Thursday, September 30, 2010

Project 365: Day 61 - The Art of Grooming.....

Finding the time to properly groom oneself when one is a single parent can be a daunting task. Good thing I'm not dating because shaving my legs really takes a lot of advance planning. And painting my nails? I'm lucky if I have time to do a quick "brush over" on the weeks old chipped paint still lingering on my toenails. I don't do salons because money prevents me from doing so. Therefore, cutting and coloring my hair has become a self taught art and even that gets put on the back burner for months on end. So it's a good thing I'm not dating because I would probably only be able to go out with said date maybe once a month because that's probably how often I could have all those things done at the same time.

Ah.... the beautiful life of motherhood. It allows us the ability to go to the grocery looking like a slob without a care in the world. I used to have all make-up in order and hair perfectly in place before leaving the house for even the most mundane errands. But now my time is precious and I refuse to spend it primping up for no significant reason. I would rather take a few more minutes dancing with my boys.

Of course, I do still refuse to wear sweat pants (never even owned a pair). And I will also fix my hair before leaving. But until my boys understand what it means to be embarrassed by mom's appearance in public, I'll trade filled in roots for a few extra minutes of hide and seek.

61 of 365: Ok, so I stole a few minutes to paint my nails tonight. Sue me! ;-)

Good Night All!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Project 365: Day 60 - Compassion......

I guess I haven't talked a lot about what type of work I do. I know I've mentioned that I work for a firm, but I guess that could mean a number of things. Well, I work for the obvious, a law firm. No, I'm not an attorney.... never aspired to be one. Although I pretty much do the work of an attorney, I just don't get paid the big bucks. But the trade off is, I don't have to worry about the level of liability that an attorney does.

So, what kind of law you ask? In this economy and from the eyes of the consumer, I guess I work for the worst kind. A real estate firm and more specifically, a default real estate firm. We represent the lenders in the astronomical amounts of foreclosures across the country. Now, if you haven't completely exited my website, let me first say, I don't do this because I love taking the homes of America's most hardshipped families. I do this because, well, to be honest, I kind of stumbled across this path 14 years ago. When I was twenty-three I decided that retail was totally not for me. I couldn't handle one more mom bringing in the kid's clothes she bought three months prior, obviously worn to hell and back and want her money back. And because of the retailer I worked for, we had to oblige. Just sickening.

So at twenty-three I answered an ad in a newspaper for a receptionist job at a law firm. (wait.... did I just give my age away?) Anyway, I interviewed and they offered me the job. I was only the receptionist for about 6 months when a position opened in their foreclosure department. Being the type of person I am and wanting to learn more and maybe "move up in the company", I, well......... moved up. And the rest is history.

14 years later and I have more experience in residential foreclosure than I ever thought imaginable. I can now conduct a foreclosure in three states (not that any of you are going to ask that of me). So why am I telling you this, you ask? I guess because mom bloggers talk a lot about what they're feeling or what they did that day or who pissed them off. Not a lot of them actually tell you something as personal as what kind of work they do. And not many people are quick to jump at the chance of shouting to the world "I'm a foreclosure paralegal!!!!" I'm not ashamed of what I do. I'm not embarrassed by any means. I actually love that I am knowledgeable about something. And I truly love, love, love the people I work with. If I go to work ashamed of what I do or I don't like where I work, then when I'm faced with receiving a phone call from one of those fellow American's facing true hardships, how would I be able to have the level of compassion I would appreciate if I, myself, had to make that phone call? I could be in their shoes in a split second and I need to know that if I had to make that phone call, someone like me would be answering.

We all need a little compassion.

60 of 365: No words can describe how much I love this shot of me and my E.

Good Night All!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Project 365: Day 59 - The Air is a Changing....

We have this man made lake in our community and every now and then the boys and I will take some left over bread down to feed the fish and turtles and, in the summer time, the ducks. Of course, the ducks left about a month ago, even though the weather didn't start cooling down until......w ell......... today. But the boys love throwing the bread to the baby fish and baby turtles. It's way cute. My babies feeding other babies. I can't get enough.

And I also can't get enough of this cooler weather. I am sooooo ready for the fall to actually arrive. I love sweaters and boots. And I hate any days over 85 degrees. If I ever have to fill out one of those surveys or even one of the face book "20 things about me" questionnaires, I always answer "mountains over beach." I've just never really loved the beach like other people do. You can only take off so many clothes to cool down. But you can always bundle up more and more to get warm. So am I looking forward to cool nights and changing leaves? You bet your ass I am.

So tonight we took a walk down to the lake and we were decked out in long sleeves and pants, tights and boots. Hopefully you can figure out who wore what. But the air felt amazing and I started looking forward to the trip I'm planning for October. It'll be the first trip with me and my boys and no one else. We're going to eat caramel apples, run through corn mazes, and pick out the best pumpkins. We'll collect colorful leaves and watch the streams roll by. And we may even go for a hay ride or two. This is my favorite time of year and if I'm lucky, maybe that love will rub off on my boys.

59 of 365: The first hug of fall........

Good Night All!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Project 365: Day 58 - Ahhhh... Better now....

Ok, so the headache is finally gone!! Unbelievable! That jerk hung around for almost 24 hours straight. But all is well now.

Funny how, when you feel like crap, you start thinking about all the things you're going to change about how you live (more exercise, no drinking, must eat better, etc. etc. etc.) and then when you're feeling better, you're like, screw that. I'm all better now. I need a drink!

So I'm drinking my wine and looking for a photo to post. I'm glad that I set out my own rules for my Project 365: Otherwise, I would have been taking some very boring pictures just to get one for every day. I actually like the idea of pulling from my archive of photos, because there are some really great ones. Like this one.....

58 of 365: My very own Fire Man......

Good Night All!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project 365: Day 57 - Headaches suck.....

Sometimes a rainy day is a good excuse to do nothing. Normally I would hate wasting an entire day mildewing on the couch watching non-stop movies. But I had two reasons to do just that today, the rain and a severe headache that just won't quit. So unfortunately I have to keep it very short tonight. The light of the computer screen is killing me. But I have to keep my commitments right???

57 of 365: What mama needs to go do right now.....

Good Night All!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Project 365: Day 56 - Letting go......

Garage sales can bring a wide array of emotions. I get sad to see some things go. Probably because I may have held on to them for far too long already, but mostly because whatever it is I'm letting go was a part of me at some point in my life. With that item goes the memory of what it meant to me when I needed it. I bought it for a reason or it was given to me for a reason. And letting the item go is almost letting go of that memory. So garage sales can be sad.

I also get nervous that I might not have enough traffic to make it worth it. You know what I mean? You spend so much time planning for a garage sale. You clean out the attic or basement or storage facility. You sort through the items you plan on selling. You finally come to terms with letting go of those things I mentioned above. You organize it all in a methodical fashion. And then you sit and wait. When you don't get that instant rush of people wanting to get the jump on everyone else, you start getting nervous. Crap! Did I just waste my week of planning and my emotional tug of war just to sit here and look a fool??

Then when the people do come, I get excited. I wonder "will I have what they're looking for?", "I got some good shit.", "she better not think I'm coming down on that price!" Yeah, those are just some of the thoughts racing through my head as random people sift through my memories.

Finally, I feel relief. The day is over. I start packing up the left over items that will go to Good Will. I change my mind about some of those items and place them in a box to go back to storage, where they will probably wait until the next garage sale. Then I sit down and count my money. "Not bad" I say to myself. It was worth it.

That is usually the path of emotions I take during a garage sale. Today was exactly that, but with a twist. I got to do it with my family. My parents and sister brought truck loads of items to sell along side mine. We ate doughnuts, drank coffee, played with the boys and met some really nice strangers. We enjoyed great conversation, laughed and people watched. And my dad and sister, who are both crazy in the most amazing way, even stood at the front of the neighborhood, waving a yard sale sign to get people to come shop. And they did! It was truly a sight.

Tonight's photo pays tribute to one of those items that made it's way into a new family. Given to my boys by their Mimi and Pawpaw. It can now bring joy to another sweet child.

56 of 365: Good bye big yellow car. We had fun......

Good Night All!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Project 365: Day 55 - The Frog.....

So unfortunately I have to pull from the archives again tonight. I am right in the middle of yard sale preparation hell. If I took a picture of anything, it would be a huge pile of unorganized chaos. I would rather spare you the bore and give you something I love...... one of my babies.

55 of 365: Another favorite.... the frog.....

Good Night All!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Project 365: Day 54 - Characters..

Tonight, I am continuing my weekly entry of a costume wearing family member. This week's entry is brought to you by Peanut from two years ago in one of my all-time favorites, the dinosaur. I can't believe he actually wore this for longer than 5 minutes. This is the child that would rather be naked than anything else. One more fact that proves my boys are as opposite as it gets when it comes to being twins.

54 of 365: This week's character......

Good Night All!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Project 365: Day 53 - Who's in Charge Here??....

I always get my boys back on Tuesday nights. And everyone knows that I sit on the edge of my seat all day on Tuesdays just waiting for 4:30 to roll around so that I can fly out of the office to go pick them up from school. Yesterday was very much the same as every other Tuesday. As soon as I walked into their classroom, both came running to me with open arms. We had a great conversation while we sat in 5 o'clock traffic, catching up on all that I missed over the past few days.

As soon as I park the car in the garage, they quickly unbuckle and, of course, zoom upstairs to turn on their Star Wars game. I'm ok with them playing for a few minutes while I unload the car of all their "ride home snacks" and get dinner started. It actually helps, to be perfectly honest. (I know, I know - we've had this conversation before - I promise I DO NOT let XBox babysit for me).........(ok, I lie, I let it sit for me sometimes.....).........(ok, I lie again... I let it sit for me more than sometimes).

But anyway, enough guilt-trip. Once dinner is ready, we sit and inhale our pizzas while the boys tell me how Storm Troupers do this and R2D2 does that and how they hate when they get to a part they can't get past so they just start the game over. I actually enjoy these conversations because they're so invested in them. You've never seen excitement in any child's eyes like my boys' when they talk about Star Wars. So we're having a great evening and I start cleaning up our dinner plates, and then it happens..............Thud! Scream! Blame! Cry! You turn your head for one second and they go from being the best of friends to wanting to do bodily harm to one another.

I usually remain calm and try to get the stories out of each of them. "He did this!..... He did that!..... But he did it harder!...." blah, blah, blah. So I tell them we need to cool down and get our jammies on and just relax for a little bit. Both of them respond with a resounding "NO!" Well........ no one yells at mama like that and certainly no one tells mama no. And that was it.

Mama proceeded to take charge of her household, yielding her mighty sword (hand) to the air and ordering these two Storm Troupers (angry four year olds) up the stairs and straight to the cave (bed). I had to assert my authority and I did so by taking away their bed time ritual of ten minutes of cartoons and milk. Well, you would have thought I asked them to personally throw their XBox off the back deck and then make them watch as it smashed to pieces on the ground below. And believe me, as many times as I imagined doing that exact thing, I have refrained. So, of course, the rest of the night was spent trying to calm them down enough so that they would actually go to sleep. And that was no easy task. Between Big E's deep cry that takes his breathe away and Peanut's anger management issue, we were in for the long haul. I spent about an hour going back and forth between each twin sized bed trying to calm each of them. When I moved to one child's bed, the other got jealous and louder. Then I would move to their bed. And it went back and forth at an almost comical level. The moment that finally broke the anger and sadness from the air was when Peanut sat on top of me telling me how mad at me he was and how he wasn't going to kiss me goodnight because I made him sad. As he was crying (fake crying) and trying to sound all mean and angry, he looked down at his pants and I heard "huh?".....(long pause....) "I put my pants on backwards." And then we all busted out laughing. That was all it took. We all fell asleep shortly thereafter.

Um.... moral of the story - screw it. Next time you guys can stay up and fight all you want. Mama's goin' to bed.

53 of 365: You only THINK you're in charge....

Good Night All!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project 365: Day 52 - Happy Pizza

So if you can't tell from the title of my blog, I'm not a big fan of pessimism or negativity. I believe that to be happy is to choose to be happy. If I'm not happy, I will look around and do my best to determine why I'm not happy. And if it's something that is within my control (and it usually is), then I'll see what I need to do to change it. I wasn't happy with my job, even though I had been there almost 14 years. I knew that things within the job itself were not going to change. So I changed what I had control of..... myself. I made a very scary decision to move on to a new firm. And let me tell you..... I AM HAPPY.

I hope my boys will be able to look at me and see how strongly I believe in life choices and knowing that we're in control of our own happiness. And no, I don't completely have my head in the clouds and I'm not some "hippie-spirit-everything-is-beautiful" dreamer. Of course I understand that things will happen that will be completely out of our control and they will take that happiness away. But as quickly as your happiness eludes you, you have to make the conscious decision that you WILL choose to be happy again. And then you have to put those decisions into action.

Nothing irritates me more than someone who can sit around and complain about everything around them and then choose not to do anything about it. I wasn't happy in my marriage anymore and so I chose to leave. I wasn't happy in my job anymore, so I chose to leave. Now I'm not saying that we should all run away from whatever it is that's causing our grief. I'm just saying that if you have no control over the things that are bringing you this grief, then choose to do something that brings you joy. If you can't leave the job that you don't like, then bring some other form of joy into your life and nurture it and let it grow into something you otherwise would have let disappear inside you.

I was fortunate enough to be able to move on from my marriage with little conflict and with the ability to take care of myself. I was fortunate enough to move on in my career because of my experience and determination and hope that there was something better out there. Those were my decisions and I believe that I will continue to make choices that will positively impact my life and my boys' lives. I hope that my choices will be recognized by them, if not now then one day maybe, and they will learn that they, too, have the control to make choices that make them happy.

I like to think that they are already starting to understand that happiness can be found in many places.

52 of 365: Peanut eats his pizza this way because he says the happy face he creates makes him happy.

What a beautiful sight.......

Good Night All!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Project 365: Day 51 - Two words....

I got two words for ya.................


51 of 365: Any takers??????

Good Night All!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project 365: Day 50 - Sharing.........

Another milestone reached in this "Project 365" endeavor of mine. 50 days. Again, and I repeat, I really only thought I would make it to day 20 if I was lucky. As parents, many of you understand the chaotic schedule that comes with bringing up small human beings. Those of you that joined the single parent club, like myself, understand the greater chaos. But somehow, I seemed to have kept an unlikely commitment. If you've read previous posts, you know now that I tend to be flaky with some commitments. Usually the ones that involve exercise, religion or higher eduction tend to fall on the back burner in commitment land. (wow, those are probably the ones I should stick with, huh?) Needless to say, I am thrilled with my perseverance.

As a milestone present, I would like to ask each of my followers or facebook friends to do me a small favor. I've never really been one to want to significantly grow my readership. I'm not an attention getter. I usually shy away from any kind of spot light. I did not start this blog to gain a huge number of "fans". But as I have continued this Project 365 journey, I have received some amazing comments from people that are going through similar situations as myself.

As a "mom blogger", I read a lot of other mom blogs and I am discovering something I didn't realize in the beginning. And that is: the lack of single mom bloggers in the blog-o-sphere. There are hundreds of parenting blogs and mom blogs, but not as many uplifting single parent blogs as I would like. Most single parenting blogs involve too much negative backlash from the dark side of separation or divorce. Moms are too busy bad mouthing the fathers (or vice-verse) and the voice of single parenting gets lost in all the anger. My site is not about that and I hope my readers would agree. I set out to discover who I was again, but in new skin. And to show my boys that mama and daddy do not have to be in love (or even in like sometimes) to show them that they are loved and will always be loved by both parents no matter what. I hope I am succeeding.

So if you agree with my words or want to believe in my words or if you know someone who may, I would be honored if you gave the "50th Project 365 Post"gift of sharing. Share with someone you think might benefit from knowing they are not alone in this journey. Share with someone you think might have their own insightful comments that I could learn from. Share with someone who likes parental sarcasm. Or share with someone (preferably a single dad) you think might want to date me. I kid.... Kinda.

Either way, I want to thank you for sticking with me through this adventure, in web life and real life. You guys know who you are. I love you lots.

50 of 365: A few of my favorites from this weekend.....

The faces I get when I say "Smile!"

Thinking up his evil plot.....

Mr. Prissy pants....

Good Night All!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Project 365: Day 49 - Amazing Saturdays.....

So today was another amazing Saturday filled with fun, sun, laughing, jumping, painting, sliding, swinging, snacking, and passing out. The boys were invited out by their neighbor friend, to enjoy a full day of telling the moms where to go. And M and I took orders very well - after we stopped at Starbucks first! The day started with a trip to the Arts Festival and almost immediately, the boys spotted the bounceys. It was actually perfect, we could finish our iced coffees while they bounced away. The festival experience for the boys entailed their first ever snow cone, splashing in the square fountain (we had to apologize for that one), doing a little spin art, and picnicing on the church steps, at which point the boys decided they would create a roadblock on the side walk and demand that everyone stop at the "red light". They were allowed to pass only once the boys said "green light." Yeah, we had to apologize a few times for that one too.

After halting the agenda of several a passer-by, we decided it was time for the captains of the day to tell us where to go next. Playground, here we come! There's this wonderful park about two miles from our new home and we frequent it often. But this was the first time with our new friends, as they had never been before, and I could tell the boys were very proud leading the way. We stayed for about an hour and then the boys decided it was time for cupcakes and ice cream. And we were happy to oblige.

After the sugar rush, the moms finally decided it was time to take back over the day's agenda. Besides, the little men were wiped by that time and could pretty much care less what we did anymore. All in all it was another amazing Saturday. And as the boys and I get more acquainted with our new town and as we continue to meet new people, I'm sure these amazing Saturdays will be part of our regular routine. As a matter of fact, I'm counting on it.

49 (a and b) of 365: Happy faces of the day.....

Good Night All!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Project 365: Day 48 - Characters..........

While perusing through my old photos, I love coming across all the pictures of my boys in various costumes throughout the years. The fascination with "dressing up" definitely hit Big E harder and earlier than it did Peanut. Big E fell in love with costumes at age two and the first time his Mimi pulled out her Halloween big-bag-o-tricks, he nearly lost it. My mother, also known as the holiday queen, has held on to almost every single costume she, my dad, and my sister have collected over the past twenty years. Now keep in mind, my family loves, loves, loves Halloween. I, myself, have dressed up every year of my entire life, with the exception of the year the boys were born. They were two hours shy of being Halloween babies, so maybe the fascination of costume was literally born in them.

Each year I begin to plan my Halloween attire one month out, just in case I need to order something online. Once I settle on an idea, I make sure that I create any of the "made from scratch" items in advance. Over the years I have spray painted old white shoes with red glitter paint (guess who I was). I have cut up wigs and tied the extra pieces to my own hair (red-neck extensions). I have fashioned a coat hanger to make the perfect pippy longstocking hair illusion (one of my favorite). I could go on and on. It's great when I go through all this effort and expense and I actually get to show it off at a party. But most times, I just do it for myself and the few trick or treaters that knock on the front door. It doesn't matter. There's just something about pretending to be someone or some thing outside of who you really are. Stepping into a character and living as them for a short time...... It's exciting!

Oh wow. I just realized that I started this post as a tale of how my child has become obsessed with dressing up in costumes since he was a toddler. And the post ended up pointing out my own addiction. Oh dear, I'm a pusher. And on my own child..... I should be ashamed.

48 off 365: I will post each week a new picture of costume wearing in my family over the past four years. I'd like to see how long I can pull it off.

Good Night All!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Project 365: Day 47 - In Training........

I originally started blogging because I wanted to journal my transformation from being a mom with twins to being a triathlete mom with twins. I had fun with the experience, balancing my extensive training with raising toddlers. I didn't set out to help anyone. I just wanted a method of conveying my journey, a transformation diary if you will. And I enjoy going back from time to time and reading my stories of " what the hell'" and "have I lost my mind". And then I enjoy reading about the end of my journey, of finally becoming a triathlete. I ended up completing two within a few months of each other. Crossing the finish line both times was amazing. It was exhilarating and indescribable. It was almost a feeling of peace. For many months I had trained and conditioned myself to overcome the pain I felt when I didn't think I could do it anymore. I learned how to pace myself and turn to certain forms of energy just when I needed them, I rejoiced in the small accomplishments of cresting a mountain and I allowed myself small levels of defeat just so that I could appreciate the win even more when the battle was over.

I look back at this time in my life and I realize that I wasn't just training for a triathlon. I was preparing for the battle, for the trials I will face everyday as a single parent. I am learning to pace myself through the emotions of separation. I am conditioning myself to be able to quickly overcome the pain when I think I can't do it anymore. This separation is my small piece of defeat so that I can understand that this is a means to an end. This battle I will win. This battle I have already won. I am rejoicing.

After I realized I was to become a single mom, I decided to move my blog in a new direction: Journaling my transformation into a single mom of twins. Looking back, not much has changed. I'm still in training.

47 of 365: A shot of me and my boys after completing my first triathlon.

Good Night All!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Project 365: Day 46 - Patiently Waiting.....

I can't wait for Halloween! That's all..........

Good Night All!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Project 365: Day 45 - Glam Festivus for the Rest of us....

I'm going to keep it short and sweet tonight. Never in my life have I seen so many grandmas in tattoos and rocker shirts. I'm talking about the Adam Lambert concert folks. I've been to a lot of concerts (thanks sis) and this one takes the cake as far as multi-cultural goes. I was totally expecting the entire population of Atlanta's gays to come out in full force tonight. But I was utterly disappointed. I wanted fishnets and guy-liner, but instead I got grandparents and two year olds. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a two year old was in attendance. (I actually frowned upon that). Why the hell would you bring a two year old to a rock concert?? The lights were outrageously bright and the music was extremely loud. That can't be good for tiny ears and eyes.

But all obvious observations aside, the show was quite entertaining. "The Glam Tour", as he called it, brought back fond memories of big hair bands of the 80's and left me shouting "I wanna rock!" (and I only actually knew one of his songs). The sightseeing was fun and the crowd was full of energy and life, even if half of them were older than my parents.

45 of 365: Laser beams and feathers.

(Sorry guys, I wasn't close enough to get the shot of the feathers, but they were present.)

Good Night All!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Project 365: Day 44 - Not much....

Wow, I'm in "baby boy withdrawal." Sometimes I just miss them so much that to think of them gives me butterflies. You know..... the kind you get when you fall in love. That's what I'm feeling. I'm in love with my boys. And I don't really have a photo for that. If I could open my chest and take a picture of my heart for you, I would. Eww.

So that is about it for today, besides the craziness that is my office right now. They have me shuffling between two locations working for two different states. I must say, I wonder where I am most of the time. But I like it still. Busy is better than bored most definitely.

And, finally, I have to admit, I often commit to something and then change my mind slightly. Last week I told you about my new purchase, the Kindle ereader. Well, I never did quite hit the "purchase now" button. Instead, I walked into the local Barnes and Noble and purchased the Nook ereader. There's just something about being able to walk into a store and speak with a live person and hold the product in your hand before purchasing. Online shopping is fine and all, but you can't really squeeze, poke, prod, shake, and taste the product (imagine strange look on B&N clerk's face at that point.) I just like knowing how something feels in my hands before taking him home (I mean "it" home.)

44 of 365: My new man.... Nook.

Good Night All!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Project 365: Day 43 - Laughing and Lizards....

I remember being in Silver Springs, Florida when I was younger and holding a very large snake around my neck. I actually don't remember it all that well, because as you know I've made it perfectly clear that my memory sucks. But there is a picture to prove it, so it must have happened. There I am probably eleven years old (my mom would know better) and I have this humongous constrictor around my neck and a smile of equal size on my face. The scaly reptile didn't bother me one bit. I actually quite enjoyed it. (At least that's what the picture tells me)

Today the boys attended their first birthday party of the school year and as luck would have it, it was a reptile party. A very average looking woman showed up with not very average party favors...... snakes, lizards and bearded dragons. The kids went wild over the sight. Several of the species were large enough to swallow these four and five year olds whole. But that didn't scare them. Most were patiently waiting in their seats while the "reptile keeper" gave her shpeal about each and every one of them. They were ready to touch these marvels, to prove to themselves that the animals were real and not some plastic trick the keeper was playing on them.

The first reptile to endure the touchy feely hands of the post toddler kids was the largest yellow snake I'd ever seen. What the hell am I saying? It was the largest snake period I've ever seen. Who cares about the color? You've never seen so many kids jump into a straight line so fast. The smiles were wide and the belief was barely visible. Each child having to reach out and touch before that belief was validated. It was pretty awesome. Of course, most kids have been to a petting zoo or something similar, but to have distant relatives of the dinosaurs in your friend's front yard???? Impossible. And way cool.

42 or 365: Turtles, Snakes, Lizards and more.....

Good Night All!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Project 365: Day 42 - Three Women........

I was in forth or fifth grade when I met my best friend. We started a new church and I found it odd that my mom decided to go to a church that was on the other side of town. I guess it was because my aunt went there, but still, it was clear across the county and it irritated me because it meant I had to get up that much earlier on a Sunday. I forgive my mom for that now, because from those early morning rises on Sunday, I met an individual that would remain a part of my life until this day, twenty eight or so years later.

I didn't know it then, but this person, we will call her K, would become one of the most important people in my life. She would make me laugh and help me cry. We would badly damage our hair together with store bought color at the age of eighteen. That day would make me laugh and make her cry. We would fight over boys in church and cover for each other when one snuck out (mostly her). We would piss each other off and after a cooling down time, realize that we could not do without one another.

K lives a very different life from me. She is happily married with three gorgeous children. I'm not saying that her life is perfectly perfect, but she is much closer to it than I am and I envy her. There is grace in everything she does. She has an amazing way about herself and she is forgiving beyond all that I have ever experienced. She looks at me with non-judging eyes and those eyes are exactly what I needed at this phase of my life.

I was a senior in high school when I became unexpected friends with the next person that would have a major impact on my life. We will call her J. I was hanging out with this funny skinny guy at school and he asked me out on a date. It wasn't until much later that I found out his girlfriend, J, attended another school. What a jerk. J's family moved into my school district and we instantly became friends. Of course, I knew that her motivation was "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer", but that did matter. What developed has lasted almost twenty years.

J married and divorced that "jerk", but not until they brought two great boys into this world. She is an amazing single mom, but we are not alike. She is far stronger than I am. She has endured a long, drawn out, heartbreaking divorce. And she came out on the other end much stronger than when she went in. I'm not quite sure that I'd still be standing after what she has gone through. But she is and I look upon her upright body in awe everyday. I stand close to her so that her strength will transfer to me. Not quite sure why she stands so close to me. But I'm not arguing.

An early summer evening put me on a path by a lake that bumped me into the next person to make an impact. Actually, we just met three months ago, so I'm not sure how this chance encounter will really play out. But right now, all I know is that I'm fairly new to this town and fate brought me face to face with another single mom in my neighborhood, when I knew no one else.

M, we will call her, has an amazing three year old son and was never married. Her single mom-dom is the result of a short lived relationship that has ended with being forever bound to that man through a pint-sized train conductor. Like the others above, we are not alike. She did not have to endure the heartache of a failed marriage, while I did not have to endure a man that was never there to begin with. I look at her as a door. A door that leads to, well...... I don't really know right now. But, to my delight, she is a writer like me and we have ideas. Grand ideas that may come to fruition or they may not. But our common thread of single parenthood has brought us together for a reason. I look forward to the possibilities.

Each of these women have touched me in different ways. One born from childhood events that I had no control over, one from a desire to keep an enemy close and one from unfortunate circumstances that led me to move to a new town. I did not seek these women. They found me. And I will forever reap the benefits from these chance encounters. Thank you ladies.

42 of 365: At lunch today with M and her son. (I have not asked for permission from M to use her son's picture yet, but he was there next to the boys).

Good Night All!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Project 365: Day 41 - Big Kids, Little Kids......

So I have a big weekend planned for the boys. I always try to have activities or events planned for the boys over the weekends, in an effort to pry them away from the video games. And that is much easier to do when birthday cake is involved. The boys received their first birthday party invitation from one of their Pre-K classmates.

I'm so happy now that the boys are in Pre-k. And it's not just because the gracious state of Georgia pays for it. After almost three months in summer camp where the ages ranged from 4 to 8, the boys are finally in an age appropriate class. Now you wouldn't think that 4 to 8 would be such a big age range, but it's almost like the difference between a high school football jock and the clarinet player in the school band. They have nothing in common. And unfortunately, my boys felt it almost instantly. What's worse, is I put them there.

They were the youngest in the class and I knew that going in. But I had a decision to make and because of their age (between preschool and Pre-K), it was either have them be the oldest in their class or the youngest. For some reason, I though "youngest" would be better. they could learn something from the older kids, blah, blah, blah. Plus they LOVE big kids. Big E literally follows bigger kids around like a lost puppy dog. Mimicking their every move and coming home talking just like them. (on a more obvious level, that's not always a good thing). But to make them the oldest in their class, I just wasn't sure that was right either. Some of those kids were not fully potty trained and I couldn't risk them reverting back to their old ways, because I knew Peanut would jump at the chance! So I ultimately decided older class is better class.

That was the choice I made and I knew it was the wrong one by week two. I have always made myself a wallflower beside the door when I picked them up from school in hopes that I could see how they interacted when mama wasn't around. By the second week of summer camp, I was heartbroken. There they were, in a lonely corner of the room, just the two of them together with no other friends around. They would sit there quietly and read a book together or simply talk to each other. I was sad because they weren't making friends. And I totally got why. When you're seven or eight, why in the world would you allow yourself to be caught playing with a four year old? Four year olds are babies. And hence, my boys were outcasts.

Of course, not all the kids in the class were seven or eight, most were six. But my boys were four. And although there were two other four year olds in the class, those two only attended three days a week. I tried to have them moved down to the younger class hoping that they would fit in a little better, but by that time, the class was full. So we stuck it out for two more months. I would like to say that things got amazingly better, but that was not the case. Things got better, that's all. They made friends with maybe two other kids the whole summer. They cried when we dropped them off and they were angry when we picked them up (for not picking them up earlier.) But we pushed through and before we knew it, it was time for Pre-K open house.

So now they are in a class full of four year old super heros and princesses and they couldn't be happier. I literally get pushed out the door these days. And I'm totally ok with that.

Sometimes we make decisions that we truly feel in our hearts are the right ones and sometimes those choices fail us. I know that I have a lifetime of failed choices ahead of me. I just hope that my kids will forgive me. And I hope that I learn from these poor decisions and not sentence my kids to a lifetime of being the outcasts. Lord help them.

41 of 365: My little big man.....

Good Night All!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Project 365: Day 40 - Boys Toys....

For as long as I can remember I wanted boys. When I was a little girl and I imagined myself as a mommy, my baby was always a boy. As I got older, I got a little more specific. "I want a boy with curly hair." I lucked out and got the boy blessing twice. The curly hair? Not so much.

It's not hard for me to understand my strong desire to birth boys over girls. All I have to do is look back into my childhood and ask myself "Would I like me as a teenager?" And the answer would be a resounding "NO". I wasn't a bad kid. I wasn't a trouble maker and I didn't disrespect (well, no more than your average teenager). Nope, I wasn't any of those things. My problem? I was simply a girl. An emotional, dramatic, overly sensitive girl. And maybe as I've gotten older and my patience thinner, I realize that a teenage me and a short fuse wouldn't be the best match.

Of course, all that may change as soon as my boys become teenagers. I hear all the stories of my guy friends and the wild and insanely irresponsible things they did as teenagers and it scares the hell out of me. I have many years before I have to kick my boys' asses for being irresponsible or lazy or just plain stupid. For now, I will enjoy the super hero world my house has become. A layer of secret passageways and ruthless villains. Batman's cave and Spiderman's web. I will watch as my two little heroes take back control of the house from the evil that hides between the sofa cushions and I will have the privilege of joining in their crusade as BatGirl or WonderWoman. I will respect all action figures that blanket my floors because I know they are protecting me.

I agree that little girls are amazing and sweet and precious and all that is good and sugary. And I know that I would love my child, girl or boy. But there is something about my two boys that is unexplainable. Maybe it is my lifelong passion of being a mother to boys. Maybe it is my relief that the world was not graced with another teenage me. Or maybe, just maybe something amazing is going on right now. The universe possibly knew that I would need a couple of pint-sized heroes in my life right at this moment.

40 of 365: A hero comes in many shapes and sizes....

Good Night All!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Project 365: Day 39 - PJ's

One of my favorite things is my boys in pajamas. I actually have to admit to having a slight pj addiction. My former co-workers could really attest to this. I would sneak out for lunch and come back with four new sets. I love them so much, I'd even buy them for my friends' kids. Pajamas were a "go to" birthday or Christmas gift. I'm not quite sure why I'm talking in past tense.

I don't think I will ever get over my pj addiction.

39 of 365: This might have been the pair that started it all.

Good Night All!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Project 365: Day 38 - Reading and Writing and Books, oh my!.....

I'm excited about picking my boys up from school tomorrow. Each time I get to see them for the first time after a few days away from them gets sweeter and sweeter. I get so giddy half way through the work day that I feel the urge to leave a little earlier. But right now, money is tighter than last year's jeans and I can't afford to leave early. So my solution???? I'll go in earlier. Problem solved.

When I moved into my new place and the "down time" presented itself with almost too much alone time, I realized that I was going to have to find something more to occupy myself. So this year I started reading. I've always enjoyed writing. Been doing it for as long as I can remember. But reading someone else's writing is different a universe to me. I blame it on my patience. My mind was always too over active to be able to focus on the imaginations of someone else. I also blame it on the fact that my mind doesn't work the way the minds of those other writers work. Maybe I was a little jealous. Until I started my last blog, most of my writing remained private. Because I was unsure whether or not my writing was as good as those writers I was too afraid to read.

But this year I decided to ignore my insecurities and see if there was anything to truly be afraid of. And I discovered that I have a lot to learn from these folks. Now, when I tell you how many books I've read this year, try not to laugh too much. I know I deserve a little ragging because, hey, I write, so I should read, right? Yeah not so much. BUT so far I have read four books. That's right folks! I actually made it through four whole books. I've surprised myself, ha!

But now that I've started, I'm totally addicted. I love talking about the books I'm reading. I love sharing the books I'm reading and I love recommending a book and then finding out that the person I recommended it to loves it too. That's the best. And I'm finding out that there was nothing to be afraid of. I know that my own personal writing style can be influenced by the amazing words of other writers and I love that possibility.

So now, I have this super birthday gift coming my way and I cannot wait! I have ordered the Kindle ereader. Maybe if anyone out there has one, you can tell me everything you love about it and get me all the more excited about it. I need something to take my mind off that better than sex cake I left at "the dad's" house.

38 of 365: My new toy.... (I know, technically this is cheating because I didn't take this picture, but who cares...)

Good Night All!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Project 365: Day 37 - Sneak Attack.......

I didn't want my birthday post to be remembered with sadness and that is why I didn't post much last night. I'm not going to say that this was the saddest birthday I've ever had, but I will say it ranks among them. Anyone that goes through any kind of separation or ultimate divorce can relate to the massive array of emotions one goes through. One minute you're ok, accepting the path you have chosen and looking forward to the brighter days ahead that you know are coming. And the next minute a rush of said emotions can sneak up on you and slap you in the face and knock you on your ass. Now, I'm not saying I got knocked on my ass last night, but I did experience a slight sneak attack.

My weekend started out wonderfully. A relaxing trip home, a fruitless fishing trip that my boys loved despite no bites, and chocolate cake that was better than sex. It was great. As I've said before, my family rocks.

My weekend time with my boys would end with a trip to a wonderful park near their dad's house. We met him there along with his brother's family. It was great seeing them and hanging out for the short time I was able to. I don't see them often now, especially since they moved to Savannah. They have a new baby boy with a smile that goes on for miles and their sweet girl? Well, she has a voice that I could little to forever. She is three and a half and my boys just love spending time with their cousin from Savannah. The afternoon at the park was nice.

The sneak attack ended up being the last event of the night. I stayed at "the dad's" house for dinner, watched the boys play video games at their request, joined in on a little Wii myself. And we ended the evening with the last few minutes of a Star Wars movie. Everything was great, but it was time to say my good byes. That's when the crying started. Now, they were only crying because they were tired and we all know that emotions are amplified when we are tired. So I tried to be gentle. Hugging each of them equally and kissing them until it irritated them more. I felt like I had things under control as far as their crying was going, but then it happened. The dad snapped at Peanut. It had been a long day, everyone was tired and Peanut has entered into this "not listening" phase, so at some level, I can understand the short temper the dad might have had. But, come on! It's my birthday! Don't make this transitional moment harder for me than it already is.

Of course, Peanut didn't take getting in trouble very well. And he began to cry for me even harder. And in between each pitiful wimper as I carried him up to his bed were the words I too cried at the sound of.... "I gonna miss you so much mama." Those words made the trip up those stairs the longest in all the years I'd walked them.

And Big E followed suit for his brother's sake, repeating the same wimper and the same words, "I gonna miss you so much too mama." What else could I do? I crawled in bed with them and held onto them until they both fell asleep. As I lay there in their bed, I looked up at the dim ceiling wondering how in the hell did I get here? And then I wondered, why in the hell do I keep asking myself that same question? I know what happened, I know how I got there, and I know that I need to roll out of their bed and go home. And I did. I didn't even say bye to the dad. I just walked out.

My boys would be ok in the morning. They would forget all about how upset they were the night before and they would play with their cousins before they headed back to Savannah. But I might not be as ok. I will remember the next morning and I may not see their cousins for a long time. As I drove home, I cried. For the first time in a very long time, I cried. And there it was, the sneak attack.

I have been able to keep most of my emotions at bay for a very long time. And these emotions were not at all for the loss of my marriage. I can honestly say that I dealt with the emotions of separation a long time ago. No, these emotions were for the separation I endure every single time I have to leave my boys. Separation from your husband is one thing. But separation from your children is whole 'nother ball game.

As I drove home, I let the emotions come out as they may (as if I ever had any control over them). And then I was ok. By the time I got home, I was ok. But as I turned into my driveway, a completely new emotion struck me.......

CRAP!!! I left my birthday cake in his damn refrigerator!!!!!! The tears came again....

37 of 365: This shot just makes me giggle.

Good Night All.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Project 365: Day 36 - Fifths....

Good thing today was Sunday. Otherwise, I'd have stopped on the way home and bought vodka.

36 of 365: Happy Birthday Me...

Good Night All.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Project 365: Day 35 - Family Day.....

So, it's my birthday weekend and I decided to spend it with my family. I packed our bags yesterday morning before work and once I picked the boys up from school yesterday afternoon, we made the hour and a half drive west of Atlanta. The drive wouldn't typically take that long, but it was Friday AND a holiday weekend. I'm lucky though, because the boys are road warriors. A typical day for them consists of sitting in traffic anywhere from 30 minutes to hour one way before and after school everyday. I feel bad about it most days, but I decided that I would rather have them close to my work instead of close to home. Obvious reasons.

So the events of the weekend were my choosing and I chose to spend them at my parent's house. It has been a wonderful weekend so far. I love coming home. My mama still takes care of me. And right now, sometimes I really need a little of bit that. She cooked me dinner, let me nap and baked me a cake which now has a very large missing chunk, thanks to me. Hell, truth be told, it's missing two large chunks thanks to me.

But it has been a beautiful weekend thus far. It's Saturday night and I look forward to the big breakfast mom already has planned for tomorrow. I mean, where else besides Cracker Barrel can I get a breakfast like this?? I'm sure as heck not the type to do it myself. Love sleeping late way too much. But my mom? She does it and she loves it. And I love her for it.

Thank you mom, dad and little sis for a beautiful weekend.

35 of 365: Beautiful Day....

Good Night All!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Project 365: Day 34 - Changes.....

It never fails that when I decide to change in my life, I change my life. Sometimes the changes are small, but I do them big. For instance, I never just decide to change my hair color. I change my color to the other side of the color wheel and take the scissors to it. And sometimes my changes are big and can span across an entire year. One year, I started out as a single woman working her way through college. By the time the year was over, I was married, a college graduate, and bought my first house. That year was also speckled with various other things that were out of my control. My mother in law passed away two months after getting married. My uncle passed away two months later and my birth mother passed away another two months after that. (side note - the birth mother will a topic all to it's self).

This year has been full of many changes. The most obvious, of course, was physically moving in this separation. We had been mentally and emotionally separated for a very long time, but this year I physically moved my life to a new location. That was change number one. The second came when I decided to leave the firm I had worked for for almost 14 years and venture out to a new firm. Now, when I started my search for a new "job family", I kept my search within the same legal arena. I knew that after 14 years, the first major adjustment would be losing my comfort level. When you work for the same people for that long, you develop a relationship that closely compares to your own marriage. You know everyone's quirks and moods, the birthdays of all their kids, the ailments of their pets and the size of their bras. The kind of comfort level you have with your own family. You're not afraid to tell them exactly how you feel about the way-too-short dress they're wearing and you don't back down when they address your too-tight-top. It doesn't bother them a bit when you cover their showing bra strap without asking their permission. And you don't worry about them finding very personal e-mails in your inbox while they cover your desk during your vacation. Comfort level takes a very long time to accumulate.

So leaving this comfort level was not something I would easily adjust to. But I was ready for it. I needed a jump start in my career and I needed a new friend "pool." Now I certainly don't want my old work friends to think that I needed to replace them. That was not the case at all. I simply knew that by moving forward in my personal life, I needed to gain new perspectives. Maybe prospects is the word I am looking for. Either way, change needed to sweep over all aspects of my life.

So I took the leap and found a new firm that welcomed me into their unfamiliar territory. It was intimidating at first. A much larger company than I was used to working for. Literally ten times the size, maybe more. But I was ready for it. And two months later, I can report that this was probably the best career move I've ever made (besides staying in one place for 14 years -which as you know from a previous post, was not an easy thing for me to do).

So this new world, with all it's corporate-ness and faces, has opened my eyes to the fact that I have a skill-set that was not being fully utilized in my previous employment. Not to say that my previous employer didn't appreciate my work, but the demand for what I am good at was not present. It feels good to know that I am good at something and that what I'm good at is needed.

An even more important aspect of this new world is that I work with people I truly enjoy. It's almost as if my initial job hunt purposely stalled until this position came open, because I was meant to work with these people. It was the perfect fit for my puzzle piece.

So for today's post, I give you a little piece of my new world. My lovely co-workers decorated my cube for my birthday.

34 of 365: Love it!.....

Good Night All!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Project 365: Day 33 - Thank you....

Before this daily project, I used to do a Thankful Thursday post. I would share the things that made me thankful that day. It was a wonderful way to remind myself why I push forward through situations I know will be difficult. I focus on the beautiful aspects of my life and the negative begins to pale in comparison. So today is Thursday and I thought I would revisit that fun, and very beneficial, pastime.

You have endured a few posts that begin to skim the surface of my experience through separation. The anxiety, the fear, the self-doubt, the loneliness and, on occasion, the anger. But in order to safely navigate through all the sadness that accompanies divorce like an evil twin, you have to remind yourself that there are reasons why you continue to put one foot in front of the other. For me, it is obvious. For most parents, it is obvious. Our children become our life line to the rest of the world and we will do anything to protect that life line. They supply our oxygen with their very breathe. They provide much needed vitamin C from their sunshine. And their energy pumps the blood through our veins. My joy and my inspiration come from them. Than you boys.

33 of 365: Kings of the world....

Good Night All!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Project 365: Day 32 - Fusstrated......

About a year ago, my kids were introduced to Ni Hao Kai Lan. Now for most parents out there, I'm sure you know who I'm talking about. And for the rest of you? I was going to say "go look it up" but that would be totally rude of me. It's a Nick, Jr program that probably exited our home almost as quickly as it entered. The show wasn't violent and it didn't wig me out like that big purple dinosaur or drive me to want to drink like those weird puffy things with tv's on their bellies. It's actually a show built on a brilliant idea to teach kids how to deal with their feelings.

As any parent who has endured those precious toddler years knows, temper tantrums, fighting and biting become as common an occurrence as changing a diaper. Schools and day care centers do a wonderful job teaching children to use their words instead of their fists. And that IS the premise of this show, but for some reason, children take to it like brainwashed robots. Peanut adapted the "I'm mad mad" phrase almost instantaneously. So now, instead of the typical scream, push, shove, kick; we got all that and a bag of attitude.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for use your words and not your teeth. And parents definitely bear the responsibility of teaching their children right from wrong. But something about a four year old throwing a snooty tantrum stomping off to the other room while asserting his "I'm so mad at you right now mama", just makes me wonder what kind of divas we are raising. I swear, every time I heard a Nick, Jr trained anger control phrase come from one their mouths, my stomach balled up and I wished they would just throw to the floor like every other normal four year old.

Seriously, my son telling me how "fusstrated" he is with me kinda makes me want to giggle, just a little. But hey, I guess I shouldn't be complaining too much. At least they're talking about their feelings. I'm proud to say, they got that from their mama (and a little Chinese girl.)

32 of 365: How could such attitude come from such a precious Peanut?....

Good Night All!