Everybody

And in an instant, everything can change.

Can I vent? Is it okay that I completely lose my cool- let go of the grip that (as a 25 yr old mother of 2) I’m supposed to have on life?

The tantrum to begin now.

To simply shout life isn’t fair over and over again will not do justice to the trials and tribulations my family and myself are enduring right now. We are hardworking- we know nothing comes easy or completely free, and have made extremely self sacrificing decisions for the better of our children and their future. We play by the rules regardless of our personal opinion.

For the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out why it has been so consistently hard to catch up to anything financially. The monthly debacle of balancing rent, bills, groceries, and transportation leaving us with less than $10 per person in leisure. So desperate for cash, I’ve tried working from home only to be limited due to provincial complications. We quite literally can’t afford to move, neither can we afford the excessively high prices of childcare in order for me to work and bring in the extra moolah.

I doubt I’ll become some internet sensation overnight… and while my rap and singing skills can sometimes be sharp, I definitely won’t be signing with any labels any time soon. Time is ticking, these kids are growing, and the amount of things we need is ..well, embarrassing.

The reason I’ve become so experienced in the kitchen is because making meals out of whatever is in the pantry allows me to pretend I’m on a low budget edition of Chopped. My kids are becoming D.I.Y masters before the age of 4 because we can’t just up and purchase a new end table- so we’ll make and decorate one using whatever we can find in our recycling. I do thank goodness for the museums who open their doors free of admission each day from 4-5 (4-9), and the many family events that are open to the public, as they give us a chance to do things that other families get to experience regularly.

But for once, I’d like to say to the kids, “hey, we’re going shopping today. Pick out any 5 toys and 5 outfits each.” I’d like to go and buy food that I actually like, instead of what is on sale. I’d like to update my own wardrobe, and hubby’s and replace the holey/stained garments. Family vacations? Haven’t had one and haven’t planned one. To plan, you have to save…and to save you have to have extra. And yes, I am very thankful for the roof over our head (despite the struggle of keeping it there), but raising two rambunctious kids on the very top floor of a low rise apartment building is no bueno. I always feel so badly for the neighbors beneath us.

I just want to be a normal family again.  Whatever normal is. We just need more money.

Hubby works night and day (often literally) to make ends meet, while I constantly strive to bring an income while raising the boys at home. They won’t be able to start elementary school for another 2 to 4 years (unless we can move into the other province), leaving me without the opportunity to contribute to the bacon being brought in.

It didn’t all start like this, but this is how it has ended up. I’m not lazy, and I’m not an idiot. I have 2 years of university under my belt with plans of finishing whilst staying home with the children.

I’m just completely exhausted and frustrated.

But I’ll keep trucking. My boys don’t know the extent of our daily stresses as they have clean and unbroken clothes, a copious amount of toys, and eat 3 whole meals with 3-5 intermittent snacks each day. That’s how they should feel. We sacrifice to give them normalcy.

I just hope this rut ends sooner than later. Maybe I’ll have that life changing epiphany, or maybe we’ll win that $10k radio contest that’s been going on all month.

I just needed to complain out loud- declog the clutter fluttering around my brain.
I need to remind myself to stay calm, positive and and active in finding solutions.

End tantrum.

On a brighter note, the Habs (my favorite NHL Hockey team) are doing great in the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Ottawa Senators. Another game on tonight!

Blog entry title encourage by Stabilo

How’s It Going To Be

INVITATION

by Shel Silverstein 

If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…

If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-goldentales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

Its amazing how much a person can retain from their own childhood and apply to their current life.
There are motivational poems, stories from books, even those tediously annoying songs about grammar and punctuation that my mom (or other educational “grown up”) would plant in my brain that I now live by.Especially “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein…wow. I haven’t thought about that book in ages and yet its has played a major role in molding me.

Goodnight Moon, Corduroy, Chicken Soup With Rice, and those Frog and Toad books were some of the other books that taught me the value of friendship, patience, obedience, and the importance of honesty. They provided an escape from reality while still supplying me with the necessary tools to face real life in itself.
James and the Giant Peach, another story so motivating and uplifting that the excitement I conceal awaiting my boys to one day read it is rather ridiculous.
Since I’ve grown, my taste and love for books has far from dwindled. In fact, I used my Kindle so much that it imploded. Not literally, but it did stop working randomly one day. There is no one genre better than the other, no one writing style that supersedes. I consider the versatility of the things I read much like that of a diverse group of friends. I appreciate each one of my friends for what they offer and the differences they present in being themselves. The same goes with the books that I read.

I have inadvertently passed this trait on to my boys. They have a love for books much like I did, excited to visit the mystery world every time a new page is turned. I wish I had more books for them. I wish they had privy to The Reading Rainbow TV show!

My collection has turned towards a slightly more graphic-novelish route since I’ve grown, but there is still nothing quite as satisfying as a big clunker full of Times New Roman font set at 12 point and smells slightly of dust and trees.

Its a dream of mine to have a full library in my home. Its a dream of mine to own a home *insert laugh*
Seriously though, if you or anyone you know has books to give away (in pretty decent condition) no matter the genre (especially childrens!), send them my way! I promise it will be an effort worth trying!

Random revelation: I could spend $5000 on books alone, with ease.

I bid thee adieu!

Blog entry title encouraged by Third Eye Blind.

Let You Down

And so her memories came.

She sat on the couch, silent and still, for once letting her mind run in whichever direction it pleased. Settling on a memory that hadn’t been thought about since the day itself, she replayed the story of one of her first real disappointments.
It started on a school night. Homework done and lunch packed, the young high school girl decided to catch up on the goings-ons of some of her then favorite musical artists; Taking Back Sunday, Chevelle, Three Days Grace, Finch, and bands of the like. She was eager to see who was coming to town on tour. Her good grades and behavior had made an invisible mutual agreement with her mother that allowed to her permission to frequent concerts on a regular basis. Scrolling through the AOL browser, she discovered that Three Days Grace was coming only a mere 2 hours away- and best of all, on a Saturday. With a broad smile and small shriek, she quickly looked up and printed all the details and prepped to ask her mother. Her confidence rang loud and clear as she had just received an A on her last exam. The conversation was quick:

Mom, Three Days Grace is coming to Macon. Can I go?” she asked, her thirteen old eyes holding the gaze of a woman that appeared much older.
Who are you going with and when?”, her mom asked without looking away from her Computer Technology textbook.
In two weekends and I’m going to ask Kisha,” she said casually laying the details she had printed before next to her mom’s book on the table.
Still browsing through her text book, her mom spoke, “If you can get your sister to go with you, then go for it.

Talking Kisha into it wasn’t an issue. She loved driving, road trips, and rock music.
She found her in the garage-turned game room.
Of course I’ll go,” she said as she lined the tip of the pool stick to the white ball. “As long as I can bring Jo,” she said as she sank ball 7 in the right corner pocket. Jo and Kisha were bestfriends. Inserparrable at this particular time in life, despite Jo’s older age of 21 and Kisha’s nearly 17. When those to girls got together, mischief was usually nearby.

Everyone was on board just as easily as she had hoped. Two weeks flew by and before she knew it, her, Kisha, and Jo were on the I95 towards Macon, blaring Three Days Grace’s album out of the window’s of Kisha’s 2001 VW Beetle. It was going to be amazing.

As they pulled into the parking lot of what looked like a local bar, she began to get nervous. Kisha and Jo were fumbling around the backseat and for some reason she couldn’t move. She was nervous. She had been to many concerts before, but never in such a close capacity to such an amazing band. Jo and Kisha looked back at her, “you ready?” She nodded slowly, and hoped out of the backseat, throwing her mailbag across her shoulder. They walked up to the door, tickets in hand. There was a man sitting outside of the bar collecting tickets. His beard was long and he held a heavy build that he’d decorated in tattoos.

He peeked around Kisha and Jo and glanced at her. In a piteous tone, he spoke, “Sorry, she can’t go in.” He nodded towards her. “What?” Kisha said in a surprised manner. “We all have tickets. It says no age limit.”
Sorry,” the door man said again, “ she can’t go in. This is a bar. You have to be 16 or older with adult supervision, or 21 and older to enter.”

She didn’t say a word. She just walked back to the back of the parking lot where the Beetle rested in the shade, sat on the curb nearby, and cried.

And that’s a common thing in life. Little disappointments. Something she learned to take in strides.

Blog entry title appropriately encouraged by Let You Down.

Zombie

Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Could you be mine? Would you be mine?

Remember those days of waking up to Mr. Rogers? It feels like centuries ago, but its been only 20 years. I miss those mornings. Jumping out of bed, turning the knob to PBS and watching The Magic School bus while getting ready for school. Or those days I was able to sneak in a level of Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation. I miss the 90s. I woke up this morning to J, our nearly 4 year old, screaming at me to come wipe his butt after he finished pooping. A unique kind of alarm clock, but it got me up.

I feel myself growing up and getting older. I’ve been getting all of these revelations about myself lately, that its quite freeing. I mean, I’m finally able to say I am completely comfortable with myself as a person-faults and all. Its been so beneficial, knowing who I am, that its become easier for me to accept other people as they are. Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be.. Now that’s stuck in my head.

Anyhow, I figured out some things I can do with my business while awaiting word for financial support: I’m going to collect stain-free, odor free, gently used free furniture, collect a list of people in need from local churches/shelters/schools, and arrange to deliver it to them. Either that or I’m going to start baking my infamously famous southern sweet potato pies and handing them out to the homeless, accompanied with a bottle of water and maybe a sandwich. Maybe I can start handing out “snack sacks” (a brown paper bag with an apple, banana, orange, water and cup of veggie soup). I really just want to help out people less fortunate- it just so happens that I’m not as fortunate myself. Heh, the way the world works. I’ll figure it out. I’ll write out the costs to create 100 “snack sacks” and see if maybe a grocery store will be willing to donate some things. I need a business partner with good connections!

I have a date with destiny, and by destiny, I mean the rubber gloves and bleach to deep clean the kitchen and bathroom.

Hasta la vista, baby

Blog entry title inspired by The Cranberries.

Save Tonight

Just keeping it real.

I’m rambling. Please pardon the rambling. There’s always the line of “awareness of audience” and “personal blabbery” that I face when I journal/blog online. The urge to write whichever words and frustrations of the moment freely, without recognizing specific time and order. Not that its a rule., except it kind of is..

Its been a long few days. The time change has somehow managed to lengthen each minute by an hour, giving me a 48 hour day in the matter 24 actual hours. Taking advantage of this is the children. They have decided to join forces and defeat my energy level. I’ve tried to best those hyper-sleep resistant beings but they have excelled to an unforeseen level. To help burn off some of their natural “speed” like qualities, Hubster McStudMuffin and I took them to the park/sledding hill. Thinking 3 hours of fatigue-filled activities would indeed work in our favor, we returned home only to endure in 5 more hours of non-stop running, jumping, banging, fighting, throwing, and climbing adventures. Needless to say when 8 o’clock came, the kids did pass out… only for K.J, my sweet teething angel, to wake up in a screaming fit at 10:00. Only 4 more teeth left! 4 more!

As far as working on the business, I hadn’t met my financial angel yet, but I have made as many moves as I could until we can officially launch. Its nerve racking having to wait, but it frees up more of my days. I’ll take the calm (or..my life’s version of calm) before the storm of work I’ll be wrapped up in once everything gets going! It does leave more time for family and blogging.

During my “calm”, I have managed to master the art of making homemade salsa, taco-cheese  dip, honey curry chicken, garlic and sweet pepper stuffed chicken, and yellow rice with veggies. I get bored of making the same things and start experimenting. Next time I’ll have to film it- things get crazy, especially once the music starts and sangria gets poured 🙂

On another bright note, my boys are learning to read and write quite quickly! K.J even does his own rendition of the alphabet inspired by some of the songs we hear on Rock & Roll days!

Adios amigos

Blog entry title inspired by Eagle Eye Cherry.

Change Is Gonna Come

I cannot lie to my boys.

During some general mom talks, it comes up about the false stories some parents often share with their children to make the world seem less harsh and more kind.

I cannot lie to my boys.

In my eyes, and the eyes of my family, color is not a tool for division, but a minor physical difference tangible to place of birth, ancestry, genes, and melanin levels. Ethnicity is a fun thing to learn about to fully understand the history of people as a whole. Language is only a temporary barrier that can be overcome with patience and willingness to learn and comprehend. In our house, racism is not practiced nor taught.

But…

I have and will continue to teach my boys that racism does exist. That the color of their skin will sometimes matter more to others than the intelligence in their heads. That the color of their skin will sometimes, unfortunately, be a determining factor in a job they strive to get. That the color of their skin will sometimes lead to false beliefs and accusations.

I cannot lie to my boys.

But..

I can and will continue to educate my boys to understand that they determine their own success, not the color of their skin. I can and will educate my boys to understand that they can attain anything they wish to achieve through vigilance and hard work, despite the color of their skin. I can and will educate my boys to be the bigger man, to prove all stereotypes false through their positive actions and kind words towards any person, no matter the color of their skin.

I cannot lie to my boys.

They know and will continue to learn that it is not the color of skin that makes a person who they are, it is the mindset a person has been taught; the morals, values, and humane priorities. They know and will continue to learn that each living person in the world carries a beating heart, bones, and a brain regardless of skin color, making us all one people. They know and will continue to learn that though the world may treat them unfair at times, that they are to do to others what they wish to be done to them.

I will not lie to my boys.

Today’s blog title encouraged by Sam Cooke.

L.O.V.E

Like many TV series, and some books, I’ve decided to name each blog post after a song. I’m in a Nat King Cole vibe this morning 🙂

Its been an intriguing week of events.

I’ve finished one of the most complicated grant proposals in the history of time. It required everything short of my heart and soul to be included in writing. I hope it was not merely for pleasure, but will reveal to be very beneficial for my organization.

Other than that, family life has been consuming. The weather has finally agreed that its been a far too harsh winter and has in turn decided to attempt warming. Right now, it shows to be -16, but a high of -2 is in the works for this afternoon. That’s so close to 0, my boots are squealing.

Not to mention after enduring the 20 minute snow suit struggle multiple times this week, I would finally bring the boys out to play, only to have them complain after 10 minutes that there’s too much snow or its too windy. Seriously, summer cannot come fast enough.

Being inside so much this winter has allowed me to practice some recipes I otherwise wouldn’t have found the time to do. For instance, I made chicken and dumplings for the first time on Thursday. It was such a success, that the boys asked for seconds. That usually only happens during holiday meals or desserts! There was also the success of mushroom and green pepper curry smothered chicken. That one was a personal creation. Next on the list- a popcorn & cornflake crusted pork chop. I’m just really eager to cook with popcorn since seeing it on Chopped 3 years ago. Nothing like channeling my inner Iron Chef during supper time!

I had an amazing dream last night.

I was sitting in my dining room and pulled out my phone to check my bank account and saw that $10 million dollars had been deposited into my account. Not only that, but I had also won a $100 million dollar contest. Now, I know realistically, the odds are .01 out of 100 zillion , but what a dream! I’m hoping it holds some kind of truth, even if those millions are only thousands in real life.

Because I’ve worked so much this week, I have decided to take this day off and probably tomorrow too. The balance of work and home life is vital- even if I am working at home. I can see a difference in the boys willingness to behave when I work for more than 4 days straight. Hopefully Jay, our 3 year old (4 in June), will be starting school this September. It all depends on if we will be able to relocate before May. So much to do, so little time to do it. Wheres that wizard from Disney’s Fantasia when you need him?

I’ll just sum up the rest of this week with some photos. If you spot some opportune caption moments, feel free to leave them below.  😉

PhotoPhotoPhotoPhotoPhotoPhoto

After a while, crocodile!