Planes, trains, and automobiles! And custody, like usual.


Ok, skip the trains. Just planes & automobiles. We just booked the flights for my mom, grandma, and the girls to come over for the wedding! So freaking excited & disappointed all at once. Of course I’m excited because they will be here. Things just didn’t work out for this summer as they should have.

First of all, when we moved, my ex & his wicked-witch of the West wife said 6 weeks in the summer. Then they decided 4 weeks the first summer. And of course, he convinced our 5 year old that she would be “scared to be away from home that long”. So we agreed on 2 weeks. That being decided, he refuses to provide any escorting on the plane trips. So that would leave US on the hook for booking her flights, plus two round trips for me to escort her…. I’d fly to Portland, pick her up, fly back to Iowa, then turn around and fly back to Portland with her, and finally home to Iowa. Right. That means he pays for half of her ticket ($150) and I pay for the other half, plus around $700 for mine. Seems TOTALLY fair, right? Sigh.

That’s not even the best of it. Savannah is supposed to be here for 6 weeks, but I would have had to buy her one-way to fly with my mom, then a roundtrip and one way again to bring her home because –surprise! — her dad wont provide any escorting, either! So I’d have to shell out for 5 round trip tickets this summer, and get reimbursed for half of two of them. WTF.

What does this all mean, you say? It means that I am getting royally screwed. Instead of 6 weeks with both the girls, I will get 10 days. I guess it’s better than nothing, but still. It’s ridiculous. It’s immature on their dads parts. And it’s totally unfair to the girls that they will get almost no time with their siblings or us this summer. COnsidering that until 4 months ago, Savannah spent 1/2 of her time with me, and Alyssa was with us every weekend, 1/2 of school breaks, and summer…. Seems a little over the top control freak on their dads parts. I mean, hello! We moved to IOWA. Not China. Not Pakistan. Iowa. We still have the same cars, the same couch, the same dust bunnies under our beds. They act like we moved to the furthest reaches of the Earth.

(Guess that’s what happens when they have both lived in the same towns their entire lives. The outside world is too big & scary for them to let their children into. That’s right– we should shelter them because their fathers never want to travel or leave the confines of their county. Seriously.)

Anyway.

But what should I have done? Did we do this the right way? I would have taken them back to court if I had time before the wedding. I will be filing papers to make sure that this doesn’t happen again from here on out. It seems perfectly fair & equal that I should go out west toget them, and the dad should come to Iowa to pick them back up. We each pay our own round trip and a one way for the child. Am I right?

That being said, a GIANT BALL OF STRESS has dissipated around me today! I can’t WAIT to see my girls. Alyssa hasn’t even been here yet. We are all so excited! What a crazy week that will be…

They get here the Monday before the wedding.

Tuesday will be for rest and relaxation.

Wednesday will be for goofing off around town.

Thursday is the big Omaha Zoo trip.

Friday is wedding setup/rehersal day.

We’re going to the chapel Saturday!!

Sunday… IDK.

And then we still have a few days to visit & bond before they go home on the 5th.

Of course, this means our house of typically 5 people will be increasing to 4 adults, 5 kids, and my bestest friend is supposed to fly in Friday-Sunday and she will be here as well!

We’re insane.

I cant wait!! Gotta go plan some meals & sleeping arrangements now that I can rest assured the girls will be here!

By the way, all this insanity is costing about $1200, plus two drives to Omaha… 6 hours roundtrip. Awesome, right?!

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Posted in 2010, Savannah, stress, wedding | Leave a comment

Should I?


Thinking about starting up a blog specifically dedicated to our homeschooling adventures.

What do my readers think? All three of you, I mean. 😉

Separate it or just keep posting this crazy-mish-mash of wedding/life/homeschool/custody craziness?

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Moment of (shallow) terror!


If you were in my neighborhood around 5:00pm, CST, on Friday, June 11th you may have heard shrieks of terror and despair emulating from the white house on the left. The last time our neighbors heard such chaos, it was because a bat came **THISCLOSE** to my head and I may have forgotten for a tiny second that I was not an 8 year old girl who was grossed out by creepy-crawly-flying things. In fact, I screamed so loud that the guy two houses down came to make sure my lovely fiancé wasn’t beating me to death as I screamed, “Get away from me! Get it away!”.

But Friday was worse. So, SO much worse. So much worse, in fact, I get the shivers just thinking about it. I don’t know if I can type what happened because then it might be REAL.

Deep breath…

I found… sob-gasp-whine…. a white hair…. on my HEAD!

That’s all I can say about that. I’m going to my corner to cry & rock myself to sleep as my youth and vitality slip away ever so swiftly.

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How do YOU stay on task?


Is this a problem for stay at home parents in general, or just me? Even with my fancy-schmancy household notebook, and my day planned by the minute, I can’t seem to stay on task. Something ALWAYS comes up. And I realize that such is life with kids, homeschooling, wedding planning, and all the chores that go along with them. I need to learn to prioritize. In the back of my mind, I’m always trying to multitask and do as much as possible  at a time. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.  Maybe I need to just focus on specific goals. Actually, I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that I probably have ADD or ADHD or something along the lines of that. Maybe I just need drugs… 😉

So, I’m begging of my parent friends (and readers) to let me in on your nose-to-the-grind secrets. Is there a technique you use to keep your house spic & span? How do you avoid wildly tossing stuff into baskets, bags, and boxes in the last 30 minutes before company comes? I would like to have a tidy, yummy smelling home for company to sit in when they stop by on a whim. Now, don’t get me wrong; we don’t have rotten food or trash everywhere, or diapers laying around. But the clutter (paper, shoes, toys, blankets, miscellaneous projects, coffee mugs) seems to sneak its way back into our home no matter what I do to squash it. And I have 9 plug-in air freshener things, and our house has yet to smell like Hawaiian Breeze or After The Rain. Instead, it smells like… nothing. There is no noticeable smell and that makes me sad. Its like our house has been fragrance-proofed. It can’t hold a scent like my hair cant stay straight.

Help!

Posted in Housekeeping | 2 Comments

No! And other fun developments.


My son now clearly tells me NO! when I tell him no. Awesome, right? It is a little funny to watch those lips perfectly (and purposefully) form a word. Sure, he can say  ‘mama’ and ‘dada’. Occasionally we even hear ‘eeeee-yaaaa’ and ‘ehh-eee’ which we think mean Olivia & Emily.

but No! means he is growing up. And that makes me so happy & sad & content & blue all at the same time. Of course every parent wants their child(ren) to grow big & strong. Parenting is the only job we have whose entire purpose is to work ourselves out of a job. And the more they do on their own, the closer we are to being empty-nesters. Don’t want to think about that, so for now I’ll just be thankful that he still refuses to walk, still uses a bottle, and still needs mama or daddy to pick him up after he gets an ouchy.

————

Onto other things…. Controversial things.

We have come to a decision to homeschool the oldest girls next year. It is something that I have done before, when Olivia was in kindergarten and first grade. It didn’t work so well, in part because of  my indecisiveness on what type of homeschool to run (There is a veritable smorgasbord on choices). I ended up sending her & Emily to public school the year Emily started kindergarten, and aside from the year we spent in an amazing school in Portland, I have hated every minute of it. We are homeschooling for numerous reasons:

The freedom from schedules

The ability to use Christian resources in our curriculum

Not having to follow outdated guideline on what kids learn, when

Being able to take a subject slower for the child who doesn’t catch on

Being able to skip lessons that our fast learner already knows

Character training is a lot easier without the negative influence from kids whose parent’s dont believe in family values

And those are just the big reasons. Another big reason is, I actually LIKE my kids. It is so completely sad to me when other parents tell me, “I can’t believe you’re homeschooling. I could NEVER spend that much time with my kids.” How completely sad. The other (most common) question/response is. “What about socialization? How will the function in the real world?” That answer is two-fold: I don’t want my children socialized with children who have parents that allow them to speak disrespectfully, hate God,  and imbibe with substances. And no, I don’t consider that over sheltering them. I consider it fulfilling my Christian parenting responsibility to lay a foundation of rock for them before they are tossed in the ocean of sand.

As far as the real world… Oh boy. Where should I start? Ok, here’s an example. Look around your workplace, your family, your circle of friends. How many of them are from your neighborhood? How many were born within 12 months of your birthday? Will you work/live/socialize with them exclusively for the next 12 years? Yeah, I didn’t think so. What a ridiculous argument, that 300 children should somehow teach each other something better than their parents can. Another question: In your career, do you change bosses every September? Do you have one boss you report to, or do you have different managers for every aspect of your job? Last question: Is your schedule pretty much the same every day? Or do you have to remember what “kind of day” it is? Our local elementary uses a ridiculously complex system of days where they have five different sets of classes that rotate. I can’t keep it straight; I don’t know how the kids have either.

And don’t even get me started on standardized testing. Seriously.

Those are basically the reasons we have decided to return to homeschooling. This time around, however, we have dually enrolled with a HomeSchool Assistance Program (HSAP) in the next town over. They provide as much or as little support as we want. There are two state certified teachers (who homeschool, mind you) to  count as your state requirement option for a supervising teacher. They provide a library of various curriculum choices that you are free to borrow (or not). The school district also provides a stipend for each child per year to provide consumable curriculum. And they do art classes, field trips, groups, etc etc etc.

I’m a little too excited to start in September. I keep checking the aisle for school supply sales, but no luck yet. And I’ve been stocking up on books galore– I should take some pics of our homeschool “classroom” and post them soon. I even refinished a couple of old school desks for the girls.

———-

Ok, last but DEFINITELY not least. Our wedding!! It’s coming up in T-67 days. I won’t say too much (to avoid ruining the surprise elements of it for guests) but things are falling into place nicely. 🙂

———–

Th-th-th-thatsss all fer now, fowks!

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My close encounter with death. Kinda.


Or “The 30-Day Shred“, as some people prefer to call it.

Honestly, when I first heard about it my first thought was “no freakin way”. No way will that work, no way to exercise videos, no way to hype-fad programs. I’ve done the gym thing before. I spent HOURS at the gym each day after my fourth baby was born. NO WAY was this 20-minute routine going to get me sweatin to the oldies.

Then I tried it. I did it once, right before the holidays. I couldn’t do it all. I couldn’t keep up. I needed to take a break. I watched the last half of the routine in pseudo-shock, thinking, this woman is the devil! I put it back in the case and haven’t touched it since. But now, with our wedding in only 80 days, the need to shred a few pounds has been eating away at me. So I pulled it out again, and wound up with much of the same feelings… My legs are jello, I’m sweating, and slightly light-headed. Jillian Michaels must be the most cursed woman in America at this point. I know I was sure calling her all kinds of names as I struggled through the first workout.

But I’m doing it again tomorrow.  And the next day, and probably the one after that, too. I googled some before/after pictures of people who have  used it, and you can see the difference after a couple weeks. I want that to be ME. No jello arms for my wedding pictures! And maybe, just maybe, I can finally get rid of this post-pregnancy pooch that won’t go away. I guess that’s what happens when you have 5 kids in ten years. You carry a few pounds from the first pregnancy… another 10 from the second, 5 from the third, 10 from the second, and 20 from the last. And it sure doesn’t help that your metabolism diminishes after you reach a certain age. Well, not in the case of my Jolly Green Giant fiancé, who is 6’5 “and weighs around 150 soaking wet. Maybe, that might be an overestimate. It’s a bit frustrating to watch him chug gallons of soda & three cheeseburgers and never gain an ounce. (Totally jealous, BTW.)

Anyway, I’m setting a 60-day challenge for myself. And I’m putting it up on my blog so I have some accountability (and maybe some people to join me?! Hint, hint…) to my devoted fans. You know, all 4 of you.

Goal 1) 30-Day Shred EVERY DAY. (With some Wii Fit thrown in for fun)

Goal 2) NO SODA. Or any other drink containing 80 grams of sugar. (AKA, lots of water.)

Goal 3) Less meat, more produce. (Which we’ve started doing already)

Goal 4) Portion/snack control. I need to really look at what I’m eating and keep a diary.

Goal 5) At least 7 hours of sleep. (I typically average about 5 or 6.)

I joined SparkPeople. You should check it out if you’re interested in a healthier life style.

Ok, so there you go. My goals. What are yours? Will you join me in establishing 5 goals for the next 60 days? Create new healthy habits in your life, and hopefully firm up & slim down in the process.

What are you waiting for?!  Post your five goals in the comments, and let’s go!

Posted in 60-Days | 7 Comments

Home.


Where is your hometown? Do you still live there? Do you consider it home?

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I miss Portland. I didn’t spend my youth there, but it’s a place that got into my system and changed me for the better.

But we now live in Iowa. 2,000 miles from Portland, Cannon Beach, Astoria, or Mt Hood. I’m also 2,000 miles from my parents and family. Is it strange that I don’t feel the same longing for my hometown? My grandmother lives there. My grandfather is buried there. My parents live one town over. I grew up there, spent 12 years in school there, had my first love, heartbreak, independence, and driving lessons there. It is me. But I don’t miss it.

Maybe it’s because the area has had a housing boom and now resembles a suburb instead of a rural county life. Maybe the heart breaks and life lessons have jaded me from any positive feelings that I may have felt. The amount of change that Rochester has gone through since I moved away years ago is ridiculous. We used to get made fun of by our big city friends for living in such a po-dunk little place. Many a weekend night was spent in the surrounding Capital Forest and mudding in the Willapa Hills or out in Independence Valley. I had FUN there growing up. For a long time, I wanted my kids to have the same life.

But it is not the same place anymore. The old IGA grocery moved to a new building across town. The drugstore closed. There are new primary and middle schools. The elementary school was remodeled. I don’t know everyone driving down Hwy 12 because there are so many new people in the area. It feels like a shadow of what I grew up in. My best friend and I used to walk the eight miles between our houses on the back roads, because we weren’t allowed to walk on Hwy 12. We walked 5 miles home from school for fun. I knew every single person in my class, in my SCHOOL. All 500 or so kids. But I knew first & last names, siblings names, what activities they did, and maybe where they lived.

Funny how growing up changes your perspective. I would never move back there. My heart aches for what home used to mean to me… A wide-spread rural area with a couple of rivers, a ton of trees, and comfort in my surroundings. I found more of a home and a sense of belonging in the PDX metro area of 2.3 million people than I ever did in Rochester. And it feels like a loss of innocence, of a time before the world changed me. I miss the naïve child that I used to be.

The first time I was in Portland it was a month after moving to Iowa.  I  cried during take-off. I didn’t want to leave my green city of bridges behind. I missed my creature comforts of Starbucks on every corner, Powells, and the MAX. And I wanted them back. I was ready to just plant my feet on the damp soil and refuse to leave, make Ryan come HOME, and start over.

Of course I didn’t. I came back to Iowa and I survived. I flew into Seattle this past week. Let me just say, I hate the SeaTac airport anyway, but after doing it with an infant, I will never fly out of there again. (More on that later.) It was overcast and depressing when we landed. I couldn’t see Mt Rainer or the foothills. The weather was sticky, damp, and moldy– a typical Washington day. The next 6 days were spent with me shivering and freezing. I had that to-the-bone cold that I couldn’t shake. The time in Centralia wasn’t great, either. That town is so ran-down with drugs, poverty, and depression, I don’t know how anything positive can come out of it.

Ten years ago, I would have loved to have a house and settle down where I was raised. Now, I know that it isn’t ME. I’ve seen the great big world outside of that bubble, and I could never be happy there. While I’ve tried to explain to my family that we won’t be moving back to Centralia/Rochester ever again, that didn’t stop the guilt trips from rolling in all week long.

Anyway, after spending 6 days in Rochester/Centralia/Seattle, it dawned on me that I was more than ready to come HOME. Two months ago, I was panicking at leaving ‘home’. And there I was, smack dab in the chaos of the SeaTac airport, realizing that I was no longer home in the NW. It was one of those surreal moments that movie producers show with the spinning cameras… where the main character is frozen in time and the world buzzes on in hyper speed around them….

What an epiphany.

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