Those Teary Moments.

It is Valentine's Day soon.So here is the Daddy/Daughter dance. So sweet. And comical. Clare, the oldest, was like, "Seriously, Mom, do I have to, like, slow dance?" This, as she rolls her eyes. I mean, I'd expect that from maybe junior high, but 2nd grade. My goodness. Fortunately, she was so excited to see Daddy in his coat and tie. She suddenly felt very 'grown up-ish.'

The middle one, "Mom, if they don't play China Anne McClain, then we will have to leave." (It's a county radio station hosting the dance). yeah, there will be some adjustment there. I also spent about 1/2 hour curling her hair only to wet it down and straighten it. Can you say, Diva? yeah, that's her. On the nail.

The youngest, "Since I am performing my ballet dance, I better put on my best leotard and don't forget my ballet tights and shoes." --Um, it's not really like dance class, per say.

Regardless, I am sure they will have a good time. The best of all? I showed them some photos of some other little girls and their Daddy's that had been posted on Facebook and were all dressed up and headed to the dance. They were like, "Mom, we will see that girl on the dance floor." I said, "Well, what about Daddy?" Response: "Oh, you know it goes, Mom, he'll just be talking to everybody." (Crack up---yeah, I know how that goes!) :)

Mommy and baby boy will catch some really great movie on Netflix and oh, I don't know, roll some cars around on the carpet? Me, a wine glass. Him, a lovely bottle with nothing but the best Whole Organic Milk. We're hanging in style tonight baby.

Anyway, I love this for these girls. What a special night. Such loves, aren't they all?

Lessons we learn from ourselves.

Four kids, 8 and under, home all weekend, with a husband that works full time and is getting his master's degree. Two of those kids are three and under. Do you think we get out much? Hell to the no.

It's not that we don't want to. We used to go all out, lug all that ski gear up to the mountain every single weekend, head out camping for a night or two so far in the middle of nowhere, it might as well have been Alaska. But then came number four. And life as we knew it stopped.

In other words, all you dear, sweet, lovely, sincere friends of mine that said, once you have three, the fourth is like, nothing. Well, I'm just one big sucker, cuz YOU LIE!!!!! I bet as soon as I got pregnant you just snickered away behind my back, probably just wanted a little company for that misery. But I love you anyway. :)

See, we were doing okay with three. Everything was a hassle, but it was still doable. I didn't feel like we were TOTALLY killing ourselves. We were, but I didn't feel like it. We even had our 18 month on skis and things were looking good to go in say, about two more years. Then we go for even numbers. And we get ourselves a strapping young lad. Now, this part is great, and of course, we wouldn't change a thing. But boy, did number four change us.

Andrew sleeps. A ton. More than the others combined, I swear. Everyone says, "How on earth did you write a novel?" My response? "I can't leave the house because all my baby does is sleep." What else should I do? Zumba at home is out of the question. I'm too lazy.

Truth is, I just don't want the hassle anymore. I don't want to go to the grocery store with more than one child. I don't want to drive all over the valley every night taking my kids to activities (I used to do this. And I would still be doing it if I only had two. But four. Damn near impossible.) It's a good thing, really. Teaches my kids to make choices. Teaches me to make choices. Slows us down. God gives you what you need and apparently we needed to put on the brakes. Enjoy it all a little more.

So now I go for the hand out at home kind of days rather than the kill yourself fitting in ten activities kind. It's all good, except for one thing. The fighting!! Oh, the fighting. Over ridiculous stuff. I lose my head. I knew I had to get them out of the house at least once a day over the weekends (Sunday is easy because it's church), but I don't want the friggin hassle. I figure if we do anything, it's gotta be some big thing where everyone gets dressed and I have to take a shower (heaven forbid) and the baby can't be gone long and can I just say hassle, hassle, hassle. I'm over it.

But today. The kids were fighting and driving me bonkers. So I dug deep and decided we would go to a sled hill nice and close by. Just the five of us. And to my overwhelming surprise, my two oldest cooperated, helping me with the younger two, carrying their own sleds. That's right. I'm still blinking twice to make sure it wasn't a dream, but they did not ask me to carry their sled even once. In fact, my oldest was carrying the three year old's sled too, and sometimes with her in it. When the baby was crying, my oldest picked him up and carried him up the hill too. Shock. Utter shock. I'm telling you. Your kids can really throw you for a loop sometimes. The good kind. We had a really, really fun time. And I didn't feel like it was all that hard of work. Did I mention that this whole sledding thing is about 99% cheaper than downhill skiing?

Best part, and the lesson learned is this. When we got home, everyone snuggled together on the couch, SHARED (are you kidding me?) popcorn and water and snacks, and quietly watched a movie without a single cross word to one another.

The lesson? Nothing earth shattering or new. Just that if you work hard, the reward will come. It was worth the effort to go outside and take the crew sledding by myself, because first, it taught them to help one another and helping me. And secondly, it helped them to blow off some steam together, bringing them closer, helping them to enjoy the quieter activities when we get home.

Ahhhhhhhh. It might only last a couple of hours, but I'll take it.

I know, I know. It will all get easier. But right now, I'm in the trenches. So I say, forget Apres ski, chica, I'm cracking a cold one to Apres sled.

The Christian Journey

When I was 23 years old, I got down on my knees and prayed for Jesus to save my weary soul. Then no more than two nights later, I was back at the town bar, propping up onto my old bar stool of bad habits. The Christian journey is not a straight path for everyone.

The Christian Journey is so different for every person, just as every person was created different by God. Good Lord, I have no idea why He waited until I was 23 to bonk me over the head, but then again, I'm sure I wasn't listening. But what I have found is that that is not entirely my fault. I was exposed, as most young people are, to super unrealistic ideas of what makes people happy, via television. Seriously, MTV was my favorite channel, and I had free reign of it for some reason. So all those sexy ladies...yeah, I pretty much thought that was what life was about. Sad, right? Yeah. Sad.

Because oh my goodness, guess what? I have this amazing's called a brain. And it just so happens that mine works pretty well. I wish I knew that twenty years ago.

But back to my journey. For about ten years, it was a curvy road, where sometimes I was cruising along, nice and straight, and then WHAM, out of nowhere, a hairpin turn. Learning to slow down and anticipate those turns was the key, and for a while, I must have had the wrong one.

Then I got married to a seriously ridiculously amazing man. The kind you think, how on God's greener grass earth do I deserve him? But he's mine. And I've got four incredible kids to prove it. So a different part of the journey began. The kind where all of a sudden I am a wife and a mother, and the part where I thought it all meant that I was supposed to be a saint. Oh my dear Good God Lord in Heaven.

So I swore off cuss words, and cut back on the vino and tried to focus on the family. Let me clarify, focus on the family is good, unless that is ALL you can manage to focus on. Can you say miserable? Yeah? In how many languages, because I'm pretty sure this one is universal! If we don't allow ourselves a little guilty pleasure, and admit we aren't perfect, and don't have to be, and force ourselves to give ourselves as women a little time to just be women, then we will want to go jump a cliff instead of be some friggin nun. Trust me, I was there.

Then there is the interim period. Where you know you don't have to be perfect, because Jesus says he did so we don't have to, so okay, I can finally accept that. But you walk on eggshells. What is okay and what is not. If I do this or do that, will I be a bad example as a Christian? And can I be myself and still believe that I am doing as God wishes I should? These are hard things, people. I do yoga, where it's all, be true to your inner self and all that crap. Seriously, what does that even mean? Well, I think it's all interrelated, and we can be all new agey and Christian at the same time. So when I get that one cracked, I'll be sure to let you know.

But now, I am at a new stage of my journey. The one where I finally feel comfortable letting loose, and if I feel like being a badass, I can throw on my shitkickers and I'll be a badass and cuss and let it all hang out. I spend 99% of my time taking care of my family, and I'm nice to people, and I don't really do anything all that bad that I know of. So seriously, can I just say a bad word every now and then or if I think my neighbor is whack? I mean, what else is repentance in Sunday church for anyway? Okay, just kidding. I know repentance is major. But we are human, and we are never more more Christian than when we admit that.

Best of all, I pray to an awesome God. And just feeling it when He hears me is enough to know I'm on the right path. Right, God? Yeah, I thought so. Amen.

Biting my Tongue

A strange thing has happened to me over the last few years. I'm learning to keep my mouth shut!

You could say that I've been a compulsive oversharer, like everyone cares why I do what I do, when, where, and with what outfit on. I've learned that not only do they not actually care, but they take that excess information and derive their own ideas about who you are and what you stand for. Usually, they're totally wrong.

The whole 'what they don't know won't hurt them'? Yeah, I'm pretty much buying it.

For me to admit this, it took me to realize how much I was telling people for the simple sake of filling silence. Why was I so afraid of awkward and quietness, and open tension in the air. I mean, I'm a writer, for God's sake, aren't I supposed to be all weird, and intraverted, and mysterious? It's time I live up to who I am, and I decided that to do that, I need to keep my mouth shut, and my fingers on the keyboard instead.

At least you can hit delete there.

That is the other point. On my way taking Caitlin to dance, a radio minister was talking about how we think we can say awful things, or expose ourselves to the world, and then just say, "oh wait, I take that back." Hell no, sister. You say it, it is on the record. For good. No take backs. No emotional erasers. The minister mentioned how if throw a bomb into your yard, there's gonna be some serious damage. Someone has to clean it up. Well, our tongues do major damage, and it takes some serious suck up to mop up that mess. So why not just hold tight to your words, and type them where you can backspace and pretend you aren't talking to or about anyone in particular.

Another good reason to stay silent.

Lastly, I have found that it makes me feel better. I also felt the need to explain myself to people. For the smallest, silliest things. Like why I let my kids have cheetohs, or why our house is always a mess, or why we have way too many animals causing us to further have too many damn mouths to feed, or why we aren't doing a certain activity at the time, or why my kid went out in public with make up on, or a tutu, or in a darth vadar costume. Or why I might be wearing a darth vadar comstume. I used to wonder if I was the 'keep up with the Jones's type', you know that ones that that tell you things you really don't need to know, like that their underwear are laced with diamonds, but then I realized that's not it for sure. Those people shower.

I definitely haven't mastered shutting up. Just yesterday I found myself over answering some mom's question about something with my kids. Most questions require a very simple answer, and I'm determined to deliver it.

It's also why I've backed off the facebook thing, from a personal status-posting standpoint. I used to spout off all day long worthless, meaningless status posts; like hey, I'm about to make a sandwich. Hooray. No offense, I have lovely friends that share lovely things on facebook. It's just not me anymore. The grass is just greener for me as an observer of facebook right now. I mean, I absolutely am thrilled to make comments on other people's muses. I think if I had a business, I'd be all over it. But I stay connected because there is way too much valuable information not to be. And if there is something really important going on with me personally, my good friends will know about it. And not on facebook. If I have universally educational informational that might transform a person or the world, I'll post it on facebook (but you'll see it here first.) :)

What I have figured out is that why it makes me feel better to shut up is that it validates that I don't need to explain myself. To anybody. I'm me. My family is what we are. We do the things the way we do things because we just do. We have happy kids. A happy marriage. A really friggin disastrous of a messy house. And dirty animals. But our house is full of more love than the universe can handle.

No need to explain that.


This is just quick shout out to my friends who homeschool their children. You are amazing. I seriously don't know how you do it. My patience would go, then my sanity, then my ability to not run away from home. I'm pretty sure my children would not only learn absolutely nothing if I homeschooled, but they would lose their mother as well, to a tropical island and a really tall, strong margarita. Maybe after a while, I'd come home. Maybe.

What made me realize how incredible these homeschooling women are, is that some Saturday mornings when we actually sleep in until 7:30 am, I get to thinking, 'this is why homeschooling would rock. We could sleep in, and just do our 'schoolwork' via the Wii or something, and then we could go outside and run some laps so everyone is so friggin tired that when I'm ready to take a nap, they feel up to eating popcorn on the couch and watching a movie. Then I'd teach them some good ol home ec, so that they can do the laundry and cook Daddy's dinner.' It was starting to sound really good to me, until about 9am hit, and everyone was whining they were hungry again, and the baby was swinging from the light fixtures and the toddler had taken fingerpaint to the walls and the second to the oldest had built forts using every blanket we own in order to make shelter for her stuffed animals and my oldest is applying way too much make-up to her sweet little innocent face.

That's when I think about filing a petition for Saturday school.

So, my hats off to you homeschooling mothers. Clearly, you give up probably all of yourself to do something important. And if you ever want a few more, just tell me what time to drop mine off.

Writing while mothering

It is not easy to be a writer when a kid or two still only come up to your knees. And if those aren't the only ones you have, then you're really in trouble, because not only are your days freaking nuts, but your after school is probably nearly catostrophic.

I started my second novel in November. It's almost done. Well, the first draft that most likely has eight million typos and plenty of conflicting scenes and most likely some really underdeveloped characters. It took me three months to get that far. Lord knows how long it will take me to revise the thing. How Stephenie Meyer did this with her kids all at home, I'll never know. I remember reading about how she would be writing with her toddler crawling in her lap and watching cartoons over her shoulder. Seriously, that is patience I definitely come up real short on.

I often look around and think, what are some things I could 'let go' in order to have more time writing. The dust is three feet thick on the mantle, the floor covered in all kinds of really unnamed stuff, and the dishes are piled high. So obviously, that's already gone. Today we went to the dentist and my kids have mouthfuls of cavities. I guess the bedtime routine wouldn't be a good one to sluff off. If I ignored our animals, they'd all die. Not good. If I ignore my husband...oh wait, he'd say I already do. And yes, our kids are still playing musical beds, so forget getting up early. So, it's a real predicament.

Right now as I try to write this, my second daughter is pouring over little stuffed animals on some internet site, asking me which ones she should get. For the sake of buying myself a few more minutes, I don't have the heart to tell her that we ain't buying anymore damn stuffed dogs.

But I still want to be mothering and I still want to be writing. So I suppose until one of those things change, it will just be a juggle. And a struggle. But so far that's all I've ever heard trying to write a book (or even more so, sell a book) is anyway. Just grin and bear it, right? Might make my jaw sore.