Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What do YOU eat for dinner?

So Monday's meme didn't really pan out because I had something on my mind that I felt needed to be discussed. That is STILL on my mind and I STILL have things to discuss about it, but I will sit on it (Ha...Fonzie...sit on it...I'll stop now) for a day or so to try to gather my thoughts. Translated, this means that I will completely forget that I even mentioned it and may or may not get back to it. Because THAT my friends is how I roll.

Speaking of "rolling," I feel as though I am rolling around these days, so I decided to try to go "raw." It sounds dirty for some reason and my husband looked a little TOO excited (AND a bit scared) when I told him about it--until I explained that it in no way involves him or body parts (except for parts I want GONE from my body) and will really not hinder his way of life in any way shape or form. I finished day one and...I bet you think I am going to say, "I feel GREAT" here, but I really don't. I don't feel deprived either and I certainly don't feel hungry. I think I may be getting sick. THAT would put a damper on the data, now wouldn't it?

Back to YOU. What is the craziest "diet" (though they are ALL called "Way(s) of life" now) you have ever been on AND/OR what is the BEST diet (WAY OF LIFE) you have followed and liked. I really DON'T like the whole "DIET" thing--I was way too hard on my body years ago and now I REALLY just want to be healthy. That is why I am interested to hear from others about their experiences. I am intrigued by the Paleo "way of life," and am obviously interested in the "RAW...way of life," but I would love to hear stories from those of you who only ate bananas for a month or only eat bacon wrapped bacon with bacon and...bacon...you know...THOSE "way(s) of life..."

Monday, February 27, 2012

A few days ago, I told you about the article my friend Chad sent me, and being the dutiful followers that you are (THAT sounds like I am leading some crazy cult or something. Hmmmm...) you READ said article as well. DIDN'T you? Well, NOW is your chance. Go ahead. Thanks to my dear friend, Amber, I do not have to type out the entire address for you anymore. NOW I can simply highlight a word and it will bring you RIGHT to the link. BRILLIANT, I tell you!

So, now that I gave you a laugh (if you didn't read it, you must carry on without any laughter. Sorry. I TOLD you to keep up with the class...), I am going to wallow. You see, I loved that article and was even laughing so hard that I cried while reading it. I even WROTE about it--you can read THAT now if you didn't do so yet. Wow--you are REALLY slacking this semester. It's a good thing I'm patient. Actually, I'm not so much PATIENT as I am DESPERATE...for readers. Okay, now that you have read both articles, you are caught up with the rest of the class.

So the general theme (wow--it really IS like class!) of the articles is the fact that parents today are much more overprotective of their children, so much so, that it can be comical. As I was working out (much less begrudgingly than usual it would seem--THAT is a good thing!) this morning, Brooke Baldwin (I think that is who it was...don't quote me!) interrupted Rachel Ray's Bloddy Mary burgers with breaking news out of Ohio. Before I continue, I should give you a more accurate account of what happened. I was on...an elliptical? A bike on crack? I'm not sure WHAT that particular machine is called, but I was on it, perfectly content, watching Rachel Ray tell me what's for dinner tonight, when I saw something shiny on the other two televisions (I think we know that when I see something shiny, it's all over--you've lost me for good. Well, in this instance, the something "shiny" was Brooke Baldwin (is that her REAL name? It really seems to flow off of the tongue smoothly. Brooke Baldwin. Brooke Baldwin. Brooke. Baldwin. BrookeBaldwin. BrookeBaldwinBrookeBaldwinBrookeBaldwinBrookeBaldwin. Her name has lost all meaning).

If you didn't hear yet, I am sorry to be the one "reporting" on this and I recommend that you stop reading now and go to someone credible, like Papa Smurf or something. That is not to indicate that a tiny blue cartoon character IS credible, it is only to indicate that I am NOT. Credible. When it comes to things like THIS I mean.

Anyway, BB(I need to call her this now. You understand.) reported that four students were injured  in a high school shooting near Cleveland early this morning. They flashed to a press conference that was being held  (through my sobbing--it's okay--it blended in with the sweat, so no one knew and I am pretty sure that anyone who DID know (perhaps they HEARD the weird sound that my sobbing made)that I was sobbing attributed it to the fact that I was exercising and VERY unhappy about it) where all of these "reporters" (you KNOW how I feel about the "NEWS") were shoving microphones into the faces of the officers on site and then made up their own answers.

Reporter: "So four people were shot?"
Police Guy: "Well, it is really too soon to give you that information yet..."
Bottom of screen: 4 people injured in high school shooting in Cleveland
Reporter #2: "So can you tell me about the four people who were shot?"
Police Guy: No..".I can't give you any specifics because we just got here and have to gather evidence first."
Reporter #3: "Of the four people who were shot, how many were boys?"
Two Police Guys: "No--we don't know how many..."PG#1:" I know there was one girl...maybe four boys..."
Reporter " 1 (again) "Of the four people shot, were any of them teachers?"
PG #1: "No--not that we know of--I really cannot answer that right now or give you numbers yet. We WILL inform you when we know more."
Bottom of the screen: FIVE people injured in high school shooting in Cleveland

I believe I need to save my annoyance with the "reporters" for another day as my time is going to be consumed with the atrocity that went on in Cleveland this morning. The thing is, we live in a world where these things happen. We live in a time where we don't even think "IF..." anymore; now we think "When..."
We start to feel safe and send our babies to school in the morning and possibly have a fleeting thought that there haven't been any school shootings in the news as of late and then...you hear news from Cleveland. Or Virginia Tech. Or even little Lancaster, PA.

Why do we make our children wear helmets and buckle up and stay in boosters until they are nine? Okay...those of you who thought, "...because it's the law...?" can bite me. We are overprotective because we CAN be. Those are things that we can control...in a world where uncontrollable things happen. Where children who quite possibly  DO NOT have parents controlling them hurt and kill OUR children. A world where snipers threaten our very existence and make us zig zag to our cars and buses WITHOUT car seats and seatbelts get in accidents. A world where innocent children are sacrificed in minutes because of the hurt and pain one disturbed individual is feeling.

We relinquish so much simply by putting our children on their buses each morning and hoping they will return to us happy and in one piece each afternoon. If I could place them in a bubble and only let them out for monitored visits, perhaps then I would rest easier. Though I would worry about the bubble bursting, are they getting enough air? Do they have enough intellectual stimulation...? I guess I can't win.

Regardless, I WILL worry and wonder and hope and pray that my children are safe to be...children. I will pray that my children are safe--at home AND at school and I will pray for those people who have had those horrific experiences. I remember when I taught and lived in Northern Virginia when the sniper was on the loose and I do not know WHAT I would have done if I had my OWN children at that time. Just feeling somewhat safe again after the horror of 9/11,  I watched my students suffer through weeks of fear. Dances were cancelled, football games weren't played, all after school activities were nonexistent. The students who rode buses were afraid of getting shot on the bus; the students who drove were reminded to run and zig zag in the parking lot and to go directly home. I felt helpless because I couldn't make life better for them. I couldn't ease their minds, because I was terrified as well--terrified that one of my students or someone I loved would be the next victim.

Several of my students from that time went on to study at Virginia Tech and had to experience the nightmare there as well. My heart breaks for them every time I think of all the pain they have had to witness and endure. Some of the strongest people I know are those I taught during those scary years--that which does not kill us makes us stronger, right? Now I think of my own children. Do I want them to be strong? Of course I do, but I don't want them to be forced to be strong because of horrific events in their lives. I think of those who have gone through all of this and wonder just how protective THEY will be with THEIR children? When you see how evil the world can be, isn't it natural to want to protect your children from it?

Watching the parents lining up outside of Chardon high school, I felt so sick. Sick for the people who were wondering about their children. Sick for the people who KNEW about their children. And sick for the fact that we live in a world where ANY of this needs to be discussed. Hug your kids extra hard today and send prayers, good thoughts...whatever you have to the families in Ohio and the other families who relive their own tragedies every time something like this happens.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Part 2 of the housing debacle

So in my last post I talked about "bragging" and Words with Friends and gave you background on what we lovingly refer to as "The MANS." We don't live in that house anymore. The other shoe fell. The housing market  started to crash and my husband's company closed his office. He took a job out of Wilmington, NC and we tried to sell our house--no bites. His new company allowed him to work out of the house (on commission only) and we were primarily living off of savings. Luckily, we had a lot of that from when times were good. Only, it's funny (or in fact, not-so-funny) how quickly you burn through savings when there is hardly any money coming in...too quickly.  I went back to teaching (you know--that lucrative profession that is so revered...) and we attempted to make it on what we were both bringing in, but we worked through our savings and the teaching salary didn't cut it. My husband looked for work and finally found it--across the country in Kalispell, Montana (or MonFREAKINtana) and we tried a short sale on our house. Only AFTER we decided on the short sale (and had buyers) did people start coming out of the woodwork wanting to buy the house. Almost everyone I knew called to tell me about SOMEONE who wanted to buy our home. Only WE were in Montana and our HOME was in Virginia. We relied on our "realtor" to do right by us and THAT was like the ZILLIONTH mistake we made in what we can refer to as "The Downfall of the Corwin Empire." Okay--THAT may be braggartly (?!), but it makes me laugh--I'm not sure why. I'm not sure why ANYTHING makes me laugh, so give me a break, okay?

So I agree that if you are selling your home it is okay to use a For Sale by Owner, HelpUSell or something along those lines, but after trying to sell our home and failing, we put it on the market a year later, and as I mentioned above, decided to do a short sale (after depleting our savings) and went through HepUSell. The problem with this plan was the fact that realtors for those companies only make a set amount--UNLESS they do a short sale. The guy we worked with told us all about it--and that he primarily does short sales because it's the only way for him to make good money. Red flag? You'd think, but no. He was clearly not inspired to do any WORK for us, he just wanted to collect his fat check. After dragging his feet for eight or nine months (and preventing the fine family who waited patiently to move into "The MANS" from looking to purchase elsewhere), the deal finally fell through. He never passed the paperwork on to the right people...though we cannot solely blame him. WE probably should have tried to sell sooner--instead of trying to make it work when times were tough and even if he HAD done his part...Wells Fargo OWNED our loan and had HSBC servicing it so it was almost impossible to get ANYONE to help us or to answer our questions. After nearly eight months, our loan ended up with Countrywide who rejected the short sale immediately. I don't even remember the whole thing, it was maddening--especially when we already felt like the dregs of society for doing the short sale--NOW we were moving into FORECLOSURE...for shame!

 What I DO remember about this time is getting a phone call from HelpUSell guy on a particularly trying day after I had just had surgery. We hadn't heard from him in a while and had begun to lose hope, as we could not afford to keep up payments on a home we were not living in AND pay for a place...well...to ACTUALLY live in with our family.

Just a side note, there was definitely a time when I was afraid that we would not have a place to live--AT ALL. I know that family would have eventually learned of what was going on and insisted that we stay with them rather than be homeless, but this was a definite possibility for our family. I have NEVER been so afraid--what kind of parent WAS I anyway? How could I let it get to the point where my babies could very well not have a place to sleep? I am so glad that I have NEVER been one to judge people who are homeless or needy or...well, I try not to judge ever, but nobody's perfect. I'm not BRAGGING here, I am simply stating a fact. Whenever friends would complain about other "dregs" of society, I would always think of my friend Jen and the three sides to every story. You NEVER know what is going on in a person's life because you have NEVER walked in that person's shoes. Now it seemed I WAS walking in another person;s shoes. I didn't love it...

 My husband was at work and I was attempting to get food for the maniacs. Realtor-guy called and was manic on the phone, asking me to quickly send $5,000 so we could finalize the deal.

Here's me: " WHAT?! Five THOUSAND dollars?  If I had FIVE THOUSAND dollars, do you REALLY think I would be living in a 600 square foot TOWNHOME across the street from a drug dealer in MonFREAKINtana?! I don't THINK so!"  Just a note about this--the townhome was NOT so bad--it was just SO SMALL and there were naked babies running around outside all the time...we were able to move to a larger, nicer home after about six months (where MY babies were the naked babies running around outside). It turns out that the landlord of the townhome was great and the landlord in the NICER home was a creep, but I digress...

The short sale fell through, mostly because our "realtor" was an idiot, though I'm sure the fact that we had to stop paying the mortgage didn't help. The best part was the fact that we would get notices from the HOA demanding that we cut our lawn and fix our mailbox and do things that we did not have the money or time to either fly back to Virginia (about $2000) to fix it ourselves or to hire someone to do it for us--especially on a home we were regrettably losing. Irresponsible, maybe--but we were definitely going through some things. I only felt bad about all of this because of the dear friends we left in Fredericksburg who had to LOOK at our trashed home--the home that was once the subject of MUCH bragging...and think that it was bringing down THEIR property values (which would continue to drop--with or without our help, but who KNEW this would happen?!).

Well, THIS sounds like a big pity party or something and if there is ONE thing I CANNOT STAND (more than a braggart) it's a victim. I played the "victim" once in real life in the late eighties and early nineties (some of you, if I didn't lose you eighteen paragraphs ago, knew her and it was NOT fun for you, I'm CERTAIN!) and decided that I could not STAND to be that annoying for my ENTIRE life! So please do not think that in ANY part of this I wanted to be A. A BRAGGART or 2. A VICTIM. It is just one of my nonsensical rants to inform or entertain.

...and to perhaps challenge you to a WWF game...

YOUR side, MY side, and the TRUTH

Yesterday I was "applying" to write for different places and realized that I didn't know which samples of my writing I should send. I know that my blog writing style is in NO WAY appropriate for...well...REAL writing gigs, so it's kind of a trying task, one I usually leave to my husband, but that is only so helpful (until it is not helpful anymore)!

What I discovered is, I LOVE my new blog friends. Really. I read their blogs and think, "Wow--I am so lucky to KNOW these writers!" and "THAT is EXACTLY what I wanted to say! I wish I could write like THAT person!" Sometimes I even regret reading their posts because I am afraid that I WOULD HAVE written something similar and now can't for fear of plagiarizing. It's complicated being in my brain--I suggest you avoid it at all costs!

Anyway, my blog friends Perspective Parenting and I could have been mother of the year if... left such nice comments and REALLY made me feel good about myself (THANK YOU,LADIES!) and my husband...well, my husband left a comment because he thinks he is funny, but I REALLY want to know which ones are better than others. I am NOT fishing for compliments (though I DO love the ones I got!)--I just never know which posts I should choose to give people the impression that I am sometimes funny. Or informative. Or entertaining. Or NOT the crazy person I appear to be. You understand.

Some may find this vain--like I must be vain to even THINK that people would want to read what I have to say. Maybe it is, but I cannot believe that ANYONE would think that I am vain (is THAT vain?!). Of course, my mother indicated that SHE thought I was being vain when we had our first discussion about Words With Friends.

I had just started playing and had won my first fifteen games. I am NOT saying this to brag...I am saying it because it HAPPENED. I was telling my mother about an ongoing "chat" with my friend, Bill who accused me of cheating (and other things), but was HILARIOUS in his responses to me. I would think of a word and laugh before I played it because I knew he would hate me for it and would have some smartalecky (yeah--that's what I said) comment about it. The whole thing made me laugh and I was telling my mother (I KNOW you are probably reading this (ten years after I write it), but I am telling the story as I remember it, MOM!) about Bill and about the fact that I was afraid that people wouldn't want to play with me anymore. My mother could barely contain her eye roll as she told me that I just wasn't playing with the "RIGHT PEOPLE."

WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE?! Now, I KNOW she meant it because she thought I was all full of myself and not because she thinks I'm a dumbass (I'm actually NOT so sure about THAT), but what does that say about the people I play against? If I'M a dumbass and I'M beating THEM, what does that make THEM? I am SO insulted--for them AND for me!

I of course called her on it and thought she would retract her statement (I'm not sure WHAT in our history made me think THAT), but she only reiterated what she had initially said (still so mean!) and mentioned the people she played with all over the world who have like six hundred point games. (Who is bragging NOW?!) I was DEFINITELY getting defensive at this point because she said this in a voice that indicated that I would NEVER be in such a high scoring game. The problem with this situation (and situations LIKE this one) is that no matter what I said I would sound whiny and juvenile and, yes, like a braggart, even  IF I just wanted to state the facts  (like I had SEVERAL games where we scored OVER EIGHT HUNDRED points) and let her know that I didn't always annihilate my friends...many of them really kept me on my toes with two of us playing over thirty points each play.  At this point it only sounded like I was trying to give credit to "the little people" so that I wouldn't LOOK LIKE a braggart. FRUSTRATING!

This brings me back to nine years ago when we built our second home. We didn't build our SECOND home. Our FIRST home was an adorable little "bungalow" in Warrenton, Virginia (NOW I guess I am bragging by calling it "adorable," but why is it that liking things in your life and stating what you believe to be fact is construed as "bragging"? I don't like it.) and we went all Trading Spaces on it (only no one traded anything and Paige and Ty and Hildy never made it to Sycamore Street in Warrenton, though we constantly planned out who we would trade with IF we got on the show. We even got the application at one point, but anyone who knows us knows that getting the application is about as far as we get on ANYTHING. Luckily we didn't need to go through an application process to have the three maniacs. THEN you would get back the twenty minutes you just lost reading this. Hmmm...), it looked FANTASTIC (yes, I know--BRAGGART)! We only lived there a year and were able to sell it for significantly more than what we paid for it--because of the market at the time and because of what we did to it.

Which brings me to the ONLY house we built, but the SECOND house we owned. Though I don't really like to use the word "owned" considering we paid money to the bank every month that we lived there. OWNING would indicate that we DIDN'T need to pay anyone to live there. Let's say that it was the second house we didn't rent. THAT isn't a mouthful or anything. Rolls RIGHT off the tongue...

So, my husband got this amazing promotion (and worked for these AMAZING people) which brought us to Fredericksburg, Virginia so that he could run an office there. Because of the promotion and the money we made off of our first house, we were able to build our "dream" home and (bragging alert) it was beautiful. Almost TOO beautiful. People treated us differently--assumed we were snobs. Even some of our friends who knew us BEFORE the fancy house treated us differently. Friends from college stayed with us and called it "The MANS" because they joked that it was like a mansion. We filled it with nice things and nice furniture--most of which we got at Marshalls or The Maxx (T.J. Maxx) and Kirklands--stores with discounted decor. We have NEVER gotten along as well as we did when we built and decorated that house, which is weird because you hear all the time about how husbands and wives fight about those things. We had the same idea of everything we wanted and it turned out great. (NOT bragging. I'll post pictures. Yeah right...'cause I am SO GREAT at posting pictures...)

Stay with me--there IS a point to this line of questioning--or answering. Where was I? Oh yeah--so neighbors would come over and introduce themselves, telling us that they had walked through our home as it was being built (which is kind of funny since WE weren't allowed to walk through it as it was being built!) and wondering what the owners would be like. Imagine their disappointment when they met us!

It's funny because so many people tried to make us into the people who they THOUGHT we would be by looking at our home, but we were still...us. Sure, the house was ENORMOUS and OH-SO-MUCH cleaner then, but we moved in when I was pregnant with Brayden. Although the house was huge, it wasn't too hard to keep up with it since it was only the two (and a half--then three) of us. As I had more babies, it became more difficult. Actually, after my first, my husband's "Thank you for giving birth to my baby" gift was to have someone come in to clean. SO. GREAT. Even better than "SO.GREAT," but I am tired and cannot come up with stronger words. Just know that I think longingly of that time every time I step on an old piece of oatmeal or a defrosted blueberry. *sigh*

SO...there is oh-so-much for me to talk about here, but I need to bring it back to my mother (I am QUITE certain she is THRILLED about THAT information!). She was one of the first people to stay with us in the new home and (naturally) I wanted to impress her. It's funny--in college, my friend Jen shared something her mother used to say, "There are THREE sides to every story: YOUR side, MY side, and THE TRUTH."  I never forgot this and lived by it. When I look back on my mother's visit, I am giving you MY side and I realize now that  HER side is probably very different. As I was trying to impress her, SHE was thinking I was bragging, which I find so weird because anyone who knew (or knows) anything about me knows that I am one of the most insecure people you could ever meet (which usually is the reason for bragging, I know, but I am completely ANTIbragging--I swear!). I've DEFINITELY been working on this and think I give the opposite impression now, but that is mostly because I am too tired for the garbage. I try to just say what I think and feel and am unable to sugar coat or think of the consequences anymore. I'm tired.

Okay...so my mother and I are driving around Fredericksburg and there is a cute little rambler for sale. I say, "Oh--that's a cute house!" to which  my mother responds, "Oh, Nika--don't be a snob!"  WHAT?! Don't be a snob?! I sincerely meant that it was a cute house and wasn't even THINKING about MY home at this point, but my mother, after staying in "The MANS" assumed I had become a snob and a braggart and couldn't possible LIKE the house I pointed out to her. So. Sad. For ME because that is most certainly NOT the impression I wanted to give and for HER because how horrifying would it be to actually think that you raised a SNOB?! Slob, okay, but SNOB...? NEVER!

Which brings me to now. I think that most people read my self-deprecating words and know that I simply say what is on my mind and I'm not really too sure about myself and I would THINK that my mother would know that she didn't raise ANY of us to be full of ourselves, but she obviously forgot. Or maybe my attempts at impressing her (my side) made her believe that I was full of myself (her side) when really I was the same person living in a fancier house (the truth).

The thing is, after the first few months living there, we tried to downplay the house and everything in it. People would come in and say things like, "Pshaw (yes--that's a thing!) Must be NICE to have a house like this!" "Must be NICE to have fancy furniture!" and "I wonder why YOU guys get to live in a house like this..." REALLY?! I remember when people would say things like this and I wouldn't say anything--I felt guilty and uncomfortable and kind of agreed with them. Why DO we deserve to have this house? It ISN'T fair to others. Looking back, I feel angry. I would NEVER go into a person's home and question ANYTHING. It wouldn't even OCCUR to me to think that they didn't deserve to be there. I would maybe compliment their stuff and think, "Maybe some day WE could have this" or "Wow--good for THEM!" and never even CONSIDER that it would one day be me. Because it wasn't ABOUT me. Why did others make OUR house about THEM?!

The end of this terribly long post (or Terrible AND long post...) will be posted later. NO ONE should be forced to read much more than what I've written (Your side), even IF it is hilarious (MY SIDE), which I think we all know it's NOT. (the truth.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

PLEASE validate me...I'm needy!

I've been thinking (I know--no good can come of THAT...)--it would be nice to know more about my posts. You know--like which posts are funnier than others (TOASTER) or just as funny or maybe not funny at all. I haven't gotten a lot of participation when I do these...participation things on here (Meme Monday), but I'm willing to take that risk.

Half the time Almost ALL of the time, I just sit down and start typing with no idea of what I want to write. I type like a lunatic for twenty to thirty minutes, hit publish and hold my breath waiting for my daily affirmation in the form of a comment or a "like" on facebook. OR I wait for someone to tell me that it is all gibberish and I should consider therapy over blogging (or at least along WITH blogging). I know--you can tell that I do all of that since most of what I write is nonsensical rambling, but would you scroll down my ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-NINE other posts to see A. If you like ANY of them and 2. Which ones you like the most? I know it's presumptuous to say, "Which oneS you like the most," but I want to get some real feedback here. You can TRY to like more than one, right? Surely you could like five or six out of one hundred and THIRTY-NINE...right?  Helloooooo...? Cricket...cricket...OH--you must be READING and THAT is why you aren't answering! You had me worried for a second...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When's the last time you saw a child 'smoking" gum/candy cigarettes or riding on the handlebars of his friend's bicycle?

My friend, Chad sent me this article a few weeks ago and for some reason I let it sit and fester in between the Groupon and Daily Deals that are clogging up my yahoo account. The Gmail is clogged with health and fitness "tips" and Nigerian relatives who want to give me money.

LUCKILY I decided to purge today. No...I am not clearing off the dry bar that is covered with dust (dust that has seen more parts of this country than ANY travel adviser, I'll have you know. I wonder if I could sell it...?

"This dust began its dismal life in Charlotte, North Carolina where it began its journey north to Manassas, Virginia. There were too many battles fought in Manassas, so the dust settled (hahahaha!) in Warrenton for a while, then headed to Fredericksburg where it spent most of its youth. After five years, the dust rolled through most of the central states to reside in upstate western Montana for about two years when it collected itself (and others) and rolled back eastward to settle in New Jersey where it now rests beneath a ridiculous amount of time-out toys that were never missed and candles that are never lit (for fear of a dust explosion upon lighting...)"

Wow--that was QUITE a digression. Now you know why I confuse so easily. There is MADNESS going on in my brain. Where was I? Right--purging. No--I am not sorting through the stacks of papers that are strewn about the house. I am not purging the leftover ham from last year's Easter dinner (just kidding, but you were wondering for a minute...I don't blame you. If our refrigerator hadn't broken a month ago, it could TOTALLY be the case--don't beat yourself up about it). I AM purging my irrelevant email. I would LOVE to do both accounts, but let's not get crazy. I have over ten THOUSAND emails in my yahoo account. TEN. THOUSAND. I don't even KNOW what half of them are about, yet I will keep them...just in case. I very well may want to sit down later to discover the secret fat-burning ingredient in five foods I may or may not eat every day. And if I click on some of the surveys I can earn something...I may want to read about what that something IS.

Well, I am glad I at least attempted to purge because I came upon this email from my friend and the article is HILARIOUS! Really. I know what you are thinking--I think EVERYTHING is hilarious (unless "you" are my husband--then you think that I think that NOTHING is hilarious--but that is for another day), but THIS will REALLY make you laugh out LOUD (which I hate to say because people don't believe that laughing out loud is really a thing anymore, but it IS! LITERALLY (another word that people don't believe in because it is so frequently misused). I LITERALLY laughed OUT LOUD when I read this and I think you will, too.

Did you read it? DID you? Wasn't it HILARIOUS? Were you picturing yourself falling all over the seat in the car or worse--sitting in THE FRONT seat as a child? Or flying down a hill helmetless and carefree with your parents nowhere in sight?! I am giggling just REMEMBERING the article--and those PICTURES! I want Amber Dusick to be my friend because she is SO FUNNY--and I have funny friends!

 While reading this I started thinking about when I would babysit for my cousins (who are now in their twenties) and their car seats would practically tip OVER when we went around corners. Of course, at least they attempted to keep their children safe twenty years ago. When I was young you were lucky to have a seat belt and a relative who would hail a few Mary's for your journey. As for Mr. Yuck--we had a serious love/hate relationship. My mom would put those stickers on every container (which really just made me MORE curious about what was inside) and would get extras for me because I LIKED them. If that doesn't tell you what my taste in men was like (before I met my husband of course), then nothing will!

I choked on my carrot (yes, carrot. I had to grab SOMETHING when I clicked on Dusick's link to the BEST chocolate chip cookie EVER, because I was salivating. Luckily I am far too lazy to make ANYTHING right now--even if it is of the chocolate chip variety and even if it is the best EVER. ) reading about her experience with the metal swingset remembering how we would stand up on the swing and have people push us as high as possible and now I say, "Only on your bottom" as my children have the controlled fun I allow them to have. They have never even ATTEMPTED to stand up on the swing--I am pretty sure that I would KILL them for even TRYING it. I remember trying to swing high enough to make the entire swingset tip over backwards. Don't act like you don't know what I mean. ALL of those sets would come out of the ground as we swung--was there supposed to be cement poured in to keep them in the ground? I'm not sure that ANYONE went to those extremes--they just banked on us slowing down so that the set would stay in place. Or maybe they were hoping it tipped, too!

The see-saw/teeter.totter slam down was like a rite of passage when we were young. You climbed onto the teeter totter KNOWING that you were taking a risk. I remember the panic when your tottering partner would decide that she would rather be jump roping...BAM. Your top teeth became your bottom teeth and your brain was in your nose. Sometimes people would just mess with each other--you never knew if you were going to crash to your doom or be carefully let off of the see saw with no injuries. It was a crap shoot. Good times.

I read this knowing that I was the most overprotective parent out there and was just happy to know that someone may be almost as bad as I am. Or slightly as bad as I am...?
The first time I let my son play outside without me, we were living in a townhouse in Montana. There was no screen door and I couldn't really see in the back yard from the tiny kitchen window, so I left the back door open. In December. In Montana. The neighborhood children who had gathered to play ball in the back yard were a little freaked out by me, but I was a little freaked out by THEM. And pretty much EVERYTHING else

 I have gotten better--I let all three of them go out without me now as long as they stick together and stay in the yard. The other day, the older two were having fun and getting along so well that they didn't notice the youngest taking off on her bike. ALONE. I say "taking off," but you should know that we live on the corner of two culdesacked (I am coining that--it is now a word) streets so "taking off" meant that she rode in the street in front of our house and next to our house. IN THE STREET. And she did NOT have her helmet, which is a bit...ironic? Hypocritical? since someone I know VERY WELL just wrote an article for the Examiner on the subject of helmet safety. Ahem.

 I know all of this because even though I let them go outside without me I check them every few minutes to make sure...well, to make sure that one of them isn't riding around helmetless in the street.  When I peeked out, I only saw the oldest two and my heart sank. I yelled for them ALL and the oldest two came running noting that they had no idea where Addison was. At this point, she was riding her bike along the side of the house where we could not see, but when my son said, "She's inside--she went in a LOONG time ago!" I thought I would be sick. Seconds later, little Addie comes squeaking around the corner with a huge smile, not a care in the world. Until I grabbed her and mauled her and told her to ALWAYS answer when we call her name. Nothing like freaking out the five-year-old.

Why ARE we so much more protective of our children now? I blame Lifetime television. I don't watch it now, but in my twenties I LIVED (AND cried) by it! There is always something happening to some sweet child and the nice neighbor is always the serial stalker. AND it is ALWAYS a true story! I will NEVER get the image of the parents going to bed in the room of the husband/killer and when they turned the lights off the room GLOWED to show how much blood had been on the walls. CREEPY. Anyway, I knew I had to give up Lifetime and I haven't watched it since. if only I could give up chocolate and baked goods that easily...FOREVER.

Only, I don't WANT to give up yummy treats FOREVER--or even for a short amount of time, really, but Lifetime HAD to go because it was messing with my brain. I am constantly afraid of something happening to my babies and watching Lifetime would make it SO MUCH WORSE! it's a shame because those movies usually are SO GOOD.

I have a whole thing about certain movies and when I am allowed to watch them--I'll have to revisit it in a different post.  Now, though, I will have to settle on reading Tummy taming tips and writing back to my Nigerian uncle. Speaking of keeping children safe, where ARE my kids anyway...? I would have done GREAT as a parent in the seventies...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (or SOME words Wednesday)

I saw this on my floor a few weeks ago and it made me laugh--I took pictures, but need you to disregard the FILTH you see brewing on my floor. 

It LOOKS like a tiny human is trapped beneath the floorboards...

...it turns out my son was making a bookmark in Sunday School

and accidentally dropped Jesus's arm on the floor.

Because we are dirty and lazy people, we left the arm of Jesus on our floor

for several days, because I only noticed it on a FRIDAY and Sunday School is on...well...


Addison thought it would be fun to "trap" the tiny human in our coffee table. Hello tiny Jesus arm!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I just wasn't quite finished with that last one

So yesterday's "meme" elicited some very interesting response and although I didn't get as many as I'd hoped, I DO appreciate the fact that some of you commented. I will try to copy and paste the facebook comments on here so that those who are not on facebook are able to read them. If you DON'T know what I am talking about, check out yesterday's post, http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2012/02/really-chicken-nuggets-over-turkey.html and the blog post that inspired me, http://www.youknowithappensatyourhousetoo.blogspot.com/.

TODAY'S post is going to continue with the discussion--until it doesn't, because THAT my friends is how I roll. Yes--I "roll" by yammering on about one thing and then switching to the next while everyone else is still on the first thing. I was inspired today  by http://unpublishedworksofme.blogspot.com/ who wrote:

This really angered me because, while I think that child obesity is on the increase and a great deal of the parent population are to blame (I recall watching a documentary on kids as young as 10 years old being given gastric bands because their parents were incapable of monitoring their food intake. One girl, after having a gastric band put in, was invited to a family meal where they all sat down to KFC. Her KFC was liquidised ... please explain to me how this is RESPONSIBLE parenting?!) But, I digress ... it's going a bit far to scare little children by confiscating their lunch. All that succeeds in doing is giving a little girl a complex about food and weight. In the UK, a doctor sent a young girl a letter saying she was 'obese' for being about 5 pounds above the national average. What kind of message does that give a child? The key is to not make a big deal about food. And to educate kids (and parents) on healthy ways of eating. This police-state approach will never work. All it will do is aggravate the situation. Because, what happens when you tell a child they can't have something? They want it more. 

It's all about education, education, in my opinion. And since when is chicken nuggets a healthy option ever?! Looks to me like the inspectors and teachers need to be educated too.

To which I responded...and responded...and responded. Instead of doing all of that "responding" as a comment, I decided to copy and paste my responses as today's post. Only I thought I LOST all of those responses, which is one of the WORST. FEELINGS. EVER. LUCKILY, I'm not as dumb as some of you think I am and my work was not lost (though after reading it you may wish it HAD been...)

Doesn't everything come down to education? The problem is, too many people are like my son--they came out of the womb KNOWING everything, so they figure, they don't need to listen when others try to teach or educate them! THIS is my BIGGEST pet peeve (though "pet peeve" is too kind)! I go into every situation assuming I know very little. THIS doesn't make me less intelligent than  others (there are OTHER things that make me less intelligent than others, but THIS is not one of them). IN FACT, being able to admit to not knowing things helps to make people MORE intelligent. Amazing, right?! Why are so many people afraid to admit that they do not know everything? HUMILITY people. Get some.

 I am trying to unthink the whole liquefied (or liquidized) KFC thing and I threw up a little bit when I read it. EEW--there it is again--make it go away! I cannot even IMAGINE being responsible for my children having to get gastric bypass. I know that obesity is often times genetic (and there are MANY unhealthy slender people), but my philosophy was (until I was outnumbered, but THAT is a different story!) why start giving the junk to the children? They don't know what they are missing if they have never had it. Unfortunately, we can't lock them away like some bizarro Tangled movie and only expose them to the foods WE want them to eat, though that seems like the only way to REALLY keep the whole food insanity under control.

I used to battle with my husband and mother about food for my children. My mother wants them to have "fun" food because she is the grandparent and she already lived through the days of saying no. When my son was nearly three, we went to a carnival down the street from my mom and dad's house. My mom INSISTED on giving my son orange soda pop. After deliberating for what felt like hours, she won (or simply didn't listen). My son took a sip, spit it out and said, "This is yucky--too spicy..." and that settled THAT argument--for that day at least! These days, he would probably sell his sister for ANY sweet beverage, but that may say more about his relationship with his sister than his relationship with sweet beverages!

My husband uses (I swear!) almost an entire bottle of syrup at one sitting. You could DRINK the syrup off of his plate with a straw--it's disturbing. The first few times ANY of my kids had pancakes (or french toast) I didn't give them syrup or butter and I never put salt on any of their food either. Everyone gave me a hard time, saying that my children should be able to enjoy their food (and I kind of agree now), but my theory was that since they were never introduced to syrup, butter, or salt, they wouldn't NEED those things. I was (and still am) so afraid of them A. becoming the "typical" American junk-food hound or 2. having any of the issues (with food and with health) that I have.

That's not to say that I didn't eat healthy growing up--I think we were the first people to eat wheat bread ever (the closest thing to wheat bread anyone I ever knew got was the poptart sandwich one kid brought to school one day. We LOVED him...but everyone else ate white bread) and we NEVER had sugared cereals. We drank water most of the time and were allowed KoolAid on occasion. Maybe my mom figures that keeping us healthy as children didn't really work for us as adults, so we should take a new approach with our children? Or maybe she wants to see her grandchildren having fun ALL the time and children don't have fun eating veggies all the time? Or maybe it is fun for her to see us tormented like we tormented her?  Whatever it is, I've learned not to worry about it since 98% of the time my children are eating healthy meals--why shouldn't they be able to splurge here and there?

I am horrified and appalled that a DOCTOR would condone let alone be responsible for writing a letter like that--to anyone. Five pounds over the NATIONAL AVERAGE?! I understand that OUR national average is considered to be obese, but writing a letter to a young girl about being overweight is more detrimental to her health than five pounds will ever be. My NOSE weighs five pounds! I remember in high school asking a guy friend of mine if he thought I would win for class officer. The girl I was running against was about five feet tall and 70 pounds soaking wet (NOT that it should matter, mind you). I was just shy of 5'9" and 125. My friend told me, "Well, she IS much littler than you and people like that..." SERIOUSLY?! What I heard was, "Well, you are fat and disgusting and she is not, so she will definitely win..."

I stopped eating. I was working at the time (at McDonald's--GREAT cover!) and in the school play (along with a zillion other activities), so it was easy for me to claim I had eaten elsewhere. At one point I got down to 110 (and STILL wore my size elevens and a coat over my outfit because I was afraid that people would see my body. THAT is a problem, though I don't know who to blame. I'd like to blame a family that was consumed with weight and size, my sisters for always being so little, or my mother--because you always blame THE MOTHER, right?! I could blame the "friend" who so callously sent me down an unhealthy path. Only, when my daughter started wearing HER coat during the school day (at the age of SIX), I started to think.

It is no secret that I am (and always have been) unhappy with my weight, but I try DESPERATELY to not make weight a factor in ANYTHING with my children--I try to simply make it about health (and try to eliminate my own self-doubt when my children are present). So why then is my daughter wearing HER jacket and covering up all day? Could it really be an inherent quality and if so, how do I help her to fight it? It took ME over twenty years and truly BECOMING what I thought I was to learn--I certainly don't want to see her go through THAT. The good news is, I think she was blessed with my husband's ridiculously speedy metabolism, which will definitely be helpful, though I refrain from commenting on size--skinny or otherwise--and simply commend them all  on being healthy, stressing that healthy is beautiful.

Today, I packed carrots, peppers, ants on a log (celery, peanut butter and raisins) and cucumbers in my son's lunch. he also asked for a PB &J on whole grain. I was going to let him take a treat from Valentine's Day to have for dessert and he told me, "We aren't allowed to have candy at school, but thanks anyway, mom. I'll take a clementine instead." Now my daughter had smuggled a dozen candy hearts and a pixie stick into HER lunch (which I found and confiscated) even though A. they are not allowed to have candy and@. even if they WERE, SHE would not be allowed to have it because she doesn't eat her lunch.What works for one...well, I don't know how the saying goes, but you get it.

I guess my whole issue with other people telling my kids what to eat is the fact that it takes away what little control I have left. I KNOW that I am feeding my children healthy (sometimes ridiculously so) foods and that is my only insurance that I am keeping them safe. I need to send them off every day and hope that they are behaving the way I've taught them to behave, that they are safe and happy on their own, and that nothing happens to them while they are gone. There is so little I am able to control in their lives and that is scary. Horrible things can happen that I have no control over, but no one can make fresh red peppers, cucumbers and carrot sticks unhealthy (unless they deep fry them, but I feel quite certain that no one is going to steal my children's lunches for the purpose of deep frying them). If I want to give my son a treat in his lunch because he is such an unbelievably healthy eater--ALL of the time--then I should be allowed to do so.

So...I may mess up my children mentally and emotionally, but they will be the best EATERS you will ever meet. If it kills me (and if the school gets involved, it just may...)

Monday, February 20, 2012

REALLY?! Chicken nuggets over turkey...?

If you haven't had the chance, check out http://www.youknowithappensatyourhousetoo.blogspot.com/. I'll wait. Seriously, read it now because you need it for this next assignment.

You're done? I'm just going to have to take your word for it since I don't have all day. If you did indeed read today's post, then you are no doubt as irritated as I am about it. NOT about the post--it was very well-written--irritated with the TOPIC. That is why I am using it for the Monday Meme topic. What do you think about this new theme of school officials dictating what every child should eat--even when you pack a lunch for your child to bring? I've given you a hint of how I feel about things in http://anothertiredmommy.blogspot.com/2011/10/healthy-i-think-not.html , but I want to know what YOU think. Let's hope that today's topic brings more participation than last week's "funny story" meme. Surely there are AT LEAST twenty or thirty of you who want to weigh in on this topic. If not, then we are REALLY in trouble. And chicken nuggets are going to become an official food group.

THESE are the facebook posts--I tried to delete names and faces since I didn't ask them if they minded being "featured" on the blog--I just wanted the non-facebookers to be able to see what others are saying on the topic...

    •  People really need to look closer at what schools think healthy eating is. Thank you for helping other Mom's see what is going on. :0)
      16 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Nika Corwin Thanks,! And thanks for reading and commenting! :o)

      16 hours ago 
    •  I agree that kids should eat a lot healthier than they do, as i was told in no uncertain terms almost a year ago that i had to stop eating garbage and lose weight. That said, chicken nuggets? One of the most processed foods EVER!
      16 hours ago ·
    •  I know....I had so many words in my mind over that.
      16 hours ago · 
    • s 
      Whoa! Honestly I can say from having experience being that inspector for in-home daycare facilities that nobody is going to take a perfectly good sandwich away from a kid and replace it with chicken nuggets.   If that was done, it was done in error. And errors happen. The point of the programs in place are to give a healthy alternative to kids who come to school with henious lunches or lack there of. Which happens more than we think. The programs are not perfect by any means, no programs are, but the intent is good and we should remember that. Especially when we don't have to look very far to find bad intending influences our children are exposed to daily.See More
      15 hours ago · 
    •  That was so 48 seconds ago!!!
      15 hours ago ·
    • . I agree with the intent- but there will need to be checks and balances. I always hate when people say that watching over something will leads to extreme and bad stuff, but this opens the door.

      That said, if we can lower obesity, it is a very good thing. Less than a year ago, I ate bk and McDonald's twice a day and was about 5-8 215. That is sick! I can't imagine what it does to a pre schoolers
      15 hours ago · 
    • t Tom you should be nice to Nika!
      15 hours ago ·  ·  2
    •  No offense, Adam, but what I eat, or what I feed my kids, regardless whether it's heathy or not, is no ones business, especially the governments.....with that being said, maybe we should start limiting what you can buy with food stamps, like twinkies and ho ho's and mandate that people being supported with my tax dollars eat healthy.
      15 hours ago · 
    •  I love Nika!!! ♥
      15 hours ago ·  ·  1
    •  Tom- from what you are saying, I couldn't picture you feeding your kids like I ate. If parents are feeding their kids that kind of stuff, it is abusive. Kids should be physically fit or not be able to advance a grade.
      15 hours ago · 
    • I agree, Nika knows my kids didn't eat that much junk. All I am saying is it is a parents responsibility to raise their kids, not the governments. If the government wants to start dictating how kids are raised, let them start with  preventing crack heads from having them in the first place (mandatory 5 year birth control implant, then evaluate their stability before removing it), oh wait, can't do that because they have rights, but me as a tax paying citizen seems to be losing my rights every day.See More
      15 hours ago ·  ·  1
    • Nika Corwin 
      Okay, let's NOT get into the food stamp debate--I am too tired for THAT ridiculousness right now, though I AM torn about the regulation of packed lunches. I am CERTAIN that this was an extreme case and that the intent of the program was not...See More
      6 hours ago · 
    • Nika Corwin Tom...Tom, Tom, Tom...I didn't want to get political, yet I knew I was entering that area when I posted! Not all children are blessed with the parents your children have and not all people on food stamps are crack heads. Though I agree that crack heads should be helped and monitored. And aren't a lot of people against birth control--especially the mandatory kind?
      6 hours ago · 
    • Nika Corwin And listen to Michael and be nice to me...'cause I love you, too! ;o)