About Me

Decent wife. Good Enough Mom. (I think, but you’d have to ask my kids.) Sporadic blogger. Crazy person. Chaos Manager. Finder of stray socks and missing shoes. Loves to cook, wishes it wasn’t demanded of her daily. Runs on caffeine.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Life lately and a furry new addition

I can’t believe I really haven’t written here in so long. I would always feel like I had something to say and then just get stuck. A couple months ago we were dealing with some heavy stuff that would probably have made great posts but I lacked the emotion energy to sort them out in writing.

My mom had a health scare and was hospitalized in March and I felt the full burden of being the only one of my siblings who lives in town. Around this same time I had a few separate teenage parenting issues to deal with that were super stressful and heartbreaking to navigate. In the grand scheme of things they were pretty minor compared to what they could have been, but it still felt extremely difficult while we were in it.

We also had some very wonderful moments too. We took trips to the petting zoo and picked strawberries on the first day of the season. I took 2 quick solo trips (36 hrs and 23 hrs) for my sister’s 50th birthday and for a show in NYC. We spent a fabulous day just the kids and I in DC during spring break. We had a pre-k graduation and next week will have a high school graduation, which is bananas. We are having a party afterwards with more people than I have ever hosted before and we are DIY-ing all of it, even the food. I’m starting a family diet challenge this weekend with several members of my family, because I need something that is going to keep me focused. I have spent less time on myself these past several months than I ever have, and I need to get it together. I know how, I just need support, and at least with my family it will be a lot love vs trying to sell me a product, like a lot of these online “coaches”. Our pool opened last weekend so I am excited to get back there, even if I am less than stoked about putting on a damn bathing suit. I just started a biggest Loser competition with some members of my family, which is going to be fun and probably better accountability than those online “coach” programs, because we aren’t afraid to be real with each other if the scale isn’t movingly can tell each other to do better  in a way that’s harsh but filled with love. No real prize except for helping each other. So far the text chain has been hilarious and heartening. And I found a workout I actually love, it’s called the Be.come Project and it’s online and an app, and it’s a body positive, yoga-inspired workout that works on the mental aspect as well. I have found it very helpful for getting out of my negative body-shaming mindset and it’s been the best thing I discovered. There is a free trial available, so anyone can check it out to see if it’s for them.

But everyone is happy and healthy and all together we are in a great place. I know I tend to only write about the negative feelings anymore, but truly there is so much good happening every day, as I told my girls the other day “We are the lucky ones.”

And finally...we have a new puppy! I didn’t want a puppy, I didn’t plan on getting a puppy. Here’s the quick-ish backstory:

My niece and her boyfriend decided to get a dog. They went to a local rescue and fell in love with a puppy that was 6 weeks old. Due to the age of the pup, this rescue was looking for fosters to take multiple puppies to care for until they were old enough to spay/neuter and then the foster family can adopt after that. She called me crying because she didn’t want to take two and have to give one back to the shelter in a couple weeks but they knew they couldn’t handle two puppies that would grow into 80lb dogs. I wasn’t ready for another dog after losing two in a year and a half. I hadn’t even been able to take my kids to the shelters like they asked because my heart hurt. And after our last adventure raising 2 puppies, we vowed never again to have a puppy. My husband got wind of this dilemma with my niece and so he was like “Of course we will take one.” And I was all skeptical but he got the kids on board and it all went downhill from there. I told my niece to try her best but after 2 days she was like yeah there is no way we can handle two of them. They picked the one they were keeping and brought the puppy up to meet my kids and told everyone that was their dog. The plan was that I was going to meet her the day we could finalize the adoption (1.5hrs from me without traffic) so I could pay my half of the fee, ect. And then she changed her mind and didn’t know how she would split them up at all and it became drama. So I just told her not to involve us because I wasn’t doing the back and forth with her decision or the dogs or having her be all upset over it or wanting the dog back at some point or what have you. So that happened and I just told my kids we weren’t getting the dog and I went on about life. I was a little pissed because she got my kids excited and brought the dog to meet my kids (which was HER idea, not mine!) but then I was out of town for a couple days for my sister’s birthday and got home and went right back to work. The week after I realized the kids (and my husband) were all still upset and bummed out so I told them we would look for a dog. Maybe (probably) not a puppy but an older dog or at least an older puppy closer to a year old. That my niece’s dog wasn’t the right one for us but that we would take our time and find the right one for us. That following weekend my husband took the kids to the shelters (I keep maintaining that he was free to go to shelters and adoption fairs and look and bring something home. I have trouble going in to shelters and wanting ALL the dogs) but they didn’t find anything. Our local shelters had low census (happily!) but told us to look at the websites because they are able to keep them updated. Thanks to petfinders “Pets available near you” feature, I wasn’t even looking for her, but I found her. I saw her face and I just knew she was ours. I put in an application late Saturday night, and we brought her home Monday evening. We have had her 4 weeks now and she is awesome, and perfect and just so smart. She came to us super polite already knowing how to sit without being prompted, and now she knows how to give paw and she learned lay down in a single day! Her name is Leia (as in Princess) and she’s definitely the one for us. I didn’t want a puppy, I wasn’t looking for a puppy, but there she was. And I am so glad we found her.

She is a lab mix and is definitely considered a large breed and will likely weight around 80lbs. She has grown a ton in the 4 weeks we have had her and gained over 11 lbs so far. We think she may be mixed with boxer and possibly german shepherd based on how she looks compared to internet pictures we have searched. I am considering doing one of those Wisdom dna panels to know for sure. The rescue said one of her litter mates that was black and white looked like a hound, and there was another one that was all white with some brown that looked more like ours. There were 7 of them all together but I only know about the ones that were all in the same foster home as ours. But she's way too big for any hound mix and doesn't seem to have hound traits at all so far. Litters can be fathered by different dogs so it definitely makes it interesting trying to figure it out.

It took a little under a week for my other dog to get used to her and for them to start playing together. Now they act like fools tearing through the house wrestling and stealing each other's food and its been SO good for. She was lonely without her sister and it will keep her young. (She is 7) My new pup was born and rescued from the same area in WV and estimated to be born around the same time of year, so they are almost exactly 7 years apart.

 Here is the picture that made me fall in love with her:
                             
and a couple others taken the night we brought her home:



 This is the most recent pic I took the other night. It was late and she was SO sleepy from a busy day of learning new things.


    the first night she decided the puppy wasn't going anywhere. 6 days in.
                                                           
                     reluctant couch sharer.


a rare moment of stillness from them both.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

If you knew...

you were going to die soon, what would you do? I mean, we are all going to die and most of us will probably not have advanced notice of impending death. But some of us will get sick and know the end is near. If that was you, what would you do? How would you write your last days?

I know this is morbid and taboo maybe even, but one of my oldest friends is facing that reality, and it has me thinking. She does not want a post-hummus funeral. She does not want her daughters (14 and 17) to be sad. Rather, she wants a “living funeral” where she says goodbye to everyone personally. I don’t know if I can think of anything sadder and more gut-wrenching, for everyone.

She’s probably stronger than me. She has walked though this journey and made it look so easy. She has stayed positive against all odds. And even now, stopping treatments and facing death, she is so graceful. I don’t think I could ever be that way.

I wonder what I would want in my last days. Probably to sit with my family and play every single board game on our shelf, to watch all the movies they want me to see that I don’t have time for right now, to just make damn sure they all know just how much I love them and how damn hard I fought to stay with them, and that I would give all my limbs and a kidney and any other organ I don’t even need if it meant more time with them. To make sure how much my kids know they deserve love and to seek it out and live their best lives because I will be watching them every single moment and will be there waiting for them on the other side. I don’t think I would want to share that time with many other people except my immediate family.

My heart breaks for her for all the moments she won’t be physically present for...the high school graduations, college acceptances and graduations, careers, marriage and babies maybe. And my heart breaks for her beautiful girls who won’t have their mom around for all of those things and for their first heartbreaks and job interviews and just all the life questions you need your mom for. My heart breaks for her mom, because no one should ever have to bury their own child. And my heart breaks for her husband, who I have known as long as I have know her, because of the widowed life he now has to navigate. Like any other Dad and husband I know, he wasn’t the coordinator of schedules and accounts and all the day to day of running a household. But also because they didn’t get nearly enough time together. My heart breaks for the world, because she is truly a light.

I don’t know how you possibly prepare those around you for the fact that your time on earth is drawing near. I don’t know how you tell your mom and your kids that there is nothing more doctors can do, and that you only have X amount of time left. I don’t know how you do that and have it not break your own heart. I don’t know how you do that and find a way to be grateful for the time you have had and not angry for the time you won’t have. And yet, here is my beautiful friend doing just that. And going above and beyond so she can personally say goodbye to all of us. But that’s who she is.

My heart breaks for myself as well.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Untitled

Last week I wrote about how a couple weeks ago my 14 year old daughter came to me to tell me that she is bisexual. It is something I am ok with so long it is something that she is okay with, and so right now it’s really a non-issue.

Although we are Catholic, I have a more progressive view on some issues, as is the Church now, really, especially being led by Pope Francis. But I have also has personal reasons to look at what I believe in regards to this because of some family members, so I have long known where I stood and what my thoughts are regarding this. But this post really isn’t about the religious aspect.

I have spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on how I can talk to my daughter, like as a parent should we have a more in-depth conversation. I was trying to determine what I might need to address,    and what I could say as some parental wisdom without making her sexuality as issue or make her feel weird in some way. I went to my older daughter to see if  it was more just feelings at this point or she she had been sexually experimenting already, because there are very different conversations to have. The biggest thing I wanted to make sure of is that she didn’t feel broken somehow, or a weirdo or a freak or anything like that.

So I started to really think back to when I was a teen and my relationships before my husband. I have had relationships with girls, I have an attraction to women even to this day. Had I not met my husband when I did, I probably would have continued to date women as well. I just never classified myself as anything, and other then my friends who were around me back then, no one else (meaning my family) knew. Not because I hid it, but because I never felt the need to announce it or declare it, it was just something that was about me.

And I remembered that the group of us from high school, my close group of girl friends, used to say in the most loving way that I wasn’t “normal”. “Charlotte isn’t normal.” Not in a hateful way at all. Just in a funny joking way of classifying me, because I was always different and marched to my own beat and did my own thing, and had weirdo thoughts and liked weird music and really just went against every mainstream, normal thing everyone else is doing. I am still that person, I just don’t notice it as much because of the great big internet and lots of life experiences that we are all our own brand of weirdos really. Back then I just wasn’t afraid to push boundaries or social norms or have relationships because they felt right without having to announce it or label it. Maybe it was a little bit of the 90’s vibe, at least in the greater circle I was in....there was a lot of room to be yourself and not have to have a name for it, and I didn’t know anyone personally who felt tortured by it at all. And I ran around in many different social circles made up with very different people.

But searching for way to help my child, I had to take a look at myself first. And thanks to a couple of very good friends, I have been able to see that although I have been married to a man for almost 2 decades, I don’t exactly identify as straight...that without even realizing I was, I am a bisexual person, I would identify as queer. It’s rather ironic that it would take my daughter declaring her bisexuality for me to name mine. And, in fact, my husband has always told me he thought if we ever split up I would end up with a women...he would joke and tease me about it, but I guess he could see my bisexuality for what it is, as opposed to myself who never labeled it. To be clear...that doesn’t mean I wish I was with a woman now or anything...it just means that I am capable of being attracted to both sexes.

It actually explains a lot about me, in the way I think and feel and process the world around me. It actually goes way deeper than just superficially being attracted to different genders. It kind of explains a huge part of the reason why I have never felt like I truly fit in with anyone, why I have trouble fitting in and making friends, because  it’s all encompassing.

The most ironic part is that when I told my oldest friends about this whole thing, and said to my husband that everything lately made me realize I was bisexual, everyone was like “yeah, duh, we have always known that. I can’t believe it took you this long to say it. Didn’t you know? Lol hahaha”

I guess I always knew. I just didn’t feel like there was any reason to say it. Until now.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

broken

All this loss is really triggering something in me. Maybe it sounds odd to some people, but my dogs are like my kids. I love them and they are a huge part of our family. They are my buddies.

And this is soooooo stupid but I have baby fever. Like so, so badly. I don’t understand these feelings or why I am still having them. I wish to God they would just go away. It’s just so beyond ridiculous. Everyone I know is somehow neatly able to tick all that away and say “I am done” and quite literally be done with it. Is something broken in me that I am not capable (clearly) of doing that???

Loss of a pet is directly tied to my own pregnancy loss. The second time that happened, I ended up adopting 2 dogs, and one of them was the one that just passed away. And now I have this huge desire inside of me to nuture something small and tiny. As if my life needs something like a puppy, or hell even a new baby for that matter, but that’s what my heart is telling me it wants right now. Not at all that a dog and a baby are comparable...but they both fulfill the same need in a way.

I feel broken. Why can’t I function like every other person I know? Why do I have to let the dream give up on me, instead of giving up the dream? Why am I broken?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The mouse in the kitchen

Once upon a time we lived in a house that got invaded by mice due to some neighboring construction. We had tried everything under the sun imaginable and googleable, and nothing was working. All along my husband kept saying how we just needed to get a cat. I was always resistant to that because I am not at all a cat person, and we also have a child who is pretty allergic to them. We also had two dogs at this point, one of them being a German Shepard who was still a puppy.

After a while it became clear that we were losing this battle with the mice, so I gave in and we went to a local shelter and adopted a kitten. She was acting crazy, scaling the cage like Spider-Man, so my husband picked her. She was young and tiny, and I swear within the first week of having her she brought me her first mouse.

Because she was so tiny, our vet suggested keeping her separated from our German Shepard for a while to let them get used to each other, because even playing the Shepard could accidentally hurt her. So we kept her downstairs and kept the basement door shut, but they would play with each other under the door all the time. She is a very vocal cat and would always ask to be let up, and we would let her up from time to time to play, but it would get rowdy real quick and we wanted to prevent her from getting hurt.

It didn’t take long for us to stop seeing (live) mice anymore. This kitten was clearly intercepting them from the basement where they were finding their way in.

One day my son (who was probably 5 at the time) came to me and said “Mom, there is a mouse standing in the kitchen.”

“Buddy, mice don’t stand still. I don’t think so.”

He kept bugging me and repeating that there was a mouse standing in the kitchen. I finally got up to go see what he was talking about, thinking he had watched too much Tom and Jerry or something.

Well.

There in the kitchen was a mouse. I don’t think it was standing so much as it couldn’t move, but it was alive. On the other side of the door I hear the kitten meowing and swinging her paws underneath the door.

This smart little kitten found a mouse, maimed it, and shoved it under the door to us, so that we would find it and let her up to finish the job. She didn’t like the door being shut and wanted to come and go as she pleased. So after that, we left the door open, and got a gate so that she could get over it, but the dogs couldn’t get to her or her food or litter box.

Smart little kitten.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Last week

Oh geeze. Last week was rough, you guys. I don’t even know.

The Friday before the weekend (a full week ago) one of my older kids came down sick with the dreaded stomach bug. That weekend, the little boys and I came down with a nasty cold. (Side note, this is what happens when the weather warms up for a day in the middle of winter and everyone who has been cooped up ends up at local playgrounds.) Early Monday morning my husband wakes me up to let me know he is now sick with the stomach bug. The weather was bad and icy so all the kids were off of school, and no one felt well so everyone was cranky. And I had no hope of getting some help since my husband was sick. My daughter got called in to work and needed a ride, and someone broke the wiper of my “new” van trying to clear the ice. Luckily it was on the passenger side so I could still drive and clear the windshield to see.

Tuesday was another day missed of school and another day of a house full of sickness. I found out some disturbing news about my grandfather (dad’s dad) we never knew, thanks to my brother who is doing family research to make a tree. Turns out he was a pimp for the mob who did time in San Quentin before my dad was conceived. No one knows if my dad knew these things, and there is no one alive left to ask.

Wednesday I had two more kids who started with the whole puking/stomach bug thing. By Thursday I had it and had to deal with it alone with 3 kids who were home with it as well. I got to take a nap Thursday evening. When I got up and came downstairs, still pretty sick, my younger daughter decided that was a great time to tell me she is bisexual. It came out of left field and wasn’t something even on my radar, so that surprised me. I just hugged her and told her I loved her and asked if she needed to talk about it, and she said no she was happy and ok. If I had felt better we would have had a more in-depth discussion, but for now that is that.

Friday morning my sister called to tell me my niece didn’t get in to the program she was trying to, and since my niece has been living up here and is with me a lot she asked if I could talk to her and try and help her figure out next steps for a career. I still wasn’t feeling really good, and the lasts of my kids to get sick was home with it as well. My friend called me very upset because her mom is battling cancer, and she is getting conflicting things from doctors and wanted advice and an ear to listen. My emotional reserves are running super low after this, and I wish I had someone to talk to as well.  Friday night when we were trying to feed everyone who felt ok, the littlest boy puked all over the kitchen.

That night my husband wanted to keep all the sick boys in one room with him in case they had trouble overnight, so I got to sleep upstairs. (I usually sleep downstairs when I have to get up earky for work so I don’t wake everyone up with my alarm at 4am.) I slept well and woke up still feeling icky but I made it to work. By the time I got to work and clocked in my phone was going off with texts from my husband to call him, which is unusual, especially so early. My dog who had been sick but was being treated and better died in her sleep and he found her asleep on the couch. He buried her in the backyard. I came home to a very sad and upset house. My stomach still felt weird and I got more nauseous as the night went on. I ended up waking up in the middle of the night really sick again so I had to miss work. I slept half of yesterday and finally started feeling better late last night.

Today I decided to fix myself something good for breakfast and managed to drop my plate and shatter it all over the kitchen, so half of breakfast wasn’t salvageable.

It has to go up from here, right?!?

Monday, January 28, 2019

On this day

On this exact day 11 years ago, my father passed away from cancer. I won’t ever forget the details of that day, as much as I wish I could. Probably a subconscious reason why Monday’s are always so dreadful to me.

My life changed so much when he died. I changed so much. I have often sat and thought about how different my life would be now if he hadn’t died. Because when I lost him, I lost a part of myself, and I lost my way for a while. I am definitely not the same person I was before he died.

I still miss him every day. Probably daily I have a question he would know the answer to, or something cool happened he would love to have heard about. I know he has the best seat in the house now, but still.

It’s still too hard to write about the day he died in too much detail, or even the weeks and months leading up to it. Of what it was like caring for my father as he was dying. I can say with certainty that there wasn’t anything left unsaid between us...I loved him and he loved me and we always told each other that. He knew I was sorry for the shit teenager I was, and I believe he was proud of the woman I was becoming.

I sometimes feel like now he wouldn’t be so proud of me...like I flounder most days...but that’s only been since he has been gone, really. Losing him made me question my faith, my own mortality, the point of it all. It’s impossible to fully grasp the weight of it all.

Even though I know he knows my kids in a way no one else can, I still wish he could know them on this earth. But more than having him know them, I think they are the ones missing out in knowing him.

Because he was that good. Because he was that special. Because no one will ever be as good as him, he was one of a kind, an old-school man from another lifetime. Because he was my dad.