Gratitude, Love, & Tiny Teachers

I had the greatest Thanksgiving holiday. I came to realize that regardless of the hustle and bustle of family life, the daily fights over bathrooms, clothes hanging in every corner in my house where there is a rod or a hook, cleaning up after one meal, only to start a new one, tired & cranky teen shift workers just coming off the graveyard, every car we own needing new tires, worrying about teens driving on possible icy roads with crappy tires, the one hour of panic first thing when the Traeger wouldn’t turn on to cook the turkeys, yes! Turkey(s) as in two of them… The boys fixed it in no time & believe it or not, three days later, both turkeys picked clean!, wet towels everywhere, washer, dryer, dishwasher, and my oven all deserve some type of appliance of the year award, I don’t think they had stopped running once, there was a little drama, but lots of love behind it, a few misunderstandings, a couple birthdays, Happy Birthday, Dad & Denise!, a baby boy was brought into our world, not Jesus, but just as precious… come on people I am talking about Thanksgiving week, not Christmas!!!, Congrats to my brother and his beautiful family!, dog slobber is everywhere in my attempt to avoid confrontation because having loved ones close is actually more important to me most of the time, we missed a few, but also gained a few, Kylie was remarkably better all weekend, only a headache to mention which contributed to the cranky teens cited above. They still don’t have a verdict of boy or girl, but she actively started to feel her little peanut moving around inside her belly. She said it’s strange because once she realized one little movement, she feels it all the time now. I smiled as I bottled that moment in my memory. If you have every been pregnant before, you know exactly that moment, and I am over the moon that I had the privilege to be there when she learned the very first of many things that her child will ever teach her. Regardless of all this hustle and bustle, I am so greatful for having the ability to live in the moment of it all. I am especially grateful for having eager-to-shop teens willing to go snag some smoking good Black Friday bargains for me. Those prices are unbeatable having so many to buy for! I am so greatful for the lessons I have learned also. I spent a lot of energy keeping kids focused on the tasks at hand, in retrospect not really sure why this was so important. I worried about the many hours of video gaming eventually sucking their brains out. Their brains are still in tact as of this morning! A misunderstanding almost propelled me into a situation, that thank goodness, I realized early on that it really didn’t have anything to do with me. Resulting in only a few tears. Hard to believe I was actually worried about other’s intentions, as if it even matters to me. Damn those codependent  tendencies! In the big scheme of things, the truth really is that my family was here with me, thank you for secretly holding my hand (you know who you are) when I wanted to hang my head and cry, and when the ones who couldn’t be here sent well wishes anyway, and the ones that stopped in just to make an ornament and share a memory, made me happy and filled me up with the greatest love that is possible. Definitely the greatest holiday so far, even with the daunting task of housework to be done in the week ahead. 

“Let’s watch our hard work at the beginning of the week payoff when we have to create new goals & have many wet towels to wash at the end of the week”~AM


Creating Memories

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and with the anticipation of having the whole family together again, I wanted to make it special without a lot of work or money.

All this week, I will set up a little “ornament station” where, while my family and friends are patiently waiting for Turkey, or they just drop in to say, Happy Holidays, they can create their very own clay ornament! We can bake them when finished, date them with a permanent marker and for years to come, we will always remember the memories of this very special family holiday! 
Project Details:
This is not average kid’s clay, we used Sculpey oven-bake clay. I bought a large variety of colors at a local craft store for about $15. I will have finished ornaments placed on a cookie sheet and will bake them all at once when the cookie sheet is full. (Instructions for baking and working with clay is detailed on the back of the box of clay) After they are baked to perfection and completely cooled, we applied Modge Podge, but really, any clear-drying sealant will work. Make sure you remember to stick a little hook or some cord in it before baking in order to be able to hang it on the tree later! 
*It’s probably been awhile for many of you to recall the basics of Play-Doh use, but just in case, please remember to store the opened, unused clay in a sealed plastic storage bag to prevent it from drying out!
*Another tip: thinner is better for weight is never a good thing on a tree!
I will post pics of our finished ornaments after the Holiday, but we found a whole bunch of inspiration for ideas on Pinterest!
Happy Thanksgiving, readers! I am thankful for you everyday!

Thanksgiving Traditions

I am really excited for Thanksgiving this year.It kind of feels like the beginning of a new season for me with many changes, all the kids back at home,and grand babies on the way. I felt like we needed to start a new tradition this year.Please post in comments or email to me all your ideas or family T-Day traditions.Please do not be offended if I apply them to my own family traditions for many years to come!

Updates & Cupcakes

It all came apparent to me yesterday that regarding Kylie’s health and her pregnancy, that she and baby are going to be just fine. Yesterday marked 16 weeks! They have an appointment next week to learn the gender, but will keep it a secret between themselves. From what I understand, they plan to have a very special Christmas gift in store! I can’t wait, but I think it’s a girl… no, maybe a boy! 

Morning sickness has lightened up remarkably. The home health nurse still comes out once a week. Kylie hasn’t needed zofran as often in her PICC line, but the fluids and vitamins once a day have been a life saver! She is already talking about getting her PICC line removed, which sounds ridiculous after how much she needed it just a few short weeks ago! She still takes all of her formula through her feeding tube. Her Phenylalanine levels were a little too low, so we have decreased the amount of formula. She has also increased the protein in her diet. We are anticipating perfect results!

Lopez has been an amazing husband. He has been by Kylie’s side the whole time. I can’t imagine there are a whole lot of 18 year olds out there that would be willing to stick around through all of Kylie’s kind of crazy pregnancy. Kylie has been good to Lopez too. She always has his supper set aside for him every night on the warmer when he has a late class. She continues to support his mission to get his son from a previous relationship back, which has definitely not been a walk in the park. The day before yesterday, they were both feeling under the weather and made 3 trips to the courthouse regarding his case to get his son back. I am confident that they will soon find out that their hard work will pay off and baby Lopez will be back in their arms again!
As for me, I have slowly started to allow the kids to take back a few responsibilities as I explained before, I was doing too much for them. I am still looking for the balance, but I feel good about it! I have more time for things like making after school cupcakes again and that makes my sunshine smile!! (when her mouth isn’t full)
We have all been a bit under the weather and in attempt to get a little more vitamin C on board, I take any vanilla cake mix and replace the water that the recipe calls for with fresh squeezed oranges. Pulp and zest too! I have done this in the past with limes, lemons, and/or mango also. They are always tasty, moist, & full of vitamin C! 

Appreciate What Matters

Woke up 4am, not feeling good, scratchy  throat, drink orange juice just in case, pop ibuprofen, polish final draft on a project for someone else, hit the send button… Gone! Need documents, go to print… Damn! Out of ink AGAIN! Go to the library, realize my tire is flat, air it up, can’t find the valve for the air compressor, “mom, are you going to make our lunches?”, make lunches for 4 kids, stop at the gas station on the way to library. Air up tire-note to self: sign says air is $1.00, only needs 3 quarters to turn on the same amount of time! Print docs at library, home, put in load of laundry. Hungry… no food. Didn’t I just get groceries? Eat a string cheese and make a grocery list, pay bills, check emails, load dishwasher, need to go to the gym, get dressed for the gym,last minute call, on my way out the door, my editor has moved up a deadline on my 2nd rewrite, gym is out, glue myself to my IPad, oldest teen daughter is annoyed because I ignore her most urgent issues of the day, oh crap, Kylie still needs her blood tested for the week! Test her blood, drive to the bank and to express mail the blood, tire low again, DAMN-forgot it only needs 3 quarters! Forgot to drop off the express mail after the bank! Send Lopez to do it on his way to work. Laugh to myself when I notice where the elfie on the shelf ended up today when I walk in my house… his connected hands come in handy for a lot of positions, I would’ve made them Velcro… FOR GOD’S SAKE, STAY FOCUSED. Running out of time, kids home from school very soon, speak of the devil… call from the school, Isaac has detention for too many tardies, note to self: don’t forget to pick him up! Hungry, still no food, tea instead, glued to IPad, folded laundry, put away kids clean clothes, got distracted, picked up dirty ones off their floor, now the laundry is full again! Previously frozen meal from the freezer in the oven for supper, looking like grocery shopping will need to wait, giving me anxiety, Thanksgiving in 2 weeks! Emailed finished work to editor, call right back, wrong format, reformat, re-emailed, think to myself that I really need to call my parents-miss them! Kids home, homework, projects, dinner, oh crap! Forgot Isaac! In my defense, I remembered before he walked through the door! Kitchen is a mess, lock myself in my room in an attempt to avoid needy kids, they text me instead. I write some more, got some supper, note to self: really need to get groceries tomorrow! Still not feeling too good, kind of feel worse. Fell asleep fast, woke up at 2am, couldn’t sleep, pondered life’s greatest mysteries as one can only do at 2am. Came up with a few things that could’ve made my day easier: not have had kids in the first place, had stuck with my easier, more reliable job, bought a brand new set of tires the day before and quit writing. Then I realized that all those things are why I even get up every morning. I am sure the reason the kids get up these days is the anticipation of what the elfie has been up to all night. Damn, that elfie really has it all figured out!

Date Stamped!

“As a codependent person, I have effectively created a world that revolves around me.” ~AM

Wait for it… as my pedestal flails a bit, I become anxious because the truth is, I know exactly what is about to happen. The world around me gathers centrifugal force and I am reluctant to face a knock on the door. One more crisis will easily knock my pedestal over, so I am on the defense!

I am not going into detail about how I just want to feel good again, because the purpose of this is to create a “date stamp” for myself. I want to remember exactly how I feel about myself right this second with the world solidly revolving around me outside my door, steadily building centrifugal force, one crisis at a time. How could my intentions before be to live a better life, build a stronger pedestal? Note for my “date stamp”: My actual intentions never even came close to that!

All I know is that right now, right this second, I am seeking ways off this rickety pedestal, quick! & “Date stamped”!
I am not going to just replace the weathered or the most urgent parts for now. I will start at the bottom,and most difficult and I will replace one part at a time, one small piece at a time. I am scared as it may crumble completely during construction or whenever I face the un prepared-for crisis at the door, but it’s time to move on. Time to own my centrifugal force that I have created, aim just a little bit closer to me, aim a little closer to the that line. 
My new learned lessons:
1.  Sometimes good intentions aren’t always good for everyone.
2.  Centrifugal force is not a good thing when you have created a world that revolves around you and you are its axis.
3.  It’s easier to face the door and deal with it rather than try and recall what exactly led you to be afraid to answer it in the first place!
After all new lessons applied and upon answering the door, I was seriously relieved, but kind of sad that no one was there.

With Love From Family At 15 Weeks

It’s always a a joy when a baby is going to come and grace one’s family home. When I was growing up, the thought of a sibling having brought a baby home to my parent’s family home would’ve been such a foreign thought. I am not sure what makes this so much different. After all, like Kylie, I too was married at 18. I was only 20 when my first child was born.
Kylie’s brother, Isaac is only 4 years younger than she is. I look at him and realize that to an adult, 4 years goes by in a blink of an eye. To a child, everything can change in that very same blink! Isaac is still growing up and Kylie has effectively decided that she is all grown up. 
I often wonder how this experience is going to change not just Isaac, but each and every one of Kylie’s siblings. After all, they have a front row seat to the realistic struggles on the journey of creating a family. This may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, or a curse… but for now, I feel good about the love they all show for Kylie and her new little family every day, right now, right here, in our family home.