The Empty Cart

A conversation between a mother and two teenage boys.

Kinder Bunk Bed: White Wash Wood with Blue Tent

“Okay, we need to find  bedroom furniture.  Choose the beds and dressers you want for your room.  Wow, nice things here at IKEA.” – Mom

“I want a loft bed with a sofa underneath.  I need a place to relax and hang out.” – Tall Boy

“I don’t want a loft bed.  No more bunk beds, Dude.  We are too old for bunk beds.  Besides where am I am supposed to put my bed, if you have a sofa?” – Old Boy

“Dad said a loft would be a cool idea.” – Tall Boy

“Well, Dad isn’t here, Mom is.  What do you think Mom?” – Old Boy

“I…um…I think we should look a dressers first.  Here they are.  I was thinking one very tall dresser for the two of you to share.  Keep in mind your bedroom is small.” – Mom

“NO WAY.  I want my own dresser.  I like this one.  Cool right?  I like the color…white.” – Old Boy

“I want my own dresser too.  But white is gross.  I like the black one.” – Tall Boy

“Everything you have is black.  Venture out for once.  Besides white will match our desk.” – Old Boy

“I don’t care about matching.  White is for girls.  I want a boy bedroom not a girl’s one.”- Tall Boy

Mom slaps her head in frustration.

“Let’s head back to the bed section. Now, I do not think a loft bed will work.  How about these nice bed frames?” – Mom

“They are too low the ground.  I want to be higher up.  These beds remind me of sleeping on the floor.  I do not want to feel like I am camping every night.” – Old Boy

“I need a bigger bed. These beds are dinky and for babies.  Now this bed is more like it…see.” – Tall Boy

“Son, that is a queen size bed.  Dad and I share a bed that size.  You can’t get one for just you and put it into your room.  Your brother will not have room for his bed.” – Mom

“He always thinks of himself…typical.” – Old Boy

“I do not.  You are the one who wants white girl furniture.” – Tall Boy

“Shut up.” – Old Boy

“You shut up.” – Tall Boy

“Jerk.” – Old Boy

“Idiot.”- Tall Boy

Mom walks away from boys.

“Hey Mom, where are you going?  We didn’t pick out our new furniture.” – Tall Boy

“Home.” – Mom

Mom walks out of the store.  Two sullen, quiet, teenage boys follow.

Photo Friday – New Digs

Photo Friday today is taking you on a tour to our new home.  We will be moving in two weeks.  The home once belonged to my friend’s parents.  She approached my husband and I several months ago about purchasing it, after her mother passed away.

The home is 1,500 square feet vs our current home of only 900 square feet.  It has a three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two car garage, fire-place, and lovely covered patio.  My family and I are very excited about the house.

I want to give a big thanks to my dear friend, Colleen. She has been so supportive and generous with helping us purchase her parent’s home.  Colleen is a gem.

So here we go.  On with the show!

Front view
Front yard
Living room

Kitchen
Boy bathroom
Little Boy's room
Big boys' room
Master bedroom
Girl bathroom (Big smile)
Back of family room

The home needs a little work.  New floors, new appliances, paint, yard work and new doors are some of the planned projects.  I will keep you updated on the changes

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.  Talk to you soon my friends.

Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle again...

“I’m back in the saddle again. Out where a friend is a friend. Where the longhorn cattle feed, on the lowly gypsum weed. Back in the saddle again.” – Gene Autry and Ray Whitley

Howdy folks. It has been a while since we have been in contact and for that I apologize.  I have news, big news that explains my absence.

Remember when I told you my family and I were trying to sell our home and move into another one?  Well, we are back in the saddle again.  We are in escrow for both homes.  I have spent the last week finalizing  details for both homes.

I also am trying to get a head start on holiday shopping.  We will be moving into the new home in two weeks, right before Christmas.  There are many details to get organized between the new home, old home and the holidays.  My husband and I have worked at a frantic pace to get everything done.

Something interesting has happened making all the arrangements.  I  discovered I have changed.  The best way to explain it is to say, I am more confident.  Yup, that is it.  I think back to when I had my mini-meldown midlife something and how fragile I was.  I no longer feel that way.  I am feel pretty darn good.

I able to make decisions.  They take time, but I am making things happen.  I also am able to say no.  I have said no hundreds of times over the last week.  It is amazing.  The best example of this happened yesterday.

I  went shopping for appliances at a discount appliance store.  When  I walked in, I cringed at the sight of ‘Mr. Pushy Salesman’ heading toward me.  This guy was a pro.  He used every trick imaginable to persuade me to buy things I did not want.  Over and over I told him no.  No, I do not want a washer and dryer today.  No, I do not want to buy a $2,000 refrigerator.  No, I do not need tru-coat for my car.  Oops, the last quote is from one of my favorite movies Fargo.

I walked into the store and walked out having paid for the exact model of dishwasher I wanted.  I even got an extra discount because I purchased the floor model and I asked for reduced price.  What do you think of that?

A few weeks ago, I was fretting once again about what my next ‘big thing’ will be in life, beyond caring for the boys.  My experience for the last few weeks has finally convinced me, the answer will come.  The gal who used to be in charge of running a preschool, with over 25 staff is back.  I can make decisions.  I can make things happen.  I will find something career wise that will allow me to use my skills and support my family.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I am grateful to my family, friends and to all of you for all the support.

So, I am back in more ways than one.  Wondering what the new home looks like?  Tomorrow is Photo Friday, so you will find out then.

Talk to you soon friends.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Forgetting Something

A conversation between a child and his mother.

“Momma, I forgot to watch TV today.” – Little Boy

“You did?  Oh.  Well, come here.  Let me feel your head. ” – Mom

Mom motions for little boy to come closer to her.  Mom puts her hand on little boy’s head and squeezes in a couple of times.

“You’re right.  You did forget to watch TV.” – Mom

“How can you tell I didn’t watch TV from my head?” – Little Boy

“Well, because your head feels full and strong.  If you had watched TV your head would feel empty and squishy.” – Mom

“Oh.  A squishy head is not good.  Maybe I will forget to watch TV tomorrow.” – Little Boy

“That sounds like a good idea.” – Mom

Human Brain Evolution
Image by hawkexpress via Flickr

Putting Pieces Together

Photo of Oprah Winfrey at her 50th birthday pa...
Image via Wikipedia

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” – Oprah Winfrey

I have started Week Three of my Path Finder class.  The Week One was very interesting.  We started keeping a writing journal.  Writing in a daily journal is new for me.  What I like most is, I do not think about what I write.  I simply put down on paper, whatever is on my mind.  It is freeing.  Writing a blog takes thought.  Writing in a journal, does not.

Week One we were given several writing assignments and prompts for thought.  The goal of Path Finder is to discover what makes you unique.  So far, it has been good.  I have discovered what I love to do and what makes me happy.  This is a big step for me.  My mom used to say, “Do what you love and the money will follow.”  Apparently, mom was right.  I do not have a specific career in mind yet, but I think I am getting closer.

My writing journal

I no longer think a lightbulb will go on and I will have a new path in life.  I now believe finding my way will be more like starting a fire.  It will start slowly, be very smokey, but eventually the smoke will clear.  In the end, I will have a lovely, bright burning fire that will bring warmth to me and everyone around me.  Sounds pretty sappy, right? I think this is how it will happen, at least I hope it will.

Week Two was spent working on a vision board.  It is a sort of decoupage board, of what we vision for the next year.  This project was very hard for me.  It required me to find pictures of things I see happening in my near future and what makes me happy.  The project required me to be ‘crafty’, something I do not enjoy.  I thought I would share with you how it came out.  Not perfect, but the board did help with some good insight.

The board is mixed with all  sorts of stuff.  Here is what some of the stuff means.

The chicken photo represents not being so ‘chicken’ to try new things.  I hope to reach way beyond my comfort zone next year.

The sky diver photo is to remind me to have adventures.  It goes with the quotes about India and British Airways.  I want to make less excuses and travel more.

The home photos are for decorating my home.  I plan to be bolder in my home decorating choices and make it the place I always dreamed of.

The hair photos are my dream hair.  I plan to grow out my ‘bad haircut’ and find a style that both my  hair and I like.

Joel Stein is a humor writer for Time Magazine.  I love his style of writing.  I want to improve on my humor writing skills.

The tortoise and hare photo reminds me that in the end, the slow-moving tortoise wins.  I plan to stay focused and move forward at my pace.

The beautiful girl photo is a teacher.  She makes a mere $23,000 a year teaching first grade.  This inspires me to find work I love, no matter what the cost.  It also tells me work is needed in teacher salary advocacy.

The man in the tub photo is my dream bathroom.  He is reading the paper, TV in the background, soaking in a huge tub with a table of food on a table besides him.  I love this.  But instead of the some strange man in my tub, I would like it to be my husband.

There is a small quote by Amy Chua.  Amy is the author of a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  While I do not agree with Amy’s style of parenting, I love her quote.

The most important thing I put on my vision board is the word EVOLVE.  Once we completed our vision board we were asked to come up with one word that describes our goal for the next year.  The board serves as a visual reminder of what goal we hope to carry out next year.

I chose the word EVOLVE because although I have made tremendous personal progress since my mini-meltdown career crisis a year ago, I have more work to do.  The word evolve means to develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form.  I hope the next year will be a learning and growing one.  It will take time and patience.

So there you go.  My vision board defined.  There are more photos that I did not explain and I plan to add more as the year goes on.  I placed it in my kitchen to look at every day.  It reminds me of who I am, what I love and what I hope to become.  Cool huh?

Talk to you soon my friends.

Depression, Drinking and Divorce

Over the weekend, I had the joy of speaking to an old friend.  She is someone I used to work with years ago.  We knew each other when we were both single.  She is married now, with no children.

Our conversation led to all sorts of topics.  My life revolves around my kids, so naturally I talked about them.  At one point, she interrupted my talking.

“Boy, listening to you talk about the boys reminds me why I never wanted to have kids.  Kids change everything.  They lead to the three D’s…depression, drinking and divorce.”

My friend has a great sense of humor.  When she made the comment, we both laughed.  Ha, ha.  It was funny, right?  Right? After I was done talking to her I started thinking, “Could this be true?  Does having children lead women to the three D’s more often?”

I needed to get an unbiased opinion.  My husband was the only person around, so I took my question to him.

“I just got off the phone with Marcy (fake name).  She said something that got me thinking.” – Me

“Oh no.  What did she say?” – Husband

“She said she was glad she never had kids because having them always leads to three things…depression, drinking and divorce.  I cannot believe she said that.  Why would she say such a thing?” – Me

“What do you mean?  Kids do make moms crazy and I have seen you plenty of times depressed about boys.  And the drinking…well, we know that is true.  I am not so sure about the divorce stuff though.  You and I are still going strong.” – Husband

Does having kids make moms depressed? I have had plenty of sadness since my boys have arrived.  I experienced postpartum depression after the birth of my first son.  Many things have happened over the years with the boys, that have made me feel very down.

What about the drinking part?  Do moms drink more than non-moms?  I admit the frequency of drinking has increased since the kids arrived.  I recently read an article in Redbook, talking about alcoholic moms.  More and more moms are using a nightly drink to help cope with the stress.  I have joked plenty of times how I have ‘needed a drink’ to cope after a long day of parenting.

Is divorce more common with people who have children?  There have been times my husband and I have put our relationship on the back burner, for the kids.  Parenting, work and  home life take so much energy.  In the last two years, I know of five families with children, that  have divorced.  In all but one case, the woman left the man.  One friend who divorced,claimed working full-time and caring for the kids was too much.  Getting a divorce was her way, to get her husband to be more involved with the children.

Wow.  Some of what my friend was talking about sure seems true.

My experience with motherhood has been difficult, rewarding and emotional.  It reminds me of a roller coaster.  This quote, from the movie Parenthood explains it best,

“You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride (roller coaster) could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”

The Scenic Railway at Luna Park (Melbourne, Au...
Image via Wikipedia

I like roller coasters.  Being a mom means I may get more out of life.

I guess it also means, I may end up on the D list.

Facebook Professional

A couple of weeks ago, my husband took my little son to the park.  While he was at the park a friend was there with her children.  My husband and our friend started talking.

“Well, I do not need to ask how you are doing these days.  Nate is a Facebook friend.  She keeps me up to date on all the family happenings.” – Friend

“Oh.  I did not realize you and Nate chatted on Facebook.” – Husband

“Well, actually I read Nate’s postings all the time.  She is a professional at Facebook.” – Friend

Later that day, my husband told me about his conversation.

“Hey, I saw Gertie (fake name) at the park today.  She says to say hello.  I did not know you two were Facebook friends.  She says you are a Facebook professional.” – Husband

“Excuse me?  A Facebook professional?  What does that mean?” – Me

“I don’t know.  Maybe she thinks you are on Facebook a lot.” – Husband

A Facebook professional.  Is there such a thing?  When my husband mentioned this to me, I did not think of it as a compliment.  Somebody saying you are a professional at Facebook is basically saying you are on Facebook ALL THE TIME.

It is not the first time someone mentioned my use of Facebook.  But this comment was from someone other than a close family member or friend.  I am on Facebook all the time.  Why was I upset that someone called me a professional at it?

Facebook is a social-connection gizmo.  It allows people to feel connected to others.  I like the connections.  I like posting things.  I like reading other postings.  I like sharing information.  I even like the ‘like’ button.  But hearing someone say I am on Facebook all the time, made me wonder, “Am I addicted to Facebook?”

I decided to detox from Facebook.  I needed to find out how bad my addiction was.   I wanted to see what life would be ‘like’ without my special friend.  Oh no.  Calling Facebook a special friend can’t be good.

I posted on Facebook I was going to do a detox.  I got responses, but realized how silly that was. I was reading responses on Facebook.  I was not supposed to be on Facebook.  I deleted my detox announcement.

My goal for the week was no postings on Facebook.  No funny comments.  No inspirational thoughts.  No blog postings.  At first, I planned to not go on Facebook  at all, but that was TOO difficult.  I allowed myself to check Facebook once a day for  birthdays, check messages and press the like button.

Facebook Detox

Facebook logo
Image via Wikipedia

Day one

Detox announcement has been removed from Facebook wall.  I wish I did not have Scary robot girl (Droid phone).  Checking Facebook is too darn easy having her around.  Oh boy, this is going to be hard.

Day two 

Checked Facebook and wished a few happy birthdays.  Thought of something funny today, but did not post.  Clicked the ‘like’ button a hundred times.  Looked over my homepage…several times.

Day three 

Completed my blog and almost posted on Facebook.  Kept the deal and hit only the twitter button for publishing.  No one seems to notice my absence from posting.  It is official, I am addicted.  I miss not seeing the red light at the top of the screen.

Day four 

Published a Facebook style posting on my blog.  Good news for my blog readers.  A very short blog for once.  My ego is struggling.  No feedback for several days.  I also have a bad haircut.  Self-esteem hitting an all time low.

Day five

Checked for birthdays and activities…nothing.  Someone has posted on my wall, a message.

Miss u on fb.

It is from my friend Katie.  She misses me!  She noticed me being gone from Facebook.  Self-esteem renewed.  Happiness restored.  World is saved.

Day six

There is no day six.  Back to using Facebook…everyday, all day.

I failed my Facebook detox.  I could not even make it to day six.  This is bad news and good news.

The bad news is I use Facebook everyday.  It is an addiction.  Could I go for long periods of time without checking in on Facebook?  Of course.  But for now, it makes me happy.  It keeps me connected with people.  People I care about.

The good news is I realized being called a professional at Facebook is a compliment.  I have not been told I am a professional at anything, other than nagging, for a long time.

Besides, who knows?  Maybe I can start a trend.  Maybe my career crisis would be over once and for all.

“Hello.  I am Nate.  I am a Facebook Professional.”

Sounds good to me.  Now if only I could figure out a way to make money at it.