Friday, November 6, 2015

The Time I Failed

I wasn't really sure what to title this post, but failing seems as good as anything.

Yesterday was a hard day. I lost it, twice. 
And I mean I really lost it. The Mama Bomb went off.



Today we made our thankful tree. I got some foam leaves from Hobby Lobby (all their fall stuff is half off by the way...) and we used clothes pins to attach them to some old branches. It's not gorgeous or even Pinterest worthy; it's very Charlie Brown-esque. Every night from here till Thanksgiving, the girls add what they're thankful for. 

Big surprise, but I haven't felt very thankful lately.

 Hollow, discontent, angry, bitter, selfish, unforgiving, and moody could describe me lately.


About two-ish months ago, my oldest daughter accepted Jesus into her heart. She loves to learn about Him, read Bible stories, pray, and tell others about Him. I'm sure there will come a day when she can explain portions of the Bible better than I can. 

She's only 5 but she is learning so many things and so excited about her faith. She always wants to know the difference between right and wrong. The way she puts it is if someone does something wrong "They don't know God" which takes some explaining sometimes. 

I have to remind her we all make mistakes and need forgiveness. 

Even mommies. 


As I was reeling from my horrid behavior towards my daughter, and in subsequent Mommy Timeout, I heard my daughter crying. But she wasn't just upset Mommy had lost her temper. 

Through sobs I heard, "God please help Mommy. Please help her feel better. Don't let her act mean. Please forgive her." 

I, the adult, blew it. But here is my sweet girl embodying this verse: 

"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." 1 Timothy 4:12 


She chose God as what she was thankful for on the first day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Back to Couponing!

I wrote the other day about how my life has been crazy lately and I've barely had time to breathe.

Now that is very true, but there is also another aspect of why I'm mentally scattered and drained. I'm LAZY.

Which has led to our bank account suffering over the past months. Which is ironic since I'm making a little extra money now too. Am I the only one who is really bad at self-control and self-discipline? Or really anything involving said "self"?

God works in mysterious ways, right? Well as I was thinking that maybe I should change something up so we manage our money better instead of having a "whatever" attitude, my friend emailed me asking about our budget and how we save/spend our money. She specifically asked what we spend on groceries (she's like my bestie so she can ask things like that and I won't give her the stink-eye), and my answer was "Ummm I'm not sure and I don't really want to know..."

Yep, it's been bad. I knew I had to change something now to get on top of our finances again. I truly want to avoid this:


So here is what I did.

The Barter:
My friend also hates clipping coupons, shopping sales, etc. I hate budgeting. So, what do you do when you have really close friends who hate opposite things? You trade awful tasks to each other and then you both have good tasks!

True story. She made up my budget sheet, and I am going to shop the sales and find coupons for her whenever she needs to go shopping. And I'm THRILLED about doing this, while she thinks I'm certifiably insane, and she didn't seem to mind plugging numbers into a spreadsheet. She's awesome like that.

Reluctantly Using Technology:
Also, another reason our money is slowly going bye-bye is I finally broke down and bought a smartphone. I cringe just typing that.

I decided that if I'm getting this ridiculous thing that I'm going to make it worth my while and make it pay for itself. So I am using apps for coupons, rebates, price checking, etc. This dumb mini-computer costs an extra $40 a month and I've saved maybe $5 so far. Baby steps!

By the way, here is my Ibotta referral link! I have used this app for all 3 hours and am hooked. :)  I'm also using Checkout51 and ShopSavvy.

Cold Hard Cash:
I was also whining when my friend and I were discussing this. I'm a big fan of debit cards, because again I'm lazy. But if she's doing it, I should do it too...

So this morning I went to the bank, took out cash for groceries, fun, eating out, house stuff, gifts, etc. for the entire month. And then, I actually used it! This is huge people. Handing the King Soopers checker a $100 bill was really unnerving at first, but it really didn't take any longer than swiping the card and signing. Plus the guy in the aisle over did the same thing and that made me feel better.

Give me a few more weeks, but this really may be a big game-changer for me!

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Last 6 Months

Life needs a pause button.

I'm sure God half rolls His eyes, half laughs when I mention that, but I'm really thinking it wouldn't be a completely awful idea... Though that's probably why He said to rest one day a week, huh? Sigh, when will I learn?

Anyway, I remember a year ago when my first born was in preschool three mornings a week. My youngest would still take a morning nap and I would spend a good 2-3 hours relaxing, sipping extra cups of coffee, getting caught up on life (aka the latest episodes of Once Upon A Time...), doing some cleaning, some reading and Bible study here and there (I'm a work in progress with the whole "quiet time" thing), and simply soaking up the quiet.

Ahhh... the memories.

Once May-ish hit this year, I think a bomb went off in our lives. Come July, it was an atomic bomb.

My daughter's pre-k teacher warned me May is arguably the most crazy time of the year. I got a simple taste of it this year with pictures, graduations (yes pre-k graduations do count!), starting another business, and trying to finalize what we were going to do with kindergarten.

June I started proofreading for court reporters. That may be a whole other post in and of itself, but the short version is I'm slowly losing my mind, gaining time management skills, sharpening my people management skills, and daily learning more and more specific rules for legal transcripts. I had to take some time off because it got so intense there for a while and the rest of my life was sorely neglected. I spent some of that time cleaning just now and discovered I managed to lose a slipper in the past 6 chaotic months. Anyone have ideas of what to use one lonely slipper for?

And here is the craziest time frame and I'll give the Reader's Digest version. Come July our renters moved out, we cleaned up/fixed up throughout July (and when I say "we" I mean me), rented it out again for a whopping 10 days, kicked them out, put it up for sale, and sold it to someone else who's currently renting it out. My emotions were all out of whack with thinking we were keeping our house and still slightly holding out hope we'd move back some day, to it selling quickly and me having to say goodbye to our first home. Emotional whiplash. I cried a lot.

Then come September we started homeschooling. I may be completely gray by the time I'm 30.

Working for yourself, parenting, teaching, homemaking, and basic living can be so exhausting. If I ever remember to follow God's example to REST it will be a miracle. Not that these are bad things in my life, but wow have I lacked priorities and boundaries. I definitely needed that reminder.

P.S. I also got re-energized to blog more and to do more with my Mary Kay business. Will I ever learn? 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

To My Little One

Sweet baby girl, I just adore you. You light up my days, whether that be like candlelight that makes me happy or like lightning sparking out of my brain uncontrollably. What can I say? You're two and I'll let it all slide, and maybe even embrace some of those lightning moments.

You keep me occupied. You make me laugh. You love your sister like she's the best thing in the world. You hold your own in almost any situation. You are scarily smart (just like Sissy). You are typically two and stubborn, but also typically two and so cute it doesn't matter.

We're potty training you right now. I am so ready for it to be over. Yesterday and today were mostly good days, though I felt bad for you when all the potties were occupied once today and you were knocking on the doors and just didn't quite make it. Your poor little pouty face and the look of "I'm so sorry Mommy" was too precious for me to get mad.

You teach me patience. You teach me unconditional love. You teach me to stop the busy and just laugh at whatever silly face you're showing me. You make sure I clean the house at least a dozen times a day with your random wall colorings, food spills, and the like. You make sure I don't get a moment to rest in between homeschooling Sissy and the end of your nap time.

You're still my thumb-sucking baby who has her special blankie that goes anywhere and everywhere, and you let me know real loudly if I happen to put you to sleep without it. You want to be a big girl and do everything your sister does. Yet you seem content to let me snuggle you and rock you at least once a day while you close your eyes and suck that thumb, much to Daddy's chagrin.

Your words and sentences crack me up. You talk better than most adults I know and will give me full-blown speeches on things if you feel passionate enough. I love how when you want to do something yourself you say "I dood it." You love essential oils and the moment you see I have them out you plop yourself down on the floor, take your socks off and say "Oils please!" When you want your fingernails painted, as all girly girls do, you ask "You paint my hand nails Mommy?" And if you bonk your head and I kiss it you yell "Don't touch my owie!" then five seconds later ask for kisses.

You affinity for all things fashion cracks me up. You definitely did not get that from me! Mommy loves her T-shirts and jeans. Your nursery teacher at church said she liked your shoes one Sunday and you replied with "Not shoes! Fip Fops!" Now every Sunday I pick you up and your hair is done and I hear how you and talked dresses, shoes, accessories, and hair for over an hour.

You love your Papa and Nana. I only had a solid relationship with my one grandma so it's so special to me to see you love on multiple grandparents. You have also claimed their cat, Rosie, as your very own, though you very rarely will pet her.

Lately your strong will has taken over everything. It's a struggle every day for you to submit to authority on the very simplest of things. Though I struggle with that myself, don't I? It's really amazing how much your little life is mirrored in my own every single day. And how I tend to let the busyness of life distract me from those lessons.

I love you my little jabberbox and cutie pie. Big hugs and kisses from Mama Kitty to my Baby Kitten.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Is it my favorite time of the year?

Frustrated, temper lost, exhausted, sad, drained.


These words and phrases describe my past three Thanksgivings and Christmases.


I remember going into autumn as a kid. I grew up in the mountains so the aspen trees would be lovely yellow and orange, and in my opinion colorful aspen leaves are the prettiest! We'd more often than not get an early snow, making me even more excited for Christmas. My birthday is always the week of Thanksgiving so I'd be with family frequently and my parents always made sure my birthday didn't get sucked up in the busyness of turkey cooking.

Then once December hit, I would turn into this giddy little girl smiling ear to ear. My dad always had the tradition to get the Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We'd decorate the tree and the whole house that weekend and always putting on my dad's old-fashioned lights that would melt an artificial tree. We'd spend December driving to look at Christmas lights all over the place, my mom and I would bake and decorate cookies, and I always looked forward to the Christmas Eve service at church.


Oh, how things change as you lose the blissful outlook of a child to the reality of adulthood!

From Halloween to New Year's, my days consisted of single parenting, single marriage-ing, single holiday-ing. The only thing my husband came home for was to sleep. His job at Honeybaked Ham required he work a good 80-120 hours per week for November and December.

I caught myself asking if this really was my favorite time of the year over the past three years. The magic was gone, my energy was nonexistent, my stress level high with to-dos, and no one to share the special moments with other than two very young, beautiful, but needy girls. Daddy being gone and Mommy being part zombie, part lunatic took a toll on them as well and they acted out because of it, thus adding more fuel to my empty tank.

Can you relate? Do you feel the stress already mounting come November 1st? Do you dread the list of presents to buy, food to cook, family/friends to entertain? Not to mention the day-to-day activities of cleaning, child rearing, and trying to be a decent wife, friend, or simply a functioning woman?

Or are you simply alone in all of it? You may even be married, but it's possible to feel completely isolated even in the midst of a crowded room, or in this case a crowded season. You're struggling to get out of bed in the morning. You let your kids run all over you because you're just too tired to deal with it. The house is a mess because you have just had enough of life and can't take it anymore. The thought of preparing a turkey just sends you right over the edge. Buying presents makes your heart sink because it's just not in the budget.

I'm not here to give you tons of advice and write a "The Top Ten Ways to Not Dread December 25th" column. I just want you to know you are special, you are strong, you are lovely, you are not forgotten, and you are not alone.

Now even though this isn't an advice column, I'm sure there are many practical people out there, so I will briefly share what helped me get through these seasons. I prayed- a lot! I reached out to others, particularly my mom since she could stay with me and help with the kids. I found a babysitter so I could get a pedicure on my birthday. Even though it was just me, I made sure we as a family made memories. I took naps whenever I found the time. I made sure my daughters and I weren't trapped in the house so as long as the weather was good, we'd hit the library, the park, go shopping- anything to avoid feeling stuck in the house. I counted each and every blessing and wrote it down to remind myself of it later.

Friend, I hope this encourages you! Your lovely self has the same struggles as many other women, myself included. Seasons pass. Make the most of what you have and enjoy it, even if it seems impossible. Give enjoying it a try. What do you have to lose?

My husband has a new job now, so I'm hoping and praying he will actually be around. It's still retail, so you never know how that will go. Still, 2015 is actually the first year in a while I'm looking forward to it instead of bracing myself for a storm of a season.

I'm going to do my best to not brace for the season, but to embrace the season. Won't you join me?