About Me

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I am a wife, mother, and step-mom. I am not perfect, but try my best to reduce damage control. I have incredible family and friends that encourage us on this adventure. My mom always told me that motherhood isnt for whimps... and I couldn't agree more!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fractured Family?!

I was sitting among family and friends recently when it was casually stated, "There are more and more FRACTURED families out there these days." The word hit me like a verbal assault. I knew that the intent wasnt to offend me, but I also knew that I illustrated the intent behind the use of "Fractured Family": a single parent, divorced, or re-blended family. The offense made me think.

Merriam-Webster defines the medical term Fractured: (noun) the act or process of breaking or the state of being broken; specifically : the breaking of hard tissue (as bone).

Quick medical run down of a fracture in layman terms:
   - Fracture: hard tissue is broken (bone is broken)
   - Cartiliage begins to weave through out the bone forming a "fracture callous" binding the hard tissue together
   - Hard tissue begins to heal using the fracture callous as support.
   - Eventually, the fracture callus is remodeled into a new shape which closely duplicates the bone's original shape and strength.
I love love  LOVE that last part... the part that reads: duplicates the original shape and strength.

Just thinking outside the box, why is a family that has been broken, have to continue to be labeled as "fractured"... even after healing has set in? If the family doesnt fit the traditional mold: mother, father, and 2.5 kids, why is it still considered broken?? Yes, there is overwhelming studies that have proven that children thrive the best when there is a father and mother that are involved and are supportive in their lives. Yet, I have seen the damages first hand of a child that is involved in a family that, although intact, is fractured in every way. "Thrive" is not the word that would be used to describe the effects on that child. The family unit, although intact technically, is weak and broken. Broken and weak is the complete opposite of the life my daughter and I have recreated together for our family. OUR FAMILY. Her and I are a complete family unit, a very much intact, strong, supportive and functioning family. Hardly fractured now.

I implore those of you that use this term to think twice before you use it again. To vocalize this definition to describe a single parent family portrays a weakness. This injects that weakness into a healing environment, and rather than supporting and encouraging restoration after disintegration- it undermines the regenerative advancements and continues to recognize the family in it's most painful state- broken. This implies a hopelessness. It illustrates to the child, as well as the parent, that they are missing something; like a puzzle that never can be completed without the missing piece. And what do we do with puzzles that are missing pieces?? We throw them away. They are useless. Let's change our thinking. Let's build our families up, and use edifying definitions to describe those that dont fit in the "normal" box of society.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Geo-caching Fun!

Our youngest navigator
The first time I heard of it I was thinking Geo-what? Does it involve cash?!! Its called Geo-caching. It is a world wide treasure hunt. Hidden in common places among almost all communities are small treasures to find. People hid items with clues in random places in a worldwide underground scavenger hunt. Although, popular among adults, it is especially fun for kids! It is challenging for all ages, doesn't cost any money to do, and all you need is access to the internet and your thinking caps!

There are lots of websites that you can go to... and even lots of free apps for your smart phone. We liked www.geocaching.com

We choose a geo-caching series in our community that is on a five-mile loop. With every find, you receive a letter with it's position in a 10-letter word. When you find all the letters, you get to see what the word is! We joined my sister and my nine nieces and nephews for a day long hunt!

Our Geo Crew

We started walking...
Our 1st clue: Look to the stars

Found it

We opened it to find a list to add our name to and a green army guy

The list we added our names to, and the little green army guy

Found another

Reach high

Found another

Everyone gets involved

The Clue: You have to fish around for this, we discovered it was hanging by fishing line down a pole

Adding our name to another

Mmmm... we shared some shaved ice as we kept searching

Although, we didnt find all the locations, we had a lot of fun! We can always come back and finish later
What a fun activity for the whole family!!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jaded Refugee looking for Trustworthy Bear Hugger

Sometimes I just need a hug. Hugs from my princess are precious and amazingly embracing considering she just over three feet tall. But those are not the hugs that I am talking about this time. Sometimes I need a manly bear hug; one of those hugs that is all embracing, protective, reassuring, comforting, and makes me feel like a woman. An embrace that offers refuge from the world, and in that moment you have comfort and peace. I hate that I know sometimes I just need one. Makes me feel weak. I grew up with a loving dad that was involved with us as daughters, I got lots of hugs. I loved that when he hugged me, I felt secure. My weakness was protected. My dad is a really good hugger, but my dad isnt always available- life seems to get in the way. (Yea- I know... Im lucky- I have a really good dad!)

I know the problem is me. Single moms dont ask for help, and when it is readily offered, we rarely accept. It isnt because we have some sort of internal desire to look like a modern day martyr- or at least, for me, it is more that I hate being weak. I have associated accepting help as weakness. I spent the majority of my marriage weak. I now have control - and it is hard for me to give that up! Personal weakness is a huge fear of mine. However, despite being a leader or a follower, occasionally we all need some refuge. We battle daily the hardships and pressures life has to throw at us: financial pressures, career pressures, social pressures, familial pressures... the list is never ending. Especially as a solo mom, we are doing it all: housework, yardwork, repairs, working, cooking, parenting for two... there is no doubt that we wouldnt trade it for the world, but that is not to say that occasionally it is amazing when someone steps in with relief. It is just hard to accept the relief, for fear of loosing the control that we have worked so hard to gain and maintain. Maybe it would be nice if I didnt have the option and it just happened. Maybe I would resist it more without trust in place.

I look at a lot of the single moms that I know, and the blogs of those that I follow. I see that I tend to identify with the one that is afraid to let that guard down with a man again. Afraid to get hurt. As the line in Jerry McGuire goes, we have been to the puppet show and seen the strings. We come across hardened and jaded towards the opportunity of a man stepping in and baring some of our responsibility- let alone appear to be weak and in need of a hug! We are women- hear us roar! We appear to be incredibly independent without a need for a man. My independence is something that I do value, and at this point in my life- am not willing to throw it recklessly away for the idea of love. My independence and ability to see my daughter thrive of my own doing is a freedom I refuse to give up right now. That isnt to say that I dont miss being the weaker one occasionally. Its a difficult conundrum: Afraid to show weakness so we bare entire responsibility and wear ourselves thin "being strong"; and showing weakness because that is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable again, weak again, and that takes trust and surrendered of control.

I guess I just need to find a balance, as in all things in my life. I need to recognize that all men will not fail me. And some men are incredibly trust worthy... enough that I could be vulnerable and ask for one of those bear hugs I miss so much.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Loosing "Our Brittani" - How to say goodbye.

She was one of the first pillars of stability for both my daughter and I. She was sweet and honest, vibrant and fun. We found her through family friends and after four months of shuffling my daughter between grandma's house and the daycare/preschool I had her enrolled in... she was a Godsend. She was our "Live-out Nanny".

My daughter combined her name, Brittani, and her title "nanny", and coined the name "My Brittani"... and it stuck. She was our Brittani. She would get my daughter ready for preschool in the morning and drop her off before I got home from work. She made my daughter dinner, bathed her, hugged her, loved her, and made some very special memories with her. 

Because I work for the Fire Department, my job can sometimes be demanding. When I was working Halloween and didnt want T to miss out, she got my daughter ready in her costume and took her to T's cousins house for Trick or Treat fun. When my daughter was sick at home, and I couldnt get to her, I never feared that she wasnt getting anything but the best of care from "her Brittani". 

Our Brittani wasnt just there for T solely either. She listened to me ramble about how much I hated my divorce, the bitterness I had towards the other woman, custody battles, child support, T's father's absence in her life, new friendships, new boyfriend, family, break-ups, she heard it all. If she ever complained, I never heard it. 

She made cookies, helped me with household chores, ran errands for me. . . the list went on.
I choose a live out nanny, mainly because I had grown to love the peace in my house. I love that I can run around in my tee shirt and socks if I needed to without fear of running into a roommates guest!

She is going to school to be a teacher, and the classes this fall make it impossible for her to work with my schedule. So it is with a heavy heart that I read her resignation. I am so happy for her to move on and continue to follow her goals... but deeply saddened to loose such an important part of our team... our family.

 My daughter has always had a hard time with good byes. Seriously, I think from the time she was an infant, she hated them!! Being that she has dealt with the sudden absence of her father at such a young age, I am concerned with trying to explain to her how to say good bye- or see ya later- to "her Brittani".

 I guess I will just attempt to point her attention to the fact that we have been so lucky to have a "Brittani" in our lives... and we are so proud of her for taking those steps to move forward and become a teacher. Maybe if I get her excited about "her Brittani's" future it will help ease the pain and not feel like we are loosing her, but rather transitioning into another phase with the promise of "see ya later" parties and "we'll talk soon" chats. I hope that works. We have been so blessed with "our Brittani". She will forever be a part of our hearts.
Thank you Brittani for EVERYTHING!! xoxo We adore you!!

AND will miss you tremendously!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Daddy Shopping: My Series For Solo-Moms Regarding Dating

So in my last post, I submitted a quiz to assess your readiness to start dating again. There is no doubt that only you can really know if you are ready to start dating again- no quiz can convince you otherwise!! With that being said... here are your results:

If you scored...

Not Ready to meet Freddie (or Pete... or Steve... or John...):
Between 5 and 20 points

You scored on the low end of the readiness spectrum, and that is OK!!! This is a picture of me, when I was a Not Ready 2Meet Freddie. My smile was strained and felt foreign. It was almost painful. I rarely laughed, not for a lack of trying. My thoughts were still consumed with him. The stress is written across my swollen face. Despite the bleakness, I still wished things could work between us. I would fantasize about him coming to his senses seeing what he left. I longed to hear him say he was sorry and he loved me and our daughter more than anything and wanted to get help. I only wanted to hear him say that he wanted to do what it took to make our marriage and family work. I felt awkward without a man. (This is about the time I made the psycho cookies- see Daddy Shopping Part I). I desperately wanted to find a daddy for my daughter, panicked that she would have to possibly go a period of time without one!! My thoughts were consumed with him and what I didnt have about 80% of the time (ok... sometimes, 99% of the time) and this was reflective in my conversation. Everything had to do with him. I had no sense of personal boundaries, let alone the courage to believe I deserved better or demand better. I needed to give myself time to work through the pain, to recreate a peace, and to develop a sense of who I was and what I had to offer. I needed to grieve the loss of my marriage and my dreams of being married to my best friend. I needed to learn to laugh genuinely again. I needed to relearn how to live again. And all of this took time for me to learn to do.
If you are a Not Ready to meet Freddie... fear not- your time will come!

Transitional Rocky Roader
Between 20-40 points

At first things are so rocky you have no appetite. Your life is hectic, working a job to be financially independent, while balancing being a mom... that is just enough to wipe anyone out! Not to mention court dates and custody battles, child support... you feel like you are a walking punching bag. But the more you fight, the more you start to feel like maybe you could do this... you begin to acclimate to the stress and pressure- you begin to adjust and it feels normal eventually... ok, well more normal! Soon you find that you are on the couch commemorating a bad day with rocky road ice cream... because it was only one day- its worth the celebration! You can remember a time not so long ago that having a day without saddness was more worth ice cream than a day with something that needed to be drowned in chocolatey nutty marshmellowy goodness! This was a time I learned to cut myself off from the world- and center myself on me and my princess. Find a place to go, get away from the constant reminder of my failures. Start rebuilding my little world with friends that were my own, things the way I liked them, and places I liked to go. It felt really good. I still had my days that were challenging, days I had to put my boxing gloves back on as I stepped into the ring... but I felt I had more clarity to fight for the things that were worth my effort. I no longer felt like I was blindly swinging wildly in a world I didnt trust... but had focus and clarity in my battles and I began to learn those that were trust worthy again. Things were settling.
It was during this time in my life that I met a really great guy. In my personal opinion this is a grey area to start dating again. My life was still so consumed with my ex- it had to be hard for him to listen to me talk about it. I tried not to, but there were times that I compared him to my ex. I had to learn to leave my emotional cargo at the door- and try to trust again. But things were so different this time around for me. I couldnt expect for my prince charming to come and rescue me, sweep my off my feet, and ride us off into the sunset. My heart wouldnt allow myself to fall blindly in love. I actually found at times that it was more of a calculated choice based on algorithms of stability, family, capability, weakness, and strengths. Falling in love was more a mental choice- rather than a calling of the heart. I had recognized that no one was going to rescue me- I was the only one that was going to be capable to save myself.

Groovin and Movin On
Between 40-60 points

You have finally made it through the rough of it. And although there are times that you still have minor (and occasional major) crashes, most days you breathe easy and freely. You have a routine throughout your day. You have things that you do that have nothing to do with your life before- or even separating yourself from that old life- but just things that you do now. New routines are finally just routines. The drama has finally settled. You have a greater sense of who you are. This gives you the ability to clearly see what you want in a man- and weed out those that dont meet that criteria. You have confidence in your ability to stand on your own two feet. The loneliness that was once a prison- has now become a symbol of independence and freedom. You dont have that insatiable desire to have a man in your life to complete you... you know you are pretty darn complete on your own. You have accepted your failures and learned from them. You have identified where you made poor choices in the past and made solemn vows to choose differently next time. You no longer see light at the end of the tunnel because that tunnel vision has diminished. You have a peace in your soul and it echos in your easy laughter and smiles at life's funny moments. You make time for yourself and your friends. You have goals in life, and are able to have the clarity to work towards them.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Birds Eye View!

T and I have birds that make a nest annually in the back yard. This year, we decided to create a arm to photograph the babies in the nest, rather than risk our safety as we dodged the protective momma birds!

Using the broom and
pipe cleaners we secured  the camera!

T loves animals... of all kinds! And I love encouraging that!!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Daddy Shopping: My Series For Solo-Moms Regarding Dating

I have always loved taking quizzes in women magazines! So I have decided to create my own quiz to assess your readiness to start dating again based on some light research! So, grab a pencil and paper!
(And a calculator if math isnt your strong subject- like me!)

  • When I woke up this morning, my first thought was
    • I need to get the oil changed in the car. (+5)
    • I wonder if (name of your ex) is awake yet? (+1)
    • I need to teach my kid to make coffee. (+3)
  •  While shopping, you ran into one of his friends. You...
    • completely ignored her and ran away, you have nothing to say nice. (+2)
    • smiled politely, and confidently continued browsing. (+6)
    • after her salutation of how are you, you honestly started explaining how he ruined your life and broke your heart. (-1)
  • If you were able to map out your thoughts on a pie chart...
    •  80% is devoted to custody and child support... 10% is devoted to work and your kiddo ...10% is everything you dont have. (+2)
    • 60% is your kid... 10% is you... 10% is family and friends... 10% is work... 10% that jerk that ruined your life. (-3)
    • 40% is your kiddo... 15% is you... 15% is family and friends... 10% is work... 10% is household chores... 10% making exciting plans for the future solo. (+3)
  • The last time you laughed genuinely was...
    • 10 minutes ago- I find little things in everyday life humorous! (+8)
    • Two weeks ago when us girls got together for dinner... they had me crying with laughter. (+4)
    • I cant remember- I feel I force myself to smile and laugh most of the time. (+1)
  • Looking back on our relationship (and/or marriage)...
    • I cant believe how badly he screwed it all up. I gave him everything, and he never cared. (+4)
    • We both made mistakes- could have done other things better- neither of us is innocent in this. (+8)
    • I was the one that made all the mistakes, I wish he would just see that and forgive me and take me back and I promise to change everything to make things work for him! (+2)
  • Last time I dialed his number...
    • I hung up before hitting that last digit... I have so much to tell him- but I am so scared of rejection!! (-1)
    • It was in regards to our child(ren) we share in common... nothing personal. (+5)
    • It was to scream at the jerk for introducing his new girl friend to our kid! (+2)
  • Last time you overheard someone talking about your ex...
    • You turned around and loudly told them to shut up! You didnt need that negativity in your life! (+2)
    • You ran to the bathroom and cried. Then proceeded to eat a carton of chocolate malted crunch! (+3)
    • You smiled in mild amusement, but didnt feel anger or hurt. You felt indifferent. (+6)
  • The last guy you dated you sized up and compared to...
    • Ryan Reynolds (+5)
    • Your Ex (+1)
    • Your bestfriend (+3)
  • You have gone on a couple of dates with a Mr. Handsome... and he is pushing allowances that challenge your morals, you...
    • have personal boundaries you expect wont be challenged. And if he becomes indignant, he can kick rocks! (+7)
    • He is a super sweet guy, and it isnt like it is something you have never done before... you want to do it anyway... (+4)
    • He is super hot... who cares about personal boundary and space... he is into you and you are into him... it feels good now and you'll just be in pain later anyway... so-wheres the problem again?! (+1)
  •  Looking back at your past relationships, both dating and marriage(s)... You would describe your dating pattern as:
    • Serial Dater- you are never without a man on your arm (+1)
    • Picky Eater- you wont date him unless he meets your criteria- and youre not afraid to turn em away. (+5)
    • Hitchhiker- you are with what ever comes along and picks you up. (+3)
  • It's Saturday night, and your kiddo is not feeling well. You had a date planned, but your little germie needs you. You... 
    • Call him and see if it is ok that you stay home tonight. (+3)
    • Call gramma... she is a close second to mom! AND you were really looking forward to a night out alone with him! (+1)
    • Call him and tell him that you will have to cancel... after all that little germie is your number 1!! (+5)
Ok--- Tally up those points!!
      Where did you score??? 
      5-20 points...???
      20-40 points...???
      40-60 points...???

      To find out where you are in the spectrum of dating readiness, 
      come back on Friday!!


      Tuesday, July 5, 2011

      Shelby the Oyster

      When I was a little, my Grandpa caught an octopus while fishing. He brought it home for my Grandma and I to dissect. I wasnt very old, but I do remember finding three hearts! So, when T and I were at the grocery store and found a seafood event, I got an idea!
      Meet "Shelby" our oyster!

      We put "Shelby" the oyster in a tank with salt and a pinch of dirt after learning this will make a pearl! (natural pearls take years to create... faux pearls develop overnight!)
      In plopped "Shelby"...
      Add a little salt...

      ...And a pinch of dirt...
      Left Shelby to soak overnight...

      In the morning this is what we found!!!

      She put on some black gloves, and went to work

      The oyster was pretty mushy... and dissecting it was nearly impossible.

      ***Warning: the smell is incredibly terrible!!!***

      She was thrilled to find two (faux) pearls! Fun experiment for .58 cents!!!


      Friday, July 1, 2011

      A Date with my Daughter!!

      T and I took a day off and went to the beach for some fun in the sun and seafood!! We love going out on dates... whether it is a nice dinner, or a fun place to hang!