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The Things We Wait For

November 1, 2012 15 comments

Every semester for the last two years I’ve printed the 1L xxxx School of Law course schedule and kept it tucked inside a notebook hidden in my purse. I’ve been carrying it around as if the schedule were my own, praying that one day it would be.

In a life which I’ve devoted the better part of to raising a family, my hopes to pursue a law degree has been a secret desire buried twenty years beneath the daily conundrum of kids’ science projects, football practices, mortgage payments, the ups and downs of my husband’s business, and my own nine to five job. When you spend that much time folding laundry and refereeing sibling rivalry attempting law school seems more like a pipe dream and less than a reality. Perhaps even more restrictive of this law school fantasy of mine was that bachelor’s degree I lacked but required if my aspirations were to become anything more than an unsettled yearning in my chest. Read more…

The Stories They Leave Out of the Marriage Manual

February 18, 2012 17 comments

Some days I look at my husband and think, “I can love this man a thousand years, in this life and the next.” Other days I find myself struggling to figure out how I’m supposed to stand him one more day. Marriage is funny like that. It’s like a roller coaster, complete with that sick-to-your-stomach-feeling you get when you catch a dip you didn’t realize was going to be so steep.

There really is a thin line between love and hate. I should know, my husband and I have danced on both sides more often than I’d like to count. On a few occasions I’ve just been one bad decision away from setting his clothes, his car – heck, sometimes his *ss on fire. Good thing I know better, at least now I do.

The last few years of our marriage have been rough, which is saying a lot considering the first ten was chock full of cinematic worthy drama. I don’t doubt the stories of my marital highs and lows wouldn’t incite screenwriter Tyler Perry into writing part three to his ‘Why Did I Get Married’ movie series. Read more…

Happy New Year…from my house to yours..

January 14, 2012 2 comments

Another year has come and gone, another memorable chapter in our lives closed.

It hadn’t been one of our better years. As individuals, and as a family, I think each of us learned new things about ourselves, strengths we didn’t realize we had and weaknesses we would’ve preferred keep to ourselves . My husband and I found ourselves doing a lot of much needed self reflection. We rediscovered what it takes to keep a family whole and how being happy with ourselves and each other plays a key role in that.

Between the hectic schedule of a family of six and despite our tumultuous summer, we’re all still laughing and driving each other nuts, in a good way..at least most of the time. Read more…

A Private Room…For Dogs..To Do What?!?

October 19, 2011 8 comments

As if four kids wasn’t enough we also have four dogs, all boys. Feeding them, keeping their shots up to date, and buying them toys costs us a pretty penny, same as our kids do, but they’re worth more than the trouble they get into so we keep ’em around. Hmm, same as our kids do. *Insert pic of light bulb turning on above Maria’s head here.*

My secret favorite dog is Hogan, a sweet lil’ Dachshund Chihuahua mix, whose daddy, I’m convinced, is not actually the chihuahua his mother has led everyone to believe, but rather the much more good looking  Doberman Pinscher “player” from around the way.  Hogan maintains the never-experienced-a-shelter-mentality, innocent and loving. He’s constantly smothering people with dog kisses, which wouldn’t be so bad if his breath didn’t smell like a fish container.  Read more…

The Stuff Our Kids Teach Us

October 11, 2011 6 comments

The other day I was tossing up the closet when one of my girls came up from behind me in surprise.

“Mama, what are you doing?”

You bet I jumped. “Hey sweetie.”

“What are you doing,” she asked with her head cocked to one side.

Now this is the baby of the family, the kid where hubs and I finally got it right, hence a bit sheltered, so when she asks me what I’m doing when it’s rather obvious I’m nosing through her dad’s junk she really is asking out of innocence. This is opposed to her older, more street savvy siblings whose likely responses would’ve been, “Mom, whatcha’ doin’ creeping through dad’s things again,” accompanied with a wink and a smile implying I owe them one.  Read more…

Protected: Welcome To My World!!

July 21, 2011 Enter your password to view comments.

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What The %@#$%^! Is Going On Here?

I’m a warrior, a road warrior. Well, among other things. Really. Just hear me out.

Being a family of six limits our options when it comes to travel. Heck, being a family of six limits us financially in several respects, because as you can guess six times any dollar amount usually equals much more than most people can afford.

Hence, over the last few years this family has become a band of road warriors, trekking it across the state and the country in our bucket of a minivan accompanied by three little dogs. Despite the thousands of dollars we save in airfare, road tripping has its drawbacks, the most obvious of which has to be the circus you’re subjected to by the parties in your car.  Read more…

Exhaustion

March 24, 2011 9 comments

I’m not a morning person, never have been. In fact, I have a love hate relationship with my snooze button. I need her, rely on her, religiously check on her just in case, but every morning I blindly smack her quiet for that luxurious ten more minutes of sleep. Who am I kidding? I set her for 6:30, but shush her half a dozen times before my husband has to coerce me out of bed with coffee at 7. And that’s on a good day.

The worse days entail me waking up to my fourteen year old standing above me citing I have fifteen minutes to get dressed and out the door. Better believe I’ve long since given up fixing my face and hair unless I can work that in while I warm up the car. I usually focus on just trying not to wear the same outfit two days in a row and some weeks I don’t even manage that.  Read more…

Are My Children Mentally Deranged?

January 16, 2011 9 comments

Here’s a scene from dinner a few months ago, not quite sure what to make of it.

Mom: Where’s Taylor?

Rodney Jr.: In her room.

Kayla: She’s still trying to get out.

Mom: Of what???

Rodney (nonchalantly): We tied her up. Read more…

Protected: Angry Open Letter to That Family Member Who Just Doesn’t Know How to Call Back

January 11, 2011 Enter your password to view comments.

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Protected: Sick Notice – The Extended Director’s Cut

January 9, 2011 Enter your password to view comments.

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Happy New Year from our family to yours!

January 1, 2011 2 comments

Here is an excerpt from our annual holiday  family newsletter.

It’s amazing how quickly the years go by, especially when you’re having fun. Well, it hasn’t all been fun, but it’s definitely been memorable.

Yesterday AJ was still tossing his 2nd grade lunch in the garbage bin instead of eating it, Rodney Jr. was still waving at me through tears every day I left him at daycare, Kayla still cried just because you looked at her funny, and Taylor still swore by the tooth fairy who jipped her when she woke up to use the bathroom.

Today AJ is an adult and navigating his way through early adulthood eating every last bite of the lunches we feed him, and yours if you’re not careful, Rodney Jr. spends weekends at his friends’ homes as if I shared custody with their parents, and this year the girls think they’re too old for anything from Toys ‘R Us and prefer jeggings. Read more…

Sorry, It’s Just Not Your Lucky Day

December 23, 2010 11 comments

The current economic crisis has left few unscathed, myself included. My husband’s business is rather slow to say the least, but I’m thankful we continue to stay in the black, as opposed to many of our counterparts who aren’t even in the game anymore.

We’re fortunate that I have a great job, receive a pretty adoption stipend, and that I know how to budget up the wazoo. It’s never easy to feed a family of six, all of them hearty eaters, but we make it work. Determination is always a plus.

Sure, we’re lucky enough to manage but every now and then, like when a car unexpectedly needs work done or your son comes home with a lacrosse registration demanding $500 payment, it’s a challenge not to scream, or beat somebody up, or incite some other grand measure of self destruction to express my frustration or mask my desperation. Read more…

Protected: Top 5 ‘God, Help Me’ Parenting Moments

December 19, 2010 Enter your password to view comments.

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Mission take-some-extra-rolls-home

December 17, 2010 2 comments

I’m so cheap…it costs a ton to feed my family of seven at home, even moreso when we eat out, so we frequent buffets. More bang for your buck, I say.

One afternoon we went to a Golden Corral where the rude waitress proceeded to seat us in the big family, ergo ghetto who-gives-a-crap about them, section. I was mortified. The area was tucked in a corner and hidden by dividers. Other people’s children were running around playing tag and dirty plates were piled up on tables without a busser in sight, but we were hungry so we stuck around.

I spent the rest of the hour complaining about nasty this, nasty that, ghetto here and there, blah, blah, blah. At some point my husband turned to me and told me to shut up.

“You’re the ghetto-est of them all, babe,” he accused.

“WHAT,” I retorted, “you better take that back,” I demanded.

“No,” he stood firm, “I know what you’ve been doing for the last ten minutes.”

I fidgeted in my seat uncomfortably. “I’m not doing anything,” I refuted.

“Yes, you are. Open your purse,” he directed.

“NO.”

“I bet you don’t want to. You have a bunch of sticky buns and rolls in your purse, I know you do.”

“I only took one or two,” I replied defensively.

“No, babe, you took eight and you’ve been putting them in ziplock bags that I know you brought from the house.”

Mission take-some-extra-rolls-home foiled! Darn it.

“Babe, you’re sticking $0.50 rolls in the $1000 Burberry bag I bought you. Are you crazy? I’m not buying you anymore nice purses if you’re just going to use them to hide stolen food.”

Pouting and reluctant, I surrendered and pulled the giant ziploc bag of rolls out of my purse, tossing them on the table.*

Suffice to say, I no longer steal rolls from buffets..at least not in front of my husband.

*By the way, on our way out I did grab the ziploc bag and stuck it in my jacket. Waste not, want not..

Christmas Scavenger Hunt

December 13, 2010 4 comments

It’s that time of year again. We only have twelve more days and one paycheck to go before D-Day and to make sure we bought everything we were supposed to. Phew! I’ve got four kids. Good luck with that, right?


Every year our children draw up Christmas lists like I write up my daily to dos. Then, being the jolly good parents that we are, we go a hunting for gifts. Now although this year is looking good so far, there’s usually always one gift that kicks our butt to find.

Last year it was the Crayola Glow Dome selling for only $24.99, but because it was advertised non-stop in December that made it a hot pick item back then. My husband spent nearly two weeks scrounging every Walmart, Target, and Toys ‘r’ Us within a 40 mile radius looking for those bad boys. Ultimately, being the experienced Christmas scavenger king he is, we did prevail.

The year prior to it was the Pantech phone. Released only earlier that month it quickly became the preteen necessity and our youngest son just “had to have it”. By Christmas eve when we were still coming up short, I actually sat in the middle of the AT&T store and started to cry like a crazed mother while my annoyed husband stood over me claiming this was my fault. Eventually a busy salesman felt so sorry for us he agreed to sell us the display. Honestly, he might’ve just been desperate to get us out of the store but whatever.

Like I said, this year is looking decent. Kid 1 asked for $200 worth of toys and girl junk. Kid 2 asked for a 32 inch flat screen TV.  Kid 3, well, he’s the 18 year old I’ve been ranting about lately and since he’s on the naughty list this year he’s just getting a lump of coal. Kid 4 asked for a Mighty Beans 3-pack for a mere $3.99. Now, can you guess which kid is my favorite this particular Christmas?

Save yourself or remain unsaved

December 11, 2010 3 comments

This month has been rough, what with finals, car problems, my sister in the hospital again, my brother moving out,  then there’s the rest of life; bills, kids, work. And, of course, the ordeal with my 18 year old son, who’s doing some soul searching of his own. I’m learning new life lessons and rediscovering old ones, too, some of them heart breakers.

I’m learning that people aren’t always who you think they are and that’s not all their fault. Sometimes we build them up in our minds to be who we want them to be instead of accepting who they are. We assume we’re older, we know better, so what we say goes. We think that because they’re our children or kid brother we’ve earned the right to plan their lives for them, especially if you’re afraid they don’t have dreams of their own or you just don’t like what they do have. Then we act surprised when they’re not plugging away working on that list of ambitions we set for them never once thinking that maybe it wasn’t what they wanted. We ignore the signs that tell us they’re anything other than what we want them to be and convince ourselves we can fix them, save them.

Well into adulthood, you still think it’s your job to look out for your kid brothers and sister, making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to, just like you did when you were ten. You carry their failures and burdens as your own. You forget that you can’t mold people into who you want them to be. You can’t change them. They are who they are, take it or leave it. People evolve at their own pace not yours.

We mistakenly assume an 18 year old without plans is an instant sign of disaster, a distress signal that a parent is required to reply. We forget that some things even a parent can’t answer and that includes telling your son who he is or is supposed to be. We forget what it was like to be 18 years young, and confused, and scared, and trying, just trying to figure out your place in this big old world.

You confuse your kids’ mistakes for your own. You think your siblings’ misfortunes belong to you. You forget that kids and siblings alike grow up and have to figure things out for themselves, without you shadowing them or judging them.

So I’m learning..to have faith in my last 18 years of parenting, most of which were good. I’m learning that sometimes my support is needed more than my direction. I’m learning that I have to let people learn from their own mistakes just as I do mine. I’m learning to accept people for who they are, with all of their flaws, even if it means they’re not doing anything I wish they were. But mostly I’m learning that I can’t save anyone besides myself. People have to save themselves or remain unsaved.

Definitely not a Prince Charming

December 3, 2010 9 comments

This morning, as we waited to drive around the gi-normous moving truck hindering a quarter of the block, we watched a new family move their things into our old neighbors’ house.

“What happened,” my husband asked, “where’d they go?”

“They got divorced this past summer,” I reminded him, “she took the boys and moved to Wyoming, he went to Florida.”

“Divorce, huh? Hhmmm.”

My son, who was best friends with one of their sons, sat in the back seat and fiddled with his backpack. We all shared an awkward and unplanned moment of silence for another marriage that’s dissolved into that ever growing group of “tried but just couldn’t make it work” couples.

Believe me, I’m not judging. God knows I’ve been there. I have an ex -husband. I’ve been a single parent before and it’s exhausting, physically and mentally. I’ve even separated from my current husband a few times over the last decade and a half. Marriage is trying, but being divorced has its own demons, too.

I can’t imagine, nor do I want to, starting a new life alone after it feels like you already spent twenty years building it with someone else. I know this happens all the time, it’s a fact of life, and I do believe people deserve to be happy, even if that means you need to be alone, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me telling you the idea of divorce still makes me sad.

My marriage is far from perfect, in fact, at the stage we’re in now, some might even call us unconventional. I’ll refrain from providing details, and no, not because it’s too terrible for print. Lets just say we’re not as close as we used to be.

After a decade of cinematic worthy drama; recovering from the stupidity of our early twenties, sustaining the overwhelming process of starting a business together, praying through the scary times, screaming and throwing things through the worst, it never occurred to me that marriage not only has to learn to survive drama, it also has to withstand things that seem as menial as boredom! Good God, who knew?! I sure didn’t.

Most of the marriages I’ve watched while growing up, including my parents’, either ended in divorce or carry on only to live out a nasty cycle of self destruction. Suffice to say, I didn’t have the best models of relationships to learn from. In fact, I held off on marrying my current husband until we’d already had all our kids and bought our first house, all because I  didn’t believe a sanctity of marriage existed. (For those of you who follow my blog, but, of course, how else would  *ss backwards Maria do it?)

I grew up thinking that marriage was a farce and happiness a delusion and for a long time I dubbed anyone who believed in either or both, weak. No, I am not kidding. That’s how deluded I was, I thought everyone else was the idiot. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that’s how f*cked up I was.

Fortunately, twenty years later, I think I’ve finally figured it out, at least I’m in the process of. So my marriage isn’t perfect, I probably couldn’t trade my kids off if I offered a money back guarantee, our family is dysfunctional to say the least, but we all love each other, in our own screwy ways. A close friend once told me that my house was the only place she’d ever been where chaos and yelling was a sign that all was well. I took it as a compliment.

I know now that there is such a thing as happiness and some of us are lucky enough to find marriages that do work more often than they don’t. They’re not wrapped up pretty like they were on The Brady Bunch or The Cosby Show. They look more like the blue collared couple, Dan and Roseanne Connor; slightly overweight, fatigued, bearing equally sharp tongued children, and living in a less than sparkly clean house with a mortgage payment that kicks their *sses. That’s us, but we’re also happy.

On my husband’s best day he resembles nothing near a Prince Charming, not even a second rate boot leg, but even on his worst day, I’ve never wanted anything more than him. Maybe that’s the key to how we’ve made it thus far. On a list of pros and cons, even on the days when it’s a narrow split of 49-51 in favor of, we’d still rather be together than apart and for that, I’m blessed.

The voices in my head

November 27, 2010 3 comments

I have to wonder sometimes if I’m the only sane person who has voices screaming inside her head. What an oxymoron, right?

But really, doesn’t anyone else have moments where he (or she) finds himself questioning why in the heck they bother doing what they do? If it matters at all? Don’t the voices in your head just scream for you to give it up, let it go, to just forget it already?! But then there’s that stubborness in you that won’t allow you to stop until you’re done. Some call it tenacity, I prefer to call her the crazy voice in my head and I would like nothing more than to punch her quiet this morning.

It’s Saturday and I’ve already spent the last few hours trying to make sense of exponentials and logarithms. I’ve always thought of myself as a smart girl, but college algebra makes me question my sanity, tests my self confidence, and makes me feel downright stupid.

Add to that I have a ton of other things to prepare for; next week’s out of town conference for work, another research paper due for Business Ethics, FINALS!!, and I still have to do a practice run on fixing Kayla’s hair for her cheer competition next week, but instead here I am stuck on problem #5 on page 370 of Beecher’s 3rd Edition College Algebra.

Great, now the voices in my head are arguing. One is yelling at the other about this being the reality of a mom going back to school when she barely has enough energy to clean the house, another insists things will be okay, and then there’s a third voice who just keeps singing that New Radicals song over and over again. I’m so flustered, I’m not even sure which voice I want to smother. I could really cry right now, that is of course if I had the time, which I don’t.

I only wish I was as good at college algebra as my professor so smoothly explains it every Wednesday evening in room MH 208. Maybe then I could get on with my day and quit wallowing in self pity. I think I’ll make that my early Christmas wish. Dear Santa, if I’m good, will you please help my brain wrap around f(x)=-2(to the power of x) – 1. Don’t forget to show me how to graph it as well. xoxo Maria

Readers, thank you for listening to me vent this morning, I’m not usually this depressing. I still have several more hours of studying to go so….

Happy Turkey Day! Gobble, gobble

November 25, 2010 2 comments

It’s only seven o’clock but after polishing off 15 pounds of turkey and two pumpkin pies my entire family, dogs included, has already passed out in the living room. I’m sure you’re thinking precious, right? No, not really, they actually look like a bunch of beached whales, but still, for this I’m thankful.

For my dysfunctional family, for the feast my husband spent five hours preparing while he got drunk, for a job and a business that continue to pay (most of) the bills, for a year full of more good memories than bad, for having good friends and family, for readers who actually like my blog enough to read it, and for anything and everything else God’s blessed me with, big or small. I’m thankful for it all.

From my family to yours, may you always know the full value of what you have waiting for you at home.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

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