Dog Dilema

About 5 minutes after telling the kids about our upcoming divorce my daughter who was 12, asked if I would then buy her a dog. My ex has severe allergies and asthma and the kids couldn’t ever let the idea of pets go. In the last year she still hasn’t let it go. And there was a big part of me that wanted to give that to them.

Everyone who knows me and I actually listen to has told me that dogs wouldn’t work for me right now. My schedule is erratic with work and they can be expensive, and I would listen… mostly. Then one day one of those same people, my best friend called to say there was a dog at the shelter who desperately needed a foster home and I would be perfect. She was a rescue from what is called the griffen mud dogs, she was neglected and left in cages along with 30-50 other dogs living in mud and poop. She was in the shelter for a year and not adopted. Her online profile says she needs a saint.

They weren’t kidding. She won’t let us within 5 feet of her. The only time we can pet her is when we get her on a car ride and she is so mesmerized by the ride we can touch her without her flinching but eventually she looks at us through baleful eyes for ruining her ride and moves out of reach again. She only eats food if we toss her a piece at a time and only if she feels like it. I let her play in a fenced yard without her leash on and it took us 3 hours to corral her back into the house because she wanted to keep sleeping in the lettuce. I’m told by my friend that she just needs time and I’m told by another that my life is too complicated for a dog especially one that won’t bring me joy. One child think we should take her back, this is the one who had to chase her down when she slipped through my legs at midnight and raced off. It’s a miracle he caught her. Two of my other kids think I’m terrible for even considering taking her back.  As of now we are her foster family, so she can go back.

Pros:

She never barks

She doesn’t have accidents in the house

She sleeps for long periods of time so isn’t as bored when I work.

She’s adorable

Cons:

Can’t pet her

She doesn’t come when I say even when she really wants to go on that walk

Won’t jump in my car, I have to load her into a crate and then into my car

Looks at me like I’m planning on cooking her for dinner

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Repurposed

I have strong feelings towards recycling objects as I frequently feel like my new life is me being recycled. I have been drawn toward the antique keys at the local fairs and began collecting them. I already had the stamp kits to make jewelry and stamp on old silverware to stick in the garden. So when my daughter asked if we could stamp some words for her on some keys she really loved it was the perfect activity. She chose to stamp “home” and “courage” on her keys. Once we started we just didn’t want to stop until we thought of all the words we could and we ran out of keys. We’ve been taking turn wearing the different ones depending on our moods. One day just for fun I posted a few on a brand new Easy shop called BoBelleCo that we started together using a blend of our names. We’ve only sold a few keys but its been such a fun thing to learn and do together.

My daughter is at girls camp this week and last week was with her dad so I feel like we haven’t had a lot of time together lately. I know it’s important to find ways to hang out with her while she has the time and interest. Lots of days she is so busy chatting with her friends by video I have a hard time getting a personal conversation in.

Let it Go

I remember the night in the hospital when I held my first child, a son. I wrote graduation speeches, practiced wedding toasts. I was a little delirious from the drugs I admit. But I don’t think I’m the only one that begins to plan their future from the first moment

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Not many of my plans worked out very well. Turns out kids come with their own personality and this spawns ideas and plans of their own. Some days I love the ride and the journey of it, they are so much more then I could have ever imagined. Some days I feel like my heart is breaking from the pain and loss, to see them go down hard paths that won’t end well. When they blame you for everything, point out all your faults in detail. Those days suck.

I find it’s important to let go. Let go of the fantasy, let go of the planning, it’s practice for letting them go. I can’t believe my son graduates from high school in 2 short weeks! I can’t wait to be done with his life in high school! School with him has been difficult. He is very smart but not at all interested in sitting in a class room.

A few weeks ago our church put together a night to celebrate all the graduates. They asked the parents to submit photos of their child growing up and prepare a small speech about their child. I didn’t know about it until 10 minutes after it ended. My ex didn’t tell me about it and he was receiving all the emails and requests. He called right after it ended to casually mention where they had been. I have been the photographer of their lives, the keeper of the scrapbooks and photo albums. I have been waiting to show anyone my kids growing up. My ex sent in a few pictures he had on his phone and Facebook. My son had half the time the other kids had. I have had a really hard time letting this one go. I called my son and cried that I hadn’t been there and that I hadn’t known. He laughed and told me he hadn’t even wanted to go and didn’t know I wasn’t invited. But this is my child who has always been sensitive to things and people around him, I know somewhere inside it was another strike on him from the divorce.

Next week he gets his yearbook. I made his senior post and chose the pictures and the really awesome Tony Hawk quote (my son is a major skateboarder lol). I have that.

Fresh Scones

Tonight while I was watching one son compete in the state championship for gymnastics my other son called and informed me that he and his girlfriend were craving scones.

I love making scones, I love eating them with honey butter, or nutella or dredged in sugar and cinnamon… so yummy! When I was growing up my mom would make taco meat and we would fill the hot scones with meat, cheese and lettuce and it was heaven!

Now however I can’t have the gluten and that would be torture! But I wanted so badly to go home and make them scones. I want to be there making memories with him before he leaves for college in a few short months. However I was already at one event and the kids were at their dads house for the weekend.

So I told them where the recipe was and let them know I would help however I could. They called several times;

“What is yeast and where is it.”

‘How do you know yeast is rising, we’ve been watching it of awhile.”

“What is the sugar to cinnamon ratio.”

I loved it.  No, I didn’t get to be there making memories with them. What would have happened if I had been? They would have watched a movie while I made scones. So since I wasn’t there, what happened?

They learned. My son learned a new skill! He knows how to make scones, he learned that he can go find a recipe and make food! I’m filled with pride and excitement when I see the writing on the wall.

He’s going to leave me and the nest soon.

He’s going to be ok.

And that is my job as a mom. To teach them how to leave me and survive it, no to thrive!!

 

Mothering boys

Frequently as a mom I soar up into the stratosphere of knowing all and then I plummet into knowing nothing at all about parenting boys.

I was telling a friend about my oldest son who is 20 and has gone off and made many decisions over the past year or two that I didn’t see coming. Now my 18 year old is experimenting with sapphire blue hair. Meanwhile the 16 year old is doing his darndest to be the best version of himself he can be. I explained to my friend that some of the choices the older boys were making were not how I raised them to be. Her response was “didn’t you?’

“Umm no. I raised them to make other choices, more straight laced looking choices.”

She still disagrees. She explained that I have raised my boys to be who they want to be, I’ve raised them with courage to be different. With artistic gifts that I praised that allows them to branch out and explore their creativity.

It’s my feeling that hair is just hair. Mostly I have always cut my boys hair in a classic boy cut, a style that looks good on them. Ok except for the year or two I thought I could cut hair and those weren’t very classic, and contrary to my oldest sons memory I did not knick his ear with hair scissors once. But once when my oldest was in the last week of 7th grade he really wanted a faux hawk and I let him. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was the last week of school and it’s hair. It grows back. My other son loves his long blue hair. I personally think it looks a little like a My Little Pony mane and I want to braid it.  I know eventually it will fade, turn green and we can have it changed back to blonde.

My 3rd son is a level 10 gymnast at the age of 16. Some boys on his team quit a few years ago because they were teased for being gymnast. This has never bothered my son, I don’t know why. But he is strong and talented and has his own level of courage to be himself.

Isn’t this one of the most important things we can teach our boys? To be true to themselves. In a world that wants to change the way they act with drugs, shaming and fear. Hug your boys and let them spread their wings. There isn’t a one mold fits all in life. We need the doctors, soldiers, artists, dentists, garbage men, we need all of them. So love them, I wish I could go back and love mine more, to be less afraid of what teachers thought or strangers in grocery stores. I don’t remember teaching them to express themselves with tattoos, earnings or blue hair. And I hope some of that is temporary expressions of self, but I love them. Just as they are.

Late Night Snacks and Giggles

This is the last night of the 2nd successful week of my kids staying with me full time during the school year. I was very nervous about it and I’m not sure they wanted to try it, but their dad was ready for it which made it happen like it or not. And I’ve loved it. So wonderful to have so much time with them again. I love cuddling my daughter and giggling under the blankets, for a few minutes she forgets she is a teenager and too cool for it.

Tonight she had her makeup off, in bed and comfy, when she realized she was hungry. This is great news, she has been so sick all week and not eating enough. So we had a lovely time warming up tomato soup which she loves with some blue cheese crumbles on top and I pan toasted some gluten free bread since I don’t have a toaster or bread with gluten in it lol. Its the small moments that are so wonderful and I hug them close to my heart.

I’ve tried several tomato soup recipes and this one I really enjoyed. It has a bunch of chopped carrots and whole tomatoes which makes me really feel like we are getting all our veggies in the soup and not just a can of V8. I got this off the Pioneer Woman blog and I love her pictures and casual explanations.

Parenting Blues

One of my sons is 18 and a senior in high school. He actually turned 18 about 7 weeks into senior year because the cut off in the state we live is Sept 1. Its both hard and nice to be one of the oldest in school. I think it was wonderful when he was in kindergarten and first grade when it was tough to sit still for so long, especially for boys.

Now that he is 18 and just dying to be graduated it’s harder. At 18 you are technically a man, and yet you live at home as a student.

So imagine my 18 man/child calls me with his girlfriend to say he’s going to dye his hair blue. This is my handsome tall, blonde son. I’m not a fan of blue hair, especially on boys. Honestly it makes me sing the “My Little Pony” song in my head, and I want to put pretty bows in it. But he’s 18 and it’s his hair. I told him; I didn’t think it was a good idea, its a tough color to really fix after, he’s about to have senior prom and all sorts of important things and lastly his dad will have a fit, along with his paternal  grandparents who live in the area. But ultimately it’s his hair, I just didn’t think it was a great idea.

So they did it. Bright, BRIGHT blue.

His dad, my ex, had a major fit. He called me quite angry that I didn’t tell our son no. I explained that I had said it wasn’t good idea and I didn’t want him to do it, but for all the reasons above I didn’t just say no. Because I don’t feel it would do any good, and at his age he can make decisions. I was given long lecture by the ex who is an attorney and can be very long winded. He picked apart all my wording just like I was on the witness stand.  And I ended it by saying when I told our 20 year old son no tattoos, did it stop him? No. When that same son wanted his nose pierced and I said no, did it stop him? No.

When I talk about this it sounds like I’ve raised some interesting kids, blue hair, tattoos, nose rings… lol and it wasn’t the way I raised them. We taught them to be pretty straight laced. I’m not sure whats going on. Other then they are strong boys with creative ideas and a desire to standout. Hopefully they will find even better ways as they grow and mature.

I don’t think I was wrong. I don’t think putting my foot down and forbidding him to dye his hair was the right thing. And it is just hair. And in 4 months he leaves for a service mission for our church where he will be very clean cut. I think he wants to get it out of his system now and I completely get it. Maybe I should remind his father about what he did to his hair and ears when he was a senior in high school… But would that do any good? No.

Post note, I saw a wonderful article on Huffington Post this morning about a  woman dying her hair blue. And I’m sure it was the universe talking back to me after I wrote this article! Wonderful read!

Oh Monday.

Wow Monday jokes are all based in truth. This was a busy day. I worked everyday last week on a movie set that was an hour a way and had a minimum of 14 hours of work on my feet. Crazy but worth it. I left set Thursday morning around 4am drove an hour to get my son so we could drive an hour to the airport to travel out of state for a meet he had in Fort Worth. We didn’t want to waste a day of exploring so I didn’t get to sleep until Friday night. It was just a whirlwind of a weekend, so today was my first chance to catch up on the home front.

I think being so exhausted from last week set me up for a rough afternoon. I really should keep a box of tissues in my car since I end up crying as I drive a ridiculous amount of time.

Two of the 3 kids still at home were over for dinner and that was lovely, I even made them gluten full cookies so I wouldn’t/couldn’t eat any. lol the funny thing is they ate one cookie and instead we ate a mango. I love these guys.

I was laying in bed with my daughter talking about her day and I closed my eyes for a minute. When I opened them she was really close looking at me and she says

“You look really old. You look like a grandma. You have wrinkles here and here and here…”

I kissed her forehead and left her to dream. And here is a lovely picture of me from this weekend to show I do not look like a grandma. Maybe I have a few more wrinkles then Chris Pratt but how can you even notice them when I’m standing next to him? lol

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Shout out to my amazing son

I have a son who is a level 10 gymnast. This has taken many years of working out 5-6 days a week for at least 4 hours a day. Learning how to stretch and contort his body in ways that on occasion hurts for me to watch. He does this because he loves it, he has loved it from the beginning and I drive him where he needs to be, encourage his growth and let him choose his path. I know he has hopes of college scholarships which are hard to come by and he hopes to help coach in the future. The hours and hours I’ve spent in the car supporting his dedication are worth it, I love being a part of his dream.

And this is where my 3 paragraph rant used to be about parents who don’t show up or bring the grandparents, uncles, aunts or cousins to the 1 local competition a year. Now it’s one sentence.

My brother and his awesome family drove 2.5 hours to come watch him compete this weekend and it meant so much to me and my son! I am so grateful for family! Of course now their 3 young children are bouncing and rolling around their house lol and thus begins the next generation of gymnasts.

 

 

Growing Pains

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My daughter choose to sleep over tonight!! This is very exciting! The kids mostly sleep in the house they grew up in which my ex kept in the divorce. I’m not in a hurry to force them to stay over, they are dealing with so many new things and situations, I figure if sleeping in the rooms they have been in for 14 years gives them security thats great. This makes it a big deal when someone wants to sleep at my house.

As I was loading her in my car my ex came out and was telling me privately the things I needed to make sure she did that night at my house. One of these was a girl issue that I wasn’t even aware she was having. Not THE issue,  luckily she hasn’t started that one yet, but one of the things leading up to it. And no one told me. Did it seem like the ex was gloating a bit as he unveiled personal information that as a mother I should have been the one to help her with? yes. Did he know it affected me? No, lol I am an actress after all.

Tonight as we were laying in her bed talking about her day and life,  I asked how this issue was going. I asked if she had any other questions, to remember, I am a girl after all, and I could be a good person to ask.  I told her I am so grateful that she has such a good relationship with her dad that she can discuss these things with him as well. I deserve a big ‘ole pat on the back for that one. He deserves a kick in the butt for calling his sister and not me. It’s his thing though, he likes to feel like he can replace me and alienate me from my kids. This comes from the hurt he feels and I get it.

Life is happening, she is growing up so fast and I won’t always be the one closest to help, I’m glad she is learning how to reach out.