younger than me, then none of us would have made it out alive. A blessing and a curse. These stories, are not fairy tales, they are not stories, they are my life, they are true events, they really happened to me, us. I can’t change them, I try to ignore these memories and have even tried to completely forget about them, but I can’t.

So, when my sister started using drugs in grade school, I knew I had lost the battle. To her, it was easier to fall into that trap, than to fight out of it. I was wholly devastated when I learned she had gone to juvi the first time for drug possession. I tried and I tried to help her. I offered her a clean, nothing much, even had to share my bedroom with her again, apartment. She pulled a knife to my throat one day when I came home for lunch, because I asked her to move so I could get into the fridge for lunch. She was high and cleaning my title with a brush. I realized that day, that I could no longer help her. That the only way she was getting help, was if she wanted it, and she didn’t. I basically started to mourn the loss of my sister. Drugs, they change you, the people we used to know and love are not the same when they are doing drugs. My sweet, loving, giving, beautiful, Dr. Doolittle (female version) sister was a monster, that I no longer recognized. There was no hint of her left when she is on drugs.

I wanted NO part in that life, or lifestyle. I didn’t want to ruin my life, and be scumming for the rest of my life. I did the only thing I knew I had to do, I walked away from her, and I told her to never return until she was clean. I still sometimes mourn the loss of my sister, yes, she’s still here physically, in body, but her spirit, the person I knew and loved, isn’t here any longer, and hasn’t been for a long time. Truth is, she may never come back, not after over 10 years of heavy drug use. If my mother couldn’t convince her on her death bed to get clean, and I couldn’t convince her with her nephews, so she could be an aunt in their lives, then I’m afraid nothing will bring her back. For me, I know it’s not a question of IF I will get that call to identify her body, it’s a matter of WHEN. She has no desire to change, and I can’t help her or make her, until she does want to change. I can’t have that around my children, family or in my home though. So she knows she can’t come here. Things end up missing when she does, and that’s because she hawks it to get money to get high. She leaves for hours down the street to get high. I simply can’t have that filth here, not around MY INNOCENT children. They deserve a better life than I had. It might not be perfect, and they may not get everything they want, but they are loved, and every need is taken care of, and then some.

The last time I physically saw my sister, was this past Spring, she scared the living tar out of me. You could see every bone in her body. I was out working on homework for a class assignment. I figured since I was in the area, and had not heard from her since Christmas, that I would stop by briefly, just to see if she was still alive. When I pulled up, she excitedly wanted to show me something she had done. I had my camera on me, so I didn’t even think twice. Her druggie boyfriend, friends and her, had dug out under neath their mobile home and across the culd a sac to the drug lords house, a tunnel, and living space. It had “bedrooms”, a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, rooms where the meth was being cooked, rooms where the weed was being grown. The entrance was in the shed out back, covered by a heavy tool box, that they built stairs down into, that they CARPETED! Yes, seriously! She was so proud of this! Yes, it was ALL underground! From their house to the drug lords house. She was so pleased with her self that she decorated it down there. WHO in their right mind does this? I was shocked, and I felt like it was going to cave in at any time. I wanted out of there fast.

I cried all the way home. My sister was truly gone now. THIS is what drugs do to people!!!!

A drug addict, IS NOT the person we remember them to be, and they never will, until THEY chose to clean up. This was not my sister. This was a monster, in my sisters body. We really have not spoken since then. She just barely found out that we moved and are expecting a third son. Still, it doesn’t phase her. She will end up dead or back in prison. I’m just waiting for that call. So yes, do I think drug addicts are scum? Yes, especially when they are using. Because drug addicts are not the same people they were before the drugs. You can’t even call them your loved one when they are using, because they simply are not. Drugs change people, and kill the person we love. There is nothing you can do to change that.

I do plan on one day to tell my children about my life, and how drugs affected me, who never touched a drug, and how it took their aunt from us, how it killed my aunt. I do plan on telling them how drugs destroyed our family, on all sides. I don’t know when that day will be, or what exactly I will tell them, but I do know that I will be honest about it, and I will tell them, that drugs don’t just ruin and destroy the person using, they ruin and destroy those who love them. That my wish for them, is that they never touch one single drug, that if a friend offers, that it’s not “uncool” to say no, and walk away, because they will thank their lucky stars when they are older.

I have several friends who made it through drug addiction, and are WONDERFUL people today that I LOVE so much. The difference between them, and my sister, or other drug addicts, is THEY chose to change. It was a choice they made. No one could make that choice for them.

Sadly, this is how I feel, and what I think, based off of my experiences. I pray everyday that the Lord heal my sister, and remove the monster holding her hostage, and I pray every day that she chooses to come clean, and change. One day I hope she makes the choice before its too late, because I would LOVE IT if my children could have their aunt. My heart hurts, because although my husband and I over compensate to give them everything they need and some of what they want, they are missing out on some family. They have three awesome Uncles on my husbands moms/step dads side who love and adore them, and are always there for them. However, their only biological aunt, is not in the picture, their uncle, my brother is out of state, and trying to get back to AZ. Their other aunts and uncles on my husbands dad and step moms side, don’t even know them, and they don’t know their aunts and uncles on that side. It’s complicated. But it breaks my heart. The size of a family isn’t what matters, it’s the quality of the family. Between my dad, husband, my husbands mom and step dad, and my husbands brothers on that side, including myself, they are a very loving and high quality family dynamic. That’s the most I can ask for, to give my sons, the life I never got to have growing up.

I was able to break the cycle my parents fell victim to, and I have brought myself a LONG way from where I was. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty, but I did it, I accomplished a lot! I’m so proud of where I came from and where I am today. However, that doesn’t change what I feel about drug addicts.

Grocery Shopping Saving, My how I do it.

I guess it’s been said, and brought up to my attention, that I’m rather great at budgeting our grocery bill! I just am a penny pincher, and I do all that I need to, to save when I can. So to help a few friends out that have asked me how I do things.

 

First, I start with all of the local ads. I go through each ad, page by page. I list each store, and under each store I write down ONLY items we eat, need, or want to eat. Then I make a master list combining all of the stores. It looks something like this: (See below)

Fry’s:

  • Banana’s .39 cents /lb
  • Oscar Myer 8 count Hot Dogs 2 for $1
  • etc….

Bashas:

  • Milk $1.12 ea
  • Libby’s 14.25-16 oz canned veggies 4 for $1
  • Banana’s .49 cents/lb

Albertsons:

  • Chicken buy 1 get 2 free
  • Boneless pork chops buy 1 get 2 free
  • etc…

Then I do my master List of all of the stores. If there are duplicate items (normally there are, since I write down ALL items, regardless if it’s under another store yet or not) I ONLY write down the store that has it for the cheapest value. It’s NOT always necessarily the cheapest price, but it’s the cheapest value. For example this last grocery run, Hidden Valley Ranch 28oz was 2 for $5 at one store, and the 72 oz was $6 at another store. You have to break it down to price per unit. In this case, price per oz. 28 x 2= 56 because it’s 2 units of 28oz for $5. Now divide. 5/56= .09 cents per oz. Now Divide 6/72= .08 cents per oz. Sure it’s only .01 cent difference, however, that cent makes a difference in tax later. The BETTER value is the 72oz for $6.

So my master list would look something like this:

Grocery List:

  • Banana’s .39cents/lb @ Fry’s
  • Oscar Myer 8 Ct Hot Dogs 2 for $1 @ Fry’s C= .45cents off when you buy 2.
  • Milk $1.12 @ Bashas
  • Libby’s 14.25-16oz canned veggies 4 for $1 @ Bashas C=.50 cents off when you buy 5 or more.
  • Chicken buy 1 get 2 @ Albertsons
  • Sugar (I add items I’m out of and need, that I couldn’t find a price match for at the end.)

 

 

Second, I clip ONLY coupons from the newspapers, and my online coupon sites that we USE, and NEED. I don’t waste my time clipping coupons I may or may never use, or items we may or may never need. I have a coupon pile of un-clipped coupons, in case I need to go back and retrieve it, however, once those are expired, I toss them. I don’t like clutter, or things taking up space. You don’t NEED to be an extreme couponer, to use coupons effectively. My philosophy is, only clip what you will use. You may be wondering what the C= at the end of my master list above mean. Those are my coupons I have clipped. I match my coupons up to the items on my list. I will cross check my coupons with the ad match list, and again figure out what the BEST value is. Sometimes using the couponed item is the best value, and sometimes, it’s not. The trick with this list, is to remember that this list is ONLY a guide, it’s not an absolute. I’ll explain that more in a few steps from now.

 

Third, I meal plan. I make a month calendar, and I meal plan for the month. I make sure to include Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and snacks. EVEN if on the OFF chance we eat out instead of cooking at home, I STILL plan for every meal and snack. That way I KNOW I will have enough to last, and perhaps hold us over if I don’t get to grocery shop on time. My Meal Plan looks something like this (See Below):

Monday 11/19

B: Cherrios 1/2 banana

Snack: Gold fish

Lunch: PBJ Sandwich, carrots w/ ranch

Snack: Celery w/pb

Dinner: Pork Chops, baked potatoes, dinner rolls, green beans

I do this for every day of the month. Again I use this as a GUIDE! It’s not set in stone, and I don’t rigidly go by this schedule. It’s just a guide to let me know HOW much food I need to buy. If I want to have BBQ ribs one night, vs Pork chops, we are flexible enough to change it. If I’m not feeling well, then I have hot dogs we can do from another nights meal. Or if Our son wants Carrots instead of green beans, then we change it out.

 

Fourth, I price match and use coupons at Walmart. The Walmart by our house is a rural Walmart, and our food is not taxed, plus we get fresh food daily there, and prices are lower, than city Walmarts. Perks of living out in the boonies. =) This is where I use the master grocery list above as a guide. Let’s go back to the Hidden Valley Ranch from my last grocery list. We determined that the 72oz bottle for $6 was the best value. However, when I get to the store, I don’t just automatically grab that. I look to see if any other ranch that I know we will eat, has a better deal. For example: Great Foods Ranch (Walmarts Brand) was 36oz at $2.50 ea. Just do the math again. We know that the 72oz @ $6 is .08 cents/oz. So all we need to do is 2.50/36= .07 cents/oz. Yes, it’s LESS than the 72 oz’s, however it’s cheaper. You can get 2 36 oz bottles that is equal to 72 oz’s for a $1 cheaper, because it comes out to $5 instead of $6. You are getting the SAME amount of ozs as you intended to get, at a cheaper price. Don’t be afraid to try off brands. My husband was a Hidden Valley Ranch snob for a LONG time. Then the price of ranch kept increasing, and I said enough is enough. I’m getting what’s cheaper, and you’ll eat it or you wont. I try to buy the Hidden Valley Ranch when I can, if it’s the better deal, just for him, however, he knows, that if it’s not the better deal, I’m not getting it. You’ll be surprised how many of the off brands, and brands your not fully aware of, have no taste difference, or very slightly different. It IS okay to “splurge” every now and again, and get the “good” stuff. Just not as a habit. Now if Hidden Valley Ranch had a coupon that I clipped, I would have already figured it out with the coupon. I do clip coupons for all ranches, just IN case, the coupon and in store deal combined is better.

 

Fifth, I buy my bulk items from Costco/Sams club. Mostly hygiene, and baby items like diapers, etc. Sams club gives you MORE diapers in their box, for the same price that it is at Costco. However, you get MORE wipes in a box for a cheaper price per unit at Costco, same with Gold fish. (That’s why we have both memberships. I sat down one day and figured out how many diapers, and other items we buy in bulk, and then divided it all buy the cost of the membership. The cost of the membership is minute in the amount that we save. To buy half the amount of diapers from Walmart we pay 3 dollars less than we do at Sams club.) We typically only buy snack items in bulk, and hygiene such as toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, baby butt cream, diapers, wipes, sometimes canned food and boxed food items, if there were no good deals in ads, or coupons. Soda in bulk is almost always cheaper at Sams and or Costco, not always the case, that’s why knowing that a 36 pack of pepsi is $5.30 at Costco/Sams is their set price, unless they have a coupon that month comes into play. Safeway will do 4 12pks for $10 every couple of months. Break the unit price down like before and you can see where it’s cheaper.

 

Sixth, I have a separate budget for groceries that is not part of our grocery budget for items that go on super sales. Items that have a LONG shelf life. For example, last grocery shopping trip, canned tuna was .15 cents ea, vs the normal .49 cents ea. If you eat Tuna, you know it’s hardly EVER on sale, that’s a GOOD time to stock up. Same with boxed and other canned foods. Such as Hamburger Helper, it was on sale at 10 for $5, most times, at best it’s 10 for $10. You get the idea.

 

Seventh, I know when to shop at what stores. For example, Albertsons does their buy 1 get two free on almost all meats the 3rd week of the month. That’s when they have the highest volume and best meat to do this with. You HAVE to go to Albertson’s for this, Walmart does not price match BOGO’s especially on meat, UNLESS the ad happens to have a “unit” price savings, etc. Which it never or on a very rare occasion does. It’s BETTER to price match at Walmart the second week of the month. This is the week when ads are the best, because this is the week they have their largest volume of food come in. Ads typically drop on Wednesday here, so I never go that day, they get low, and don’t restock until that night, so I go on Thursday’s or Friday’s. Saturday’s there are too many people there doing what I’m doing. I’ve found that Thursday’s are OPTIMAL days to go and price match during that second week. I bulk buy the fourth week of the month, because that’s the week when Costco drops their coupon ad, and you can get TP, Diapers, Wipes, etc cheaper. Hint, if Costco does their $5 off on Huggies diapers then it’s still a better deal to get diapers at Sams club. HOWEVER if they drop their $6 off on Huggies diapers that week, then it’s a better deal per unit at Costco. Cleaning supplies are on the best deals the first week of the month.

 

I have four separate grocery/shopping budgets. 1 for groceries, 1 for hygiene, 1 for cleaning/bulk/other needs and 1 for perishable short shelf life items, like milk, produce, etc. I didn’t learn all of this over night. It took me about 6 months of going to various stores every week, listing things, watching trends, really looking at the ads and coupons, talking to the grocery stores, etc. Yes, TALK to your grocery managers! They are willing to tell you how that particular store operates on sales, coupons, price match, etc. Talk to the produce and meat guys, they are MORE than willing to tell you when things go on sale, and what the trends are. Sometimes if you ASK the meat guy, he will give you meat at a RIDICULOUS lowered price if he has to take it off the shelf that day or the next. Meat is STILL good if you freeze it! Just remember your basic food handling, get it chilled and frozen promptly and defrost it properly, to get it out of the food danger zone, and COOK it at the proper temps. You can google search all of that if you don’t know how.

 

I do this for EVERYTHING! I price match and use coupons for everything. I have a rule, IF it’s NOT on sale, with a coupon or/ or price ad match, then we DON’T get it, unless we ABSOLUTELY need it. That’s how I Birthday and Christmas shop as well. I start Christmas shopping and birthday shopping almost the day after. A penny here or there may not seem like a lot right now, or at that time, but it does add up quickly. You are taxed on every single penny, so that ads up. I’ve been able to cut our $600/month food bill down to about $250/month. That’s just using coupons I need and will use, with price matching. I’m not an extreme couponer, and I have no desire to be, or stock up an entire closet or garage, to me that’s wasteful. But I do back stock enough in my fridge and cupboards, JUST in case there is an emergency. We are NOT on any public assistance, we don’t qualify, so I’ve had to radically take a look at our budgets, and make some significant changes. None of what I do, takes more than two days. One day I spend going through the ads (usually a Wednesday), clipping my coupons, getting organized, etc. and the second day (about two hours) at the grocery stores. I DO look at the ads every week to stay current with trends or if on the off chance, an item we didn’t stock up on, is now at a super sale price, I can stock up on. However, that’s rare, and the system I use, is really been doing great.

 

I hope this helps some of you! Happy shopping and saving!

Misery loves Company

I wont say who, and I wont go into too many details, but I’m annoyed beyond belief at this moment. How can someone so spiteful, and so full of hate even care what’s going on in my life? The only explanation I can think of, is they are bored, and unhappy with their own life; misery does love company. I wont play into it, I never do. I just keep my mouth shut and go on about my own business.

A rumor, from the rumor mill got presented to me tonight. Apparently the rumor is, that my husband and I only got married because I got pregnant and we had a child together. I beg to differ, but 3 children later, a huge house, all of the bills in both of our names, not to mention the love and attention we give one another, to see each other happy, kind of says the exact opposite.

Not that this ridiculous rumor deserves a rebuttal or even an explanation, however, for the record, love and understanding along with YEARS of failed ways, lead us to the decision to marry.

My husband and I have been through a LOT. A thousand and one ups, and a million more heart-wrenching dumps. We survived adultery, child loss, spiteful rumors from “friends” who attempted to separate us in every way they could. We’ve survived so much, including our own demises towards one another, including every attempt to harm one another out of pain and hurt. Yet something kept pulling us back together, time after time, after time. We both certainly went out of our way to run, but our paths were always brought right back to one another.

One night, about a week before our oldest son Jayden was born, we had a sit down heart to heart talk with one another. We went to Red Devil for dinner, basically our last romantic, kid free, last horrah, before our son would be born that weekend. Our conversation didn’t stop there, when we got back to our apartment, we continued to talk. We talked all night into the next day. We finally came clean about our wrong doings, and lies, that were keeping us apart. We ultimately forgave each other that night. We were on the verge of splitting again, in fact, people we trusted tried every method they could to spilt us apart, and not help us with our issues at the time. Not surprising, seemed to have been the story of our life together since day one; felt very much like star crossed lovers.

In any case, with the pain, and hurt behind us, and us moving forward, it was easy for us to finally see, that we were ready to finally get married. We thought about all of the possibilities, long engagement, short engagement? Ultimately we scrapped the idea of any engagement really, and set a date for a month and two weeks after our son was born. We even scrapped the big wedding, and basically ran away to Vegas; best decision of our lives together, seriously.

Yes, we thought about what people would say and think, and honestly, we didn’t care. It had been just over 10 years since we started dating, and if that wasn’t proof enough, then nothing we could accomplish together would be proof enough to anyone. No one’s opinions, or beliefs mattered to us at that point. At the birth of Jayden, and all during the labor, we found out just how much we loved each other, have always loved each other, and will always love each other. There was no hastily decision, because we fought it the entire pregnancy. We both don’t believe in divorce, and we both don’t believe in getting married for all of the wrong reasons. Plain and simple, it was time, we were ready. The fact was that he wasn’t going anywhere, and nor was I.

So little rumor spreader, before you open  your giant mouth again to attempt to harm, think about this, are you spreading rumors because you are unhappy, or because it’s the truth? Because where I stand, it’s because you are unhappy with your own life. You made your bed, now lay in it, and leave us alone.

Boycotting

Alas another business has decided to make public their personal beliefs and views on some hot topics, namely LGBT lifestyles and rights. The Salvation Army made public that they don’t support the LGBT community. That all of their donations go to straight people and children, because they don’t agree with the LGBT lifestyle.

It wasn’t that long ago that Chic-Fil-A made a public statement regarding their beliefs. Many people protested and boycotted them during that time. Now they are planing on not donating and boycotting the Salvation Army.

I may or may not agree with a companies personal views, morals, ethics, or beliefs, but that does not mean I will boycott them for standing up for something they stand up for and believe in. When it comes to beliefs, and belief systems I feel they need to be expressed healthily, and respectfully. I feel that we all have different belief systems, and thus we should respect the fact that we are different and believe different things. I wont be boycotting the Salvation Army or any other company that stands up for their beliefs.

I however will choose and have boycotted a company for unethical practices, agendas, and blatant discrimination. I chose to and still continue to choose to avoid and boycott Abercombie because they discrimination of older, larger, and less fortunate people. They have a philosophy and policy that they only want young, skinny, sexy people wearing their clothing line. They made this very public and apparent. In fact they don’t make any of their clothing over a size 8. I feel that is morally wrong, and discriminatory.

So the Salvation Army does not agree with LGBT lifestyles and rights. It’s their belief, think about if the shoe was on the other foot. Would you want those who are not LGBT boycott your business because you don’t agree with their lifestyle and beliefs? Seems silly I know, but that’s the point. Owners of businesses are people still too! They have thoughts, feelings, beliefs, etc. They will run their business in the same manner.

Has the Salvation Army gone too far, as to saying that they don’t want their donations to go to the LGBT community? Maybe, maybe not. They aren’t in the business of helping that particular community of people. They are in the business of helping people get back on their feet, drug rehab, they help the Marines with Toys for Tots, and so many other great causes. Why is everyone up in arms over ONE cause they are not helping? We all have causes we chose to help, because we believe in them. I personally chose to help Samaritans Purse, and Habitat for Humanity, because I believe in their causes. I feel that families who have been put through some major devastation, need some help in picking up, rebuilding, and trying to keep life as normal as possible, if nothing else, for the sake of their children. Does that mean I don’t care about other causes, such as Toys for Tots, or the Angel tree, etc? No, just means, I know that need is meet, year after year, people plan to meet this need. This need is overwhelmed at times from the responses of generous people.

I feel my contributions go further in other organizations that help people for other reasons. Which is why I donated all of my time, energy, money and photos to various places during the Yarnell fire. Which is why I donated to Samaritans purse so they could go up there and help clean up and rebuild. Yes, I’ve had two house fires in my lifetime. (Luckily I was not home for either one, and all I lost was material possessions.) That’s why those causes are near and dear to me, personally. Do I care that the two organizations I donated to are Christian Faith and based? Not really. It’s great they are, and I wholeheartedly support those ministries, but it wouldn’t have mattered to me any different if they were not, or if they were run by the LGBT community. The bottom line is SOME community, SOMEWHERE, had heart and heard a calling to get these organizations together to help those in need. Does it matter what they believe in? For me, no. Does their lifestyle matter? Again, for me, no.

So what if the Salvation Army does not support the LGBT community? For so long they have done SO much good! The continue to do so much good, and they are Angels here on earth. For years to come they will do good, regardless of their beliefs, because there is a need they are answering. I don’t see anyone else standing up to take over, without wanting to make a profit, outside of what covers operation costs. I don’t see a HUGE community of people in any other organization putting people through rehabs, getting people jobs, giving them clothing to go to interviews, helping them learn, giving to children and families during the holidays. The bottom line fact is, the Salvation Army has that heart, has that rapport, has been doing this for a LONG time, and will continue to do so. Does it matter at the end of the day, what they believe in personally? No, it doesn’t. I will however add, that maybe their was taken out of context, it’s possible. People will always infer what they want to infer.

I will say though, I think if you are going to stand up for a cause, and or belief, then stand by it. There is no need to back down. There will always be opposing views and beliefs, that’s just a fact of life. I was slightly bothered by Chic-Fil-A when they recanted their beliefs. Never once did they discriminate and never once did they say that the LGBT community couldn’t eat at their establishments. They loved and served everyone equally. It should have never mattered to begin with what their belief was/is, just that they loved and served all who walked through their door. It should never have mattered who they donated to, or what causes they put money and energy into. You donate to causes that you personally believe in, that somehow, someway aline with your beliefs.

Like I said, it doesn’t matter what MY personal beliefs are, as long as I treat all equally, and as long as I stand for something. I’m more than well aware that there are a number of people who oppose me and don’t share the same beliefs, but that doesn’t mean I love them any less, nor does it mean that I treat them any less. We just disagree. Plain and simple. It would be a pretty boring world, and life if we all agreed on everything, wouldn’t you agree? Sure the thought of utopia may seem fine and nice, but if you love literature, then you know that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be as we have read from “The Giver.”

The next time you want to boycott a business because of their belief, just think for one second, are you boycotting them for a practice that is discriminatory, or for a belief? What is their track record? What is their foundation? Let’s really think about these things before joining the knee jerk reactions and hoping on the band wagons.

I know this is my Exploring Motherhood blog, and it’s about exploring motherhood, and as I have said before, sometimes motherhood is about exploring yourself and figuring out who you are. This topic is as much that, as it is, how I want to raise my children, and form their beliefs. I want my children to be independent thinkers, and really think about their actions, their beliefs, what they stand for, or don’t stand for. I want them to be able to analyze something entirely, thoroughly before making a concrete decision. In the way that I do it, I would love to see them do it. Which is why I lead by example. I show them what I do, and explain to them what I am doing, so they can form that good habit right away. No age is too young. That’s my core belief. Sure they may not understand you, nor have ANY idea what you are talking about, but, at least you are trying, and one day, they will understand. I don’t want my children to react off of knee jerk reactions, or join band wagons, when they have no deep understanding as to why they are, I want them to fully understand the entirety of it, before they make their decision.

Like I said, my personal views and beliefs aside, because I feel that if I even go into mine it will completely skew the point of this post, I absolutely feel that a belief is not something you should boycott.

What’s wrong with a little bit of Christmas Magic?

Every year, as far back as I can remember, there has always been this special gift that I have gotten, that NO ONE knows where it came from, who got it, or how it got there. Even as an adult, there is still always a gift that is special. I always have believed in The Christmas Spirit and Santa Clause. I’ll get to my reasoning here shortly.

As a Christian, we teach the True Meaning of Christmas, the Birth of our Lord and Savior. However, we are generally steered away from even mentioning Santa, as to not to deter away from the baby Jesus. However, what about the Christmas Spirit and Christmas Magic? I’m not at all, trying to take away from Jesus, and His birth, I’m just saying, isn’t it even remotely possible, that even Santa, and Christmas Magic can be explained through Jesus?

ALTHOUGH, you will never find ANY mention of Santa, St. Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or what ever it is you call him, in the bible directly, isn’t it possible that he is a gift given to us, a gift from God, or at the very least was given a gift from God? Seriously, I have given this a great deal of thought. My thought process wasn’t just so I could justify allowing my children to believe in Santa, without feeling guilty, but because Santa, has a gift, IS a gift, if nothing else, the Spirit of Christmas, Christmas Magic is that gift, which Old St. Nick represents!

Stay with me for a second, as I try to explain my thought process to you a wee bit. God says, that we are all given gifts, some can speak in tongues, some have the gift of discernment, and some have many other gifts. We all can’t be from the same part of the body of Christ, so it makes sense that our gifts are all vastly and uniquely different, right? God goes on to even say, that when we walk in His light, and follow His path of righteousness, and we listen to Him, using our gifts, that He will in return bless us with fruits of the Spirit. (Some of you by now, may get where I’m about to go with this, however, for those of you who do not, just keep reading for a few more lines.)

Isn’t it possible, that God gave this man Kris Kringle, this gift to bring Joy, Laughter, and Love to the heart of Children? After all, we are called to Love and have Faith like that of a child. The last few weeks in church we have been teaching our children that “In the beginning God Made everything…” God did, God made everything, including Father Christmas. So I’m wondering why it’s frowned upon to believe in a little bit of Christmas Spirit and the Christmas Magic, when God made this man, that brings the gift of hope, joy, love, laughter, giving, sharing, and faith to us?

When I was 9, and living with my grandparents, they told us our mother was dead. In fact they went through great lengths to prove to us, that she was dead. We had a funeral, in which we actually lowered a casket into the ground, that we thought was our mother. I was 9, so I didn’t question it much. I didn’t ask why the casket was closed and we never got to see her body. I never even passed a second thought as to why my moms side of the family wasn’t there, after I asked the first time, and they told us, that they were going to have their own service for her; that they didn’t want to cause fights at our moms funeral for us kids. I was too young to know that I could have gotten a death certificate. I went about my life for nearly the next 10 years thinking my mother was dead.

At 17.5 I aged out of the foster system. I had my own apartment, was a senior in high school, and held down a full time job as a shift manager about to make assistant manager. One day, I decided to walk across the street from my apartment to the Quizno’s before heading into work to grab some lunch. I was sitting and eating my sandwich, when a women who worked there approached me.

“April? April M********? Is that you?”

“Um, who are you? How do you know me?”

“I’m your Aunt Billie! We have been looking for you guys! Your mother has been looking for you guys! Grandma would love to see you!”

I was in complete shock! I was so puzzled by her statement, that I only managed to get out, “You must be mistaking me for someone else, my mother died almost 10 years ago.”

“Your mother is NOT dead! She’s alive! Let me take you to where she lives!”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know who you are, my mother is dead, and I don’t remember an Aunt Billie.” Then I got up and left. I honestly don’t remember the last time I saw my moms side of the family. It had been a long time, and I honestly couldn’t remember having an Aunt Billie. My grandparents had very few photos of my mom floating around, or at least ones we were allowed to see. They never talked about any other family members. I was very young the last time I saw them, perhaps around 5 years old, that’s my best guess. It would be another almost 10 years before I get to reconnect with them, under ironically the same reason.

After work that night, I talked to my boyfriend about my day. He and I agreed that this lady was just crazy out of her mind. However, he did say that he thought that maybe, on the off chance that she might be telling the truth, that we take her up on her offer, to see this women, that Billie was claiming to be my mother. That we could drive in his truck behind her, and that he would go with me.

The next day was December 24th, Christmas Eve Day. I went back to Quizno’s, and I walked in and asked for Billie, with my boyfriend at my side. We told her that we would follow her to see this women she was claiming is my mother. Billie said, that she was getting ready to close the store for the day, being Christmas Eve, and that if we wanted to wait 30 mins, we could go then. I agreed.

We followed her in her car, across town to this trailer park house. When we got there, I wasn’t feeling entirely comfortable, and was about to get sick at any second. I asked Billie if she could go in and ask the women to come out to the drive way. She went in, and when they came out to the drive way, I instantly knew that, this women, was in deed my mother. I had this tiny little barely color photo booth wallet sized picture of my mother that sat on my bed stand for as long as I could remember. Her Farrah Fawcett hair due and all. This women, was unmistakeably, the same women in my photo, just slightly aged.

I couldn’t move, all I could do was cry. She walked up to me, and said, “I’ve missed you my little Ape.” NO ONE has called me little Ape, since I was a child. It was the nick name my mother gave me, that not many people used. My dad called me by my middle name, Marie. Only my mom, and siblings ever called me little Ape. We hugged. I don’t remember if or when Billie left. My boyfriend had to leave for Christmas eve with his family, and I certainly had no where to go. I ended up staying until 1am talking to my mom.

That was my Christmas gift that year. My unexpected, never planned, no one knew how it happened to get there gift. See, I wasn’t a fan of Quizno’s, I preferred Subway. I honestly have no idea what made me walk into Quizno’s for lunch that day. I had no idea I had an aunt that was the manager of that store. So what made these events come about? Ultimately, yes I do believe God designed that path, however, perhaps the Christmas Magic made it happen. Perhaps St Nick, knew I needed to know my mom was not dead, and that I needed some hope, and a little love in my life. Perhaps God knew I needed something to believe in and have faith in, because at that time in life, I did not think God cared about me. Perhaps, GOD USED ST. NICK to bring that faith back into my heart.

I may never know what transpired all of these events to take place, or who transpired these events, but does it matter? Is it harmful that I believe in the Christmas Spirit, in the Christmas Magic, and of course in our Lord? Do I have to pick one or the other? Why can’t I believe in both? God made Satan, didn’t he? Christians have no issues believing that both exist, so why is someone showering love, joy, laughter, faith, and spirit across many hearts any different? I may not believe in physical gifts, I think as we get older our gifts get a little less tangible, but I do think that in some way, God sends this St Nick, to spread cheer, and bring a little faith into our hearts. I think God gifted this Father Christmas with the spirit of giving, and the ability to bring happiness and joy to those who simply believe. Isn’t that the same basic concept of God? Blessings to those who simply believe? If God can send Moses to part the Red Sea, or Noah to build a giant ark, to be safe during the flood, then, surely He can send St. Nick to bring a little love around.

Who am I though? I’m just a mother, a women, a wife, who simply believes in the Spirit of the season. The spirit of love, happiness, giving, laughter, family, togetherness, faith, belief, and some Christmas magic.

I guess that’s why I love my Christmas Traditions, watching my classic Christmas movies about the Jolly Old St. Nick. It’s not just the gift giving, it’s more than that, it’s about the spirit behind it.

Just my two cents on it all, for what it’s worth. So what’s wrong with a little bit of Christmas Spirit?