Browsing the archives for the Uncategorized category.

Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up on your kids.


It’s been a little longer than 7 hours and 15 days (Sinead O’Conner anyone?  Anyone?), since I have added any new posts.  But, I went back and read some of my old posts and something pretty incredible happened. Because I had stepped away from the blog for years and came back to read the entries it was almost as if reading someone else’s posts.  And during that time I had to admit that I was pleasantly entertained and impressed with some SOME of the writing and witty tales I told.  It is in light of this little event that I want to try to start writing again.  Many life events have happened since my last post.  The most life changing was the sudden death of my Dad on December 16, 2014 but I will save those entries for a day when I think those words would flow.  Today is not that day.

Today I just want to take a minute to talk to any mom out there who has a child(ren) who, despite all your hard word, dedication and discipline, seems destined to be “that kid.”  To be the kid who when people see coming they are less than happy.  The kid who causes the phone calls, meetings and conversations with school officials, teachers and principals.  You are fighting tooth and nail to raise this little monster into well rounded, happy, polite, kind and responsible citizens of the world yet you go to bed every night with visions of them grown and talking to you through a 3 inch thick sheet of glass and a telephone to each of your ears.  To you I say, do not ever, ever give up.  Some kids, it appears, are born with this natural need to behave, keep people happy, and do as they are told.  I have one of those too.  I did not raise either of my two differently but as they continue to grow, it is obvious they are two very different people.  And, I am finally getting to that point that I can SEE the results of all the countless tears, hard word, determination, and most of all LOVE we have poured into Action Jackson.  He is succeeding with flying colors in the gifted class he was invited to join this year.  His grades have all been A’s and B’s (with 1 C and he did NOT like that) but most impressive and awesome to me is he received his first EVER “S” for “Satisfactory” in conduct.  He does have an IEP (Individual Education Plan) that is WORKING.  I am such a believer in these.  At first it was hard for me to admit my child needed extra help.  That he was outside the norm and couldn’t handle some situations like the everyday 10 year old.  But once I swallowed my pride and let the process do it’s thing I not only believed in it, I advocated for it.  I have talked to several of my friends who are going through similar situations and I am always saying, “Get an IEP!”  I know our IEP, the fact that he is being challenged at an academic level for the first time in his life, and the availability of the resource classroom and teacher if things get overwhelming have changed.our.lives.

I am not going to espouse all this without admitting that things are still not, nor will they every be, perfect but when I go back and read some of my posts from my pasts career as a Mom and think about where we are today I can’t help but realize just how far we’ve all come.

So, frazzled mom with the tears in your eyes, just hold on hun.  If you keep fighting for him (or her) and love your child in SPITE of their actions, there will come a time when you start to see light at the end of that dark tunnel.

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Yard Selling with the girls

I am blessed, My kids, Uncategorized, Unschooling
I had a moment this weekend with Alex that made me realize just how awesome and grown up *sniff* she is. She went yard selling with me, Mom, my aunt Mel and my childhood BFF Elizabeth.
She asked for $10 of her money she’s been saving (the kid has more $ than I do most of the time!)  and Elizabeth gave her $5 as a late Bday present.
Alex took care of her money in her little purse she kept over her shoulder, shopped around,  asked questions, and very rarely paid full price because she always asked if they would take less.
She bought presents for just about everyone she knows. A picture frame that says “Me and my dad”  that she said she wanted to put a picture from one of her and her Daddy’s Valentines days dances. A doll for Cilly, a Gary plush toy for Jackson, and the last goes on.
What she bought for herself was a coin purse to organize her money better, a little cell phone that’s actually a calculator and a container of nail polish.
She never once acted like a child that I had to take care of.  More of a little girl who was out doing some shopping with the girls.
It was surreal.  I was shocked and happy and sad at the same time. When did she grow up??   I must have missed it.
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Chilling Out. Letting go. & Having Fun!


I know many of the blogger super home school Mom’s talk about how everything is awesome.  Their kids are so well behaved and learning at break-neck speed.  Their house household runs like a well-oiled machine.  The all-natural, gluten free, one month meal plan makes the school schedule, co-ops, ballet, tap, violin, underwater basket weaving class more manageable.  But I’m here to tell you – THIS.IS.NOT.ALWAYS.AWESOME.  I am not a super mom.  I pretty much struggle every stinking day.

At the end of last semester we were nearing Christmas and the absolute END of my rope.  I shut down.  I can’t tell you how many times at night, in my husband’s arms I just shook with sobs and announcements that “I just can’t do this.  I’m not cut out.  I give up.”  Jim is so good to listen and let me vent.  He then picks up the pieces of me and helps me rebuild my confidence piece by shaky piece.  I took 2 full weeks off before,during and after Christmas to just unplug from the whole homeschooling thing.  I put my teachers guide away and shelved every single subject and literally haven’t looked or thought about it for 2 weeks.

Jim had a heart to heart with the kids and asked them what they liked and didn’t like about homeschooling and my son, at age 7, had such an insightful observation that it almost knocked the wind out of me.  He said, “I like it when Mommy is just being Mommy – not the teacher.  Mommy is fun.  The teacher Mommy isn’t.”  I had to sit in silence for a good 5 minute letting this settle into my soul.  “…Mommy just being Mommy.”  Wow.  That’s it.  That really is the root of everything I’m doing wrong.  I am taking myself out of my element and trying to do what I think I should be doing instead of just doing what I did their whole lives when I taught them their colors, letters, numbers, to read, simple math, etc etc.  We just live, we see, we read, we watch, we learn.  When Jackson was 3 I used to watch what he was getting into (dinosaurs, space, firefighters etc) and when we would go to the library I would grab a huge pile of books of that subject.  And then I would just have those around.  The boy would read what he could, look at pictures, bring them to me to read to him, ask questions, we played with Playdough and made little planets and put them in order from the sun and WE HAD FUN.

But that was because I wasn’t “homeschooling.”  In my mind there was no pressure.  I was just doing what naturally came to me for my child.  I don’t know what paradigm shift I had once I pulled my kids from public school, bought my curriculum, stuck my chest out and announced to the world, “I shall NOW begin to home school.”  What the hell is that?  I have to relax.  I have to stop worrying that my kids aren’t going to be well-rounded, educated, smart, courteous adults if right now I don’t follow some regimented schedule.  They will learn what they need to learn, when they need to learn it.  I am not a paid, public educator who has to answer to some bureaucracy at the end every 6 weeks (I pray for our teachers and the monumental task they are given every day).  Hell, I don’t have to answer to anyone except myself.  And “myself” needs to chill-the-fuck-out and stop being so hard on herself.  I am a free, adult, caring, creative, loving MOM who knows her kids better than anything else on this planet and is devoted to their well being and education.  I have got to give myself credit that IT WILL BE OK.  IT WILL BE OK.  IT.WILL.BE.OK.  They will be educated, kind, caring, HAPPY adults if I just keep doing what I know I’m good at – being their Mommy.  I suck at standing at a chalkboard and being a cliche’ teacher.

I shall return to this blog and read it often to remind myself of this.  If you are about to begin your homeschooling journey, learn from me – just chill out.  Stop stressing.  Just be Mommy.  Love your kids, watch them, let them tell you what and when it’s time to learn and sort of toss ideas their way.  Bam – done.

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First Experience as Bell Ringers for Salvation Army


Today, of all days, I forgot my phone at home so therefore I have no photographic or videographic evidence of the event today which bums me right the hell out but it went something like this:

I called the S.A. headquarters to get us scheduled for a 2-3 shift at a local grocery store a few days later.  I told the kids the who, when, what, how and most importantly the WHY we were going to do this.  Jackson comes up to me a little after I told him about our upcoming volunteer work and says, with a face full of excitement, “Mom!  I have an idea.  What if we take the iPod, my little speaker (we got free from Pringles) and I do a street dance next to the bucket to attract more money?”

I thought, at first, this was a great idea.  Anyone who knows my son knows he can’t stand still anyway and he absolutely LOVES to dance.  Actually, if music is on he HAS to dance it appears.  Also, his thought process on this was pretty spot on.  He would attract more attention to the bucket and thus, hopefully, more money donated.

Here’s where my reservation came in.  We don’t do this for us or for other people to see us and give us pats on the back.  “Not to us but to God be the glory.”  So….if he’s out dancing and getting attention, that’s not putting the glory on Him.  I struggled with this.  But, ultimately I decided if I was able to feel that he truly understood WHY we were doing this and that this money, 100% of it, was going to a charity for those less fortunate, then maybe it would be ok.

So, we arrive, get our bucket, apron and bells handed to us, and head outside the store.  Alex wore the apron and grabbed a bell.  Smiling at every patron and saying, “Merry Christmas” Or “God bless you” if someone put money in winning over every single person who comes into her light.  She looked like a little angel in her houndstooth long coat, knee boots, and ear wrap with a bow attached.

Jackson, in his white top hat, Nike exercise pants and two layers of long sleeved shirts and gloves, set up the iPod the the playlist he and I created together and the boy did what he does best.  And, it worked!  We had pretty much every person giving money and a couple tried to give the kids money personally.  This was not something I expected to happen.  I didn’t want to hurt the person’s feelings so I held the money until they were out of sight then put it in the bucket.   The kids never batted an eye at this.  Once Jackson did put his top hat upside down in front of him like a street performer (I should add here that “being a street performer” is on Jackson’s bucket list) but when I asked him what he was doing.  He rolled his eyes and said, “It’s all going in the bucket Mom!”

About 5 mins before our shift was up a woman that I had noticed sitting in a truck pretty much the entire time we were there, came up and talked to the kids.  She said, “I just wanted to tell you two you are doing a fantastic job.  You are doing good for people like me who don’t have a lot of things.  I don’t have any money or I’d put some in the bucket for you.  I’m actually hoping the Salvation Army can help me.  You see, my electricity and heat are shut off right now and it’s really cold in my house.  I’m going to see if they can help me.  So thank you for doing this. You are doing a wonderful thing today.  I just wanted you to know that.”  My kids listened, never moved.  No dancing.  Jackson kind of got behind me which told me he was feeling emotions he was uncomfortable with and said, “Ma’am if I had a lot of money I’d just give it to you today.  And we can’t get in the bucket.  It’s locked.”  She smiled at him and said, “That is very sweet and I thank you but you just keep doing what you are doing and you are helping many people just like me.”

My kids really got it today.  Before bed tonight when we were praying I asked Jackson what he learned today, which is a common question from me.

His response,
“That it’s kind of like if you do things to help other people it’s sorta like YOU are the one being helped too….”

Yes, I think they really, truly got it today.

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….and YOU can homeschool too!


When I began homeschooling a little over 9 weeks ago, the amount of worry, second thought, and anxiety I had over what I had decided to do was so heavy on me.  Am I doing the right thing?  Can I do this?  Will they learn what they need to?  Will I ruin them socially?  Will they end up hating me?  Can I keep it fun?  Can I keep my sanity?  Can I keep up with the house? Can I actually enjoy this?  Will my husband and  I end up bald from pulling each other’s hair out?  All these things ran through my mind with alarming consistency.  Sleep was hard to find.  But I finally decided:


In the vein of “we have to socialize or you will be backwards kids” we joined a play group/field trip co-op. I have gotten to know these (mostly) women, met their children and learned the “personality” of the group now that I’ve been around for a while.  But in the beginning it was hard.  Just as any new group you come in to, it is nerve-wracking the first several times you attend.  Being the “new guy” is a situation at which I am usually good.  I can talk to anyone but, this realm seemed different to me.  I felt like they knew the hidden code or secret and I was yet to receive this needed knowledge.  I didn’t know what I was doing and these were experts. Will they sniff me out and see I’m a fake?  Maybe I can blend in….maybe they won’t see.  After sitting with these awesomely calm, cool, creative and welcoming people for a while I learned by listening to them.  Looking around me you see a collection of normal, every day women.  But they are doing something extraordinary.  What makes them different?  I am usually a talker but at first I was pretty quiet just trying to get the feel of the land.  Kind of like going to a new church.  You have to keep looking over your shoulder to see if this church waits and does Communion all at once or each individual as the plate goes around.  You don’t want to slip up and doing wrong – so you watch, listen, and wait!

I learned, over time, something shocking and comforting; (and this seriously is the inside scoop folks) They don’t really know what they are doing either!  Wait…What?  These experts?  These seasoned home schoolers?  Surely, by now, they have cracked the code?  But, what I learned is they are just doing the best they can day by day.  They teach the child by knowing, loving and devoting themselves to their child(ren)  and their education.  Weird!  That’s the secret?  All I have to do is know my child and I can teach them?  Surely I am wrong…..but time and time again I sat at these play dates listening to the moms, watching the children play (well behaved I might add) and I heard a theme.  Although the phrase “know your child’s strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, fears, joys, and learning styles” never were uttered, that’s what I kept hearing over and over again.  But, if that’s true then I did know what I was doing.  And so does every homeschooling mom out there.

But, but….I thought I had to have a degree to know how to do this?  I thought the schedule, curriculum and teaching of public school was best?  I thought…I thought….

Well – this is absolutely great news.  And guess what?!  You know your child best as well.  And YOU CAN DO THIS!  Pretty awesome, huh?


Dita Von Teese. Strip Strip Hooray Tour


As a surprise, my wonderfully awesome husband told me a few weeks ago we were going to Charolette, NC to see the queen of burlesque, Dita Von Teese.  If you don’t know who is she is, do yourself a favor and google her.  She is THE QUEEN of burlesque, a professional, a star!

Dita and her famous martini glass.  Now we understand each other right?

I have a terrible memory and because of that I want to put down, in writing, my experience at this show.  It was a bucket list thing for me so not something I want to ever forget.  So….


Before we head out to the show!

Jim purchased the most affordable tickets he could (cheap seats).  He apologized when we were on our way that we would have to “stand in the pits” all night.  We wouldn’t have a table.  I didn’t care.  I had been sitting in a car for almost 12 hours. mereadyfordita I welcomed the opportunity to stand.  But, I was curious/concerned as to what “the pit” meant.   We rolled into Charlotte with exactly an hour to check in to our hotel, unload our stuff, get freshened up, dressed and to the event.  Which meant I had about 30 mins to get ready.  This is me after a 12 hour drive so excited!



One of the only pics from inside the venue. Look how close I am to the stage!

We get to the venue, The Fillmore Charlotte, which is located in the North Carolina Music Factory complex, at 7:15pm local time.   Doors didn’t open until 7:45PM.  We were confused as our tickets said the show was at 7:30pm, but we were happy we weren’t late.  We were told over and over by security and all kinds of signs that no photography or videography would be allowed.  This is why you will see no pics taken by me of the actual performances or Dita from this night.  I wasn’t about to risk getting thrown out.  After the security scanned our tickets, we ask where “the pit” was.  She points to the floor directly in front of the stage and says, “Anywhere on that floor.”  Jim and I stare at each other and Jim asks again, “That floor RIGHT by the stage?”  YES!  I run to grab a spot 3 FREAKING FEET FROM THE FRONT OF THE STAGE, squeal and do a little happy dance.  I was in disbelief.  “Right here?  I’m going to stand right here and see Dita Von Teese?  Shut the hell up!”  I think I left bruises on Jim’s arm from pushing and hitting him (a reaction I have when I’m excited).  Jim asked me if I would like a drink. I told him, “I’m not moving a muscle from this spot but if you want to go get us a drink that’d be awesome.”

While he was getting our drinks I met the couple next to me.  Peaches Divine and her man StageSlave Gavin.  Turns out they are members of a burlesque troupe about 30 mins from Charlotte.  We exchanged niceties, business cards and facebook info.  “Nicky Noir” took a pic with Gavin and he posted and tagged Nicky:


StageSlave Gavin told me about how he does a routine with his troupe where he wears assles and twirls them while doing and hand stand!!!  Seriously?!  This dude was awesome.  He also showed me how his pants were made in such a way (by his lovely girlfriend) so that they split up the side.  He explained that he came prepared to get on that stage and perform.  Wore some sort of special outfit, and underwear and everything.  I laughed and said, “On THIS stage?”  He said, “Yea man, you have to always be ready for an opportunity!”

murray hill

Murray Hill and Dita

At 8:30pm a short, stocky man(?) named Murray Hill bursts on stage and I was instantly a fan of his.  His off the cuff banter with the audience, his energy and self-effacing personality made him so fun to watch and listen to.  He said, “I know what you are thinking: ‘Is it a man or a woman.’  The answer is, ‘No.'”  He jabbed at a couple of homosexual men who had “1 Direction” hair,  woman, named Shirley, who was in her 60’s with a cane who brought her daughter and the “Burning Man” beside me (Gavin!!). He made fun of the people sitting 30-40 feet away from us who “Paid $100 more then these people right here.”  Woah, I would have been mad if I was them!  Then, he announces, “Dita Von  Teese is behind this curtain right now guys.”

And the magic began!!!

She started with her world renowned Martini Glass routine. Her costume to start was a complete tuxedo with tails and a top hat.

One thing I noticed about her performance was how slow and deliberate every thing was.  Many times she just walked or stood, in complete command of the stage.  She made eye contact with many of the audience members and once, for a split second, with ME!  And Jim had a moment as well.   She put you in a trance with her slow movements.  She lip synced a song about wanting a man to take his time.  And she did! I couldn’t have turned away if I wanted to.  By the time she actually stripped down to her pasties and g-string, I was a goner and head-over-heels in love with her, the show, and my night.  When she grabbed the olive that was floating in the martini glass and rung it out over her flawless curves I could do nothing.  No screaming.  No jumping.  Just mouth-agape gawking.

The blue, velvet curtains closed, I picked up my jaw up off the ground, exhaled and a Latina senorita, La Cholita, took the stage.  A much rounder woman with a booty, curves and ta-ta’s more on the order I’m used to seeing and she was fabulous!
La Cholita

And I don’t recall exactly who performed in what order but there was Mr. Gorgeous who evidently won the “Best Comedy Burlesque Act” at the New York Burlesque Festival.  He was at least 9 foot tall and wore heels.  A very awesome routine!  He came out as a quirky nerd with glasses, complete with tape in the center, and did a acrobatic comedy burlesque routine with a tiny chair.
Mr Gorgeous

Then there was a Russian femme fatale, Lada Nikolska of the Crazy Horse Paris who performed the iconic Parisian cabaret’s act “leçon d’érotisme.”  The red, velvet lip-shaped couch was just the perfect piece of furniture for this sensual and limber performer.   Yes, it was as hot as it sounds.

After that Dita did her “Rhinestone Cowgirl” routine.  The number of Swarovski crystals used on her costume had to be in the hundreds of thousands.  If Ms. Von Teese could ever be called cheeky, she was the most cheeky during the start of this number as she walked around with her pink, crystal encrusted cowboy hat, chaps, holster and yes, even her revolvers.  cowgirlThe way the light reflected off of her was stunning.  Behind her, a (of course) pink upholstered mechanical bull sat.  It looked like an interesting back drop but we all knew what was going to happen.  We didn’t know how awesome it would be though.  Piece by glittery piece, her cowgirl get-up came off in flawless manner until she was left with her hat, a g-string and pasties.
When she finally climbed on top of her bull (which by the way, also had pink, crystal encrusted horns on the front) she tipped her hat and the thing started moving!!!!  Even though I knew to expect it I couldn’t hold in my shouts and whoops.  I can’t even begin to tell you how erotic it was.  If gyrating on a bull could ever be done artistically, with class this was it.  At the very end she laid across the back of the bull and it slowly spun around.  And then….and then…..GLITTER RAINED DOWN ON HER!  It was the mot perfect moment of the show for me.  I mean a photo can’t really capture it but it is as close as I can come to showing you how awesome it was.

Intermission – crap did I need it at that point!  My senses were overloaded and I hadn’t moved from my spot for going on 2 hour and had heels on.  I was so enamored with the show I didn’t even notice my feet hurt.  As soon as intermission hit I became aware of myself again.  Peaches, Gavin, Jim and I both had an exchanges of, “Holy shit! Did you just see that?!”  None of us had words.  Who would?  I walked in a daze to the bathroom which I want to mention now the toilets were black.  FANCY 😉  I also noticed in the women’s restroom how large of a concentration of classy, sexy, and very attractive women were at this event.  Men, if you want to see a lot of hot, classy women and see a professional burlesque performance, keep a Dita show in mind.  Seriously.  Beautiful women everywhere!

Act II included some guy name Romeo.  Imagine a French guy (I guess he was hot) in a suit and tie doing a strip.  That was about the extend of it.  I’m not even going to find a pic.


Prince Poppycock

Next, Prince Poppycock!  If you saw America’s Got Talent a few years ago, you might recognize him.  He sung an opera “Figaro” type song while burlesquing.  A very enjoyable number indeed.

After this was Murray’s Dance off.  He pulled three people up on stage:  One of the “1 Direction” gay guys, Shirley ( the 60 yr old grandma nurse with a cane) and some guy who looked like a pissed off member of ZZ Top.  1 Direction went first.  Everyone cheered.  They tried to get ZZ Top to dance but he made it abundantly clear that it wasn’t going to happen and he sat back down.  So, Murray, thinking fast, points to “Burning Man” and tells him to get up there.  STAGESLAVE GAVIN WAS DOING WHAT HE HOPED AND PREPARED TO DO ALL ALONG.  He gets up there and I see now that his pants are very, very loose.  He turns around with his back to the crowd, unties some thing on his pants and the back of his pants come off, showing that he is wearing a g-string.  He turns back around and slowly unbuttons his leather vest to reveal silver pasties on his nips.  THEN, reaches behind him to untie the remainder of his pants which fall of the front to show that he is wearing a rainbow “coin purse” over his junk.  Oh my gawk! I lost it.  I laughed so hard and was laughing with Peaches and saying, “I can’t believe he was prepared for THIS!”  Turns out the next day was his 41st and he was getting a big wish granted.  I can’t explain how hilarious this was.  Murray was shocked at what was happening too and said, “I know ALLLLL of you out there think that this is rehearsed but let me promise you…..THIS SHIT JUST HAPPENED!” LOL.  I knew that to be a fact.  After Gavin finished, Shirley went and she was obviously the crowd favorite.   A retired nurse with a cane gyrating to Sexy and I Know It ? No one could beat that!  After the dance off was over, Murray said that Dita had wanted to know who was being chanted by name (she had heard it in the dressing room).  Murray explained Dita asked that she and her daughter come back stage for a meet and greet!  How cool is that?!
Then the magic began AGAIN!

dita-von-teese-pinup-bird-paradise1Dita did her gilded birdcage routine next.  I absolutely loved this routine.  I can’t explain why.  I just loved it so much.  The cage, the costuming (which in all her numbers is amazing), her twin stage maids, the lights, the peacock sculptures that flanked both sides of her cage – all of it was perfect.  At one point, her stage maids went over to two peacock sculptures and “plucked” the tail off of them and handed them to her.  She then, proceeded to OPEN them dance with them.  They were so gorgeous.  The way they moved.  The way she moved with them and placed them on her body.  So beautiful.  I said many curse words throughout this number due to the fact that I couldn’t find any other words.  I!  And the tail feather bussell?  Yea, that too!  Gah!

Finally, it was her Asian inspired Opium Den routine.  It was destined to leave the viewer wondering if they, themselves, had smoke opium.  It started with Dita laying in her fabulous den, puffing on an Asian pipe while fog machines added to the scene.  It was obvious during this routine, probably more than any other, of her training as a dancer.  Her movements….wow.  At the very end, four hands covered in red satin gloves reached through the curtain at the back of the den and rubbed her body slowly and sensually.  Slowly, the music builds.  The hands move faster.  Her movements become more frantic and then finally……BAM, flowers shoot out everywhere to the audience.  It was an obvious simulation of an orgasm and it.was.awesome.  opiumdencollageJim and I caught as many of the flowers as we could and giggled that we caught “Dita’s orgasm.”   I will keep them forever for safe keeping.  Because, although I, personally, didn’t have one for myself, I can say with all honesty I was COMPLETELY SATISFIED when I left the event that night.  Wow.  Bucket list is one item shorter. The 11+ hours in the car to get to her was worth it.

After the show we were very hungry so we walked across the street to a classic diner called “Mattie’s Diner.”  Isn’t she pretty?
mattie's diner
We were surprised and excited to be served by what had to have been Dave Grohl……

As I type this we are stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in Nahsville, TN.  We have been in the car for almost 9 hours thanks to 3 different wrecks and traffic jams and have another 3+ to go.  So ready to be home but we STILL think it’s worth it.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is how good this show was.

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6 weeks in


For those of you wondering how I’m holding up homeschooling (especially those of you I’ve talked to because you are thinking about it) I won’t lie to you and tell you it’s easy and just the most wonderful experience ALL the time.  Nothing that’s worth doing is easy right? I’ve had days when I have wanted to throw in the towel.  And I’ve threatened to send them back to public a couple of times (OK – every day) but after 6 weeks I can tell you the positives outweigh the negatives.  Alex, my “first grader” is doing algebra like a pro.  They are doing science experiments and having “ah ha” moments on a regular basis.  Jackson is exploring his LOVE for history and technology.  I have watched them flourish with friends.  The co-op’s we are part of fill in any gaps in socialization I was worried about.  Do I miss my alone time sometimes?  Um, it’s Nut Fest Week – you take a wild guess – I would have love to have gone down there and had a deep friend something-something without having to worry about wrangling the kids or listening to them cry when they wanted to ride ride.  I also had a doctor’s appointment this week and had to take the kids.  The kids knowing my exact weight IS.NOT.COOL.

But, all that aside, I love it.  I know this is a season.  I think about when I had a newborn and a very active 1 yr old boy and I seriously felt that my life was over.  I felt as if I would never NOT be getting up 3-4 times a night to either nurse my newborn or settle my toddler back in bed.  I would never NOT be chasing one while the other was screaming.  I would never NOT be in a grocery story and have to leave a cart FULL of groceries because he or she was throwing a fit.  But, on the other side of that “season” I have learned so much.  Time goes by so quickly.  This time, this age of their lives, will not last long.  I feel I can give them an edge in life by homeschooling them and not having them go through the hoops/hassle of going through public school (especially in the state that it’s in now).  If I have to sacrifice a bit of my “me” time to allow that, so be it.  I have my social life.  I have my free time at other times.  And in only about 10-12 years they will be gone, off to college and starting their lives.  I will have a whole other “season” of my life to do exactly what I want when I want choose.   It is this idea that gives me peace.

So yea, this homeschooling thing is worth it.  Period.

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Rule of 3 – observations of female relationships

Just my opinion, My life, Uncategorized

All my life I have always had many friends.  But like most people, there are few people I would consider my “best friends.”  I have three best friends whom I’ve known since before puberty.  They are the ones that were there during all the pain and wonder of middle and high school.  They were the ones who helped me through first loves, break ups and learning what it meant to be a “woman.”  And I helped them through the same processes.  These are the women whom I asked to stand up with me at my wedding and they asked me.   Together we make 4.  Throughout our adolescence and into adulthood it was a constant rotating of who was sort of “out” of the circle.  It seemed if really we were a rotating circle of 3 with the players changing out of 4 people.  Many times I was the one on the outside of the circle.  As a young woman this would confuse and hurt me but as I’ve grown older, gotten married, had kids and lived a full life I’ve found that this is OK with me now. My role, so-to-speak, is different than that of the other girls in the group.  I know they love me and I love them but I’m just not in the intense circle of life with them.  And that’s OK.  I have absolutely no hurt feelings.  I know if at any time I needed someone in the middle of the night I could call any of them and they would be here in a drop of a hat.  And I think they know that is true for me as well.  One phone call and I will move heaven and Earth to be there for them.  That’s friendship.

As I have moved about the state, I have found myself trying to find new circles of friends.  Once again I found that the “rule of three” in a group of women holds true.  One short stop in Washington proved this true again.  Two women can be wonderful, best friends with absolutely no problems.  Three is OK and with little conflict and a good harmony.  But, throw that 4th woman in and for some reason shit starts flying.  Three team up against one or three stick together and leave one out.  And what’s weird is that “odd woman out” role changes depending on the situation.  Maybe when it comes to how you raise your children woman A,B,C are the circle and D is just out of her mind and doesn’t spank her kids. Or maybe it’s housekeeping.  B,C,D see eye to eye but that woman A?!  She lives in a sty (I mean have you SEEN her kitchen?).  Then maybe on marriage or husbands is A,B,D with C having an asshole of a husband.  How can she put up with him?!  It’s the strangest thing I have ever seen and I KEEP seeing it.

I am now seeing this in my own daughter’s life!  She’s old enough now to have sleepovers.  I will watch them almost as a case study.  4 girls is a recipe for disaster and tears almost every time.  Someone is left out of the game.  Someone doesn’t have a crown to wear.  And it’s always ONE that is out.  Never two against two.  Always three against one.  As a child this is terrible.  As an adult, until you realize what it is, it can still hurt.

If you find yourself as the odd woman out in a group of 4 friends, take heart.  Next week it will be Susie who’s out.  Just know your role and wait for your turn on the roller coaster.

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Brian, Lisa and Cierra lose their home to house fire.


Today was a long, hard day for my brother’s family. First off let me say I am tired and it’s been a long day so please excuse my typos, my overall lack of creativity in writing style, and any missed info you are wanting. I’m just wanting to get this down so I can go to bed.

Long story short. My sis-in-law, Lisa, was taking her two weiner dogs out to potty this morning around 9 and after being out with them for around 5 mins she turned around to come back in and saw a flame shooting out the back door, near the washer/dryer area. She ran screaming through the field to my mother’s home and told them to call 911. By the time the fire fighters arrived the windows had blown out and the entire house was engulfed in flames. It was a total loss. My 15 yr old niece, Cierra, was at school and my brother was at work so thankfully everyone was safe.

I know the first two things out of everyone’s mouths are, “Is everyone ok?” and “How can I help.”  Yes, everyone got out safe.  Only material things were lost.  They did have insurance but until the details are worked out Warrick County Awareness and Evansville Watch are helping in collecting clothing so check them out on Facebook for that.  If you want to make monetary donations, you can donate via paypal.   Every bit of that money goes directly to my brother’s paypal account.  You can do that here.

I and my family have been so impressed with Boonville and the surrounding areas and the people within it. Our local family, friends and even strangers have been coming out to help in any way they can. It’s amazing how the community really rallies around a family in need. And this after Evansville just made the top 10 for most miserable cities to live in. Whatever. It’s a town full of great people with big hearts.

Here are a few pics I snapped while I was up there today.



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Identity Crisis?


Through the past several years, my family and I have been through some bad times.  Not terrible really.  Especially in comparison to people dealing with health issues; sick kids; dying spouses.  But, relative comparison to what our lives were like say, 3-4 years ago, it was bad.  Basically, we went broke and homeless for a while.  Yea, big whoop right?

Well, in order to help said situation I started a business.  Since I had two very small children that business had to involve staying home with the kids and doing something I could do with relatively no overhead and FAST.  That business, it turned out, was making hair bows and hair accessories.  “Bows By Miss Mandy” as it was named through organic conversations with friends and customers.  Before long, everywhere I went I was no longer hearing, “Hey Mandy!” but “Hey Miss Mandy!”  It was pretty cool.  I was a brand!  My name was synonymous with a product and my logo was recognizable to a lot more people than I ever thought it would be.  All the BS I learned while getting my BS in business paid off.

I remember starting this blog, long ago so I could keep track of who Mandy was.  I was scared of losing myself and becoming “Bobby” which is what my kids called me in their endearing toddler-speak for “Mommy.”   What I never thought would happen is I would lose myself in a different title.  My identity had become “Miss Mandy.”  I loved it, truly I did but making bows and other hair accessories for other people’s little girls had taken over my every waking hour, thought and idea.  So, when Jim’s job finally allowed it, I closed.  I now have time to volunteer at my kids’ school which I do 3 times a week.  Volunteer for Studio Bee, which is an after school program for all kids locally is also in the works.  I’ve joined a burlesque troupe where I’ve met many unique individuals and have a lot of fun.

And they all lived happily ever after, right?   Well, it would seem so.  But, after only a week of closing I’m left staring at the clock and the mirror asking why they look so odd.  Just today I went to the doctor to have a microdermabrasion (not for only vanity reasons – I have a skin condition) and the aesthetician who came in says in an excited tone, “Miss Mandy!”  It made me proud and then instantly kind of sad.  At some point that will go away.  Then what?

After the success, notoriety and “high” that my business brought me, the fulfillment I used to get from a clean house, laundry that is caught up and a cute flower bed no longer exists.  Can it once again become enough?  Or am I an adrenaline junkie of sorts now?  Time will tell.   For now I’m off to my kids’ school to help with popcorn day.  I’ll figure it out.  I always do.

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  • Why I Write this Stuff

    My children called me Bobby when they were toddlers due to not being able to prounounce "Mommy." They are now 7 and 8 years old and I am Mommy. But my real name is Mandy. I just do this so I can keep in touch with the REAL me. Being a Bobby is a dream I thought I may never realize and I do not take it for granted. I homeschool (more specifically unschool) my two children and it's easy to lose yourself in the tasts of the day. I just want to make sure that after 19 or so years have passed,and my kids have moved out, I'm not stuck looking in the mirror and squinting in hopes of seeing Mandy again.