Sexual Education has gone TOO FAR in schools.

Sexual Education in Schools have GONE TOO FAR!

The Above link ^^^ is NOT the way to teach Sexual Education.

Dear Public Schools, or any school for that matter that teaches Sexual Education:

It is NOT your place to teach sexual education in the first place. Although I can appreciate the initiative here in taking steps to reduce teen pregnancy and sexual issues, due to the lack of initiative of some parents, I can not agree with, nor abide by this sort of teaching. Although I do not take issue with the class itself, nor the school/districts initiative to educate societies children about sexual education, and the ramifications of underage, per-marital sex, I do take an issue with you doing it in an under handily, sneaky and conniving way.

When I was a youngster and went through sexual education at my elementary school, they sent home packets to our parents via snail mail, because lets face it, if you give a child something to give to their parents, they likely wont unless it’s something they really want; what child really wants to sit through sexual education? These packets were sent home WEEKS in advance, with clear dates, times, subjects/sections being taught and by whom they were being taught by. There was a permission slip that the parents had to sign stating that their child could or could not partake in the sexual education class, and furthermore they had to initial each section, stating it was okay their child go through that section. We were removed from the sections that our parents/guardians did not agree with to another classroom until that section was complete. THAT is the proper way to go about sexual education with regards to the parents. NOT just doing it, and posting public posters around the school’s campus for all to see.

SOME parents, such as myself feel that sexuality, sexual education, and sexual desires are things to be taught and discussed from Mother/Father to their child, not the schools responsibility. I for one would be with holding my child from said program. Additionally there are some terminology guidelines you should take into concern with the parents. SOME parents such as myself do not agree with the terminology being presented. You do not do any justice for the proactive parents such as my husband and myself.

You greatly over stepped your line on this one. This is simply UNACCEPTABLE on your behalf to teach a sensitive subject without parental consent, and materials sent to the parents well in advance. This further only complicates issues parents have with schools. Just to be clear, if this had been my child, or my child’s school, I would be taking what ever legal action I can, and definitely be pulling my child from that school, not to mention I would have it on every social and news media I could get it on.

You need to radically re-think how you are presenting these issues, and teaching. This is not appropriate teaching behaviors.

 

Sincerely,

One Ticked off Mommy!

How to get your Bill Companies to do their job!

So, dealing with Southwest gas today, I got to thinking that I NEEDED to write a post on how I personally deal with getting things done.

1) I’m a very VERY busy women. As stated in other posts, I wear many hats, that keep me busy most if not all of the time. I’m a wife, home maker, mommy, student, teacher, and career business women. I simply don’t have the time, nor the patience to deal with companies that lag at doing their job.

2) I have schedules to keep, time frames to stay on top of, and I keep them all juggled fairly well, and I don’t need an unnecessary kink in the system.

3) No one, and I do mean NO ONE messes with a hugely pregnant women who has two little ones; a toddler and pre-schooler. When my bills are paid, I expect my things to work, and not just work, but work properly. You better believe I will be proactive and persistent in fixing the issues.

So, how do I deal with these companies when there is an issue? Especially since I am very proactive about things, I keep things well oiled and maintained, and I have a system to make sure all of the bills are taken care of; in essence my bills are always paid.

1) When I call, if I’m doing something other than the basic changes, or bill payment, I almost always just give them the info they ask for, tell them VERY briefly my issue, and then request a supervisor immediately. What I’ve learned is that, no matter HOW much or HOW little information you give them, the first person you speak to, can never do anything to fix your issues if it’s outside of the basic things as mentioned previously. MOST times the second “supervisor” (which I know from working in call centers, is not always a supervisor, they are floor leads) can fix the issues, on the very rare occasion, they can not. You sort of have to know what your issue is, and kind of know how the companies work, in order to get to the right person. Minor issues above the basic changes and bill pay, these floor leads can correct. Major issues, you will just have to briefly explain the issue again, and ask for a higher supervisor. That third person (third time is the charm, right?) can almost ALWAYS fix what ever issues you are having.

2) My example currently would be with my gas company. My bill is paid, and the heater was not working. I called yesterday and after a two hour ordeal, they finally sent some whack tech out, who either didn’t care, wouldn’t do anything, or was just lazy. He didn’t fix the issue. By the time I got to call back, they said they couldn’t send anyone back out until Friday. (Mind you they charged me $15 to send a tech out to fix the issue, that wasn’t fixed.) Well, I was completely upset by that time, and had other issues I needed to face at that moment, so I said I’d be calling back. Which I did; today. When I called back I finally got to that third person, the real “Supervisor” and got an expedited “medical” reason to get a tech out today, right now. I’m hugely pregnant, and my two little ones are sick; I made sure to say they were a pre-schooler and toddler. I even made sure to tell them that both of my little ones were sick. Yes, believe it or not, the age of children and their condition, will light a fire under these companies behinds. Especially when  you explain that you can’t even make them feel better because you have a gas water heater, not electric. So that’s my second tip really, TELL THEM YOUR CHILDREN’S AGES and IF THEY ARE SICK! This is a case when “over share” will get done what you need done. She TRIED to charge me another $15. When I CALMLY explained to her that I was already charged yesterday for this, that it was not fair to charge me again, seeing as the guy didn’t fix the issue, nor did he enter my house, or was willing to do so to check on the issue, she promptly waived that fee. The one fee, okay, I mind that less, but you wont be charging me twice for the same issue, when it wasn’t taken care of the first time.

The gas guy got out here finally, and very promptly I might add, and it was a broken switch, the pilot switch to be exact. Yes, they do break, even on their own, (I’m not a gas professional, I don’t know how they work, that’s not my job. I just know how to maintain my stuff, and when they are working/not working.) In either case, he fixed it in less than 20 mins, and got on his way. My heater was working again, and I had hot water finally.

3) BE CALM! You get more bee’s with honey than you do with vinegar. Being rude, mean, nasty, and just down right applauding, wont get you anywhere, nor get anything you need done. I have learned to be calm, and low key, truthful, and direct. This seems to get the best responses. Don’t LIE to them, and don’t over exaggerate, don’t be “chipper” either; just be calm, and pleasant. I used to get so over aggregated, and you could hear the panic almost in my voice, and it never got things done, then one day I just decided to start directing them with a calm and pleasant approach, and this greatly improved getting things done for me.

4) BE FIRM! You can be firm while being calm and pleasant, you don’t have to be firm and rude. I’ve only had to call and make payment arrangements on bills a few times, and the times I have had to do that, they have always wanted me to pay what I knew I couldn’t, or on a day I knew would not happen. For example, I had to call my cell phone company once, and my bill was like $100 bucks, I totally just forgot to pay it, not a big deal, it happens sometimes, and luckily for me I’ve been a customer with them since 2008. However, they always start off with saying you have to pay x amount, then you simple state, “I’m sorry I can really only pay this amount or on this day. I have to have money for gas to get to work/school, and food. Will this amount work?” KNOW ahead of time exactly WHEN you can pay and HOW much you can pay, and stick to it. They will always haggle it down two more times before they will ultimately accept your offer. Just be nice, and keep it calm, but be firm; in the sense of standing by your offer. These companies want your money and will take it any way they can, even if it means waiting a little longer for it. Like I said, I don’t need to do that often, very rare occasions I do need to do that, because hey, I’m human, I slip sometimes and forget.

5) BE PERSISTENT! Don’t take “no” from the first person you speak to as the final solution. Refer to tip number one, remember that most times, the first person you speak to, can’t do what you need them to do. Often times it’s the second or third “supervisor” you speak to that will get it taken care of.

6) TAKE CHARGE! Yes, take charge, you pay them every month, and you expect your services to work properly. Take charge, don’t let them have the power just because they are the bill company, YOU PAY THEM! Sometimes a gentle and subtle reminder that YOU PAY them, not the other way around will help move things along. I always like to throw in “yes my bill was paid on x day, my new bill just came out/will come out on x day and I already have bill pay set up to pay on x day.” That shows them you are on top of it. Sometimes I throw in a little extra like, “I’m paying you for my gas so I can have heat during the winter and hot water, I can’t give my sick children a hot bath because the gas is not working. My bill is paid, so I really need my services to be working properly. After all it is why I pay you every month and on time.” ON an even rarer occasion I have had to get a little more “rougher”. I do have a background and connections with local media, and will say, okay, I guess I’ll have to call so and so with so and so news and tell them that you are leaving a third trimester pregnant women and her sick toddler and pre-schooler without gas for heat and hot water when our bill is paid for almost a week.” THEY Do not want that bad PR. Trust me they don’t. Although I have that connection, I suspect MOST of you know how to contact the news stations to submit stories, emergency stories, and things like “3 on your side” etc. If push comes to shove, don’t be afraid to throw that out. Be TACTFUL, calm, and firm about it. There is NO need to be rude or nasty about it.

7) BE PROACTIVE! Don’t just wait for them to do their job, constantly call them to keep them doing their job. Ask for an ETA (Estimated time of arrival) ask for the tech’s name, ask where you stand on their daily work orders. Gather as MUCH information as you can, and be sure to write this down, along with anyone’s names you have spoken to. Make sure to include dates and times you called. (If you have a cell you can always re check your call history, but just write it down for good measure.) You will NOT believe how many times I’ve called to deal with issues, and the rep did not appropriately or accurately note the account. THEY CAN pull call logs, provided you have the correct date, time, person you spoke to, and the number you called from. They CAN and WILL pull that call and listen to it. This works to your benefit!!! Trust me!

8) PLEASE & THANK YOU, go a LONG way! Sad to say that I have to actually say this, but I have seen MANY MANY people not use this! I just can’t believe how many people will not say Please and Thank you. Trust me, it will take you further and get more done if you use please and thank you.

9) ANSWER their questions genuinely. If they ask you how your day is going, or what the weather is like, then answer them with a truthful reply and genuine reply. They are just simply trying to pleasant and cut the dead air while they work their magic. It makes them feel more comfortable with you, and sympathetic to you, and will thus further get you where you want to be.

10) BE PREPARED! SOMETIMES, no matter how much you followed these tips, you will very occasionally get a road block. Sometimes you may need to be prepared to pay a bit more, or pay on a day you don’t want to, or wait until a later time to get a tech out to fix your issues. SOMETIMES, so if you have followed every tip, and you are still getting a road block, still be prepared to offer a tad more, different date, or later time. It’s called compromise. You want them to compromise with you, so be willing to give a tad bit at the end.

I hope this helps! Bottom line is, make sure your bill companies do their job and work for you, especially if you are paying your bills on time! Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and take the initiative!

Be PROACTIVE, The hat of Mother/Student what they won’t tell you…..

As mothers we like to be prepared, well, most mothers do anyways. When our children are little we like to make sure that there are ALWAYS plenty of diapers and sippy cups in the diaper bag, and of course an extra change of clothing for your preschooler in case he has an accident. You know that on the days you ultimately forget to put in extra’s, is the days you need them. Never any other time when you are prepared, always just that ONE day you spaced it. It’s some sort of “cosmic” rule, if you are prepared you wont need it, but if you try and cut corners to save time, or effort you will ultimately need it.

Makes sense that this is the same philosophy that a mommy who is also a College student will use. To always be prepared and proactive about things. After all, we are already busy being mothers, and wives, now we are adding the responsibility of college in the mix. How do you “balance” it all is a harsh reality for some. Some decide to give up, while others wait until their children are in school themselves.

I didn’t want to wait that long, one reason is because I want to be completely done with MY education once my children are school age, that way I can be the “involved” PTA, Football, Band, etc Mommy that I have always pictured myself being. I want to have my career set in motion when they start school so I can get off work in time to pick them up from school, and HELP them succeed in their education, and extra circulars. For me the only way to do this is, to finish my education while they are still little’s. This leads to MANY sleep deprived nights, but hey, I’m going to be up breast feeding an infant, and checking on my potty training toddler, and making sure my potty trained preschooler got up to go potty anyways, why not do something productive during that time, say like read a chapter or two from my homework?

The BIGGEST complaint I hear often from women who wear the multiple hats of wife, mother, and student is, they can’t fit in the time. I’ll agree, it’s hard when you have split priorities. Don’t let anyone fool you, it is a split on priorities. At times it does feel like I’m in the middle of the fight of two best friends from my favorite drama tv show, Grey’s Anatomy. To be completely honest, I whole hardheartedly agree with both Dr. Christina Yang, and Dr. Meredith Grey; although they oppose each others point of views. How do you balance it? How do you get to have your cake and eat it too? I guess this is where I tend to side with Dr Grey more on the issue. Sure, I may wear the hat of mommy, but that doesn’t mean I’m ANY less qualified for my dreams, or making said dreams come to reality. In fact, my children MAKE me that much more determined to get those dreams in hand. Slowly, yes slowly, but surely, these dreams are coming to be more tangible day by day. I’ve already accomplished two this past year alone! Finish my degree at the CC, and get into my first SOLO show! This is the momentum that is lighting my way!

So, HOW do I do it? Simple really, on the first day of classes, I take every class syllabus along with my student day planner and I plug and chug in due dates for assignments, tests, quizes, and projects. Then I determine WHAT DAY I will be devoted to that class for course work and homework. Much like what I do with my housework. Below is an example:

Monday’s: Clean the Kitchen, Global Sociology Class Coursework/Homework.

Tuesday’s: Clean the bathrooms, Media Psychology Coursework/Homework.

Wednesday’s: Clean Living room, Journalism Coursework/Homework.

Thursday’s: Clean bedrooms upstairs, Spanish Coursework/Homework.

Friday’s: Laundry (if it’s already done I do towels, blankets, sheets, linen, etc.) History Coursework/Homework.

Saturday’s: Special projects, catchup or get ahead in any class. (Monthly deep cleaning chores, once a month).

Sunday’s: Church, Back yard/front yard, catchup or get ahead in any class.

I started the Queen of Clean’s daily cleaning routine, and it has cut down on the amount of housework I have to do, the only things I do daily is clean the dishes as I go as I’m still cooking and immediately after we eat, and take the garbage out. The kids help with their chores like picking up their rooms, make their beds, and clean up their play area before nap/bed time every day. I only spend a total of 30 mins cleaning a day! Which means MORE time with the kiddios and doing coursework/homework. I figured out that this SAME sort of routine HELPS me stay on top of my college coursework/homework.

Now I just don’t “plug” and “chug” just any class on any day. After I have put in my student planner assignment/quiz/test/project due dates, I look to see what class typically has the same due date for things. For example, my Soc class this semester typically has things due on Monday nights at midnight. So it makes sense to do my coursework/homework a WEEK PRIOR to it’s due date, that way IF I need to finish or catchup I have ample time to do so. I can either finish on days that my other classes have no work to be done, or on my two catchup/get ahead days (Which are before the due dates.) This method has worked for me since starting back at school in 2010. For bigger projects I make sure to give myself two-three weeks of working time.

As you can see, schedules and lists work for this family, work for me. My children even have a schedule and it keeps them happy.

Monday’s: Park time

Tuesday’s: Special outing OR music day if we don’t go out.

Wednesday’s: Library reading time with the Librarian

Thursday’s: Arts and Crafts day

Friday’s: Hang out with friends day (my best friend and her kids typically come over Friday nights when they are out of school/off work.)

Saturday’s: They get a say in what we do, most often it’s our dedicated family day to do fun things like festivals, fairs, etc. It’s their day to spend lots of time with daddy.

Sunday’s: Church and again they often get a say in what we do this day after nap. Sometimes we play games that day.

This works for us, because we get to all do what we want to do. Schedules are a HUGE way of life here in this house hold. We knew once we brought our oldest home from the hospital that it would be our way of life. WE have not deviated from our schedules and routines and this has made life easier with our boys. They know when dinner is, and often get hungry when dinner is ready to be served, they know that bath time is at 7pm nightly, they know that we read a devotional with them at 730pm, and bed time is at 8pm nightly. There are some times, special times, that we deviate slightly, but mostly this is the daily schedule, and they live by it, it works for them, and for us; for the entire family.

I say that, because for some families out there, and some mommies, this may or may not work for you. Lists and schedules may be hard for you to follow through with, and that could potentially set you up to fail; I wouldn’t want that. Take my schedules and lists as a MERE suggestion. Adapt it, modify it to FIT your family needs. This is simply ground work for you to work with, if you chose to.

I give you all of this info, to come back to the preparedness part that we as mommies like to be. Now I will get to the “meat” so to speak of my post. I’ve learned some things during my journey last semester and this semester leaving my comfortable Phoenix Community College behind me and entering into Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School, that NO one, and I do mean NO ONE will tell you until it’s TIME to jump through that hoop. Below is a list of things I would have done differently IF someone HAD told me about these issues, and quirks beforehand.

1) When applying for your entry into a University, I would just automatically go back to my high school and send my transcripts to admissions and my immunizations records straight to the universities health department. (Most, if not all Universities have a health department that require and deal with the immunizations records, and you may need to call them to get info about where and how to send that information. They put a “Immunizations” hold on you which makes it impossible to do anything else you need to, like aid, scholarships, enrollment, etc if there is that hold on it. All universities require this at some point, so save yourself the headache and do it when you apply.) Admissions NEVER told me to NOT send it to them when I sent my HS transcripts, they said I HAD to send them, however they just wont tell you it may have to go to the special health department, because they don’t forward that record to them.

2) Just PAY your app fee the second you submit your application. Don’t wait, just pay it. It’s another “hold” that prevents and delay’s you from being able to do anything until it is lifted.

3) When applying, just send your current official transcript from you CC (if you are a transfer student). Yes it’s $5, and yes you will have to pay another $5 to send in a final transcript once your final grades have posted, however, the time, and headache it will save is worth that extra $5. SOMETIMES you can get “lucky” and your CC will have days/times that they run a special where they will send your official transcripts as is of that moment to your potential university for free. I suggest doing it. Even if it’s mid semester and seems odd. The why to do this reason? Simple, it takes TIME for your university to accept you, then accept you into your program/school, and takes a little longer to transcribe your transfer credits into the program, and remove holds that prevent you from taking your upper division classes, that things like ENG101/102 or MAT may be a pre-req for. Then you are stuck WAITING for them to upload it into their equivalent of ASU’s “DARS System.” If you send your transcripts as if when applying they can get that done ahead of time, and then you will have less issues enrolling into classes, such as Philosophy, etc (which is requirement in nearly every program.) TRUST ME, this will save you massive amounts of headaches, and prevents you from entering into the “late registration” period where you are charged for registering late because of this hold.

4) Get in touch with your Academic Adviser, and set up a meet and greet. (I actually did this, and it has worked to my benefit!) If you have this meet and greet and get to know one another, then they are able to help better/faster because of said relationship established, if you wait until after your program starts, then you are stuck waiting out until their schedule is free to schedule you in for a visit. Make sure to grab their email to email questions, concerns, and issues. MOST issues they can take care of via email. Yes, you will have to contact your program/school to figure out who your Academic Adviser will be. MOST Schools within the University have their own Academic Adviser’s and typically go by last name. To clarify I go to Arizona State University, and attend Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. My Academic Adviser is not ASU’s, he is from WCJMC. Cronkite (WCJMC) is my program/school INSIDE ASU itself. So if you are in the Nursing program, go through that school within the university to get your Academic Adviser, and likewise if you are in the Teaching program/school.

5) START 6 months out! (Seriously it can take that long to process your transfer, aid/scholarship reports, transfer credit reports, admittance, remove holds, etc. If you can’t start 6 months out, at the very least start 3 months out, and be proactive daily. Don’t be afraid to CALL Admissions, advising, Aid dept every other day for updates, or to help “push” things along. Don’t just SIT there and hope they will get it done before it needs to be done. I say this because it helps facilitate getting into the classes you need promptly before they fill up, and to avoid paying a late registration fee.

6) ONCE you have been admitted into the University, you need to actually go down there for three major things. The first thing is to get your Student ID, because MOST universities use this ID for access into your classrooms, technology lab, library (in person or online), it has your student ID number which you will have to memorize, and they ask for it every single time you are down there taking care of business. Second thing is, if you are getting aid, or scholarships go to their financial aid office, and see how they handle your aid, do they send you a card, check, or do you need to set up direct deposit with your bank? Do they offer a bank for their students with benefits your current bank does not? You’ll need to look into this. I have found that CC’s go through Citi Bank to pay out scholarships/aid, while universities use their own bank (which is a nationally accredited bank, for example, ASU uses MidFirst bank.) Thirdly you will need to find and locate the book store, admissions/registrar office, and the layout of your campus. Luckily for me I do not attend ASU’s Main campus, I attend the Downtown/Online and West campus. Most larger State Universities will have multiple campuses, especially in larger metro areas. Your smaller state campuses, or private Universities don’t typically have multiple campuses. Either case, you will want to know how to navigate through the campuses you will be attending. Once you have your schedule, in hand, you will need to visit the cashiers office to find out your parking options. Your days of free parking at the CC are over! =/ UNLESS they have shuttles, etc. Luckily for me, my CC allows alumni to still use their parking lots with special stickers and take the University shuttle from the CC to the University. Parking permits for the University are NOT CHEAP. I would first suggest decide how far you are actually willing to walk. The further away the parking lot/space, the cheaper your parking permit will be. My parking permit for the best parking lot at the Downtown Campus is $450/semester. Thats $900/year. The Worst case scenario parking lot is four blocks away (almost two miles) and is $150/semester. (That’s the downtown campus, so yes it’s more expensive, I don’t know about prices for the other campuses.) My classes at ASU West are online this semester and so I do not need a parking permit for ASU west at this time. HOWEVER, I was told that ASU west parking permits were cheaper and had a shuttle from ASU west to ASU Downtown. So that’s another option to consider. Point is, you will be paying for parking, no matter what. Our CC’s spoiled us with free parking!

7) Start familiarizing yourself with you student portal. It’s almost always different than what you are used to, and they tend to call things by different names. For example PC called it our Academic Advising Transcript, meanwhile the SAME thing is called the “DARS” report at ASU. It’s essentially the same thing, slightly different view and name, but ultimately they both tell us what classes we have taken towards our degree, what classes we still need to take, and what classes we are currently in. It’s your progress report. Also many universities have a “profile” page, in which Students, Staff and Faculty can look you up on. Make sure you fill this out completely, because SOME instructors do use this to check to see what their students are like. It’s there whether you want it to be or not, so just get it filled out. You don’t want to look lazy.

8) SET your minor as soon as you know what it is (this should go without saying for your major as well, if you haven’t already done so.) That way that college/school can admit you and cut the red tape before you need to enroll into those classes. For example, my Major is Journalism/Mass Com. which is at WCJMC at ASU downtown, meanwhile my minors are Psy and Soc which is at ASU Letters and Arts at ASU West. I had to be admitted into BOTH schools after I was admitted into ASU itself. They each had to pull my “DARS” report and cut the red tape for me to freely enroll into my classes. Your Academic Adviser will have to set your minor in most cases.

9) FIND the honors college if you intend to be an honors student once admitted and start that application, and pay. They have certain class requirements and you’ll want to get on top of that immediately.

10) GET INVOLVED! I know, we are busy moms, and we can’t even think of spending more time on school, however, CHOSE ONE thing and get involved with it. Start with a small role, and gradually add to it, but just get involved. This provides networking, where you can trade books with friends, peers, etc. I only have to buy ONE book this semester, because of this. I have traded a few books with my peers, even some with my husband, who is also in college and vise versa. No body wants to spend money on books, and many are willing to make changes. GREAT money saving opportunity by simply getting involved.

11) If you come across words you have to look up or do not know, I highly suggest keeping a log of these words and finding a way to use them in your daily life. Building that vocabulary is essential. =) I still do it, although I have a pretty extensive vocabulary. I suggest doing this for your Foreign language classes as well.

12) Nearly everything you will need to do can be done online. Universities are HUGE with self motivation. The key to your success is learning how to navigate online on your universities page. School officials, school offices, instructors will all point you to find it online, and encourage that prior to calling/asking them. Might as well get used to it in this tech savvy age. I swear they should be giving us tech degrees in conjunction with our degrees when we are done. This has been especially difficult for myself, because I’m not as tech savvy as my peers. I did not grow up with cell phones, or the internet. Those things were very basic and came much later in life for me. I’m starting to catch up, via crash course!

13) Finally, just take your placement exams as soon as they will allow you to do so. This also prevents enrollment issues. Such exams will be languages (ENG if you have not completed those, COM, social sciences, and Foreign languages), MAT, and specialized areas of interest, which you will need to ask your adviser about.

This is just a small list of “hoops” you will have to jump through, and get on top of, and I hope it helps. As I go through my program I will further add to this I’m sure, because it always seems like as soon as I jump through 5 hoops there are 10 more waiting for me on the other side. Even though this is my second semester at ASU, it’s my first full time schedule at ASU, because I was finishing up at PC last semester. SO, I’m still learning.

BE PROACTIVE is all I can say, I’ve given you some things that the universities wont tell you about until the hold is on your student account, but ultimately it’s up to you.

I hope this helps! Let me know if I can clarify anything for you!

Straw, Sticks, or Bricks?

Nearly the moment shock wore off that we were expecting our first child, my instant thought was to education. What could I do now, and in the future until school age to not only prepare my child, and future children for education, but give them the best education we can.

I know, odd right? Not too many parents actually think about that the moment the two lines appear on the stick. I did, and I still do. Most start to plan for a baby, getting baby items, checking things off of their needs and wants list. Don’t get me wrong, I had my pregnant hormonal times of I NEED to get these things to get them checked off of our needs/wants list! Every mother goes through it, it’s sort of like a right of passage, so to speak.

Education is big with me. I fully believe that a child’s best chance at life is education. Let me back that up a bit though. Everything starts at home with the parents first and foremost. The parents set the ground work, and the structure. They set the expectations and rules. They start to teach their child at an early age, don’t do this, you can do that, don’t touch this, this is why, etc. We teach our children without even realize we are teaching them! Just wait until they start picking up words and become these little sponges and regurgitate EVERY little thing yous say! Don’t believe me, well you would have LOVED to see my face, when my son lovingly told my in laws that “Mommies and daddies play time is at night after we go night night.” Yep….. Hubby was teasing me about giving him some loving that night, and you betcha, my son heard it, and repeated it, not to mention, he thought it was cute, and appropriate to start saying, “give me some loving.” Yes, innocent, and cute, but if it weren’t for him being so young, could TOTALLY be taken the wrong way.

The ground work you set at home, is the structure they take to school with them. The school you send to them, is what completes the structure. Which piggy are you going to be like? The one that builds the rest of the structure from Hay, Straw or Brick? I don’t know about you, but Hay and Straw fall down, and crumble. Sure they can be re-built, and maybe even chose to use different materials the second, third, fourth, etc time around. However, why  not start them off strong to begin with? Why NOT start with brick? Will it cost more? Um, yes, yes it will. Will it be harder to assemble? Most certainly it will. Will it take more time, absolutely! There lies the problem! Some parents, don’t want to, or say they can’t/don’t have the time to set them up with brick from the beginning. A lifestyle is more important for some.

I agonized over that very thing when we found out we were expecting our oldest son. I cried many times, had many sleepless nights. I hated myself for doing and not doing. I was miserable. Why? I wanted to set them up with brick, but brick takes money (mostly), and yet it doesn’t. I was faced with a decision, to work outside of the home, and let others care for them, while I made enough money to cover day care costs and maybe have some extra? (Certainly not enough for a better education or a private one for that matter.) Or do I stay home, and build that foundation, until they were school aged and I could work at least part time to help pay for that better education, that brick?

Sounds like my decision should have been easy, right? Nope, it wasn’t. I factored in what was best for my child and future children, but I didn’t factor in what was best for ME yet. I’m a highly motivated person, a go getter, I have a great college education, yet thanks to the economy tank in 2008, I’ll never be able to use that degree, I could if I wanted to now, however, I don’t want to put my life in harms way, possibly taking the mother away from my children. I had a great career, and was going somewhere fast, climbing up that ladder. I’m a very independent women! I love my independence, I love my freedom, and I love providing! So for me, leaving the working field, made me feel as if I would be losing a part of me, losing my independence, and losing my say on how to spend money. This was something I did not want to give up. I had a VERY difficult time giving this up, and making my decision final.

Eventually it became clear to me, that for now, I’d leave the work field to build that foundation with my children, and trust God, and ultimately trust my husband, another person to provide for me; when I have been providing for myself since I was 15 years old. It has been a VERY difficult road for me. During which time I have used to go back to school to get into a career I love, and can do while being an involved mommy once my children are school aged.

Leaving the work field was temporarily, not permanent, it was a gateway to something bigger and better, an is enabling me to be that mommy I want to be, the involved mommy, the one that attends PTA meetings, helps with school carnivals, attends meet the teacher nights, brings baked goods to school on their birthdays, attends football games and band performances, etc.

So once I was “okay” with that, and getting more and more content with it, I have been able to refocus my attention on the type of education to provide for my children. There is no doubt about it, and there is no way around it, schools are under performing these days due to budget cut backs, and the lack of funding, in relation to under paid and under qualified/educated teachers.

I start the foundation at home, and schools/teachers they continue the work I do. I want my children to go to a school that shares the same values, the same hard work, the same amount of dedication. That will tell me when one of my boys is being a fool at school, or failing. I don’t agree with this “no child left behind” shenanigans. If my child is failing to get a concept, or subject, I WANT, no, I NEED to know this so I can take appropriate measures to rectify it. In addition to that, a school MUST have the extra circulars like sports, PE, Art, Music, special interest clubs, because that is what makes children well rounded. They are JUST as important in the social and real world as math, reading, writing, history, etc.

Budget cuts, and funding cuts have forced schools to dissolve these programs. They no longer exist in many schools, and the schools that do offer them, they are poorly funded, and poorly guided. We have math teachers who have no interest in swing club basically baby sitting the club for a mere few more cents on their check. When I was in school, we had teachers who had HIGH interest in the clubs, and made every effort to make the clubs shine and be productive, and they were handsomely rewarded. They are not today. Sad, but true. Public schools don’t have the funding. Sadly this is why I will be going back to work once my children are all school aged. I will have to pay a privately funded school to send them to to get all of this. Where they are rigorously encouraged to be better, do better, and accomplish. Where they will have the opportunities and chances to perform in after school activities/programs such as the above mentioned. Where school officials will contact me, to let me know of issues that we can rectify together.

Yes, I’m laying brick for their foundation and their structure, because it wont topple over as easily, the big bad wolf can’t blow it down. Is it going to cost me? Yes, it will likely cost me a fortune in money to send them there, and cost me a great deal of time, to help them during their studies, and activities, however, in the end, worth every drop of time and money when I get to look on three little boys who grew up to be three great independent, well mannered, well rounded respectful men.

I’m not trying to put down public schools, or those who send their children to public schools. I’m not putting down public school teachers. I’m simply stating that in this day and age, due to budget and funding cutbacks, I simply want more of my children’s educations than what they have to offer right now. Until the public school system can fix these issues, I will pay out the nose and do what ever it takes for a better education.

So, straw, sticks, or brick? How is your child’s education stacking up?

Our First taker on the Consequence Jar

We have pretty much ran through the gamete with our boys in regards to behavioral consequences and disciplines. Everything ranging from warnings, talks, corner time, timeout time, spanking, removing them from the room, taking things away, etc. So I spent the last few days SCOURING the internet, namely pintrest for “Creative Consequences” for the boys.

I came across the “naughty” and “nice” jars. Basically the “naughty” jar, that I have renamed in our house to the “Inappropriate behavior consequence” jar has creative consequences they pull randomly from and fulfill. I have chosen easy monitored tasks and chores they can do. I didn’t go with writing apology letters, giving hugs, etc because they are not old enough at this time to understand that, but they do understand being taken to do a task they may not like nor want to do and kept from playing and having fun. It seems to grab their attention, most especially my oldest. The “nice” jar, that I have renamed in our house to the “Appropriate Behavior rewards” jar has fun rewards they can earn for demonstrating good behavior (based off of the ill behaviors observed lately, so just being nice wont cut it, if they don’t hit when brother steals a toy away, then they can have a reward.) These are extra special things they would not normally get.

Tonight we had our first contender for the consequence jar. My oldest, Jay, who is 3.5 years old, said he was still hungry and wanted more, I said okay, and looked at his plate. I said, well you will have to eat the last few bites of your green beans before I get you more. He yelled at me, “NO mama, I will not eat that, I want more of this.” Then he decided that he was going to start throwing his green beans. There were three big no no’s here in this one little moment, he told me no, he yelled at me, and he threw something. I should have made him pick three consequences to do, however seeing that this is the “first” offense I only made him chose one, and told him in the future it would be three consequences for each behavior that was inappropriate. We talked while he carried out his consequence, and we talked some more after as to why he had to chose a consequence and what behaviors lead to getting this consequence. That it wasn’t to punish him, it was to take away something he wanted, ie: playing and having fun. That mommy and daddy would be taking free time, play time away for chore time if these behaviors kept up. He did apologize and we left it with a kiss and a hug. He told daddy that he would not be doing that again. I think it got his attention, so, so far it’s a success.

Less stress on me, chores will get done that I don’t have to do, just be there to help facilitate and supervise. He did a surprisingly good job cleaning his tub tonight. When we got back down stairs I asked him if he was still hungry and wanted to now finish his green beans to have more pineapple, and he said yes. He finished his green beans and got more pineapple. He was a happy camper after that.

I’m not ready to call this a complete success as of yet, but it’s a great start, and hopefully it will work with both boys!!! These are “extra” chores above and beyond their daily and weekly chores they must do. Yes my children even at 3.5 years old and 20 months have chores, simple easy ones, like make their beds, clean up their rooms after night time and nap time, clean up their toys before nap and night time, brush their teeth, clear their tables, and put away their dirty laundry. I feel it’s never too young to start. I’m hoping this will help in the future, when they get older and wont have to be told what to do as much. Right now, they pretty much know that when I say lets get ready for bed/nap they start picking up their toys. I don’t have to supervise that as much, just go in the play room and help them pick up the straggler toys.

Yes there are bible verses above where the jars sit. On the wall behind the jars are Bible verses. For the consequence jar it’s Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children obey your parents.” And for the rewards jar it’s Galations 5:22, “The fruit of the spirit is…..”

 

1556319_10201434860056558_20189535_o1599662_10201434860776576_320406290_o  1556439_10201434790374816_84473774_o893685_10201434790894829_871489304_o1495129_10201434791214837_10791018_o1534828_10201434791814852_457005081_o1511776_10201434798775026_1343607411_o 1512057_10201434793134885_1863344286_o

I’m offically the worlds WORST mom. =/

I feel like having a crying tantrum with my 3.5 year old as well. =/

My mom passed away July 7th, 2012. Last Christmas was our first Christmas without her. This is our second Christmas without her, and it’s not any easier, on me. I didn’t know it was affecting my son.

He knew nana, went to live in Heaven with God and the Angels. That she couldn’t visit us last Christmas. (That’s the only way we could explain to him last Christmas why she wasn’t there, and why only papa Mike and Aunt Star had come.) He seemed fine with it, and it seemed as if he forgotten everything when papa Mike showed up with the Christmas gifts on Christmas eve.

Well, today as I’m getting him ready to lay down for a nap, he asked if he and brother could have a cookie. I told him that when he wakes up from his nap then he can have one. I made a HUGE mistake, and asked him if he was excited to have papa Mike and Aunt Star come over to start Christmas with us tomorrow. He got really excited and said yes he was, and said that he couldn’t wait to see papa Mike, Aunt Star and nana D. =/

I tried really hard to choke back my tears, and told him that he needed to remember that Nana D isn’t able to come here for Christmas, that she’s up in Heaven with the Angels, great paw paw and Aunt Dawn. But, she would be watching us from heaven and sending us her love.

OH, was that a MISTAKE! He started crying, like I ripped the head off of his fave snuggle toy, and yelling at me that I was lying to him. He wouldn’t calm down for anything. Finally I was able to rock him and get him to calm down and he fell asleep in my lap.

I can’t stop crying. I’ve done all of the Christmas traditions my mom had always done, I’ve done all of the Christmas crafts I could find, and been so busy preparing for Christmas, this has been my way of sort of dealing with not having my mom here, that I didn’t even seem to notice that my baby was hurting! It didn’t seem like an issue last Christmas!!!

I guess I should have seen this coming, we have been talking about all the Christmas things we were doing and how nana would do them with me, and he sees all of her pictures on the walls. He even got the honor of putting her memorial picture Christmas ornament on the tree this year. I thought that if I talked about her, and what we used to do when she was here, that it would be a great way to keep her memory alive for my boys. It so backfired on me, and now I feel like the worlds WORST mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t know how to fix this!!!! I’m terrified of when he wakes up, and what to say, or if I should even say anything at all! Worst I’m terrified now of how he’s going to react when papa Mike and Aunt Star get here tomorrow. =/

How can I comfort him? How can I explain to my little man that nana D just can’t be here with us. My heart is breaking so bad, and all I want to do is crawl up in a little ball, and cry with him. I may have ruined Christmas for my son. =/

My Letter to my mom…

I was cleaning a few things off of my computer and found this…… It’s what I wrote for my mother’s memorial service. =/ I still cry, and I can’t seem to finish it without chocking up still. I miss you mom. I miss you so much it still hurts so bad.

 

 

Dear Mom,

 

I bet everyone is expecting me to say something profound, and moving about who my mother was and what she meant to me. Truth be told I don’t think I have anything profound to say. What I do have to speak about is an unmeasurable love, and an unbreakable bond.

 

Although my life with my mother was less than ideal, it was no less meaningful, and memorable. Even through the hardships, the pain, and the tears, my mother was in some way always with us, even if it was at heart.

 

Today my mother does not want us to mourn her death, but she wants us to celebrate her life, she used to always tell me that funerals and memorials were for the living to grieve and come together as family to celebrate life. Today, Friday the 13th, is suiting. It was a Friday the 13th she was born on. All good things happened to her on Friday the 13th, which she passed down to me. I met my husband on Friday the 13th, among many other wondrous joys. It’s suiting that we celebrate her life on a Friday the 13th. Today is about my mother, and her incredible journey, her unmeasurable love and her stubborn strength.

 

Everything I did in life, from childhood to adulthood into wifehood and motherhood I did to avoid the mistakes my parents made. I worked so hard to change the cycle of life I had been dealt. I did not want to be anything like my parents, or other family members. I did not want my children to endure the same hardships and pain I had to endure. I meticulously and methodically went out of my way to change the course of my life so that my children would one day have a better life than I did. I realized about this time last year when I was talking to my mom on the phone, that outside of different life decisions, I was exactly like my parents in almost every way. Which I realized was not a bad thing. I had their strong love and heart with a desire to help and serve others. I had my mother’s undeniable stubbornness, that meant when I made my decision I more than stuck to it; just as she would I would get passionate about my decision and make sure I got what I wanted and decided on. I had their strong work ethic. I was more like my parents than I wanted to admit. Looking back on it now, I see that I made my mother proud of the women, mother and wife I have become.

 

In life I never gave my mother enough credit for these gifts she passed onto me, which breaks my heart in more ways than I can scribe. I stand here and I choke when I remember thinking to myself about all of the times I was angry, frustrated and upset with my mom for keeping the entire truth of her condition from me; even though she was SO honest and forth coming with everything else. She would confide in her husband, in my husband, and in my mother in law, especially during the LONG labors I had with both of my sons. Although I wanted my mom at both births so excruciating much, I knew my mom was not doing well and told her to rest and she could come when they were born, or we could take them to see her, what ever she wanted. But she insisted that she be with me when I gave birth to them, because she knew how much her presence comforted me, and how I fed off of her strength to push through the contractions and bring the boys into the world. My mother in law, and mom created a bond, one not found in many families. Who could have imagined? I was and still am so very thankful that my mother had my mother in law to turn to. I still however, could just not understand why my mother would not confide in me, and tell me every detail of her condition.

 

The day after we had Zech, and we were released from the hospital, we went and had dinner, and picked up Jayden from my mother and father in laws house, we went back to my hospital, where my mom was admitted into the night I was in labor there with Zech, to see her. Let her see, hold and touch her new grandbaby, and love on her older grandbaby. She had gone out of her way to make sure Jayden had a big brother present, it’s one of his favorites, a gift I wouldn’t think of giving, but my wise mother knew better than me, because guess what? It’s one of his favorite toys to play with. He loves hooking the horse trailer with the horse inside up to the truck and make beep beep sounds with it as he drives it all over the house. Looking at my mother overfilled with such love, adoration, and affection over my new son, and Jayden, it suddenly occurred to me. I didn’t NEED to know the truth. I didn’t need to know because I was her child, and she was my mother. She was doing to me, what I do to my boys. She was protecting me from harm, hurt, and pain. She knew I had been through so much of it in my life, and now that I was finally happy with a family of my own, she was protecting me from the ugly truth. The truth that her days were dwindling down faster than I could blink. I am constantly telling Jayden, “No, no Jay, that’s hot,” or “Get back Jay, this is ouchie”, and kissing his boo boos. In the very same way my mom was telling me, “No April, this will hurt you” by not telling me the truth.

 

See parents are suppose to be our super heros. They are suppose to be strong, and not ever be weak. They are suppose to help heal our broken hearts, and mend our brokenness. It suddenly clicked to me that my mom, my super hero, was protecting me from even more pain than I needed to endure. I am just like her, I am protecting my boys from enduring pain they can’t even understand.

 

My step dad and my husband can sit there compare notes on who is more stubborn. If my mother or I are passionate about it, we are stubborn about it. Her and I would stand our grounds to the death of us. The Monday before she passed, we had a heart to heart talk. She was so scared of leaving her children, grandchildren and husband. She didn’t want to leave us behind. She especially felt terrible leaving Jayden and Zechariah behind. She loved her grandbabies MORE than anything in this world. They were her pride, and she was a very proud grandma. She showed them off every chance she got, and she squeezed out enough energy for them when she had nothing left to squeeze. She was so torn up about leaving them behind, not being able to physically be here and watch them grow up, and them not being able to have their own memories of her. I told her that I was so proud of her, and how hard she fought. That I loved her so much, and could never and would never be mad at her if she felt like she just couldn’t fight anymore. I told her that the boys would always know her, and always remember her, that I would talk about her as much as I could, and that we had SO many wonderful memories to share with them, and pictures to show them. I told her to remember my house, and the walls of my house plastered with photos, that there was no way they could ever forget their grandma. I told her how thankful I was that she proved the doctors wrong when they told her she wouldn’t even live long enough to see Jayden born. Not only did she live long enough to see Jayden born, she lived long enough to see Zechariah born. She wanted to know how I was doing post pardum, and I told her that I had no issues, she smiled, I know she was concerned with that, because we had many talks about it, especially since Zechariah gave me so many issues at the end. These two little boys were her proudest achievements. Being a grandma made her entire world that much better and bearable. She lived to spoil them rotten.

 

She knew it drove me crazy to sneak Jay ice cream, cookies,cake, and basically anything h was not suppose to have,but she loved every moment of it, because she got to spoil him, and drive me crazy. I still don’t know what gave her more of a thrill, spoiling the child, or driving the mama crazy. She also lived to support, spoil, and love her three children. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for one of the three of us. IF she had to crawl every inch of tis planet for us, she would and then some. She took us in when we had no where else and no one else to go to, she helped us when we were left to figure things out on our own, and could not. She loved us when we were unlovable. These are the things only a super hero could do; only a mother could do. It is her unconditional love that makes me be a better mother to my boys and a better wife to my husband. She was my best friend. I was always able to come to her with my issues, and problems. She would left me vent, cry, yell, or whatever else I needed. She never judged me, loved me any-less, or loved the person, mostly my husband who drives me nuts, any less either. At the end of our conversations she would say, “Okay, now what are you going to do, to make things better?” She used to always tell me, “April, don’t do anything stupid to lose that man of yours, he’s a good man. He takes good care of you. You don’t have to like him that day, but you have to love him.” We had these looks we could give each other that said EVERYTHING. Even if we were not face to face my mother would know I was giving her the look, because she said she heard it in my voice. Sometimes I would try and cover up what I was thinking or wanting to say, and she would get mad at me. She used to say, “If you don’t tell me I can’t give you advice. And if you don’t want my advice, then don’t ask for it, but your voice is asking for it, so knock it off, and spill it out already.” I lost the only person that I could communicate like that to, without judgement, ridicule, or backlash. Once everything was said, that was it. She never brought it up again. I can only pray to aspire to become a mother like that, where my boys could openingly come to me about anything, and I just love them, and push them on their merry little way. She set a high bar for me to achieve, and I intend to achieve it.

 

Mom stayed and fought long enough to see tht we were all going to be just fine. She made sure that I could handle being a mother times 2. She made sure to teach us something every time we talked. She made sure that I had the love and support of an incredible man, who came with an equally incredible family. She left knowing that the boys still had a grandma left to spoil them rotten, to help her daughter and be there for her, and in her own words, “To love her as if she was yours.” My mom wasn’t going to leave until she knew my ever wish came true, which was to have the strong family dynamic I never got to enjoy, but my boys would. She left knowing that I got my very wish, and that Jayden and Zechariah were more than abundantly loved. She knew they would never feel even once ounce of the pain I did growing up. That brought her great comfort, more than words could express.

 

My mother gave me a last gift in her final week and days. We confided in one another and made some promises, that will always be kept. I will love my boys unconditionally, without judgement and without reprieve just as she loved us. I would also crawl to the ends of the earth and far beyond for my boys if I had to, just as she did for us. I promised to always love my husband and his family just as she loved Mike and his. I promised to give the boys “The Biggest wettest kisses and biggest hugs from her every day.” and to remind them of her as much as I could so they would never forget her. I have. I made her promise to take care of my angel baby with my Aunt Dawn who was like my second mother while she was in heaven. I have now lost two mothers. When one wasn’t able to be there for me, the other was. I thank God for my mother’s incredible strength, and I can only dream of having that strength for my boys.

 

in giving me one last gift,I unknowingly gave my mom one last gift and memory she took with her. I called her 5 times and asked if she were okay,needed anything, or would like us to stay home form our vacation. She sounded fine, and told me that she did not want us to stay, she wanted us to go and have fun, that she loved me. I did not know that would be the last time I’d hear her voice, or see her face, and feel her arms around me. I thankfully did get to talk to her via text message and I called one last time shortly before she passed and told her how proud I was of her, and how much I loved her. I told her how much fun Jayden had at Seaworld. My step dad told me about showing her the pictures I sent her, and he told me that her face light up like the fourth of July and had a smile on her face from ear to ear, when she saw Jayden playing around with the Dolphins. Our text to one another while I drove out to California seem so remedial now, but I will cherish them. Random things like whether to grow Jayden’s hair out or cut it, and how excited we were to see Jayden’s reaction to Seaworld, and that I must put lard in my breastmilk because Zechy was a little chunker. That she was proud of me for breastfeeding both boys. Her last gift to me and act as my mom was, and I don’t know whether to saying let me go or made me go, spend a happy peaceful family vacation with my husband and boys. I had no idea until it was over, that it was my last gift to her and act as her daughter to send her pictures and updates about Jayden and how he was reacting to Seaworld. I gave her comfort of enjoying my babies, and watching them have fun. that’s what super heros do. My mom was, is and will always be my super hero. Thank you mom, for always being my super hero. Words could never say how grateful I am for your wisdom, strength, gifts, knowledge and stubbornness you passed down to me.

 

Always in my heart and I love you mom, please find peace and rest now.

 

Love Always, Your Daughter,

April.

Make sure Daddy’s Money can bail you out before you Drink and Drive…..

Maybe this subject hits a little too close to home for me, or maybe it’s because I feel that justice was not won. Either way I’m sadden and sicken by the total disregard to justice that a 16 year old in Texas got, after his friends and him, STOLE beer, drank until they couldn’t even stand straight, and then proceeded to get behind the wheel of a car to which they ended up killing 4 and seriously injuring two others.

My first experience with a friend who did not survive a drunk driving accident was when I was a senior in high school. His name was Adrian, and his cousin’s name was Jesus. They were night managers at the Burger King I worked for. I was 17, already on my own, in my own apartment, paying all of my own bills, while finishing high school, and my after school activities such as band, track, etc. I had just clocked on for my shift, was making my rounds to put the drive thru in the shape I liked to work; clean, organized, etc, when the store owner walked in, and you could tell he had been crying. Philip was the assistant manager was getting upset because his shift had ended and Adrian and Jesus had not shown up yet for their shift. Mind you this was 4pm in the afternoon. Roger came to us, and told us that we were shutting down the store for an hour and having a store meeting, that he called all employees in. We made signs saying that we were shut down for an hour, closed and locked the doors.

Once everyone had filed in and sat down, Roger very slowly in a trembling voice told us that Adrian and Jesus were killed two hours earlier by a drunk driver running a red light at 91st ave and Indian School road. I don’t know why, or what made me tell him to stop joking, but I did, and I quickly dialed Adrians number; over and over and over again it went to voicemail. We were really like the misfit family at our little Avondale Burger King. We were all close, all hung out after shifts, all helped one another out. I honestly can’t remember much more because it all became such a fog. I remember somehow showing up at his wake, memorial and funeral, but I don’t know any details. I can’t even say when it had finally felt like I had moved on, because I don’t know if I ever did. I still think about Adrian and Jesus from time to time. Adrain was like a older protective brother to me. Any time his family was going to discard furniture, sheets, towels, etc, he would bring it by my apartment and make sure I had everything I needed. His laugh was contagious, and I can still often hear it in my head.

The second deadly experience I ever had with a drunk driver was my friend TJ from high school. We were all, already graduated. I think maybe a year at most? I wont go into the specifics of this one, because TJ was the one that was said to be drunk, and he lost his own life, at his own hands. Luckily no one else had been hurt.

I was hit by a drunk driver at 1130 am one day on my way from my house to see my husband for lunch. My car was totaled. If he had hit me one inch further back, my car would have exploded with me in it. Luckily I was too busy messing with the radio to notice my light turned green, when he ran the red light.

My most recent fatal attraction to drunk driving was my good friend Ron. Like Adrain, Ron was like that big brother figure in my life. He was without a doubt there for me when I needed him, even when he didn’t have to be, or sometimes couldn’t be, he still was. He was on his way home from work one night, when a kid and his friends driving drunk, ran a red light at 51st ave and Indian School rd, and killed Ron. I had talked to Ron the day before about his wedding ideas for him and his fiance, and about him wanting to get family pictures done with his children, his fiance and her child. I didn’t even get a call, or a text. I saw it from a mutual friend on facebook that Ron had died in a car accident. Of course I didn’t believe it. Again, I called Ron’s phone repetitively. Each time I got no answer. Then I saw that his brother posted about his Memorial service, and I had to see for myself if this was a hoax or the real deal. Sure enough it was the real deal. There laid Ron in his casket with his Army uniform on. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked, stunned, and could barely breathe. Ron seemed to attract all of the misfits as well, and took them in as family. He loved people, and he cared about people. He had a big bleeding heart, which got him into trouble sometimes. I still hear him asking if I want to go fishing, or to the shooting range. I still hear him yelling at the tv when there was an MMA fight on. I still see his goof ball grin on his face, the one that says “I’m being a big corny terd, and what are you going to do about it…” I can still recall our many conversations about life, love, and helping one another through our dark hours in our relationships with our significant others. Even when I wanted to give up on my husband, Ron helped me to keep going, and trust that it would get better, and that we would make it out of the darkness. This loss was the hardest. I don’t think there is another human being on this world, outside of my husband that is, that knew all of my deepest darkest secrets in my closet.

So, yes, maybe I’m tainted by my experience, and maybe my “rough” and hard life further complicates and dilutes my opinion of this Rich Texas boy, but 4 years probation is hardly a punishment for drunk driving.

My father got a DUI on a bicycle a few years back. He was riding his bike on the public sidewalk, in the middle of the night, in Avondale, no cars to be seen, or people out walking. He was stopped and given a DUI on a bike, and received 6 months in jail, and 3 years probation. He didn’t kill anyone, injure anyone, nor did he get behind the wheel of a car. He was riding a BICYCLE, yes a two wheeled BIKE! Down a residential street about 1 block from home, at 3am, in AVONDALE! He got jail and probation! This rich, snooty kid from Texas, (which by the way, has stricter DUI laws than AZ does), only get’s 4 years probation? He severely injured two and killed four others!

I posted about this in my mother’s site. My jaw has dropped reading some of the responses. Some say he’s “too young” to know right from wrong. He’s “too young” to spend so much time in jail. I’m sorry? Did he NOT have to take the driver’s test to get his license? I’m pretty sure most if not all driver’s tests are suppose to state something about it being ILLEGAL to drink and drive, that the punishment is jail time???? I’m having a very difficult time seeing how a 16 year old doesn’t know right from wrong in this situation? My 3 year old preschooler knows that drinking and driving is bad, and that you can go to jail for a long time if you drink and drive. He even makes his die cast cars go to jail if they are “drinking” and driving. He says that they only have cars version of juice and that’s gas, because he doesn’t want them to go to jail. I’m sorry, but if my 3 year old preschooler is capable of rational, clear thinking, and knowing that it is WRONG to drink and drive, than by all means a darn 16 year old, who has TAKEN A DRIVING TEST knows that it is WRONG and punishable by jail! Especially with all of these “Don’t Drink and Drive” billboards, ads, commercials, and events at schools with DARE. No, you can not convince me that this privileged 16 year old did not know that drinking and driving was illegal and wrong. You can’t convince me that he is too young. IF YOU ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE, and have that responsibility to do so, then you are old enough to be held accountable, and punished if you break the law.

IF, it had been a teen that was middle class or lower class, and not rich, would the judge have made the same ruling? I highly doubt it. The judge would have slapped that teen with the max sentence he could have, to teach “others” a lesson. So why is this rich kid any different? HE KILLED 4 PEOPLE AND SEVERELY INJURED 2 OTHERS! Hello! That’s MANSLAUGHTER! What’s the mandatory min? Oh yeah, 10 years! In PRISON!

Furthermore, if the court is going to rule that this teen is getting off because of his parent’s “Affluence” then they need to charged with accessory of the crime manslaughter. I honestly want to hear what the parents have to say about this. Daddio are you proud of your son now? He just used your money to get off scott free and then BLAMED YOU for being a terrible parent, not teaching him right from wrong, and that money can buy his troubles away.

One thing Scott and I have agreed on, is that NO MATTER how little or how much money we have, earn, acquire, etc. that our children will earn everything they get. They simply will not get a car on their 16th birthday unless they have shown they are responsible, they have a job, good grades, after school activities, and good attitude, plus pay for their own insurance, and registration. IF they get a ticket, we wont be paying it. They will have to learn to pay that on their own. Their car is their responsibility. Doesn’t mean that we can’t afford to get them a car, just means, we are not handing them anything, outside of basic needs and a few small wants. A car is a HUGE responsibility they must earn. We feel the same way about cell phones. Scott and I grew up just fine without a cell phone, and earning our own money for our own cars. Taught us to be responsible. Taught us that we were held accountable for our actions. Sure, my children are young right now, and who knows what will happen in the next 10 plus years, doesn’t change our view that they must earn these responsibilities and privileges. It’s simple here, they don’t earn it, and prove themselves trustworthy, they don’t get it. We’ve started teaching them that now. THEY KNOW that when we are in the store, that just because they want it, doesn’t mean we will get it for them. I say no, more than I say yes.

If I were this teens mother, in court I would have told the judge, to lock him up, and throw away the key until he learned his lesson. That doesn’t MEAN I wouldn’t love my son any less. That just means, I wont have a son that doesn’t pay the consequences for his actions. As a mother I would be applaud at a judge that let him off scott free, especially if he injured and killed people. I understand that 20 years or longer is a long time for a 16 year old, however, they know drinking and driving is illegal. More so they committed other felonies before this, they stole the beer, and drank underage! Are you telling me that a 16 year old doesn’t know that stealing and drinking underage is illegal? The LEGAL DRINKING AGE is 21! HELLO!

I have a friend who’s mother keeps bailing our her brother every time he’s in trouble with the law. She has yet to see that she continues to enable him and is teaching him that he doesn’t have to pay the price for his actions. If it were me, I’d say leave him in Jail. Maybe next time he would think about his actions before doing them.

No, daddies money bought his freedom, and it’s sad, because these families will not get the justice they deserve. These families wont get the closure they need. Worst of all, this teen will most likely re offend, because he knows that daddy’s money will once again come to the rescue.

The only lesson here is that Daddy’s money can buy your freedom. Which is sad, because other “affluence” teens will see this and think they too can get away with murder.

The link to the story if you want it:

http://www.kpho.com/story/24203316/teen-uses-affluenza-defense-in-deadly-drunken-driving-case

Don’t be a Shark, be a Fly

For the past 3 years I have been working my tail off. I went BACK to college, this time to pursue an Art Degree that I originally wanted, and was talked out of by my family, “Art degrees are not practical, they wont earn you a suitable living or proper husband. You need to get a science based degree, one that will gt you a blue collar job, to make a substantive living for yourself.” This echos in my ears long after it was said to me by my family member. Believing that they knew better and what they were talking about, I gave up my pursue of an Art degree, and went the “practical” route and got a criminology degree. That was a big ole’ flop, and a waste of time, money, and energy. I got that degree the year the economy tanked. My job I had lined up, suddenly disappeared right out from beneath my feet.

So after my mother’s persistent insisting, and encouragement from my husband and his parents, I went back to school for my art degree! =) I just graduated this December with my AAS in Photography from Phoenix College, and I’m now full time, instead of part time, at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. YAY! What an unbelievable journey it has been! It honestly took me until the end of last Spring to realize I love photojournalism and I’m actually quite good at it!

My dreams are coming true! I’m stepping into the ultra professional realm now! I have my very first HUGE traveling exhibition show starting in the Bokeh Solo Gallery at MonOrchid Gallery, January 3rd 2014 here in Downtown Phoenix. This is a HUGE step for me, and my career as an artist, photographer and photojournalist; it’s my Yarnell images. There’s going to be media coverage, and a large opening night! Wow! Who would have thought, that despite all of the nay sayers, I’m making it! Well, starting to at least! I’ve worked my toochy off for this! My dreams are coming true! I hope that ONE day to be as great as Steve McCurry.

I keep pinching myself, sometimes I wonder if I’m living in my head, or if this is really for real! Signing contracts for shows, interviews, etc, you’d think I’d get that it is for real. This is a life time of hard work coming true for me! I’m overwhelmed with the amazing accomplishments, and yet, humbled because it touches the hearts of people. Steve McCurry said one thing in an interview of his that I watched that just stuck with, that he waits for these moments to manifest themselves, that he doesn’t force them to come. These moments are magical, they speak volumes, and they take people to unimaginable places. I took that to heart. I WAIT ever so patiently for these small moments in time, when no one is looking, paying attention, or seeing, and get them. That’s the TRUE art of photojournalism, and Steve is right, there is a fine line between moral photojournalism and paparazzi, and I’d rather not be another idiot chasing the story; instead I’d rather be the fly on the wall, waiting and watching it unfold naturally. Some of the media ticked me off, they missed a HUGE part of the Yarnell story, the story of community, of love, support, small town love. They were so enamored by the big story of the fire, the damage, the tragic loss of lives, that they missed what this small community had to give to the world.  You can read my story here: Yarnell Rebuilds: A Story of Hope .

Dreams do come true, if you stay true to yourself, and work hard in a humbled and moral fashion, don’t be a shark, be a fly.

 

Thank you to all of the countless people who have helped me. I could not have gotten this far without you. Especially to my Mother Dale, (RIP), my magnificent Husband Scott, and my family who had faith and belief in me, including my awesome in-laws Kathy and Chris. Thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and still will do.

Confessions of a Frazzled Mama…….. Sunday Madness!

I think everyone expects mothers to be Super Moms. Indestructible, faster than a speeding bullet, reliable, never tired, always ready at a moments notice, always abled, Suzy Homemaker, and Betty Crocker. We are expected to kiss every boo boo, make every “pincy bug” disappear, chase away the monsters, be at the beck and call, cook, clean, cook again, clean some more, bring in SOME sort of a supplemental income, have intimacy with our spouses, manage our ministries, finish school, some how fit in time to accomplish our dreams, and at the end of the day fold laundry and put it away until we are blue in the face. We don’t dare let our husbands do the grocery shopping, because our grocery bill’s would shoot up ten fold, and we’d never have enough or it would all be chips and salsa, with hot dogs for food. We manage the delicate balance of good and yummy in our household menu’s, along side keeping the budget as low as possible using coupons and price matching. Ever see a man attempt it? I have, it isn’t pretty. Not unless he has my VERY detailed list can he pull it off, and even then, it’s a shot in the dark, because he forgets to see if the stores brand is a better deal. What about keeping the children entertained? Ever see a daddy holding a hot glue gun making arts and crafts, or water basted oil paints on a canvas for a Daddy gift? Ever see one attempt to bake and decorate cookies? No, that’s all a mommies job.

I whole heartily think that we should be serving as we are called to do, but do you realize how HARD, and TIRING and DRAINING it is to be 6 months pregnant getting a toddler and a preschooler ready for church on a Sunday morning BY YOUR SELF!? No help! Chasing the toddler because he wants to be chased and not get ready, then he kicks, screams, bites, and bangs his head into your chest because you are attempting to put on the GOD AWFUL DREADED shoes, that MUST, I repeat, MUST stay on. Heaven help you if you put the socks on without immediately putting the shoes on, because the socks almost ALWAYS end up off his feet SOMEWHERE in the house, before you can get shoes on him. Then there’s getting Zechy’s diaper bag and Jayden’s go bag ready, filling one with extra diapers, and the other with a change of pants and undies JUST in case he doesn’t make it to the big boy potty; then stealthily sneaking in the sippy cups without them noticing, or you hear the ENDLESS whine that they want it. You know that if you give in, then that means dirtying up another sippy, and another one to keep track of, and fill up. So, you drag your feet back to the cubbard, and drag out two more sippy cups and fill them.

BY the time you get every one dressed, ready to go, and get ready to walk out the door, just to remember that you forgot your keys and have to rush back inside with everyone to get your keys, and back out, and then fight them to get into the car without running off and buckled in, you’re exhausted, so tired, that you seriously contemplate just getting out of the car and going back in to lay down for a nap. However, that thought is brief, because you know that you have about 20 kids at church waiting and depending on you to be there on time to teach them, and that your children have a need to know about God. So you start the car, drive the mile up the road to church, and then one by one, you slowly unload everyone on your own. You somehow juggle your lesson plans and bible in one hand, while holding the bags on your shoulder, then grabbing your toddler by his hand with your free hand, and telling your preschooler to hold your back pocket and hold tight following.

After you finally get the kids inside to your classroom to set, you then have to take them to their classrooms and check them in, just to leave to start checking in the children for you class. After church, you manage to check out the kids, drag yourself, the kids an all of your belongings BACK to the car, load them up, and go home. Your husband was on Worship, or sound, so is still packing up and loading his truck up. You get home first and end up unloading your children and all of your belongings. One has to pee, one is screaming because he wants another sippy and his hungry and ready for a nap; you yourself have to pee because the third one is tap dancing on your bladder. By this point, you literally have NO energy left, and you feel out of breath, and ready to collapse. Some how you you get the one into the bathroom fast enough to potty, while holding the other, you get yourself on the potty, and then take them both to the kitchen to make a quick lunch and get sippy’s. Then it’s bum change, and the herding upstairs to their separate rooms to take a nap. By this time, you are starving because you realized, that although you made breakfast for the kids, you totally forgot to eat yourself, but you’re SO exhausted and winded that you just want to sit down.

Then when you start thinking of just how hungry you are and you slowly pull one leg at a time off of the couch, and work your way to the kitchen, you realize you have to take something out for dinner, because you space Cadetted it earlier. (Yes I make up my own words, lol, I’m delirious at this point…..) Alas your husband comes sweeping in, finally, just to remind you that you have to be at the banquet hall for the church’s Christmas dinner. He wants to know if you are going ahead of time with him, or leaving later with the kids. Oiy! You really DON’T want to be stuck there for an hour and a half with children by yourself, and yet you dread the morning madness of getting them ready to go and loading them up all by yourself again. So you weight out the options, which one is the best of the two evil options……Ultimately you are far too tired to even think about managing the kids on your own for an hour in a half in a strange place, and so you opt to wait until later to start the madness all over by yourself.

On the way there, your phone acts up, so you can’t seem to get directions to get to this banquet hall, you’re late because you didn’t realize that it wasn’t at the church until a half hour before, and didn’t have directions to get there from your husband. Then you use your own inner navigation skills you picked up as a pizza delivery person in your younger years. Only issue was, we now lived in a strange new town, and the road I thought would go through to where we needed to go, somehow dead ends, and can’t get you to your destination. Your phone still is not cooperating, and you nearly break down crying, as you are driving around, and around in circles in Sun City trying to find your way, while one child screams for a sippy cup and another screams because he’s hungry and is CONVINCED we left daddy at home and asking the 20 questions as to why daddy is not coming to eat with us. You can’t reach the sippy cup because it’s in the diaper bag behind your seat. The third child is apparently doing the river dance, again, on your bladder, and you nearly pee yourself, and have to will yourself not to pee.

As if that’s not enough, you finally make it to your destination, nearly 40 mins late. Then you can’t find parking, and have to park pretty close to the back 50, and unload, and lock the car, slowly you waddle yourself up to the door, and try to get inside quickly because now your preschooler has to use the bathroom. You suddenly see your husband heading towards a bathroom and then send your son to see daddy to go with him, and he has a melt down, of course, and wont go to the bathroom with daddy, so you take him with you, get them settled in, and then rush the two of you off to the bathroom as quickly as possible. Just in time too, because I darn near did pee myself. Took every muscle in my body NOT to pee myself.

Your husband is off doing sound and playing worship, so you try your best to hold the fort down at your table, only to be met with severe opposition from your toddler that just wants to run around and DESTROY everything; when I say destroy, I honestly mean, destroy, he is so much worse than his brother ever was, so strong willed, more so than his brother. You manage to get them to eat, not being able to take more than a couple of bites of your food. Then you give in, and just let them run around with the other kids, while you stand up and eat your  now cold food; which I didn’t even get to finish much of, between the constant running off to stop my destroyer. Desert is finally called, you get up with two in tow and your tickets to the desert line, of course they want everything in sight, and I tell them only ONE! That’s all they get is one! Finally you get their deserts on the plates and while your preschooler toddles behind you holding his plate ever so carefully with both hands, you are trying to manage two other plates in one hand, and your toddler is having a melt down because he wants the desert NOW, and doesn’t want to wait until we get back to the table.

When you finally make it back to the table, you try your best to fastly take the cupcake wrapper off, and the plastic toy off the top, but your toddler is having a melt down because he thinks you are apparently trying to eat his desert. Finally you get him to see that it’s ready and push him closer to the table and he begins to happily eat it. By then your preschooler starts to whine because he can’t pull the chair out, so you help pull the chair out, get him up to the table and take the wrapper off of the cupcake so he can eat his. You get about two bites into your brownie, just to have your toddler be done and want to run around and DESTROY again.

You TRY to keep him entertained, sit him in your lap, talk to him, play with him, but he wants to run around and destroy, so he has ANOTHER melt down, kicking, HIGH PITCH screaming, and banging his head into your chest. Daddy is on stage playing for the rest of the group. You feel so embarrassed, but you are so at your wits end, and so ready to get up and leave, and so tired, that you just try your best to smile through the tears that want to run down your face. As if that’s not enough, they both start having melt downs because they are now ready for bed, and there’s tears coming down both of their faces, and you can’t get your husband to stop talking long enough to get over and help you take the kids to the car so you can rush and get them home into bed; and you seriously want to let your tears fall down with theirs. However, you don’t, you just try and keep calm, suddenly a good friend from church with re enforcements and her son a little older than your preschooler come over with more cars to help keep them entertained as daddy wraps up. FINALLY he walks over, try’s to help, and get them out to the car, and FINALLY you get home, and get them undressed, washed up, dressed in pj’s, sippy’s and doggy’s in hand, and make your way up what seems like 30 flights of stairs, and into bed. FINALLY you are able to sit down, or so you thought, your third child, apparently thinks that it’s still party time, and again, starts doing a river dance, and you peel one part of your body at a time off of the couch that you just got comfortable in, just to go pee.

You then think, since it’s still earlyish, you can edit some client pictures and return emails, yeah, not happening tonight. It’s the only time I get uninterrupted time to work!

NORMAL Sunday’s take it out of me, but I’m always able to have some rest so it’s not so bad, today, was a nightmare, and I broke down in tears. Mommies need help, and rest too! We are not always super hero’s that come flying in to save the day, we need help! Mommies are people too! I think daddy’s forget that we are not super human, and that we have our limits. Today was definitely WAY past my limit. Lord I hope that tomorrow is a MUCH calmer day!