Captain's Log

Captain's Log, supplemental. We are into our third week of a sickness that started with the littlest human in the family unit and then sickness spread to the rest of the colony. The littlest human's spirit and energy level never seemed to be deterred by the virus she was battling (and spreading). As Captain, I have been affected by the sickness and I am also worried about my mental health...the days have seemed to last forever. I see no end in sight.

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I started to write this post three weeks ago when Little Miss first got sick...and then I got sick. I started getting the cold/flu on my birthday...what a bummer. And then I got very sick and of course my husband was away for work. I basically had to have the children raise themselves. Below is documentation of that stage of the illness. 

Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.
— Jean-Luc Picard

There have been so many things that have happened in the last three weeks while we have been down with this sickness...

  • St Patty's Day
  • My anniversary with my hubby.
  • My birthday.
  • My first NBA game.
  • I started teaching again.
  • Lost and found the hamster in the house.  
  • Spring Break for both kiddos. 
  • Staycation time with hubby. 
  • Baseball started. 
  • March for Our Lives.
  • Out of town guests.
  • A ton of yard work...mulch and rock for days.
  • Easter
  • A million news headlines that make me want to rip out my hair. 

Oh, and Stephen Hawking died. Interesting note...Stephen Hawking is the only person to play himself on Star Trek. Oh yep, I am totally a Trekkie. 

Stephen Hawking was a crazy smart man who was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. He suffered from ALS. And one of my favorite quotes from him has nothing to do with physics or the cosmos, but about life.

Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.
— Stephen Hawking

Goodness...ain't that the truth? I have been in a time warp the last three weeks because the family has been sick and life marched on. Life doesn't stop for anyone...it keeps going. Life is hard and yet it is beautiful, life is unexpected and sometimes heartbreaking...through the good and the bad...life is funny. We have to find the humor in the day to day or this existence can be just crushing. 

I hope you find the funny today...even when your family is sick and everything goes to pot. 

Until next time...live long and prosper...and laugh your ass off. 

Deck the Halls

Merry and Bright

Before I was a mother I HATED when people would play Christmas music or watch Christmas movies when it wasn't the designated Thanksgiving to Christmas Day time period. Then I had children, specifically I had children who LOVE Christmas all the time. This summer we definitely had the movie Elf on heavy rotation. And the truth is I am not even sad about it. I think we all need a little Christmas spirit.

I love the spirit of Christmas. Well, I love the spirit that Christmas is supposed to have. I love people being a little cheerier, I love giving gifts, I love the parties, I love watching the wonderment on children's faces when they meet Santa, I love being with family, and I love the ritual of it all religious and otherwise. 

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
— Charles M. Schulz

For me, I celebrate Christmas because of my religion. But I don't care what holiday you celebrate or don't celebrate...I am with you wherever you are.  I love our differences and what we each bring to the table. Look, we can thank the pagans for a lot of Christmas rituals. Like that tree? Thank a pagan. What I really care about this time of the year is being there for one another and just doing a little extra. You know, the things we should be doing every day for each other. 

Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.
— Dr. Seuss
Christmas Tree

I have been binge watching bad holiday films and my take away is that a lot of us are looking for that feeling that the holiday brings. The good feelings, not the mad rush of shopping, or spending too much money, or fighting with strangers over the perfect tree/gift/parking spot. 

These movies teach us lessons. Like the spirit of Christmas is something in our hearts (not in a box). Or that if we come together we can do anything (like save a town, a family business, or help a ghost in purgatory...I am telling you, I have watched A LOT of these movies...they are bonkers). Or lastly these movies show us to hang on tightly to the innocence, the wonder, and the delight of the season like a child.

Also, my take away is that we are willing to watch total crap as long as it is a Christmas movie. I know it isn't just me...Netlfix told me what is trending. 

Our family decorated the whole house with I think 9 Christmas trees of various sizes and not with the ornaments that I may have chose, but with what brought our kids joy. The lights are up. The mantel is all adorned. The nutcracker collection is on display. The Advent wreath and the nativity set are out. The Christmas mugs are in full rotation. We are seriously in the Christmas spirit as we deck the halls...and it isn't even December 1st.

I need this season and I am okay if it lingers. I hope you are able to have some holiday cheer as well. 

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
— Charles Dickens
Vintage Santa

Every Day I'm Hustling

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Oh my, I have missed you! Yes, you! I have been a crazy woman (more so than normal) and I need this space to come hang out it in...to write...to connect. I miss you, my community. 

I have missed three posts and this one is woefully late. I said in my last post that I wasn't given any excuses...life is hard and busy and we have to give ourselves a break. While I won't give you excuses I will give a couple of reasons. I am worried about what you think and I would hate for you to think I abandoned you. 

Camping at Cougar

Camping at Cougar

The last of swim lessons was last week and those classes took up half of our day. It was great, the kids had fun, but I am happy it is over. And we went straight from swimming lessons to camping for the weekend with a bunch of friends. That was seriously the best. I am not notoriously a good camper, but I had a blast and I don't think I complained once. Then we got home and my mom's cat, whom we all adored, died. She was 16 years old, but saying good-bye is never easy. And then it was my mom's birthday and today it is my mother-in-law's birthday. Life is busy. Oh, and then I am worried about nuclear war. See, there is a lot on my plate! 

Celebrating one Grandma

Celebrating one Grandma

The biggest thing that has taken my time, well besides my children, is a freelance project I have been working on. As much as I love you all, a paycheck is nice once in awhile. In fact I am hustling, I am hustling to make money wherever I can. I am trying to do part time work with freelance writing when I can. And I am opening a little booth in a local vintage shop. I am super excited about that. It will be mainly vintage finds AND it will have some handcrafted items by yours truly (fast craft time) and some of my talented husband's woodwork. I am really giddy about this. 

Why vintage? I have problem shopping, I love vintage finds and I really shouldn't keep all of them. It is crazy because I remember my mother taking me to junk shops, thrift stores, flea markets, etc. as a kid and I HATED it. I didn't want people to think I was poor, which we were. At the time I didn't get the thrill of the hunt and I didn't understand how cool it was to have these things that are a part of our collective past. I just thought they smelled weird and that I may literally die if someone saw me there. Flash forward to me racing to pick up something on the side of the road because I saw on Nextdoor or Craigslist that there was a free pile.  Now my husband is hiding his face while he waits in the car. 

Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder.
— Jen Sincero

I didn't go from hating to loving junk just like that. In my 20s I wore a ton of vintage clothes...as you do in your 20s. I remember there was this awesome thrift store and everything was like 99 cents on certain days. I had the most awesome coats and dresses during that time. And my 30s was filled with working at the church and helping the ladies run the Church Bazaar. So that is when I collected old bowls, vases, and various hankies, table clothes, etc. Then my mom moved back to Oregon and we started junking together and now I have become an addict. 

One of my first jobs when I young was working at a flea market for my grandfather, Papaw, who sold old 501s and old uniforms. It was a pretty run down place, but my Papaw liked doing it and he knew everyone there. I don't remember a ton about it besides eating junk food from the food court area and reading Sweet Valley High books. I do remember walking around and looking at the different booths. It was mesmerizing. 

So I am opening a little booth that may grow into a bigger booth. Who knows what is next? Right now I am just about the hustle. I don't know if it is the time of my life or that I am a stay at home mom or that I am reading You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero (which I LOVE...all the quotes today are from her and I will write about her in another post). But right now I feel the need to make some money. My husband does an amazing job supporting us all and we are soooooo grateful for that, but the truth is one income is hard. Anything I can do to help I am going to do. 

Doubts, fears, and other people’s rules are no match for a heart on a mission
— Jen Sincero

So I am hustling. I am doing things that I love...writing and collecting treasures, all while being with the people I love. This is my baby girl's last year of preschool...I don't want to miss a second of that. And as our son get's older I feel like he needs me around more not less. I am not sure about having it all, but I am going to find some ways that I can have what works best for us. 

So I am sorry I have been neglectful. I am telling you, I need the structure of school even though I will miss my babies immensely and I do love summer so. I need some order and routine. 

On Tuesday I move in to my booth and I will take lots of pictures. 

See you next week! Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Phoning It In

So magical. 

So magical. 

We are home from vacation. It was great fun. We had a wonderful time in Disneyland. While the rides and the all the entertainment were amazing, the most fun was just being together. It was clear it is something that we all were craving.

My husband works long and hard at his job providing for our family and he feels like he misses out on the little things with the kids. So a week together, just the four of us, was what the doctor ordered. Typically the kids just want me all the time and by the end of the week they were wanting dad instead of me. It was heartwarming to see...even if it meant I rode a ride or two all alone.

The trip was a great reset for our family. We have had some challenging times with my recent medical scare so while we missed school and other obligations, we needed this time together to celebrate the challenges we have overcome and to kick start this new season of our life. We spent our time getting to know each other in new ways, we found out how to travel better as a family, and we really noticed how much we needed to connect.

We are all exhausted, but the world keeps spinning so we have school, work, classes, baseball, etc. Now this is life. This is for real our front room so this is what I will be doing today. 

When we were gone we stayed at a place that had a kitchen so that really helped us not only with expenses, but helped us keep up a similar diet that we are accustomed to eating. Our family doesn't do well eating out all the time. As you know, I don't menu plan and honestly I rarely follow recipes, BUT I do look for inspiration when planning on what to eat for dinner. 

So since I am a little behind and a lot exhausted, I am going to phone it in a bit for Making it Monday. Today I am going to share some new recipes with you that we have tried in the last month...

  • When we left for vacation I had a gallon of milk in the fridge that was going to expire the day we came home. So when we came back, I still had the milk. So I made it into cheese. I saved the whey to tenderize some meat and to make some homemade bread. 
  • One day a family member mentioned on Facebook that they their child wanted to eat school pizza. And then I couldn't stop thinking about school pizza. So I tried this recipe, it was pretty yummy. (We make pizza pretty regularly at our house. It is something that my husband's family made all the time. It is great for me because honestly I don't love marinara so for my pizzas I can put pesto, olive oil, or whatever on them. Here is a recipe similar to the one we use when we make "real" pizza.)
  • These chicken tenders were awesome. Healthy? Maybe not so much, just eat a big salad with this one. 
  • I am trying this recipe today for a Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Enjoy some pizza, chicken, and a salad and I will see you Wednesday! 

 

It's a Small World

Disneyland

The title is a little misleading, because as I type this we have yet to go to the It's a Small World ride. Not because we haven't tried, but it just hasn't worked out yet during our first two days at Disneyland. BUT it does speak to how small this world really is. 

The first day of our trip was a little overwhelming. Kids were overwhelmed and so were we. And hot, we were hot. The amount I sweated the first full day in Anaheim was ridiculous and disgusting and embarrassing. But the second day we figured it out a lot more. There were still hiccups along the way. 

Our daughter had an appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If you don't know what that is it is a place that does a princess makeover for your little girl (there is also a boy makeover option).

It is not super expensive and it truly is magical. Plus your child gets to keep all sorts of goodies and a little bag. The price includes a hairstyle (and that could even mean some fake hair and a metal tiara), a shimmering makeup pallette, a princess sash and cinch bag, a face gem (and you get to keep the whole sheet), nail polish (and you get to keep the entire bottle), and a little bottle of shampoo and a makeup remover towelette. I mean they treat the little princess like princesses. It was so sweet to watch and our daughter was really into it. 

So, we had an appointment and it turns out we had to wait an hour to even get in. They were having some problems with some of the guests and it was just super busy. Everyone was so sweet and the wait wasn't horrible. And for our trouble they gave us a fast pass to use on anything. It seriously was a wonderful, wonderful experience and I am super glad we did it. 

We left the appointment set to meet the boys and to use our new pass on a Star Wars ride because it was May 4th (May the 4th be with you). We got out of the ride and all of us felt a little sick. And the kids spent their spending money on some Star Wars paraphernalia in the gift shop...a double lightsaber and a R2D2.  We got back to our stroller and realized that someone had stolen our bags...they were cheap shopping bags filled with snacks, but still we were bummed. My husband and I had been talking about how we were going to tell Disney about the theft. We didn't think it was their fault, but we want them to know their was a thief among them. 

We were strolling along (pun not intended, but appreciated) and this woman came up and said we had her stroller.  She had frantically been working with Disney security for over an hour trying to find it. Well, we were skeptical at first, but turns out I WAS THE THIEF. I totally stole her stroller and ours (with the food) was safe and sound. We tried to give her something for her troubles, but she wouldn't take anything. She went on her way. The fact she found us and was able to determine which was her stroller out of a sea of strollers...it is nuts. 

Well, we just had to make it right, we felt horrible especially since we were just lamenting how bad it was when we thought someone stole from us. So we knew what ride the lady was trying to ride. We went over and found her and gave her an iTunes gift card my husband had in his wallet...well, really to her little girl because she refused to take it. I was a total thief and I had to try to make amends.

We went on our way and were outside of the It's a Small World ride, which was closed. My husband made a trip to the restroom and when he came back I asked where our daughter's newly purchased R2D2 was. He didn't have it. We were dumbfounded. We decided to retrace our steps. We couldn't find it any where. We thought it may be at the place we last saw the lady we stole from. It wasn't and I was getting sad. Well, my husband checked over where I had stolen the stroller and where our stroller was during all the confusion. For some unknown reason, the bag with this brand new toy was still in there. What are the odds of all this craziness? And we saw the lady AGAIN and told her what happened now. I told her we are hot messes and I wasn't even exaggerating...like even a little.

The return of the R2D2.

The return of the R2D2.

After all of this drama, my son wanted to go back to the hotel. My husband said this was a life lesson that when things go wrong we can go home, give up, and not risk anything or we can try to turn things around and kick booty. We decided to stay and end on a high note...the Mad Hatter Tea Party (aka The Teacups). Also, I think the take away is that people are mostly good and it is a small world after all. Oh, and if you are looking for someone to blame for your problems...look at yourself first.

Now if you will excuse me I am STILL dizzy from today...I have to go. See you Monday.

Have a great weekend!

 

Best souvenir on May 4th.

Best souvenir on May 4th.

Doing Your Job

Our kids are obsessed with my job, or lack thereof. I have been a full time stay at home mom for three years (this month actually). My son barely remembers me working outside of the home and my daughter only has memories of me being with her. And yet she is skeptical that this is what I do. So anytime I do ANYTHING for anyone...freelance work, volunteer work, blogging...she exclaims "I KNEW you didn't just watch us." Well, BTW I don't just "watch" them. But that is a tangent for another day. My main job (along with my husband) is raising kind, funny, and creative kids. Everything else is just gravy. 

Spread it

Spread it

Today I am going to go thank my doctor and the nurses, CNAs, and whoever else works on the floor I was on in the hospital almost 2 1/2 months ago. I feel bad it has taken me so long, but I am superstitious so I waited until I was 100% in the clear (and also I am a procrastinator). But yesterday I went to a couple of grocery stores and I filled up on snacks for the hospital staff. I mean, who doesn't like snacks? Weirdos, that is who. 

Why should I thank these people who are getting paid to do their job? Because it is the nice thing to do, it is part of being a polite society, and it will make them feel appreciated. Who doesn't want to feel appreciated? Probably those weirdos again.  

I come from a family of nurses...it can be pretty hard work...especially if you work with patient care. I was on the Cancer floor when I was in the hospital. I didn't have cancer...not a day goes by that I don't think about that and how lucky I am. I don't have cancer. I didn't have cancer. I am fine. But healthcare providers work with people that have cancer, that have other horrible diseases, or injuries, or a million other things that can send you to the hospital. That is a hard job...no matter how much you get paid.

Sure there can be some crappy nurses and jerky doctors out there...they are people and some people suck. But I am just going to say from the moment I was admitted into the hospital until the time I was released I had the pleasure to be with some people who really kicked ass at their job. They do hard and dirty work and they don't get a lot of appreciation. Not that people who are there are rude...when you don't feel well you can unintentionally be less than pleasant. It isn't your fault and it isn't the nurses' fault...it just is. So if I can help spread some kindness, why wouldn't I jump at the chance? 

As a country we have had a lot of conversations about healthcare. Don't think healthcare matters? Try paying for your medical bills on your own if God forbid something happened to you or someone you love. My hospital bill alone would have put us in serious financial trouble if we didn't have insurance. And still we will be paying for the care I had for awhile and we are one of the lucky ones...we have good coverage. Yes, the current healthcare system isn't perfect, but all people deserve care...whether or not they can afford it. 

We are called to take care of one another...by God, if your faith allows...if not, then I don't judge, but you are still called to look after your brothers and sisters because we share this world together. Remember how we are all apart of the universe? We share this space and time together. We are connected. We are family. So what do you do in a family? You take care of each other. 

Once upon a time I did have a career. I worked at a church for almost 15 years, and 10 of those years I was a minister. One of my favorite scriptures and the one I use as my moral guide is in Matthew (New Testament...duh).

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.

“Then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply,
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.’
— Matthew 25:35-40 New International Version (NIV) BIble

 

Well, nurses/CNAs/various other healthcare professionals spend their life taking care of us. If you have never been in a hospital let me just tell you they do a bunch of stuff that I wouldn't/couldn't do for any amount of money. They are with people during their most vulnerable times...even if you are in the hospital for something happy like a baby...it is still a hard/gross/demanding job. On top of it they see illness and death daily...and they help the patients' family as well. So even though they get paid...they still need to be told how much they are appreciated.

Loaded Up

Loaded Up

Well, you or your loved ones don't have to be hospitalized to be thankful. You can reach out to whoever you see that may need a little sunshine. Do you want to put together a "thank you" or a care package for someone too?

Here are some tips...

  • Find a container.- I love a good wicker/wood/metal basket, but since these particular "bucket of treats" are going to a group of people I didn't want them to fight...that could get ugly, plus the deep plastic bins hold a ton of things. 
  • Pick Out the Fixings.-Since this going to a variety of people that I don't know I just got a ton different things. Salty, sweet, healthy, junky...all of it. I tried to find things that were either individually wrapped, could be resealed, or that were large enough to share. 
  • Merchandise.-Put the big and/or heavy things on the bottom and pack things around the base and then layer smaller and fragile things on top. Try to fan stuff out and make it look nice. But since this is jammed packed with food items...I focused more on function over form. 
  • Add a Card.-Just make sure you include a note of gratitude. 

Find someone to be thankful for this weekend and maybe put together a little care package of your own to share. 

Have a great weekend!