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Archive for May, 2009

This past week, I have been busy looking for jobs and getting ready for the end of the school year.  In this process, I’ve learned a few things about myself…and relearned a few things as well.  The first thing I learned is that it is hard being a stay-at-home mom.  I mean, I always knew that it was hard, but I didn’t know it was THIS hard.  Also, I’ve learned that I love it.

Another thing I’ve learned is that I when I’m home all day, clutter seems to multiply, and it makes me crazy.  And when that happens, I can’t write.  I just can’t.  So, today, I rearranged the furniture in order to create more homes for things, so maybe the clutter will stop…maybe.

Finally, I re-learned that I am really quite creative.  And I realized that I really don’t like to purchase art for the house.  I went around the house today and found that almost everything that we have hanging on our walls has a story.  And, I thought I would share those stories.

Family Paintings

This hangs above our tv in the living room.  We each painted one of these paintings about 2 years ago.  The first is mine, the second is The Boy’s (he was about 2 years old), the third is The Girl’s (she was 4 years old, and yes, that’s Spongebob), and the last one is Brian’s.  This was a family project, but we painted over some canvases that I had painted a few years prior.  We used extra paint that we had, and ended up with a fun conversation starter.

Family Photos

This is above the couch.  These are family photos that we add to now and again.  While the stories here are sometimes “We went to the photo place and got our pictures taken”, they are personal because they are family.

Untitled

This is in our hallway.  The small photo in the top shelf is of my father, who passed away in 2001.  The center photo is a collage of pictures of the kids that I had framed, and we gave it to Brian for Father’s Day, 2007.  The bottom shelf holds a sculpture of a mom, dad, and new baby that I recieved when I was pregnant with The Girl.

Simplify

This is in the dining room.  The butterfly was given to us by some very good friends for our wedding.  The “simplify” I got at a garage sale.  The photos are all of family.  And the buffet was my Great-Grandmother’s.  I found it in my Grandma’s basement when she was moving, and I begged her for it.  I’m so glad I did, as it’s my favorite piece of furniture.

I was going to include a photo of something that is very dear to Brian and I, because it was made by Manu, but then I realized that it had our last name on it.  It is a beautiful work of art, and I’m sorry that I can’t share with you here.  Instead, here is something that Manu’s mother made for me:

Scarf

And finally, here is the thing that inspired this post. 

Red

I went to Michael’s the other day to try something to hang on a big ugly wall in our dining room.  I came home with 2 pieces of srapbook paper, a package of red tissue paper, a piece of foam board, and some Mod Podge.  Word to the wise, Mod Podge makes foam board curl a bit, so if you decide to do this, you have to put Mod Podge on the back of the board too.

Now, if I can just get the apartment manager to let us paint this obnoxious white walls…..

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Dear Erica,

 I am sorry that you feel we are disturbing your peace, but I need you to understand our position.  First of all, we have 2 kids.  I am not denying the fact that they can be loud…that we can be loud.  But, the drawback to living in an apartment is dealing with your neighbors and accepting a bit of noise.  In our last apartment, we had incredibly noisy neighbors who kept our kids awake until 10:30 or 11:00 pm every night. I NEVER called on them…why not?  Because it’s an apartment complex and it comes with the territory.  2 weeks ago, we were kept awake until 1:00 am because of our neighbors.  Did we call?  No.  Why?  It was a Saturday night, and it’s an apartment.  We just got over it.

 That all being said, all 3 times you have complained have been between the hours of 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm…reasonable hours for kids to be playing, don’t you think?  The last 2 times (Thursday and Friday) you complained about us, my kids were not doing anything loud.  On Thursday, my son was playing on the computer and my daughter was playing quietly in her room.  Of course, when you knocked on the door, all hell broke loose because the dog started barking and the kids wanted to know who was at the door.  I apologized to keep the peace between us, but today was a different story all together.  Today, at 5:00 pm or so, I received a phone call from David telling me that you complained…again.  Erica, at 5:00 pm, my kids had JUST woken up from a nap, and were sitting down to dinner.  I do not know what activity could possibly be quieter than napping.  The only sounds in my apartment at that time were the laundry and dishwasher.  If that bothers you, than I’m sorry, but you are going to have to deal with it.  I’m not going to rearrange my life to insure complete silence at 5:00 or 6:00 pm.  I mean, I could totally understand it if it was midnight and my kids were jumping off their bunk beds, or I was playing loud music, but that’s not the case.  We were engaging in normal activities at normal times.

 While we are on the subject, I am astonished that you would even complain.  I mean, whenever you are watching tv, I am forced to shut all my windows and turn on the air conditioner (which I try very hard not to use) just so I don’t have to listen to the news and talk shows you watch….I know what you are watching because I can hear every word.  And have I complained, Erica?  Nope.  Not until today, when David told me you had called again.  Then I told him.  Not for revenge, by any means, because that is not me.  No, not for revenge, but I told him because I was hurt and angry and just at my wits end. 

 Now, I’m not unreasonable, Erica.  Obviously, if you work midnights or you are ill or something, just let me know and I will do what I can.  But I am not going to make my kids tiptoe around the apartment, and I’m certainly not going to leave my home just to give you some peace.  It is our home, and I have kids.  That’s the bottom line.  I do try to keep excessive noise to a minimum, but kids will be kids.  What I will promise you is that I will continue having conversations with my children regarding using their inside voices and not running and jumping in the house.  These are normal conversations in my house, and they will continue.  I also promise that we will abide by standard noise ordinances which prohibit excessive noise between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am, according to the leasing office.

 I do feel that I need to let you know that I will be having a birthday party for my daughter in a few weeks.  Now, the majority of the party will likely be down at the pool, but there will be times when five to ten 7 year old girls will be in my apartment.  You are welcome to come and join the festivities, but if not, I would very much appreciate it if you didn’t call David to complain.  I’m giving you more than adequate notice (considering no notice is actually necessary), and I feel I’m being more than fair.

 I do not want to live in a situation where I am at constant odds with my neighbors.  That is an unhealthy situation for anyone.  If you wish to have a friendly, neighborly discussion regarding these matters, I would welcome that.  I’m writing now only because I want to make sure everything I need to say gets said, and because it’s after 10:00 pm.

 Again, if you want to talk this through, by all means, come on up

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I’ve been absent from blogging this week.  As you know, I lost my job last week, and have been trying to apply for unemployment (took 3 days just to get through), find a new job, and start my business.  Plus, The Boy has been sick.  The worst of it though, came on Monday.

When Brian was in high school, he became friends with a foreign exchange student named Manuel, or Manu.  Manu was from Germany, and in the years since high school, Brian has gone to Germany multiple times to visit Manu and his family.  Manu came to our wedding.  Brian went to Manu’s wedding.  They talked via phone and email regularly.  We had kids.  Manu had a son.  Life went on.

A few years ago, Manu was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.  This cancer stripped Manu of his health, his digestive track, and his career.  But it did not strip Manu of his positivity or his love for life.  Brian flew to Germany a few years ago when things weren’t looking good for Manu.  He spent days with Manu in the hospital.  But then, Manu bounced back.  He’s been in and out of the hospital, but always seemed to bounce back.  The last we heard, he was awaiting a new treatment and was feeling hopeful.

Then, on Monday, Manu passed away.  Last week, he was told there was nothing more that could be done, so he requested to go home.  He died there surrounded by his family.

Brian was obviously devistated.  What happened next, though, is nothing short of a miracle.  It was Manu’s wish that Brian be there for his funeral, but we thought it was impossible.  Manu’s father, had other plans though.  He paid for a plane ticket, and as I type this, Brian is on his way to Germany to attend the funeral of his dear friend. 

I am so thankful that my job loss happened when it did, because all of the pieces (which I haven’t even touched on) could never have fallen into place.  I’m thankful that Brian’s boss understood the gravity of this situation and rearranged Brian’s schedule…just hours before leaving on vacation. I’m thankful that Manu’s family has the means to ensure that Brian is able to be there to say goodbye to his friend.  I’m thankful that I was able to meet this wonderful young man, and that he had such a positive influence on my husband’s life.   And I’m thankful that Manu is no longer in pain. 

Manuel, you will be missed.

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Not Again!

PICT0439

 

Seems someone else decided to have a growth spurt!

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This was originally posted on February 3rd.  In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share it again.

 HUGS!

 

I’ve been a mom now for 6 1/2 years.  I do not claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  That being said, I’ve made a list of some insights that let me know that I am actually a mom…

You know you’re a mom when:

1.  You have uttered the sentence, “Please do not wipe your booger next to your dinner plate.”

2.  You’ve spent 2 1/2 hours in urgent care only to be told that something is a virus and you should really go home and put your kid to bed.

3.  You open your purse and find a wet wipe, a half eaten candy cane, a hot wheels car, a used tissue, a crayon, and a dirty sock, but you can’t find a pen to save your life.

4.  You have put off grocery shopping in order to avoid an aisle 5 meltdown.

5.  You know the location of every public restroom in town, as well as which ones are the “good ones”.  You are also aware of which restrooms have automatic toilet flushers, and you avoid them like the plague because your kid is petrified of them.

6.  You have washed your kids clothes at someone else’s house because of an “accident”.

7.  You have wondered why on earth they wouldn’t just make all kids shoes with velcro.

8.  You turn your head whenever someone utters the word “mom”.

9.  You know all the restaurants that have “kids eat free” nights.

10.  You have spent 15 minutes or more in a public restroom waiting for someone to poop.

11.  You can quote Spongebob, Hannah Montana, and Kung Fu Panda.

12.  You have ordered a “Crabby Patty” in a restaurant because your kid will eat a “Crabby Patty”, but won’t touch a cheeseburger.

13.  You feel the tiniest bit of pride when your 6 year old corrects their friend’s grammar.  You feel a little bit more pride, when she corrects her friend’s mom’s grammar.  You feel like you will burst with pride when she corrects the grammar of a perfect stranger.

14.  You have smelled another human’s butt, fully anticipating there to be a horrible odor coming from it.  (For those who are not mom’s, this is a good way to see if a diaper needs changing!)

15.  You consider your annual Pap Smear “me time”.

16.  You can, quite literally, change a diaper in your sleep.

17.  You know just how far a container of baby powder will go when yielded by a 3 year old, and how hard it is to vacuum.

18.  You have picked your kid’s lollipop (or binky) up off the street, rinsed it off with orange juice, and handed it back to your kid, all the while telling strangers not to look.

19.  You consider cold cereal to be a perfectly acceptable dinner on nights when Daddy’s not home.

20.  You’ve gone to the store at 2 am for Orajel. Or whiskey.

21.  You’ve chased your kid through a store while wearing an unbuttoned shirt because they escaped from the fitting room.

22.  You’ve left the house looking like hell, meanwhile your kids are dressed to the nines…..because it’s picture day!

23.  You’ve been asked to leave a church service.

24.  Your child says a cuss word, and you know that it’s all your fault.  And you kinda think it’s funny but would  never admit it.

25.  You open your silverware drawer and realize that you have more silly straws than spoons.  And then you consider whether or not it would be wise to allow your kids to eat Jello with a silly straw.

Please add any others you can think of!

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I have to wonder, as a nearly 32 year old father of 2 and, hopefully amazing, husband, why it is that I hold so tightly to a life-long dream.  Not really life-long if I am being honest, which I am (as noted by the previous admission).  Rather, since about 7th grade.  I was a mixed up kid.  Man, I would do all sorts of stupid things just to see if it seemed to fit.  Nothing worked.  I felt like I had no idea who I was or where I fit exactly.  In 7th grade I entered theater class.  That changed my life.  I realized who I was.  It fit, and felt right. 

So, why today do I write about this strange topic?  Well, for the last couple of years I have sought after this lofty goal with fervor like never before.  I feel energized some days to get out snag an audition and get working.  But, then nothing happens.  Stagnation.  I know it’s hard.  I know that it is a long shot even to get an acting job.  That’s part of what drives me honestly. 

I do not have a goal of being famous; noticed everywhere I go.  I don’t have ambitions of being rich beyond recognition.  I am being honest here.  I have no such aspirations.  If someone approached me today and said they would get me acting work for exactly the amount of money I make right now, I would take it.  When you know who you are and what you are suppose to do it doesn’t matter how much you make. 

I don’t write often, I don’t know why but I don’t.  But, today I felt like sharing a bit about myself.  I am an actor, and I know I will have work soon.  I just hate the lack of knowledge on how to get there, but I know I will.  It’s who I am.  I often get very determined, I get fueled and energized.  I feel like I am almost there, on the right track and then, something happens.  A sick child, financial frustration or some other such major issue.  These aren’t excuses to stop, but I certainly have to focus my energy elsewhere. 

I guess this post is sort of a promise to myself that I will not quit.  I will not stop until I am there.  I will reach my goal.  I will make good on a promise a confused 13 year old depressed boy made to his future self.  When he figured out who he was and what he was suppose to do, he would quit.  He wouldn’t let adulthood and life changes and frustrations stop that intense determination.  So there it is.  You, all 2 of you, are reading the post of a future actor.  Maybe just commercials, maybe not even that.  But, a paid actor am I. 

I told past students to follow their dreams.  To find out who they were and go there and do it.  I told my children that dreams are not to be forgotten.  And, I will lead by example. 

As a side note, I really like beetles, and Veggie Tales. 

B

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Aw Man!

The Boy is so sick.  Brian and I were both up all night last night with him, and I’ve already been on the phone trying to get him into the doctor…the first available appt isn’t until 3:10 pm.  So, it seems I won’t be getting much done today.  Sigh.

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