Not a Rant

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I was going to write a rant, but I changed my mind.  I decided that it doesn’t matter, what I was going to rant about, it just doesn’t matter.  I decided this post would be MUCH better served if it had something like…….. Fun Christmas facts!!  I’m going to single handedly spread more Christmas cheer than anyone can handle because Lord Almighty, people are in need of it!

First!  I heard this really awesome thing about NORAD today! CONAD started tracking Santa in 1955 when Sears printed an advertisement and instead of including a number where children could call and talk to Santa, they put the number for Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center.  A colonel there, Harry Shoup, instructed his staff to give children who called a current location for Santa!  This tradition continued on and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) took over in 1958.  How neat is that! They could have just shoved these kids off?  Instead they told them where Santa was flying!  Talk about getting into the Christmas spirit.  Now ever year, children wait and watch to see where Santa is on their local weather channels!  (I do too!!  I wanna know so I can make sure I’m asleep before he comes to my house!!) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NORAD_Tracks_Santa)

Traditional Christmas colors are green, red and gold.  Green is a symbol of life and rebirth, red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light, wealth and royalty.

Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a Legal holiday in 1836 and Oklahoma was the last in 1907.  I tried to find out when Texas did, but I was not successful.

Candy canes were created by an inventor in Indiana who wanted to spread the name of Jesus around the world.

The scientific name for reindeer is Rangifer Tarasndus.  (That’s probably not interesting to anyone but me.)

Santa’s elves never get cold.  And they live in tiny colorful cottages in the North Pole.

Children’s happiness and belief in the magic of Christmas keep Elves healthy.  (Keep believing!!)

Obviously I believe there is way more to Christmas than this.  This is the time of year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  More than that, the fact that God loves us so much to have sent Him to us.  And that He died for us, so that we could go to Heaven and be with God.  That’s the really important part.  All the rest of it is fun, and brings joy, and couldn’t we all use a little joy.  I had a test of this this weekend, choosing joy over anger.  I don’t know that I necessarily chose joy as well as I should have, but hopefully I was more helpful than harmful.  Hopefully you enJOYed this little blog.  (Yes I know it’s spelled wrong, that’s what makes it cute.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS

End of the Year Reflections

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I’m a little cranky today and having a hard time remembering all the things that made me so happy yesterday.  They just seem a little far away right now and I want today to be over so it can be tomorrow and all the rest of the fun stuff that’s planned for the rest of the week can happen.  So I decided it’s time for a little reflection.

Last December, I posted this gem of a blog.  Lord have mercy it was a downer.  I really felt like I had NOTHING to look forward to.  And oh my gosh look at what all has happened!! I’m still in my master’s, my daughter is just fantastic and smart and fun!  I shed the dead weight that was just keeping me down.  I met the MOST amazing man who quickly became my very best friend.  That relationship has taken me places where I never thought I’d go.  I am confident and self-assured, but I’m also more empathetic and communicative.  I listen better (most of the time) and I’ve grown up a lot with the help of his patience and kindness.  I know now how I should be treated, and how to treat someone else the same way.

I became a chaplain which is scary and wonderful and I’m terrified!  I’m taking this incredible journey with God and trying really hard to let Him lead my life.  I was sitting in church yesterday and my thoughts were wandering a bit (sorry Paul…) and I got to thinking about how I used to not go to church, and used the excuse of not wanting to go alone to not go.  “Well I don’t want to sit by myself, so I just won’t go.”  That’s just laziness right there, folks.  I was sitting in my normal pew, no one else was sitting in the pew with me and I thought about how not wanting to be “alone” kept me from going to church.  And I looked around, and even though no one was sitting in the pew with me, I didn’t feel alone.  And then I realized it’s because I’m NOT alone.  I was in a room full of my friends and family, people who love me and then I also realized that I’m on my way to conquering my fear of being alone.  (I’m pretty existential though, so I’ll probably always struggle with that a little.)  It probably helps that I spend a lot of time with the aforementioned fantastic man, but I’m not going to over think that, I’m just going to enjoy his company.  More than that, God is with me, He always has been.  And he’s doing really good things in my life.  He is calling me to do something, and I’m not sure what it is yet, I feel like it has a lot to do with my church, being a counselor and disaster relief, but I’m still trying to listen really closely so I can hear what He says.  Which means honing my being quiet and listening skills.

I’m a little in disbelief of how negative I was at the beginning of the year to where I am now.  How could I have overlooked how amazing Aubree would be?  She is picking up words in a day now, and understands the meaning behind them as well.  Yesterday I took her little hand and I said “Is this your hand?”  And she nodded, and then I said “Are these your fingers?” and then I wiggled her little fingers and then she said “Fingers.”  She did that every time after when I asked her what they were.  She knows “yellow” (yayyow) “blue” and “green” (geen) too!  That alone should have given me a more positive outlook.  Sadly it didn’t, and knowing that now, I’ll just have to try really hard to remember to be more grateful for what I have!  (And I was cranky at the beginning of this post and I’m already feelin better!  See how that works!)

These are the great things going on in my life.  God is good.  Life is still hard and I don’t always get what I ask for, what I think I need, but He knows, and He is teaching me.  It’s my favorite time of the year, and where I was totally unenthused last year, and I still remember how I felt exactly, I’m extremely excited this year.  I’m so excited to make it good for Aubree and the people that I love!

Proud Mommy Moments

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After a couple of weeks of feeling like an absolute mom failure, I’ve finally had more moments than not that make me realize that maybe I’m not failing my child, and that maybe she won’t grow up and just detest me.  I’m very excited about this.  She has been throwing tantrums and picking on other kids at daycare and instigating situations in which she gets bit.  And don’t tell me “oh it’s just their age.”  No.  I’m sorry.  I don’t care about other kids (in that respect).  I care about Aubree.  I care about how Aubree acts.  I care that Aubree is well behaved.  That’s not to say I want her to think that she’s better than other kids.  I want her to be a leader, to be a strong confident woman.  Not just one that knows she’s cute and uses that to get away with stuff.  (Although she is just beautiful.)  I started to wonder if maybe I had set my expectations too high and that they were unreachable for her at her age, but I think that we had a breakthrough yesterday.

Yesterday started a little rough with her banging on doors and flailing about angrily because I wouldn’t let her in the (teeny tiny) bathroom.  I’m sorry, I just don’t want her under my feet!  Why don’t you understand that, child!!  Anyway, I worried all day about whether or not she had a rough day at daycare, if she was sad because she got disciplined that morning, and sad because I had to discipline her.  I don’t like it, it doesn’t make me happy and it’s probably the hardest part about being a single mom.  I picked her up from daycare and she was all smiles!  We had to run by the store and she was such a good girl in the car.  We got into the store and I asked her if she wanted to walk on her own and she nodded so I put her down and held her hand.  We walked a little ways and I could see that she was a little overwhelmed and starting to panic a little so I asked her if she needed me to pick her up, she nodded her head and signed “please” so I did and then I thanked her for being such a good girl!  She was just so good the rest of the night and it made me so happy!  She was a good girl this morning, and I’m really hoping I don’t jinx myself for when I pick her up tonight!  Guess we’ll find out.

Her new tricks include spinning round and round and then saying “Woah!” when she stops, she knows what and where her “bobo” is.  She’s totally obsessed with shoes, blankets, puppies and her binki.  She loves to eat, snuggle, run and laugh and I just love her so very much!!

My Name

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This post seems to be hard for me to put out there and I’m not sure why.  My name is legally all changed back to Stephenie Jones.  Driver’s license, social security, at my workplace.  I still need to go talk to my bank, but the super important stuff is back to Jones.  Right now, I have the name that I want to develop my professional identity under.  But it makes me kind of mad that I had to do all this.  I’m not even mad at the ex.  I don’t care about him, and haven’t for a while.  I care more about my name!  I changed it, thinking that I was doing the right thing when I got married.  That’s what I was supposed to do right?  Change my name.  I left Jones behind and that was hard for me!  Really hard!  And I know about one other person who understands how I feel about it, and that’s my sister.  I even kept my middle name and just let my maiden name go.  I let something I was incredibly proud of go… for what?  Tradition??  Lord have mercy that seems dumb to me now.  I don’t really have much more to say about the subject, just that I’m back to me.  My name is the name that’s on my BA diploma and my Tech ring, it’s the name I was born with.  At least if I die tomorrow (hopefully not) I’ll be buried as a Jones.

 

*Disclaimer – This is not to say that if I ever remarry, I won’t take on his name in some way.  I’ll just find a way to keep Jones as well.  I don’t really feel comfortable letting it go again.

 

Mom Perspective

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Being a single mom is hard.  Obviously being a mom is rewarding and just about my favorite thing, EVER.  I struggle though.  I struggle with the fact that I feel like I’m really strict, and that I don’t have a lot of patience, or tolerate very much “bad” behavior.  And then I struggle with “well is she really being bad, or is she hurting or hungry or whatever, and I am missing something?”  And then I realize I probably underestimate her sometimes.  I don’t really have anyone I can confer with either in real time.  All decisions are all on me, and I’m doing the best I can… but it still makes me sad when I get on to her and she cries.  Even thinking of it now causes a huge lump in my throat.  I definitely broke down crying on the phone with George the other day about it after Aubree had a melt down in the store… and church… and at home.  That was a rough day.  I also felt like people were not being overly supportive, hence my blog yesterday.

I got go go hang out with him last night, dinner, movies, homework.  Yay!  He knew I was tired and still having a hard time about Aubree’s tantrums over the weekend.  In his thoughtfulness, he found a video for me.  He said a friend put it on Facebook and he saw it, but I kinda wonder if he didn’t search it out to make me feel better.  😉  Or maybe it really was put in his path so he could show it to me, I don’t know.  Either way, he had this ready for me when I got to his house last night.  (Mom’s get your tissues ready!)

http://www.faithit.com/moms-kids-video-confession-touching/

I bawled.  Everything those moms said is exactly what I’ve been thinking since Aubree started getting into things and sassily telling me “uh-uh!” when I tell her to get out of them.  I don’t know the circumstances of those moms.  Are they married?  Are they single?  Do they have one child or ten?  All I know is they’re moms and they’re having the same problems that I am having.  Oh my soul, what a relief, it’s not just me.  I’m not the only one who feels like I don’t spend enough time having fun with Aubree, or that I’m always getting on to her, or desperately trying to get things done and putting her off.  Those kids don’t immediately think of the times that their mom got on to them.  The first thing that comes into their little minds is that mom colors with them, or that they have days where they go to the mall and get their nails done, or that mom cooks REALLY good food.  Hopefully as Aubree goes about her day, she won’t think of me telling her to stop messing with whatever she was messing with at the time, but she’ll remember laying on my chest as I was laying in the floor trying to decide to put my shoes on and get moving.  I hope that’s what she thinks about.

Anyway, watch the video!  Absorb the perspective that our kids know we love them and that they don’t dwell on us disciplining them.  They think about us loving them unconditionally.  What a beautiful thing!!

“What did you do to that baby!?”

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I’m in a bad mood, and this seemed to kind of kick off the bad mood, partially, or maybe my anger is misdirected.  Either way, I’m a little miffed.  Also, this isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but if you have said something along these lines, maybe you should stop and consider how it’s making any poor frazzled mother feel.

All I did all weekend, it seems like, was get on to Aubree.  “AUBREE! Get out of that.”  “Aubree, don’t do that.”  “Aubree, stop whining, I’ll get your food in just a second.”  “Aubree, get out of the box.”  “Aubree, get away from the plug!”  “Aubree, why did you just start crying when you were laughin 2.5 seconds ago?!?!?!”  Seriously.  I could not make that kid happy to save my life this weekend.  Yes I know it’s not all about making her happy, but damn if she had been happy at some point, maybe I wouldn’t be so cranky today. I don’t like getting on to my kid.  I don’t like leaving her to throw tantrums in the middle of the floor.  But you know what??  When I walk off, she gets the point that her little fit isn’t working the way she wants it to.  So when well meaning people walk up to me and either try to 1) take her from me or 2) ask ME what I did to her, it gets under my skin just a little.  First, don’t try to rescue her.  I am trying to get her to understand that she can’t behave a certain way and validating her, just makes her realize she can go to someone else when she’s in trouble.  NO.  She either comes to me, or gets left in the floor to throw her fit.  (While I watch her like a hawk, trying to pretend I’m not watching… and also while my heart is breaking.) Secondly, asking what I did doesn’t help.  Someday she’ll be old enough to play on that.  “Mom did…”  No, mom did not.  Aubree did.  Aubree threw a fit, Aubree was in the box when she wasn’t supposed to, Aubree was pulling on the plugs, or in the kitchen while I was trying to cook, or pulling my hair, or yanking my glasses off my face.  I am teaching her NOW to take responsibility for herself because a whole bunch of people her age aren’t going to know how to do that because a whole bunch of people MY age don’t know how to do it.  Thank God my mom was a hard ass when I was growing up.

The best part of my disciplinary weekend was Aubree having a melt. down. in Sears.  She threw her cow, and then her binki when I wouldn’t give the cow back, so I took them both away.  And she proceeded to freak out.  Crying loud, trying to get out of her stroller, arching her back (pet. peeve!! of mine), and just generally being a brat.  Some women were standing behind me in line.  Normally people say “Aww poor baby….”  No!  Not poor baby!  Poor mama!  It’s not like I enjoy hearing her scream or see her face turn red! They looked at me with sympathy, and rather than letting them say “Poor baby” I explained what she had done and that I was holding the binki hostage.  You know what they said??  They said “Good for you, stay strong!”  I nearly cried right in the middle of the store.  So after a little bit longer with the crying, I got down on her level, and I told her if she’d be really good, and really still and really quiet, I’d give her the pacifier back.  I asked her if she’d be a good girl, and she nodded and sniffled and so I gave it back.  She was a perfect angel the rest of our outing.  Mom win, I think.

My point in all this is, I know people mean well… but I don’t need help.  I got it.  If I need help, I’ll ask.  Except I won’t… so it’s probably best to just leave me alone when my kid is melting down cause you’re likely to get “the look.”

 

Rules, Regulations and General Ridiculousness

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I’m trying to process through this one, I really am. I understand that most laws start for a reason. That somewhere there is a grain in them of why they had to be made. That doesn’t make me think what I encountered today is any less ridiculous.

Let me start by saying that some of this comes from my own detrimental pride. I know that. I hate that I have to have financial help in things for Aubree. I got off of WIC as soon as I could because of the stigma that I hold for it. So the fact that I’m still having to have help with her daycare weighs heavily on me.

Today I had to go sign some paperwork for her recertification, when I should have been home sleeping. I got sent home from work because apparently I didn’t look too good. I did get to crochet this morning and take a nap, but then I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to take care of paperwork, because where my daughter is concerned, I don’t mess around. Well I got there and they told me that they’d only qualified me for three months because now I was divorced and I had to go apply for child support. Well I had given them my divorce decree and I said that none was ordered. “Well we can’t go by the court order.” I’m sorry… WHAT?! You can’t go by a court order… I seriously thought they were joking. Nope, I have to go apply for child support. So I tried to call the attorney general’s office. That was impossible. They had about 500,000 menus you have to go through and no option to hit zero for a receptionist. Ridiculous. So I go in and tell them the story and they said that I’d have to apply but most likely they would open a case and then immediately close it. Does that not seem like… I don’t know, a waste of time and money?? It’s a waste of MY time that now I’m going to have to go BACK to CCS which pisses me off anyway! Fine… whatever, I’ll do your stupid paperwork. It just goes back to my issue about so many laws being cookie cutter type deals.

That is not really my issue. (How did you already know that!!) My real issue is why does everyone expect that Andrew will all the sudden just be super happy to pay for Aubree. He didn’t pay for anything while we were married, he couldn’t even hold a job. He couldn’t stay in school, all he wanted to do was play video games. He didn’t even care about me then. Then we we FINALLY got divorced he tried to demand that I would have to pay to support him. So obviously he doesn’t care about Aubree still since he’d be taking what money I do have. Why would anyone in their right mind thing that he would pay for her now!! He wouldn’t because he doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

I don’t need child support from him. I can support us. I’ll ask for the help I need to get Aubree what she needs even if it does hurt my pride because the simple fact of the matter is, she’s more important than my damned pride. She’s more important than ANYTHING, and since she was born, I have been the one supporting her and making sure she had everything she needed and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna someone who doesn’t even care horn in. I’ll do what you want, Texas, but I’m probably going to yell about it a little.

On the bright side, I get to hang out with Aubree tonight and she helped me crochet, and she’s been in a really good mood and we have cuddled a lot. The things I have to be thankful for have not escaped me. They just make me more motivated to be basically the best mom ever.