Category Archives: Life

Sending Flowers

That itch is back, just under my skin. It’s like a clock ticking loudly while you’re trying to sleep, or a leaky pipe dripping that you can’t find no matter how much you root around.

It isn’t as simple as waking up one morning and realizing things aren’t the way you want them to be. Everybody makes adjustments in life, little tweaks here and there to their expectations based on the reality they’re facing. It happens, you know?

Today I broke down. It wasn’t one thing in particular that did it, but an accumulation of months of trying to be stronger than I am caught up to me. I’m tired of trying to figure out what to do all the time and trying to hold it all together and keep us all moving forward and happy.

Sometimes I need someone to come home with something special to cheer me up, or surprise me with plans to do something special. Just…something. Something different to break up the monotomy.

Alas, it isn’t going to happen. At least not anytime soon. Darrick has been too sick to even notice how restless I’ve become, and the girls are just kids. I’m I’m in charge of making their lives better and happy; not the other way around.

So I lost it. I’m ashamed of my behavior today. I yelled at my ten-year-old for not being able to figure out what cleaning supply to use to clean the bathroom, then pulled away from Darrick when he was trying to be nice and offer comfort.

He left to go to the store angry.

I curled up in bed for a good, ugly cry.

And a nap. I figured if it works for a grumpy four-year-old, it would work for a grumpy mommy.

I woke up feeling awful. I washed my face and did the dishes anyway.

I apologized to everyone and went about my day, but then I got a text message from my little one’s dad that Anya’s step-grandpa had passed away yesterday morning.

It rocked me. It breaks my heart for the whole family. We don’t talk anymore; it was a horrific split between my ex and I, and of course, being his family and all, I chose to cut myself off from them. There was a lot of bitter there for a long time where my ex was concerned. A lot of hurt and wreckage. It was tough as hell for me to let go of the situation and let things be in order for me to heal.

Now, nearly four years later, hearing the news hits me harder than I would have thought possible. He passed away from a heart attack, same as my father. And all I can think about is the first time I was welcomed into their home and made to feel like a part of the family. Enjoying Christmas together. Making plans for the baby and buying her everything she could want. Just hanging out at their house while my ex was at work and I wanted something to do.

I offered my sympathies to my ex via text, but text doesn’t convey emotion well and he just brushed it off anyways. We aren’t friends anymore, we barely even talk. It’s not the way I would have wanted things; It’s just how they worked out when the dust settled.

All I can do for that family now is say prayers of comfort, light a candle of remembrance, and smile about the way things were once.

I’ll send some flowers for the service to honor the short time I was part of their lives. Maybe it’ll make them smile, maybe they’ll just throw them out. But at least I’ll know I did the right thing.

People should always be remembered.

And I should always be grateful for the day, no matter what kind of day it was. 

At least I had this day.

Is ‘Help, my child has been possessed by a gremlin on crack’ too strong for a title?

Do your kids ever make a mess and when you clean it, you realize how much you really needed to clean anyway?

That’s why I hate to clean.

Tonight was interesting. And by interesting, I mean horrible and hilarious in ways that fellow human beings should take pity on me and buy me some ice cream.

The littlest one came home from her dad’s today. Usually, those are grumpy days. She’s tired, she’s emotional, and it’s hard for her to get back into mommy routines instead of daddy ones.

However, when she came home today, I noticed something different. It didn’t seem to be her that came back… instead, I got a gremlin on crack.Remember that movie? It was full of mean little monsters who were out to get you.

She started off with some spectacular and exhausting meltdowns, graduated to dumping milk all over her sister’s food when she got up to go pee, smooshed globs of ketchup all over the dining room chair she was sitting in, and then, for a grand finale, pooped in the bathtub.

And in case you’re wondering, no, she was not taking a bath and had one just slip right out and go floating.

Nope. My child pulled her pants down, backed her cute little tush up over the edge, and let it go.

She probably sang the song while she did it.

I had no idea until about an hour later when I was tucking her into bed and realized her feet had a certain smell wafting up. Suspicions were confirmed when I saw a strange smear on the bathroom floor and, while moving closer, I got a good view of what was waiting for me inside the tub.

(Dear Lord, I am a good person. Why do you punish me? Is it because I didn’t adopt a child over the television that you make a monthly payment to like I’m promised to if You stopped the toilet from overflowing last week?)

So I calmly walk back into her bedroom and ask her very politely and non-judgement-ly if she pooped in the bathtub. Of course she denies it, but I know I didn’t poo in the tub, my fiance surely didn’t, and I’m pretty sure my ten-year-old didn’t do it either.

Darrick puts on his serious expression and tells her that we’re going to judge to put a sample of the poo in a bag and take it to the police station so they can tell us who did it.

She immediately confesses.

So now everyone else is in bed. I’m still up. I mean, if you’re gonna scrub and disinfect the bathtub, you may as well hit up the sink and toilet as well. Right? Only… then you see that the mirror is all dirty too. And since you’re already mopping, you may as well hit up the kitchen and entryway too. And jeez, when was the last time I washed out the trash can? May as well do the kitchen one too. Why is the door all dirty?

Is it bad that my place is a lot cleaner since my kid pooped in the tub?

Something Extraordinary

When I was a little girl, I read. A lot. I didn’t have many friends, and I spent a ton of my time and my weekends at my grandparent’s place exploring the woods and imagining great adventures for myself.

Growing into my junior high years was tough. Here, several different grade schools and up combining into the same junior high and high school. It was rough on me…the quiet, odd bookworm who would never speak up in class but always got the right answers.

I made few friends, but they were amazing and have stuck by me for the last ten, fifteen years.

We had some great adventures together.

But I never stopped imagining the adventures I’d have for myself as I got older.

I thought I’d go to college, become a nurse. I wanted to be a traveling nurse. That’s a real thing, you know. I wanted to see the Grand Canyon. Seattle. The Appalachian Trail and the coast in Maine. I wanted to eat pizza in Chicago and see the lights in Time Square.

It didn’t quite work out for me that way.

I made decisions in my life that made things a lot more difficult for myself than it had to be. There were twists and turns I never saw coming.

There were wrecks. Carnage.

There’s been a hell of a lot of clean-up.

And a lot of…stalling. Drifting. Merely maintaining until something happened to shake things up and cause some interest, some kind of reaction.

In all my imaginings, I never dreamed I’d be living in the same town I grew up in, two children by two different men, working in a factory.

But you know what? Life is still an adventure. A beautiful one. A heartbreaking one. One filled with love and belly laughs. Scraped knees and the occasional staples in the head (boy, that was a day!) Board games and cartoon movies and karaoke.

Sometimes you look for adventure, and something extraordinary comes along and surprises you.

When It’s Game Night, Mommy’s Always a Loser

Since the big kiddo would rather spend part of the weekend with my mama than me, I’ve been thinking up ways to make the little one feel like it’s *her* special night, too.

She’s a blast t to hang out with anyways, but I wanted some new stuff to try. I tried searching for Rory’s Story Cubes so we could make up some funny and scary stories (she’s been really into Goosebumps lately, she likes the suspense and scares), but the Walmart here didn’t have any. However, they did have a Paw Patrol board game and Go Fish cards. Also, the movie Robots is $5.

I win.

Of course, I could have felt like a winner solely because I knew I could walk down the snack isle and pick up anything I wanted. Sometimes childhood dreams do come true.

Anya was thrilled to death with the Paw Patrol game and happily helped to set it up. It’s a super simple game, and quick. Just a note – it’s more fun when you make a big deal about what color you land on. Especially when you name off the wrong color and act like you don’t know it.

There may have been eye-rolling and a lot of “silly goose” name calling involved.

There may also have been popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, and teddy grahams.

Also, giggles, messy faces, and a lot of “GO FISHING!”

Love it. If only housework was as fun.

He’s Just Jealous I Didn’t Bring Him One

Last night, Darrick wasn’t feeling well enough to go to my mama’s with me to pick up the eldest and bring her home.

No biggie.

It was a gorgeous day and I wanted to get the kids outside to play. I left around five thirty, nabbed some pizza on the way (always a big hit!) we stuffed our faces and headed out into the big world.

First, swordfights. It’s a must. Everybody grabbed their sticks, made obligatory karate noises, and the chase was on.

You’d think having two girls would mean I’d never have to break up fights about whose stick is bigger. You’d be wrong.

During the swordfights we notice Mamaw’s gutter extensions had blown off due to the massive wind we got the day before. Search and rescue mission underway! After spying it trapped against the back fence, Anya and I trot off to drag it back.

It’s about a six, seven foot black tube with ridges. Not real heavy. She grabbed one end, I grabbed the other, and we started pulling it back to the house.

Then we got distracted yelling into it like it was a giant empty paper towel roll.

A couple minutes later, Sophie was doing something much more interesting than I was. Anya threw her end down and started running. Of course, I couldn’t let her get away with that! So I flipped the gutter around and pretended it was a giant snake chasing after her.

It was hilarious, especially when everyone else picked up their ‘swords’ and beat on it until my hand went numb from the vibrations.

Playing hide and seek inside the house, my mama remembered she had some alligator hats she’d come across at the dollar tree a while back, so we threw those on and roared at each other while we put on our shoes and sweatshirts to go home.

Along the way, I made sure to stop at a gas station so we could go in and show off our hats. Sophie refused to wear hers and was embarrassed Anya and I did, but she’s ten and will survive.

Coming through the door to the house, Darrick sees us, hops up, and asks what in the world we’re wearing. We model them just for him, he shakes his head, and then calls us weirdos.

Deep down, I think he’s just jealous I didn’t bring him one too.

…And the Man Still Takes Me Out in Public

Winter finally hit here in my tiny town. Freezing temps, snow in the inches, car doors frozen shut…Jack Frost in all his glory.

I am not a fan.

However, it does give me the opportunity to entertain myself in ways I normally can’t.

This morning I was finished getting ready for the day before Mr. Darrick. I thought I would head on down and start the car to warm it up.

It takes forever when it’s this cold, so I start revving the engine a little to warm it up quicker. Darrick found me five minutes later clutching into the steering wheel, revving in short spurts, and yelling, “Put food into my belly! Feed me!”

“Um…I take it you want to do and get a breakfast sandwich on your way into work?”

“No. I was talking for the car. Gas light came on.”

I have to admit that the man has a great facepalm.

I’m Not Crafty, But I Am Creative

My oldest daughter hit double digits this year. I actually had a really hard time with it, for personal reasons…her turning ten means that my father has been gone now for ten years. I was always a daddy’s girl and losing him had been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with.

But as we all know, life still moves on. And Sophie turned ten. TEN. Jeez! She has been really into Minecraft for a year or so, and thus requested a Minecraft party. I thought, awesome! Minecraft is extremely popular. I’m sure I’ll find tons of decorations to make it easy on me.

Nope. Not at all. Or at least not in my tiny town or the surrounding bigger ones. Online I found a few things, but they were more than I was willing to pay and then my procrastination meant they wouldn’t arrive in time anyways. So what’s a mama to do?

Hello, Pinterest! The place where you see some of the most amazing things and feel so inadequate. Lol! Seriously, I don’t know how some off those people manage to pull it off. I wish I had the tiniest fraction of their talent!

I may not be crafty, but what I am is creative. So I got to work collecting party items in the signature black and green that signals “Minecraft” to the masses, and the result was a slightly unconventional but still really fun birthday party.

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Behind the gaggle of birthday attendees here, you see the green tablecloth my sister-in-law spent a good twenty minutes drawing a creeper face onto.

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From behind the scenes here, you can see the big balloon and streamer spider we made and stuck in the corner, complete with four red eyes painted on there. These were really simple to throw together and everyone loved them. My four year old is now insisting she wants some at her birthday party next year, she liked them so much.

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The table, all decorated up to make the kids happy. You can see another spider on the wall, our balloon chandelier, and the creeper boxes on the table are actually the party favor boxes. You can’t see it, but they’re filled with green and black candies. Just in case I didn’t wind them up enough with cake, ice cream, and karaoke. Ha!

Speaking of cake…

I was going for a look similar to these:

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With the layers and the little figures. I thought, that’s easy enough. Bake two cakes, and one you can just cut up to make layers. Throw green icing on top, put your little figurines in that you can buy at Wal-Mart, and you’re set.

Yeah…not so much!

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My cake wasn’t stiff enough to do that with. It was moist and kept crumbling on me, then the crumbs would spread around with the icing. The icing, which, btw, does not come in that color from the small cans you buy at the grocery. You have to use food dye. I also highly recommend against taking a swig from the bottle when you’re done to see how it tastes. For one thing, it’s gross, and it will dye your lips and teeth. You will brush for fifteen minutes to get it off. You will, however, laugh about it the entire time. Or maybe that’s just me.

So what did I do with my disaster? I looked for a dinosaur in the girls’ rooms. How else could I try to explain this mess? Found none, so I stuck a TNT box there with a creeper running the other direction and Diamond Steve being thrown onto his back from the explosion.

Like I said, I’m not crafty by any means. But I am creative.

Both of the girls now have purged bedrooms, and it’s now onto the biggest mess: my own. I may not have a million and two toys, but my laundry, midnight snack dishes, and trash in general seems to really pile up when I don’t stay on top of it every day.

Come to think of it, I really should make out that chore chart that I’ve been meaning to for the last year or so.

I’m not the only one guilty of it, though. Mr. Darrick is bad about letting his dirty clothes pile up in the corner and having dishes and empty potato chip cans laying around, too. Both of us need to overhaul our closet space, and we still have decorations to hang.

You know, chronicling my whole purging journey like this kinda makes me feel like a failure. Like I suck as a mom and a woman in general for letting it get to this point. If someone walked in my room right now, it would probably take a good minute before they picked their jaw up off of my sticky floor. I’m disappointed in myself. However, at least in admitting to my faults and doing something about it. Everybody lets things get out of hand sometimes. We’re all busy living chaotic, busy lives and minor things continue to pile up until they’re major.

Oh well.

Off to work and then coming home to begin the master bedroom purge. Yay rah!

Holy Crapballs, Where Did All This Come From?

Thus far into the purging process, I have hauled out eight bags of trash, broken toys, and outgrown clothing.

I had no idea we even had this much stuff crammed into our apartment. No wonder the girls never want to pick up their rooms. There was too much stuff and not enough space to keep it all put away in.

Problem solved.

Now it’ll take a fraction of the time to pick up bedrooms, the toys they have are the ones they really like and play with, and it’s a lot prettier to look at.

The little one was thrilled to death with her room, and absolutely fantastic about sitting through all her toys. She even helped me set up her new twin-sized bed because she didn’t want me to “get hurt being all alone.”

How sweet is that?

Back to the purge now. Send help in two days if you haven’t heard from me. I may have drowned trying to clear out more stuffs.

Exploration

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Where the wild things are.

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The first of many interesting finds.

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There’s a huge hillside in the very back of the property that’s covered in Mayapples. It is absolutely beautiful, like a lost land you can disappear into when broken and come out whole again.

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A closer look at another Mayapple patch.

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I tried to get an overall picture to show the sheer size of the tree, but it was hard to do. While taking this picture, though, I did notice something else…

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It’s branches are so thick that they look bigger than a lot of the surrounding tree trunks.

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Obviously, something has made a home in the trunk. I’m guessing it’s pretty hollow.

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It didn’t translate well in the photo, but this hollow nub is a honeybee hive. Cool to watch, but I sure didn’t want to get a closer view.

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A view of the hillside I’d climbed to get these photos. It doesn’t look like much, but I felt like I’d climbed Mt. Everest!

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This looked like a good place to stop and take a break.

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Especially since the hillside was covered.

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This little guy gave me a heart attack when I nearly stepped on him. I’m not sure what killed it, but it had to have been only minutes before.

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I love national parks, but I love these hidden little places on my mom’s property more. So few people know about them, making these hidden little gems so special.

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I started following the creek, mesmerized by the trinkle of the water and the way the light played along the surface. Ducking briars and climbing over fallen trees constitutes quite the workout. My buns have never been closer to steel form!

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Speaking about the fallen trees, the root structures are truly amazing.

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This tree continues to amaze me. It’s so old and the roots are so strong that it still supports itself even though the dirt below it has long since been washed away by the creek.

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I wanted to show just how far over the water this tree truly is.

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Now I’ve arrived at what is one of my very favorite spots on the property. The slate waterfall. Granted, it isn’t tall, but it is wide and absolutely stunning to me.

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There’s something about being able to disappear into the woods…about finding yourself when you’re alone and nothing to back you if you make a wrong move. You come back so much stronger than when you left.

And smellier. Covered in scratches, mud, and possibly a few ticks as hitchhikers.

I couldn’t be happier.

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