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!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mr. Mom Goes Fishin!

My Mom fishing in Mexico
Me in Mexico
My Gramma (in curlers)& I in Mex

When I was a kid, we went camping every spring break. One of our traditions I loved was fishing with my dad early in the morning. Coffee in hand we would get in the boat. He would toss me the keys when I was old enough and we would speed across the chilled glassy lake to the dam where we would drop in a couple lines. I loved these moments of hanging with my dad. He would tell me stories of my mom and him fishing in Mexico, tinker on the boat waiting for the fish to bite, sip his coffee, and make up fish stories to tell when we got back to camp.

I want give my daughter those same memories! So off we went to the store for a fishing pole and hooks. We started fishing last summer, but we only used bait we could eat: Velveeta cheese, marshmallows, french fries, hotdogs, etc. This year we stepped it up with some bacon- and the rest became history! I was blessed with a dad that showed me how to fish- and I know not all single/solo moms/dads was as fortunate as I was. So000ooo... I figured I would try to explain as much as I could.


Mr. Mom's Fishing Tips

-After hooking a fish, use the wash cloth to grab the fish with. Some fish have small pokie thingys that come out... so this protects your hands from that amongst the slime and scales, and makes you look super brave!
-Use the needle nose pliers to pull the hook out ONLY IF YOU CAN STILL SEE IT!!
If the fish has swallowed the hook, cut the line. I am told that the fish will dispel the hook on their own naturally. (And if they dont they will go to the big toilet in the sky!)
-Check on fishing laws before you cast... some residential lakes do not require adult fishing permits. SOME DO!
-The stinkier the bait... the better the fish.
-Fish bite at sunrise and sunset.
-Take lots of pictures and HAVE FUN!!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Traumatic Sadness Happens.

****WARNING: I seriously debated on whether to post this one or not. I hope that my vulnerability and honesty can help someone else. This is NOT an attempt to solicit sympathy or paint myself as a victim.***

We all do it when we are uncomfortable with being unable to comfort another's pain. Simple words to give hope, founded or not. "She is in a better place now." "He is the one that is missing out." "You were too good for him anyways." "Youre better off without him." When I left my ex, I was told from friends and family that loved me and wanted to take my pain away, "Dont worry- it wont be long until youre remarried!" I remember the thought of marrying anyone other than my husband sickened me at first. Then it became a foundation I stood on- I began to believe it. For a while, it took my pain away. I found that it gave me comfort and a pseudo strength believing that I would someday soon be some amazing man's incredible wife. I wouldnt be lonely anymore the way I am now. My daughter would have a daddy again.

March has always been a really hard month for me. It used to be that it was hard because it was the month that everything came together and five years later fell apart in my marriage. Now it seems it is just another brutal reminder of what I dont have. This March has been harder than the years past.

I have been depressed and saddened over my failures before. I guess looking back at it all now- I numbed myself to function. If I wasnt crying I was able to function through the custody battle, restraining orders, divorce and creating a stable life for our daughter. I also had hope. I believed the empty promises that I would be remarried within a year. This is where my thoughts dwelled allowing me to numb myself by not confronting my pain completely.

This March marks the third year since I left my ex. I have spent three years believing that I would be married before the next holiday. I have spent three years missing being a wife; Believing that people do what they are good at- I thought I would be a wife again soon. I have spent three years being the third wheel, the one that wasnt invited to the couples BBQ, the one that was asked if I have met anyone new, or if I was going to be getting married anytime soon. Three years of hiding my left hand from the other parents at her school so they wouldnt notice I didnt wear a ring. Three years that I have been playing both mom and DAD for our daughter. Three years of parenting on my own. I used to tell myself to enjoy this time that I have with my daughter alone, because it wont be long before it'll never be this way again. Although I have enjoyed every moment, I never thought it would have lasted this long.

This is where I throw my pity party. I kick and scream and cry alone because IT JUST ISNT FAIR. I was an amazing wife that didnt believe in quitting. My daughter is an amazing little girl that definitely is completely blameless and innocent and undeserving. I was told that I would be a wife again soon. These painful empty promises have become hurtful lies I told my heart every day so that I could function. And now, three years later I see that it was nothing more than a band-aid on a traumatic injury. I am going to be 31 at the end of the month. I thought somehow I would be remarried by now and pregnant with another child, and my daughter would have a man she could proudly call daddy. I am in a place where I have no exposure to other singles- Feel online dating is not the place for me- and yet I am incredibly alone and the novelty has long worn off.

My mom used to tell me "life isnt fair." My grandfather use to say that "You know youre alive if you can feel pain."My church tells me "compare yourself to the suffering of Christ." Friends tell me, "It'll happen when you arent looking for it."

I guess for me, I just need to acknowledge my pain finally, and cry this one out. I tend to avoid crying if possible. Most of us do. It shows weakness- At this moment I am weak. Maybe this hurt will heal, maybe it wont. Simple validation and acknowledgement of perceptions, real or false, makes me confront the pain- instead of numbing it. Im tired of numbing it. So a pity party it is. I can figure out how to change this situation tomorrow- but tonight I think I need to cry because it is OK. Traumatic sadness happens.

Friday, March 9, 2012

History Lesson from 1879: Learning to Determine True Value

She handed me a handful of change for her coffee while she was on her cell phone. At that time, I was working as a barista in a drive-thru. I handed her the coffee then began sorting out the handful of change. There it was. It was huge and really heavy. I had never seen anything like it before. I picked it up to look at it closer... I knew it was a silver dollar- but it was sooo much heavier than a silver dollar. The date read: 1879. I cant even begin to tell you how excited this made me. I am somewhat of a sucker for history. I immediately ok'd it with my boss to buy the silver dollar out of my drawer and took it home to research.

It was a Morgan Silver Dollar minted in New Orleans in 1879. There were 3 million minted that year. The edges of the woman's hair was worn down, and the edge of the flip side show considerable wear as well. I had it evaluated and it was determined to be worth a whopping $7.00!! Still, I couldnt understand why anyone would use it to buy a cup of coffee?! She obviously didnt see the full value of the coin.

I couldnt part with it in all honesty. I imagined that it was in the pocket of someone that survived the great depression. That when they wanted to spend that dollar, they rubbed it contemplating if the item they wanted to purchase was really worth the value of that hard earned dollar in their pocket. So I stuck it in a box in my filing cabinet instead.

Recently, I came across that box. I pulled it out and looked at it. I held it, letting my thumb rub the worn areas thinking of the overwhelming anxiety the spender must have had in those hard times. I know that anxiety over finances. Wondering if the questioned purchase was really a want or a need, was it worth the time it took to earn that dollar?

This is a question I need to start asking myself. I am the queen of impulse buys. I am not talking about the rack at the register full of goodies under $5.00 either... although some of those are pretty good purchases I have known to indulge in too. I get a random idea in my head of what I want to buy, and I become borderline obsessive. I have to have it. I have dug through my house before pulling out sticky change from between the couch cushions to buy that Victoria Secret Lotion I smelt days before at the mall, a new purse, shoes... the list goes on. Robbing Peter (the guy that works for the electric company) to pay Paul (the guy that works at Target) for that new DVD. That is bad, because usually the obsession heightens the value until the obsession ends. So the question that I need to ask myself with every purchase, "Is this a need or a want??"

With our household recent financial crisis, I have been posing these questions to my daughter: Is this a need or a want? Is it something that we already have in the house and/or can do without? Is there a less expensive form of what we want to buy? Why is it that we need to purchase this right now? Does the item's worth outweigh the valuable time to earn the purchase price?  (Sometimes it is slightly defeating to hear her answers... like when she thinks a box of Nerd candy is more important than our dreams of a vacation to Disneyland. But she is only 5! And I am 30 still making those same defeating choices!)

I believe it is important to learn from history so that it isnt repeated. I know personally, I do not want to repeat my history, or see my daughter make the same mistakes I have made. So I want to equip her with the knowledge I have learned the hard way. I want to teach her to work hard, and to see things for their true and long lasting value.

Although that Silver dollar was spent frivolously on coffee, and might only be worth $7.00 in silver, it has taught me and continues to teach me invaluable lessons that just might help change a generation.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Creating a Financial Team with your Child- Visual Budget

I did a bit of research and brain-storming to find ideas and resources to help my princess understand our financial boundaries and limitations and create a financial team.  I came up with the idea of creating a visual budget. This is a simple idea for children to understand the limitations of financial income and spending. (This actually really helped me visualize the money in actual places, rather than just numbers on a piece of paper.)

She was really excited about this activity! We practiced counting, adding and subtracting money. She saw what looked to be a lot of money- actually wasnt all that much after the bills were paid.

First, I used a standard budget form to get ideas of what expenses would be on a budget. I drew each one out in a picture for her to color. 

Once colored we glued them on to envelopes. I started with gluing one picture per envelope- but later found that I could seal the envelope shut, then cut it in half to create two envelopes from one. Frugal!
Next we glued them on to our board. (I used an old board we had around the house from when I was teaching her about eating all the food groups. We just tore off the old display and covered it in white paper again. But you can use paper... or even just find a blank wall to stick it to!)

We started at the Top with the Paycheck.

 Next to and under the paycheck we glued the more urgent and used financial categories (ie: Rent/Mortgage, Utilities, Car Payment/Insurance, etc)

 I found a PDF file online with kids cash to print out... So we printed some money and cut it up. WARNING:  This was exhausting and tedious without a paper cutter. If you dont have a paper cutter- try the dollar store for pretend cash... or maybe you have some old monopoly money laying around!

 The basics of it are easy. Using the play money, count out how much money was in your paycheck/bank account. That is all the money that you have to pay for bills needing to be paid. Then using the money in the PayCheck envelope, dispense the correct amount into the envelopes of the bills that need to be paid.

For example: If your paycheck was $800.00, count out $800.00 in bills. Insert that into the paycheck envelope and put the rest away.

Now, what bills need to be paid?
Electric: $50.00
Nanny: $250.00
Rent: $600.00
Groceries: $50.00

How much do you have left for eating out, new shoes, birthday gifts, and movies?

This really helped my princess see that we dont have an endless amount of money. There is no money tree that I am secretly growing in the backyard. So, when she asks me for McDonalds... and I answer no because we dont have the money for McDonalds, she now understands what that means.