Friday, December 27, 2013

Grandpa's chicken

I do so love my Grandpa's chicken - we all do!  This is more of a braised chicken breast - but we always called it Grandpa's chicken because that is what my Grandma always called it.  She said it was my Grandfather's favorite chicken!

4 chicken breasts - cut to be no thicker than 1/2 inch thick and now bigger than a deck of cards.  I usually get 8 to 10 pieces out of four chicken breasts.
Eggs - beaten
garlic powder
bread crumbs
onion powder
chili powder
water - 1 to 2 cups

set out two plates and a bowl.  In the bowl beat 2-3 eggs.  On one plate just put flour.  On other plate put flour and all seasoning.  Mix well. 

Put oil in large pan - heat until hot.  Take each chicken breast -first coat with just flour mixture, then put in beaten eggs, finally cover in flour spice mixture.  Fry until brown.

Once browned put in baking dish.  When all chicken is brown and in baking dish you make a pan gravy out of drippings in the frying pan you just used.  To do this - have pan still be hot.  Had water to pan and drippings - wisking it together.  It will be hot!  When all drippings have been mixed with water - pour over chicken in baking dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Cover baking dish.  Bake for one hour.


Here is my chili recipe  Pretty easy!

Diced tomatoes - 4 cans (with juices!)
Dark red kidney beans - 2 cans - drained
Light red kidney beans - 2 cans - drained
Onion - 1 - chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves - minced
Ground beef - 1 1/2 pound
Taco seasoning - two packets or 1/2 cup homemade
chili powder - 2 T

Brown ground beef and chopped onion together.  Drain.

Put all ingredients in crock pot.  Cook in high for 8 hours.  Add extra chili powder and taco seasoning 1/2 hour before serving, if desired.  We eat this over corn chips with shredded cheese on top.

Bean soup

This is my bean soup recipe - everyone loves it.

Ham bone  and fat from cooked ham- 1
Left over ham - diced - 2 cups
Navy beans or northern beans - 2 pounds
Bacon - 1 pound
Salt and pepper - to taste

Boil clean ham bone and fat for four hours.  Remove bones and fat - save broth.
 Prepare dried beans according to package to cooking stage.  Add beans and chopped onion to ham broth.  Cook for two hours - until beans are desired consistency.    

Fry or broil bacon.  Chop. 

Before serving add bacon, diced ham, salt, and pepper to broth.  Stir and serve hot.

Mashed potato pancakes

This is my Grandmother's mashed potato pancake recipe!

4 cups left over mashed potatoes.
2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheese
2 eggs - beaten
oil (I prefer bacon fat for this recipe)

Mix mashed potatoes, garlic powder and cheese together.  Make patties. 

Mix flour and salt together.  Dredge each patty in flour, then beaten egg and then back in flour again.  Fry in oil until crispy.

Meatballs over noodles - recipe

Here is an easy recipe that works well for cook outs or just an easy night meal.

Frozen meatballs (1/2 of a large bag)
Cream of mushroom soup - 2 cans
Brown gravy mix - 2 powders - I get Wal-Mart brand
Milk - 1 cup
Noodles - 1 1/2 pound

This will serve six people with leftovers.

Put frozen meatballs in crock pot.  Cover with mushroom soup, gravy powder and milk.  Stir.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Cook noodles according to package.  Drain.  Serve meatballs over noodles.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Life moves on. . .

It has been a rough weekend - for many reasons.

Today as I was going around the day in my despair a thought crossed my mind - a thought that brought more tears and panic in my stomach.  It it me that life just continues to move on, even when those we love aren't here anymore.  Forward it moves - without them.  Forward - like a car stuck in drive down a hill. . . always forward.

2 years and 7 months have passed since Grandma died.  2 years and 7 months. . . . Life has continued.  Babies have been born.  Marriages have fallen apart.  Her home is crumbling apart with no one in it to love it.  My life has turned into my own version of hell - and she is not here to share any of this with.  The one person I need more than anyone on this planet is gone forever - and I am sick about it.  2 years and 7 months and it still hurts so much to not have her here.

I think of her so much lately.  I think of those long winters with her alone.  No car.  No way to visit anyone - just hoping someone she loves would stop or call.  I think of that day my Aunt Mary died, she said my Grandpa could feel the life leave her hands and asked her to go get the doctor.  I think of the strength she must have had to keep going.  I think of her as a child, cold, hungry, and abused.  I think of that day when my Grandpa died.  My Grandpa, her rock, her only family, and he died leaving her with three little kids.  I remember her talking about how hard it was to have to go home and tell them that their Daddy wasn't ever going to come home again.  I am so trying to draw from her strength. . . .

God I miss her so much.  Sometimes I just want to scream and break things. I want to be able to sit by her grave and talk to her - but I can't.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homesick. . .

It has been a rough week.  Not sure why.  Maybe it has been the full moon.  Maybe it is because it is just hot, humid and miserable here AGAIN.  Maybe it is because I had to stay home a few days this week instead of volunteering at the school - and when I am alone the real sadness and depression kicks in.  Maybe it is because it is fall, my favorite time of year, yet here fall is the same as every other season. . . . hot and humid.  Whatever the reason - this week has been rough.

As a child I read the story of Heidi.  I read how she missed her mountains so much that she was actually physically ill.  I read it, but really didn't get it.  I do now.

Here we are - in Florida.  A place where a soldier during the Seminole war once wrote "If the Devil owned both Hell and Florida, he would rent out Florida and live in Hell!"  Every moment I am here I feel a piece of me die.  A piece of who I am as a person.  What I stand for.  I can not exist here as who I am. . . . I either have to change myself or just hide away from everyone.  A place where everything I love does not exist (except my husband and kids).  I hate living here with every ounce of who I am.  The climate is horrible (I thought the cold was terrible - but this non-stop heat and humidity can drive one mad!)  The people are so not who I am - they are either scary (the vast majority of the freaky stories you hear on the news come from Florida), closed minded beyond belief, or immoral.  The bugs - they are everywhere.  Compounded to that is the fact that I am deathly allergic to fireants - and they are everywhere outside - thus even if I did want to suck it up and deal with the heat and humidity to go outside I have to live in constant fear of fireants. . . .

Florida - where if you have no extra money there really is NOTHING to do.  Everything costs money.  Everything.  Going to the beach you have to pay to park.  Going to a farm in the fall to look at animals and you have to pay just to get in.  Walking into the county fair just to look at the animals is going to cost you $50.  Everyone loves Florida because there is "so much to do" here, but I can tell you that if you don't have extra money then there is NOTHING to do in Florida.

Florida is 1400 miles from my family.  I miss my family.  I miss them so much it hurts.  I miss seasons.  I miss change.  I even miss the snow (OK -not 6 months of snow - but I miss snow).  I miss just being able to sit on my Grandma's porch and watch the cars drive by.  I miss the festivals, the hiking trails, the fall colors, the excitement of change and the holiday season.  Florida has none of that.  My kids, I love them, but nothing is ever good enough for them.  They always find something to complain and fight about - from what I am making for dinner to what we are watching on TV.  There is no joy down here in Florida - in the house or out of the house.

Everyday I long for home. . . .  I know this is where my family is and this is what I should consider my home, but I don't.  Being here makes me physically and emotionally ill.  Everyday that I am here another part of me dies. . . . I keep thinking that tomorrow has to be better than today. . . but it never is.  It is just another day living in my hell.  I keep waiting for something really bad to happen - one of the kids to get sick or killed - my husband to be killed on his way home from work. . . . that is what Florida is . . . nothing but bad.

I am afraid that I will never leave this place.  That every day will just be like it is - an day worse than the one before.  A day with no joy or happiness - another day where another piece of me dies.  I fear that I will die down here and that my body will spend eternity in this place - slowly rotting forever in my hell. . .

I am ashamed for how I feel.  I didn't like the long winters of Michigan - they depressed me as well.  My husband has a job that he loves down here.  My kids are doing OK down here.  I know my family would be happy down here if it weren't for me.  They like the beaches.  Gabe loves Florida.  Nick has a job that he really likes.  The girls are the girls - they miss Michigan but they are fine where ever. . .  It is me.  Maybe I am not meant to be happy and I just need to accept my lot in life.

I can say though that I do fully understand Heidi now.  I miss home.  I miss the feel of home.  I miss family and holidays with my family (even if they did drive me crazy!)  I hope and pray I get to see Michigan again someday . . . I do so hate it here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A typical morning in the Shadoff house!

Decided to share our morning routine!

5:45am - alarm clock goes off.  Thankfully someone invented "snooze".  Clock goes off every seven minutes until 6:06.

6:06am - stumble out of bed and do bathroom stuff.

6:15am - check facebook (must get priorities in order!)

6:25am - get breakfast ready

6:30 (ish)am - start trying to get children out of bed.  First oldest child's room - shut off his TV (which has been on all night), get screamed at by child1, "I AM AWAKE!"  Walk across hall to attempt to wake up child2.  Hear, "I hate school, I don't want to go!"  Walk to other end of home to wake up children 3 and 4.  Child three clings to mattress, overs head up with blanket and shoves finger further in mouth (finger sucker, not a thumb sucker), while child4 jumps out of bed with the energy of a chipmunk after four energy drinks and starts singing a song, loudly out of key.  Then child 4 begins to talk to you non-stop about something or other (you haven't had coffee yet - mind you), and starts asking what is for breakfast, what is for lunch, what is for dinner, what is the square root of 874, why do we poop. . . . .

6:40am - finally get out of twins room (child 4 chattering behind you the entire way), dog trips you  - which reminds you to let the dog out (which you do).  Child 4 then notices how "nasty" breakfast is and starts complaining, then demanding coffee, water, and saying she doesn't want to take her medication.  You ignore this and go back to the rooms of the older two.  You tell them both that it is time to get up.  Child 2 starts moving, thus causing child 1 to start SCREAMING, "I GET TO SHOWER FIRST!" as he bolts out of the room, knocking you over to get to the bathroom first, child 2 (who is 2 feet from your ear at this point), screams, "I KNOW!"  With the ringing in your ears you come back to the kitchen area.  Child 4 is STILL talking about something, and child 3 is no where in the area.  You go back to the twins bedroom, yank her pillow out from under her and lift her to her feet, causing, "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!" to be cried out of her lips in a cry/whine that only a 6 year old girl can do.  You take the loved pillow and put it at her spot at the table.  It is now 6:45 and you inform them that they have 15 minutes to eat before it is time to get dressed.

6:48am - you re-treat back to facebook world . . . . hearing child 2 scream at any child who chews/swallows anything with sound.  Child 3 is curled up at the table sleeping while child 4 cries, "You have to eat Child3!  You will be hungry!"  Child one is now in the shower finally.

7:00am - Dog is now barking to come in and be fed - but you ignore that.  You go to twins bedroom and get clothing for them.  You then come out to the kitchen where Child2 is angry and yelling that breakfast wasn't, "good enough."  Child 4 is jumping and dancing in the room, Child3 has still not eaten anything yet.  Since Child4 is done eating you decide to let them pick which outfit to wear out of the two you brought out.  This causes Child3 to SCREAM, because of course Child4 always picks the outfit that Child3 wanted to wear.  You put the clothing on Child4 (while she is dancing) and tell her to go get socks for both her and her sister.  Child2 is still screaming because breakfast is, "Disgusting."  You start trying to dress child3, but she won't get her finger out of her mount long enough to put her shirt on.  This is when you notice Child4 is not getting socks like you asked her to, she is instead licking the glass on the French door.  You remind her to go get two pairs of socks, still trying to wrestle the finger out of child3's mouth.  Child four takes six steps towards the room with the socks in it and then stops to play with something only she can see on the floor, while Child2 is now screaming, "EVERYONE HATES ME AND WANTS ME TO STARVE TO DEATH, I CAN'T EAT THIS DISGUSTING FOOD!" (still trying to wrestle the finger out of Child3's mouth so you can get her shirt on), when you tell Child2 she is more than welcome to eat breakfast at school.  This causes Child2 to scream like you just told her you were going to scalp her first born.  Child4 is now rolling on the ground (still no closer to those socks), but you have gotten the finger out of Child3's mouth long enough to get her shirt on her.  You remind child4 about the socks (probably yelling at this point), and try to get pants on Child3 - who is attached to her pillow.  At this point child2 tosses a utensil across the room and proclaims her life is over and everyone is against her. 

7:15am - Child4 finally shows up with socks.  Child3 screams because she doesn't like the socks that were picked out for her.  You tell her to put them on anyway and state that we are leaving in 5 minutes.  Child3 starts screaming because the socks, "don't feel right."  Takes them off several times and tries them on the other feet - then proclaims, "These socks don't fit my feet!  They feel all wrong!"  Child4 is now singing "Take me out to the Ball Game" at the threshold of pain, while Child2 is now screaming because Child1 is still in the shower.  You go to the bathroom to tell the child who has now been in the shower for 30 minutes that it is time to get out only to get screamed at, "I JUST GOT IN HERE AND HAVEN'T WASHED ANYTHING YET!"  You tell twins to put shoes on - which causes them to start screaming because they don't know where their shoes are (they are all in the hall tree in bags with their mate).  You then tell them (again probably yelling at this point) that you are leaving for the school and they better get their shoes on.  By now husband has appeared and usually says something helpful like, "This family sucks in the morning."  Child3 is still screaming because the socks aren't right and is refusing to put shoes on, Child4 has shoes on but starts screaming and crying, "Sissy, put your shoes on or we will leave you!" Dog is still barking outside to come in, cat is posed at the door to run out as soon as it opens.

7:25am (five minutes after the time when you were supposed to have left) the twins finally leave the house.  Child1 was still in the shower, and Child2 is left in the house crying.  Husband is making that cup of coffee that I am going to devour when I get back.  Twins stop on the way to the fan to look at the frog, leaf, lizard, piece of dirt, father's car. . .pretty much anything they can find to slow them down. 

7:33 am - you finally pull out of the driveway (yes it took you 8 minutes to walk the 20 feet from the door to the van!)  You drive past the old bus stop which has the twins screaming the name of every friend they went to school with last year.  Ears start ringing again. 

7:45am - you get to the school.  When the twins are getting out of the van you get lectured by the lady at the school because it is too late for them to get breakfast - causing Child3 who didn't eat any of the breakfast in front of her to start crying because she is hungry.  Women looks at you like you are a monster for making your child starve to death.  You try to explain that you offered her breakfast, she just didn't eat it, woman takes pitty on your "neglected" child and allows her to go straight to the lunchroom to get breakfast, tossing you a dirty look as she walks away with your child.

7:55am - return home.  Child2 is finally in the shower, Child1 has rap music playing at the threshold of pain.  Thankfully you are still partially deaf from all the screaming that has happened in the morning so you can only make out a few swear words over the ringing in your ears.  Child1 starts laughing and taunting Child2 while they are in the shower because they are "running out of time."  I explain to Child1 that the reason Child2 is out of time is because they took a long shower.  Child1 laughs. 

8:05am - I tell the children they have 5 minutes before they have to leave.  Child2 starts panicing because she just got out of the shower and had nothing packed for school.  Child1's music is now really becoming annoying, now that the ringing in the ears has gone down some, and you tell them to turn their music off, causing them to start screaming about their First Amendment rights. 

8:10am - Child1 walks out the door.  Child2 is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, screaming they can't find something.  Finally the child clucks her way out the door and the house has an eerie quiet. . .but only for a moment because the dog starts barking again (she is still outside BTW).

8:15am - dog is fed and you are seriously asking yourself if it is too early for a glass of wine. . .

Monday, September 16, 2013

10 things I like about Florida. . . .

On trying to be more positive - trying to pull myself out of this funk that I don't want to be in - I figure that I will write 10 things I like about Florida.

10.  The native Floridians sure do crazy things that keep you hoping.  Sometimes it is fun to watch two people get into a fight in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  They can be entertaining.

9.  Disney.  OK - Disney is cool.  Don't think I need to say more. . . .

8.  No winter driving.  I would always get anxious and worried when I had to drive anywhere with my kids in the winter.  Don't have to worry about that here.

7.  Frogs and toads everywhere.  They are really cool.

6.  Lizards every where - they are really cool as well.

5.  Impressive storms.  The amount of rain you can get in a short amount of time would was roads away in Michigan.  Fireworks of lighting are amazing as well. 

4.  Being able to wear my Birkenstocks all year.  I don't like wearing tight, close toed shoes.  In Florida you never have to!

3.  No state income tax.  They do make up for it in other ways (1200 to plate our two cars when we moved here, $500 to get my RD license) - but they do not have state income tax. 

2.  St. Augustine, and other historic forts.  They are just beautiful and a lot of fun to wonder around.

1.  The gulf and the ocean.  There are amazing beaches!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I am so done. . .

OK - first of all I want to apologize for all the whining and crying I have done the last few months.  I don't like being that person.  I don't like being the person who panics and goes off.

I was talking to a fellow meals on wheels delivery person today.  He was talking about his twin brother and he showed me a photo of him.  The man in the photo looked about 10 years older than the person I was talking to, and I mentioned that to him.  He said, "Yah, that is my brother.  He worries about everything and says few words and I think that is part of it.  I always tell my daughter there are three things to live by - 1 - be nice to everyone.  Doesn't matter who they are, just be nice to them.  2 - Be happy.  The best way to combat worry and anxiety is to just be happy.  3 - Be brave, because when you are brave is when you will leave your comfort zone and go off and do something great."  That got me thinking about who I am as a person, lately and my entire life.  Really has me thinking. . . .

For most of my life I have been worried or anxious about something.  Would this be the last time I will see Grandma because she will die?  Will my parents car make it to where we are driving to?  Would my parents have another fight and I have to pack everything up and leave again?  Would the house catch on fire tonight when we are sleeping?  Would there be enough food tonight to eat?  You can see where this is going, right. .  So much of my life has been eaten up by worry.  I know see my own four children - Gabe already worried about how he is going to pay for college.  Lucy who panics when I get out of her sight in public because she thinks I left her.  Lucy who is so afraid of drowning that she won't learn to swim.  Lucy who panics when ever we have to cross a road, even if no one is coming.  I see how this is effecting my children, and altering their happiness. 

Along with this, I have always done what is "safe".  I am not a gambler - I don't get enjoyment out of it.  I like the sure thing, but, in life, sometimes you have to be brave and gamble.  Sometimes the only way to get ahead is to gamble and just jump in.  I don't do that.  Nick's master's degree was probably the closest thing we have ever done to gambling.  Heck  - even my BS was calculated - I wanted to be a doctor but I figured if I didn't go that far then I would need a degree that could still get me a job - that is the reason I went into dietetics - it could be a pre-med degree but I could still get a job if I didn't go that far. 

I am so done with worrying about everything - and over thinking every detail.  It has gotten me nowhere.  I don't want my children to repeat this life I have created for myself - so I am going to change it.  I am going to make myself not worry about everything.  I am going to make myself stop over thinking things - even if it means I will be drinking more wine until I can re-train my brain.  I am done with this. . . .

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The greatest social programs in this country. . . .

OK - so everyone hates welfare and social programs.  Go to facebook to see how your family is doing and somewhere you will see a friend spouting off on how terrible welfare and social programs are.  They are destroying this country. . . the entire reason we have the national debt we have and our country is in the state it is in is because of social programs (or at least that is how it would seem by some f-book status!)  Well, I want to voice my opinion on  few of my favorite programs!

First - Meals on Wheels.  Most of meals on wheels programs is privately funded.  Most of the food is purchased from donations.  The time spent to prepare and deliver this meals is usually donations from people who are willing to give their own time and use their own gas money to make and deliver these meals.  This program is designed to help those who are unable to prepare their own meals have at least one hot, healthy meal.  Most of the people on this program are elderly - but I know I have delivered meals to people who are my age but have end stage diseases.  This is an AMAZING program.  Not only does it provide at least one meal to individuals who may not otherwise have a meal (because of financial problems, their inability to prepare a meal, or just the fact that they are so lonely and depressed that they man not make the meal for themselves), but it also gives these people human contact that many of them may not have if this program didn't exist.  For some of these people - this may be the only contact they would have in weeks!  This helps these individuals be healthier and overall decreases costs associated with malnutrition related hospital stays.

Next - WIC.  WIC is a program through the USDA that provides formula, milk, cheese, fruit, peanut butter, cereal, eggs, and bread to at need pregnant women, infants and children under the age of five.  The guidelines for WIC are more liberal than food stamps - as far as who can get it - with the cut off being ~180% of the poverty level for each family size.  This is not like food stamps where you are given a card and can get whatever you want - you are told which formula you can get, and how many pounds of cheese, gallons of milk, oz of peanut butter - etc.  This has helped millions of infants and children by nourishing them properly.  Proper nutrition from in utero to school age DOES save money from malnutrition related illnesses, as well as promotes proper brain development to help decrease special education needs to malnourished children. 

Third, the free/reduced school lunch program (breakfast program).  OK - I know it isn't all that healthy and it should be better than it is - but the reality of it is that for many kids in this country the only food they can reliably get is what they get at school.  One out of every five children in this country do not know if they will be offered their next meal.  That is a fact.  You can go on and on about how the parents should be providing for their kids, and about how they shouldn't have had kids if they couldn't afford it - the fact is that these kids are already here and the do exist, and many go to bed hungry every night.  Free breakfast and lunch during the school year has helped millions of kids in this country to have a meal or two each day.  The kids born into poverty had no choice in the matter - they were born where they were born - so our tax money helping to give them a bowl of cereal for breakfast and a slice of pizza for lunch is - IMHO - the least we can to to help these kids.

Fourth, and I don't know if this is a social program but Pell grants and Stafford loans.  I know I would have been unable to go to college without these two things.  These programs help those to help themselves.  Not everyone is born with parents that can help them go to college, but these two programs do help individuals who do excel at college to be able to go to college. 

Last - head start.  This is a wonderful program for at risk kids.  Head start is not just for individuals with low incomes - it is also for children who have special needs.  Gabe qualified for head start because of his autism diagnosis, and the program really did help him be prepared for kindergarten (on a social level because he really could have skipped K and first grade and academically started in second grade.)  I once read a report that stated that each dollar spent on head start saved two dollars in future special education costs because it helped kids that much.

So - these are just my thoughts for the day about social programs I love.  There are more - I am sure - but these are my favorite programs.  Call me a socialist if you want.  Call me a hippy (Gabe does), but I love these programs!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The 10 reasons I miss living in Michigan are. . . .

So – it is obvious that I miss Michigan.  Every time I say I miss it Gabe gets very angry and upset.  He loves Florida (or so he claims) and doesn’t get why I miss that, “God forsake, hick, white trash state.”  So, I decided to pick the top 10 reasons as to why I miss Michigan.  Here they are, in order of least to the #1 reason as to why I miss Michigan (think of it David Letterman style!)

10.  There are no fire ants.  OK – this is a lot of northern states – but I hate fire ants.  To make matters worse – I am deathly allergic to fire ants so I am scared to death that one sting one of these days will kill me!!!!  I am scared to even go outdoors because these things stink!!

9.  Mackinac Island.  Oh how I love that island.  Nothing like the ability to go back in time for a few days to make you feel relaxed and refreshed!

8.  Hiking.  I miss all the hiking trails and state land.  I miss taking my family someplace and walking through the woods with them and seeing the beauty that the state has to off.  Yes, you technically can hike here in Florida if you are OK with the humidity and bugs.  Really – we went walking through a small wooded area to geo-cash once only to come out covered in cock roaches and spiders.  Florida is hostile and not enjoyable to hike in!

7.  Fresh produce.  I thought when we moved to Florida that we  would be in fresh produce heaven!  Heck – you can grow all year down here!  The produce down here is terrible and never tastes fresh.  There is nothing like a fresh Michigan apple (or fresh cider during the right time of year), the sweet strawberries, the fresh cherries, the zucchini that people just give away because it grows so fast, fresh sweet corn. . . . oh how I miss the fresh produce and the fresh produce stands!!!

6.  Festivals and parades.  During the summer and fall I swear there is some type of festival or parade you can go to  - and if you are OK not buying anything you can go to it for free!  Here we have found that most festivals charge you to even enter.  The Strawberry Festival (which I thought would be like the Cherry Festival in Traverse City) costs money to even get onto the grounds.  As far as parades down here – most of the parades we have found really aren’t suitable for kids.  

5.  The lakes/rivers/fresh water.  Oh how I love swimming at Duck Lake, or the Grand Traverse Bay.  Lakes and rivers so clean you can see the floor of the lake and river!  You may get swimmers itch, but I never had a ray nibble on my toe when swimming in Duck Lake, or stepped on a Ray while swimming in the bay.  Florida has the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, but most of the time it is so murkey you can’t see what you are about to step on.

4.  I miss seasons.  I miss spring, with the fragrance of lilacs filling the air.  I miss summer, with comfortable days where you can open the windows and hang your clothing on the line to dry.  I miss fall – the beauty of fall (my favorite season) – the crisp air – the smell of wood smoke – the canvas of colors – my heart yearns for fall.  I even miss winter to a certain point.  I miss the fat snow flakes that stick to everything.  The white blanket of snow making everything look like a fairy land.  I am not going to lie – from mid-January until May I do get sick of winter (and yes – it sometimes snows in May!) – but I miss some winter.

3.  The life-style.  Michigan has a feel all to itself.  Driving across the border from Ohio or Indiana you notice a difference right away.  The state is empty compared to the rest of the country.  It just has a different feel to it.  The life-style is a little less cut throat – a little more laid back.  Hard to explain if you haven’t lived anywhere else – but living in Michigan is nothing like living in Indiana, Georgia, or Florida (the three other places I have lived) – and I miss that lifestyle.  It isn't all perfect - sometimes those small towns where everyone knows everything about everyone can be hard to live in (I lived a way more interesting life through gossip than in real life) - but I miss it just the same!

2.  My Grandma’s house.  I bet you thought this was going to be the number one reason I wish we could move back to Michigan – but it isn’t.  I do love my Grandma’s house.  It is the one place on Earth where I can feel myself at peace.  There is something about that beautiful brick home that just makes me feel joy and love like no other place on this planet.  I miss that house and wish we lived closer to it so I could visit it (and my Grandma’s grave – sad I didn’t get to put flowers on her grave this year)

And the number one reason I miss Michigan is . . . the people.  Yup – I miss the people.  Most of the people I love live in Michigan.  There a few others scattered around the country – Texas – Georgia – New York – but most of the people I love live in Michigan.  From family I grew up with, to those who might as well be family because I love them as much as if they were family.  From the owners of the Karlin Store who have known me from birth and always ask how I am doing, to my adopted sisters Miss Tonio, Miss Nicole, and Miss Samantha – who I couldn’t love or miss more if they really were my blood sisters, to neighbors who became family and their children who I love like they are my own, to my aunts and uncles, cousins, parents and brother, to my former co-workers at the health department and all those people I got to work with at the health department who allowed me to visit them in their homes and who I also love and care for.  I miss the people that  were in my life there.  

So – to those who think I want to leave Florida just because it sucks here – that isn’t the total reason (but it is part of it!) – and to my son who really doesn’t get why I could miss the mitten – here it is.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Recipe: Patty's pie

1 graham cracker crust
1 yogurt (single serving size - any flavor)
1 container of Kool-whip.

Mix yogurt and kool-whip in a bowl.  Put in graham cracker crust.  Refridgerate.

One of my co-workers from the health department gave me this recipe and my kids LOVE it!

Recipe: Parm Fish

2 pounds of your favorite mild fish (I love fresh whitefish, but cod, or any inexpensive white fish works well)
oil (OK - I like using bacon fat here, but canola oil works well also)
1 T minced garlic
3 eggs
Parmesan cheese.

Put 1 c. flour on a plate.  Set aside.  Put eggs in a flat container (a bread pan works well here) - mix so it looks scrambled.  On the next plate put ~1c flour, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  Mix. 

In large skillet, heat oil.  Add garlic to oil.

Now in assembly line fashion put each fish in plain flour, then egg, then your flour/bread crumb mixture - making sure to cover with each product.  Place in hot garlic oil.  Cook on medium heat, turning once, after about 3-4.  The fish usually cooks rather quickly (10 minutes).  When fish cooked take fresh shredded Parmesan cheese (I get a large container at Sam's club) and put on each fish - enough to cover the fish.  Cover and continue to cook until cheese melts.

Recipe: My lasagna

1 package lasagna noodles
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 onion (chopped)
2 T minced garlic
1 lg container cottage cheese
1 same size container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 pound mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1 large container and one normal size container of Prego spaghetti sauce.

Preheat oven to 350

Cook noodles according to package.  Once cooked - drain.  Put in FOUR equal piles.  Set aside.

Cook ground beef and onion.  Drain.  In large bowl mix all the spaghetti sauce along with the beef and onion mixture.  Set aside.

In another bowl mix cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, eggs, parm. cheese, garlic, and half the mozzarella cheese.  When mixed, "cut" in the bowl three pie shaped sections.

Now, in a 9x13 inch lasagna dish put a small amount of beef/sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan.  Spread.  Take one pile of noodles and place them on top of the sauce mixture.  I usually have three running long wise, and one partial noodle running short wise in the pan on the bottom.  Then take 1/3 of the cheese mixture (thus the reason I had you "cut" the cheese mixture into thirds) and spread it on the noodles.  Cover with sauce meat mixture, then another layer of noodles.  Repeat with another cheese layer, sauce layer, noodle layer.  Continue this pattern (keeping a small amount of sauce for the top) until you are left with a layer of noodles on top.  Now, take that small amount of sauce/meat and cover the noodles.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 75 minutes.

Remove tinfoil form lasagna - cover with remaining mozz cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes uncovered. 

Let sit out for 15 minutes before cutting.

This makes enough for my family to have TWO meals and a lunch (and usually a little more after that!)

Recipe: Beefy hashbrown bake

4 c frozen shredded hashbrowns
2T oil
1/8 t pepper
1 pound ground beef
1c water
.87 oz package brown gravy mix.
1/2 t garlic salt
2 c frozen mixed vegetables
2.8 oz can french fried onions, divided
1 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided.

In a bowl, combine frozen hashbrowns, oil and pepper.  Press into a greased 8x8 baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, brown beef; drain.  Add water, gravy mix, and garlic salt to skillet.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Add frozen veggies; cook and stir for 5 minutes.  Stir in half of the onions and half of the cheese.  Pour beef mixture over hashbrowns.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 5-10 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining onions and cheese; bake for 5 minutes longer, or until cheese melts.  Makes 4 servings. 

Recipe: Sausage Orzo Skillet

1 pound ground pork sausage
14 1/2 oz can beef broth
14 1/2 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 1/4 cup orzo pasta (uncooked).

In skillet over medium heat, brown sausage; drain.  Add broth and tomatoes with their juice;  bring to a boil.  Stir in orzo.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until orzo is tender.  Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trust and relaxation

I believe in God.  I believe there is something else out there.  I love God and I am thankful for the things I have in my life.  I have read parts of the bible - I need to read more - maybe that is part of my issue.  I also find that there are parts of the bible that really bother me - the wrathful, "I will kill everyone's first born son" parts.  Those are the parts that make me wonder about the bible . . . . if God loves us so much - all of us - then I don't understand some of the things that happened in the bible.

Well, I am getting off the subject I wanted to start this with. . . This morning someone on f-book posted a link to a blog about how trusting in God helps with parenting.  I read the article and I see exactly what this person was saying - and I can see how much that would help.  I could hear Grandma in the back of my head saying over and over again, "Don't worry, God will take care of you.  God loves you.  Just have faith."  That is my issue. . . I believe in God.  I believe in a creator.  I even believe he is out there and he loves us all. . . my issue is that trusting that everything will be "OK".

Does this mean I don't believe in God?  No.  It means I look around me every day and see the world.  How many little kids starve to death in Africa everyday?  Are those little kids bad kids?  No.  I am sure some of them even have been exposed to and believe in God. . . yet they starve to death.  My Aunt Mary - who studied the bible and wanted to grow up to be a missionary.  My Aunt Mary who had faith and love in God. . . she died of cancer when she was 12.  Did that turn out OK?  My Grandfather - a hard working, God-fearing man.  He suffered from stroke after stroke, starting when he was not much older than I am, and died of a massive heart attack two days after his 53rd birthday leaving my Grandma alone to raise three children by herself.  Did that turn out OK?

I don't believe God makes bad things happen to us.  I don't believe he gave my Aunt cancer for a reason.  I don't believe he made my Grandfather die at 53 for a reason.  I don't believe he made our first baby die before he ever was able leave the womb for a reason.  Bad things happen and I don't believe God makes those things happen - at the same time I don't think I believe God makes good things happen for us either.  I don't believe those who are more "successful" in life are better people and that is why God made them be more successful.  I try very hard to hear the words I once read/head - nothing in this world really matters - these are worldly things and you shouldn't hold on to them. . . . but watching people you love suffer is hard.  Suffer from disease.  Suffer from hunger (I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be in Africa and have to watch your children starve to death - or maybe I can and that is why it bothers me.)  Living in America broke with kids is hard. . . . I see their future ahead of them . . . either now college and minimum wage jobs or college degrees and a mountain of student loan debt.  I try to tell myself it shouldn't matter. . . these are worldly things and don't matter in the kingdom of God.  Again, maybe this means my faith just isn't strong enough.

Bad things happen to amazing, loving, God-fearing people every day.  Horrible, terrible things happen to them.  They starve.  Their kids starve.  They are beaten down and stepped on.  They are treated like garbage.  So - how do I let go of my worry and just have faith everything will work out OK.  How do I trust that my husband will find a great job that is closer to home?  How do I trust that God will look out for my children when I am away from them?  How do I trust that it will all work out and be OK?  I want to.  I still hear Grandma in my head, "It will all be OK, God will take care of you". . . . but how do I let go of my anxiety that those I love will suffer and be in pain, or they will be ripped from me?

I don't want to worry anymore.  I want to just enjoy my family.  I love them.  I love my husband - he is a wonderful man who loves me with all his heart.  I love my kids - they are such amazing people. . . I want to enjoy them and not worry.  How do you make your mind ignore the reality that horrible things happen to great people everyday and just stop  and love the minute God gave you - because that is what I want to do.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fears of the past. . . .

It is probably pretty obvious that I have been pretty anxious lately.  Since Nick's paycut I have been stressed over our finances, depressed that I can't come back to Michigan over the summer, and scared over what is going to happen to my family when I go back to work (not to mention the fear that maybe I won't remember how to be a dietitian).  With that being said I have just been worried sick about things, worried beyond what is reasonable.  Waking up in the middle of the night with a panic.  In the middle of cooking dinner my stomach starts flipping and I get that cold sweet and just filled with fear. . . . all of this is unreasonable.  My husband does have a job.  The pay isn't minimum wage.  No - there isn't anything extra but hopefully we can stay within budget and then we should be OK for a little while.  So I tried to really figure out why the fear. . . and here is what I have come up with.

As a child I was poor.  Most of you probably know that.  When I was really little and living off and on with Grandma it really didn't bother me much.  Things were pretty stable.  Grandma was the most amazing Grandma ever.  We didn't have anything extra but most of the time I didn't know we didn't have anything extra.  Later when I moved to Detroit and then eventually to Manton we were working middle class for a while.  It wasn't so bad at that point. . . . then things changed.

It is hard to describe my upbringing.  There were parts of it that were very good. . . and there were parts that weren't.  I was never beaten or sexually abused - so I know it wasn't that bad.  Things became unstable.  Happens in a lot of homes - I know - but it was rough.  The house we were living in was falling apart around us, literally and figuratively.

We weren't really poor at that time, my father had the businesses started and my mom was working at a factory, but there was no money to spend.  I don't want to get into full details about our family's dirty laundry because that is in the past and I have no bad feelings towards anyone.  It was what it was and I understand where it came from - but it still effects me.  The home we lived in had a water issue so we had no running water.  Then, the septic system went.  Finally, the furnace went.  We lived in a home in Northern Michigan with no water or septic, and a very inadequate heating system (usually just the electric kitchen stove).  On top of that we had no warm clothing to wear - there wasn't money to be spent on that.  There was little to no food to eat.  We were dirty and stinky.  We were cold, hungry and thirsty.  We lived this way for years. . .

Added to that was the fact that my parents weren't happy together.  The way we were living was stressful and you could see that the stress effected their relationship.  Yelling fights every night.  Once every couple of weeks we would load the car up with our stuff and head to Grandma's for a day or two.  There was always car problems that we had to worry about. . . . .that is kind of it - there was always a pile of things to worry about from the cars that were crap, what were we going to eat next, would we be warm, would we have to leave (or go back) today, would there be another screaming fight tonight. . . all that stuff.

Added to that was the fact that I am me.  I never really fit in at school. When I was at school I would worry about my brother - was he OK?  Did he have enough to eat?  I liked to do things that most other kids didn't admit to liking (such as reading a book) and I had no interest in sports and parties.  My focus was to get good grades and get out of that.  I didn't want my kids to ever know that feeling.  None of this earned me a plethora of friends, in fact I only had about three or four friends.  I did my best to not be seen because most of the time if someone said anything to me it was to make fun of me.

Then we finally did leave. . . and certain things got a lot better.  There were no more fights.  There was actually food to eat.  Other things were harder.  We were homeless for a while.  We lived in a tent, with a friend of my mom's in the UP, my Grandma, and a hotel.  I changed schools 5 times in 3 months.  It was during that time that these feelings I am feeling today began - the inability to sleep, the extreme worry that everything I loved was going to be taken away, that those I loved were going to die somehow . . . . pure panic like now.

I know logically we are not where we were when I was 15/16.  I know it isn't that bad at all.  We have a home.  We have food.  I have four wonderful kids and a great husband who I love so much.  Even with all of that though the panic that it is all going to be gone just comes out of the blue.  Pure panic.  Just like I felt when I was 15.  The pain in my stomach is always there.  The worry is always there.  I'll say it - this isn't the mom I want my kids to experience.  Panicking anytime I have to spend any money.  This is effecting my kids and I don't want that.  They don't need that. . . .

I need to find a way to convince my mind that I am no longer the 15/16 year old girl that everyone saw as dirty white trash.  We will be OK. . . because we will be . . . but if I keep doing what I am doing right now it will destroy my family and I don't want that. . . .

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How long do you wait. . . .

OK.  Everyone knows I hate Florida.  It is hot and miserable.  It is expensive.  All of the neighbors I love are leaving.  We have no family anywhere near by (Atlanta is the closest).  The lifestyle of Florida isn't us.  We are a family that loves to hike in the woods - can't do that here.  We are a family that loves going to small festivals and watching parades - here it costs money to even get into the festival and the festivals aren't parades they are fairs.  We are a family that loves picnics and holiday meals with extended family - here there is no extended family and with Nick's pay cut we can't ever go to visit them.

So here is our issue, we live some place we hate.  We are middle class broke.  When do you just look for a job back home and pack it all up?  My husband's job right now might lead him to certifications that would help him down the road.  I told him I want out of here in a year, but he says it may be like two or three years.  Do you suck it up and live someplace that you absolutely hate, raising your kids around people who are bad influences on your kids, not living the life you want to live for another 2-3 years for the possibility of certifications that may open doors in the future?  How long do you wait?  We only have one life, we have already been down here two years, how much longer do we give it?

This is so hard.  At this stage in my life and at this stage in my kids lives I just want to settle down.  I want to live someplace I like around people I like.  I want to purchase a home so we own it when we retire.  I want to be a part of a community.  I want the option to see family and friends again, but if we move back to Michigan (or Michigan area) with my husband's current qualifications it will mean we are broke forever.  I know my husband wants more than that for us - that is the reason he went back for his MBA in the first place. 

This is just so hard and we are so conflicted. . . .How long do you continue to live a life that you hate for the hope of something better?  Can our family survive another 2-3 years down here - financially and emotionally? 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

That dread in the pit of your stomach. . .

OK - this is going to be long and depressing.  Just have to get out my thoughts.

Since Nick's 25% pay cut I have just had this dread in the pit of my stomach.  I don't want to eat (for many reasons) and I wake up several times every night having a panic attack.  I just feel this pit of dread in my stomach for many reasons.

First, I am beginning to think we are not meant to be successful.  There is something wrong with us as people, something missing in us that will NEVER allow us to be successful.  We have never had any extra money until Nick's last job.  Never.  It has really only been this last job (and really the last year at the last job) that we have finally felt like we could start to live.  We could eat healthy foods and not noodles and butter.  We could start looking at putting braces on the kids teeth.  We could take them to a Taylor Swift concert.  We could go to the movies about once a month.  When a car broke (and they brake a lot) we could fix it.  For the first time ever I started to relax about money and enjoy life.  Part of me wishes I hadn't because maybe then we would have had some money saved, but it was nice to start to relax.  NEVER in my life have I been able to do that - EVER.

Then the paycut hit. . . 25% is HUGE.  Down here where you are going to pay at least $1500/month in rent on anything in a decent school district, and a bag of apples can cost you $8, a 25% pay cut hurts.  There will be no braces for the kids teeth on this pay.  There will be no car repairs on this pay.  This pay will pay our bills, but only if I cut our food budget by 25% as well.  If I can't keep to this new food budget then this pay won't even pay our bills.  We are worse off financially then we were before we moved down here - because not only do we have this rent payment but we also have a mortgage size student loan payment to pay as well.

So, added to this horribly tight budget comes the realization that we have little to no help.  In Michigan if a car broke we could borrow my mom's until we got ours fixed.  In Michigan if one of our jobs was running late than we could have my Mom pick the kids up at daycare - and my step father watched the kids in the summer which saved us a fortune.  In Michigan there was always fish and venison in the freezer from family who had extra.  In Michigan I had a job that I loved that was very flexible.  I had cousins and aunts and uncles that helped to remind me of who I am.  In Michigan, with the exception of the LONG winters, I was happy and could be who I am.  I know we have family that will help if they can - but they are many states away - Texas/Michigan.  We have already gotten some help, and we are so thankful for that.  But I am scared.

So, every morning I wake up sick to my stomach.  Not wanting to eat because of this sick to my stomach feeling AND not wanting to eat for fear that with this tight food budget that me eating might mean the kids don't.  My husband's car is 20 years old - so at some point every day I panic about what the next big repair will be and how we are going to pay for it.  Every day I look at Gabe's teeth, that need braces, and wonder how we are going to pay for that.  I see the twins teeth coming in and wonder pray they come in straight.  I know what it is like to have a mouthful of crooked teeth and how that affects people's opinions of you.  I look at Gabe going off to college in 5 years and wonder how we are going to pay for that, along with the girls several years later.  I look at the lack of retirement that we have - no pensions through Nick's work - no matching for us adding through Nick's work (like we can even add to it right now anyway) and wonder what the heck are we going to do.

I have been applying for jobs, Dietitian jobs.  I remember how my family feel apart before when I worked full time.  I remember sitting in the suicide room at Munson with Gabe because of the stress of me working full time before.  Can my family survive me going back to work full time?  There are a few part time options out there - but not many.  I have sent out my resume to every one of them, and thus far have heard nothing back.  That also adds a stress - has my two years out of the work force made me undesirable?  Then there is the entire daycare stress - all daycares close at 6 - could I even get back here in time from some of these jobs by 6 to get the kids?  Could we afford all the  kids in daycare?  The only full time daycares out there are $500 for the three girls.  Gabe would have to go to the school run daycare, another $80 per week, but they don't offer care on Fridays.  Could Gabe be OK on Fridays here alone?

I am sick with worry.  I am trying to hear Grandma's words, "Don't worry, trust in God."  I know worry is a sin.  I know it is, but I can't help but worry.  Lots of God loving people have horrible things happen to them.  I am trying to have faith and just go with it, but waking up in the middle of the night in pure panic is hard.

On top of that - I hate what this is doing to my kids.  I hate the kind of wife, mother, and person this is making me into.  The twins were invited to a birthday party next week and I asked them what they wanted to get the girl, Lucy said, "Well, there is that swimsuit I only wore once, we can give that to her."  And Ellie said, "I think so that we can save pennies we should give her one of our toys."  This just stinks.  Ellie made a Mother's day card for me and one of the questions on there was, "If your mother had one wish what would it be?" and she wrote, "To be rich."

As a kid in poverty I said to myself that my kids would NEVER know that feeling.  I was going to go off to college and marry someone who was a hard worker and our kids would grow up middle class.  They wouldn't know what it was like to be hungry or homeless.  They wouldn't know what it is like to not have heat or water in their home.  My kids would have braces if they needed them and they would have help with college. . . .now I feel like I am failing them as a parent.

I don't know. . . I hate myself right now.  I hate my life right now.  I hate that I don't know if we are going to be able to meet all our kids needs.  I hate where I live.  The few people outside this house that I like down here are all leaving this summer so when they go we ill have absolutely no support system down here.  I love my kids and right now they are they only thing that is keeping me going - but I don't know how much longer I can keep going this way.  I have to find a way out of this because I can't stand my life right now. . . 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Assumptions. . .

Hello everyone, I hope everyone is having a great day.  This blog will be about assumptions.  I hate when people assume they know things that they don't.  Why do people read into everything?  This has to do with our summers.

OK - two years ago my family moved from Northern Michigan to Florida.  We left the Traverse City area and moved to a suburb of Tampa.  Now, I don't miss the long winters of the Traverse City area but I do miss everything else about that area.  I grew up there and only left for college.  Most of my family is there, although my husband's is not.  I love how pretty it is up there.  I love the lakes, dunes, nature trails, and Michigan people are my people - even if they do piss me off sometimes.  Florida is a different world.  I am deathly allergic to fire ants so I don't like to go outside because I am afraid I am going to be killed.  We live in a suburb so we have little to no property and little to no privacy.  Winters are pleasant out side, but from April to October it is just too hot to be outside not in a pool and it is too hot to have the windows open.  The humidity is oppressive.  I wouldn't trust walking through the woods because Florida is filled with bugs/snakes that are poisonous and aggressive.  Then that brings us to the people - ever realize that all the strange stories come from Florida?  Casey Anthony?  George Zimmerman?  The 2000 election mess up?  Florida is filled with crazy people.  People who eat the faces off of other living people.  Now - I am not saying everyone down here is bat shit crazy - but there are enough of them to where I don't trust these people.  I miss Michigan - my girls miss Michigan - Florida sucks and five of the six people in this house can't stand this state.

So, we moved down here two years ago and we stayed here the first summer.  By the time school started the kids all wanted to kill each other.  Stuck in a house - not going outside because it is too hot - getting on each others nerves.  I don't know why the kids here don't get their break from December to Feb, instead of June - August - because June - August is horrible down here.  At the end of that summer I looked at my husband and said, "I won't spend another summer down here."  What this means is that every summer the kids and I go to Michigan.  We spend about six weeks up there - enjoying family and Grandma's house.  The girls and I love it up there - Gabe being the only one who doesn't want to go.  That being said - my husband can't join us.  He has to work. 

The look on people's faces when they find out the kids and I go up while Nick stays here is just annoying.  You can see it - they think we have marital problems.  Some have even said, "Oh you poor people."  What do you mean us poor people?  Why does it mean our marriage has to be in trouble if we can spend six weeks apart each year?  I know military families who are separated for longer than that.

So here it is - the kids and I go to Michigan for the summer - my husband does not.  We wish he could join us.  We are sad to leave him, but it is better for my kids to go "home" for the summer than to stay down here missing everyone and everything we love up there.  We are hoping my husband can join us for a week or two this summer, but his job may not allow that to happen.  He has to work to support us and we are thankful for all his hard work.  I personally think this makes our marriage stronger, not weaker.  We trust each other to know we will be fine apart for six weeks, and at the same time it makes us really miss each other by the end of it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Reason #214 as to why I will never win a parent of the year award.

I love my children.  They crack me up, but I realize I am not the best parent out there - not by far.  I don't read to them every night.  When they all start talking to me at once I get overwhelmed and can't understand any of them.  Well - now I will give an example as to some of my inappropriate parenting.

I will start out by saying that Lucy can be pretty profane.  Has been that way since she could talk.  Her first word was "kitty", but not to long after that came her first two work sentence. . . "Damn it".  She loved that phrase.  When ever she would say it she would fist up her little hand and smack it on a hard surface while she said it.  Cute big blue eyes and soft curls yelling out , "Damn it!" as she pounded her fist.  Hard not to laugh.  There were many other profanities, but the image of sweet little Lucy pounding her fist and saying "Damn it" is one that I hope will stay with me long after Alzheimer's has set in. 

So a couple of weeks ago Lucy was in her play therapy, a place she goes every two weeks to learn how to deal with her emotions.  While she was there Evelyn and I looked in the little shops in that strip mall (everything down here is in a strip mall!)  In one of the stores we saw something and I immediately knew I had to buy it for my Lucy, it is something called a Dammit doll.

This doll looks like a Voodoo doll, but is made from a pretty fabric.  It has a little phrase that is on the doll and it goes like this
When ever things don't go so well,
And you want to hit the wall and yell,
Here's a little dammit doll,
That you can't do without.
Just grasp it firmly by the legs
And find a place to slam it,
And when you whack the stuffing out
So, I really debated on if I should get this doll for my six year old.  Evelyn was with me, telling me, "You have to get it for her."  I knew it wasn't appropriate for her, but I just couldn't resist.  I has a momentary thought of, "Well, maybe I will get it now and put it away until she is older."  You know, when she is older we could joke about it being her first phrase.  Of course I didn't wait though and I gave it to her when we got home.  Initially she just hugged the doll and didn't want to hurt it.  Intially.

So I fast forward to lunch today.  It was 12:30 - 30 minutes past lunch time - and she was hungry.   I was going to make mac n cheese and asked her to get the boxes out - so she pulled three boxes out.  She watched me put only two of those boxes into the water - this caused her to unload the missile silos.

"I AM REALLY HUNGRY!  YOU HAVE TO MAKE THREE BOXES!"   I tried to reason with her (haha - I should have known better) and I said, "Lucy, it will only be you, Ellie and Evie eating.  Two boxes will be pleanty."  "NO!  I AM SO HUNGRY I COULD EAT THE HOUSE!  YOU HAVE TO MAKE THREE BOXES!"  At that point I told her I was only making two boxes and she needed to stop yelling.  This sent her to the living room where she cried like a child who  had never eaten in her life for about three minutes.  Then she gets up and stomps to her bedroom where I start to hear something getting smacked on the bed frame and out comes, "DAMN IT!  DAMN IT! DAMN IT!"  She then stomped back out the kitchen, no longer crying but angry, Dammit doll in hand.  She scowls at me and starts beating the doll on the counter repeat the phrase three more times.  She turns to look at me again and stomps back to her bedroom.  Really, all I could do was try to hide the fact that I really wanted to laugh.  When I composed myself I asked her if she felt better.  She yelled, "YES!"

Man - so funny.  I know I shouldn't let her swear - and really we don't generally let her get away with it - but that was funny.  Thus - reason number 214 as to why I will never win a parent of the year award.  Honestly, I hope when the four of them get together to write the "Mommy Dearest" book that they take some of the proceeds and put me in a good nursing home!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

An idiot angered Angel . . .

Sigh.  Here comes another rant.  I probably will be profane, just warning you. . .

OK - believe it or not most of the time I ignore things most people say.  I do have the, "Wow, did they really just say that?" moment a lot, but usually I can just let it roll off and just look at the source.  Really, that is what I should be doing now instead of letting it eat me up and making me ill, but I can't.  I have to get it off my chest.  In part, I am very mad at myself because I didn't confront this person when it happened, but me being me I was just left speechless after hearing the crap spew from her face. . .

I will say I have a good son.  He is a thinker.  He thinks a lot about things.  He has a way of looking at things and seeing things that amazes me.  He may be 12, and when he is not letting his 12 year old emotions get the better of him he is a great person to talk to.  Gabe also cares a lot about people.  It bothers him immensely when he sees animals, kids, and elderly people go without or be treated poorly.  He helps to deliver meals on wheels with me and he loves it.  He is nice to the elderly people, and has made a few really good friends among the elderly people.  On top of all of this, he is probably the smartest person I have ever and ever will meet.  Gabe will be a good man someday.

I will say, I do know my son's flaws.  Gabe does not like to be around a lot of people.  He is a loner - as are my husband and I.  He would be happy if he saw his friends a few times a month, that would be ideal for him.  He is easily irritated and hurt by people.  People who are energetic annoy him.  He gets very upset hearing people fight and yell at each other.  He gets very hurt when friends do pre-teen teasing, he takes it personally.  Gabe is not charismatic.  He says things how he sees them and he won't sugar coat things, and a lot of people see this as rude.  Gabe also works very hard to not let anyone know what he is feeling.  He sees showing emotions as a weakness so he works very hard to never show those emotions.

That is pretty much my son in a nutshell.

Now, recently we had a get together in our neighborhood.  Several neighbors as well as a few other people came, there was food, there was beer, the kids had a lot of fun running around and playing.  My girls, being who they are, were in their element.  Gabe came up to me once the sun went down and said, "Yah, I have had enough.  I am going to bed."  He wasn't being rude, he was being him.

A couple of hours later I was talking to a lady who I have met several times.  She has a boy my son's age and they got into a physical altercation not long after we moved to Florida..  To make a long story short, my son was swimming in the pool with her two boys, one Gabe's age and one a few years younger.  The younger boy kept following Gabe around saying, "Punch me in the face."  Gabe said "no" several times until finally he said to the boy, "Do you really want me to punch you in the face?"  And the boy said, "Yes!  I can take it!  Punch me in the face."  So Gabe, being the literal person he is, punched this younger child in the face.  The boy that was Gabe's age then jumped on Gabe and tried to drown him - and I mean seriously drown him - make him dead.  Now, I do not condone Gabe punching this child in the face, and I had a long discussion with Gabe that he should never, ever hit anyone smaller and weaker then him even if the beg him to do it, but this child tried to kill my son.  Needless to say this woman doesn't think highly of Gabe and Gabe works very hard at to avoid everyone in that family.

Anyway, to get back my irritation, the girls were being social, like always.  I was discussing to this person how social my girls are, they love people, and then I ended it with, "And then we have Gabe."  I meant it to be a joke because Gabe does not hide the fact that a party is the last place in the world he wants to be, he is so the opposite of my girls on this that there is something comical about it.  This person saw this as an opening and at that point she just ran with it going on and on about how I just have to accept what God gave me and bide my time until he is 18 and will be out of the house.  She discussed about how hard it would be to have a child like him but God gave him to me for a reason.  In a few more years he would be gone and I could enjoy life again.

I just stared at her open mouthed as she continued to ramble on, eventually getting to how wonderful her kids are and how smart they are.  I couldn't say anything to her for a while after that.  I tried to tell myself this was the ignorant ramblings of a drunk bitch.  I tried to let it go. . . but now I am just mad.  Mad at her for presuming things about my son, who she knows little to nothing about.  Mad at myself for not spitting in this persons face and gathering my children and going into the house.

I am mad that I didn't tell her this (and again, I am sorry if this is profane but I have to say it somewhere)

Excuse me, how dare you assume that my son is this terrible person who must be endured.  You have no right say or think these things about him, because in all honestly you aren't fit to lick his boots.

That child, that child that I must "accept as he is and bide" my time has the most amazing mind of anyone you will ever meet.  He will some day cure cancer or make a rocket to visit Mars.  He will change the world in ways you have never and will never even be able to comprehend.  Just because you do not understand his ways does not mean that he is bad or wrong, he is just not you or your children.

That child cares more about people than you can ever comprehend.  That child will put his last dollar into the Salvation army bucket without even thinking, he will try to do it so no one notices it for he doesn't do it for the attention, he does it because it is right.  That child begs and pleads with me to bring home every stray cat I see on the streets.  That child turns away from homeless and hungry people sad and upset over their situation and angry because there is nothing he can do about it. 

On top of that, Gable has over come more in his 12 years of life than many people overcome in 50 years.  From being born dead, overcoming autism, and being ridiculed for not being like everyone else - Gabe already has the story that people write books about.  

How dare you?!  How dare you think these things about another person's child.  How dare you have the audacity to say this things to anyone, much less his mother?  What the hell is wrong with you?