Fragments! WOOT WOOT

Mommy's Idea

I'm so happy I have a chance to do some Fraggin' today! I've missed Mrs 4444's and all of the other Fraggers.

It's been busy around our house. It's weird how I really don't feel any less busy and crazy, even though I'm not working now! I've just filled those hours with other things. There are only a few soccer & volleyball games left this season though! Andrew had his best game on Saturday, they tied 2-2, and Elayna's team won a set for the first time on Tuesday night. They were SO excited!

I LOVE Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. My house is decorated and we've been to festivals and all that stuff.
BUT, every other year the kids go to their dad's house for Halloween, and it is just nowhere near as fun. I am already feeling bummed that they'll be gone all weekend. And we live out in the country and probably will get very few trick-or-treaters, if any. Sure, we could go to some Halloween events, but it's a little weird for two adults to be walking around without kids! So we'll probably stay home, watch scary movies, and eat up all the candy.

We carved our pumpkins this week. We ("we" meaning "me", since John was at work and I do not give knives to my children) carved a cross into one (Shelbie's suggestion) and a cat face into the other one (my idea). I did these free-hand, so please don't laugh too hard. The cross is totally crooked. We had fun though! (I had fun playing on Picnik, too.)

To all of you who are still coming by and reading, even though I so rarely get to read your blog....

Seriously, you are awesome and I appreciate it SO much!!

Well my friends, I am off! Be sure to visit Half Past Kissin Time for more Friday Fragments. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and a

Happy Halloween!


Thursday Tantrum....

.....seems like a good title for this post, although I've been having tantrums pretty much all week.
Ya know how sometimes people just seem to know just what buttons to push, and then they go out of their way to push them?
Especially little people?
Here is my tantrum for today:

I am FED UP with adults giving my children candy!

What is it about adults, who are in charge of my children, doling out candy all the time? Teachers, pastors, coaches, Bible school leaders, etc. They've all given candy to my kids.

I'm not talking about on holidays. I can grit my teeth and deal with the candy overload on Halloween & Valentine's Day.

But I know I'm not the only parent out there who tries to limit their kids' candy intake. We all know that candy is full of sugar, just empty calories. It causes cavities, and certain candies can ruin expensive dental work. We have a serious problem with childhood obesity in this country, and giving candy - or any junk food - frequently as a reward is sending a bad message.

So it puts me in the position of either letting it go and throwing up my hands, or taking away this "reward" my kids were given for doing a good job, behaving well, or some other good deed.

On Tuesday my son came home with a pack of Starbursts. Yes, a package, not just a couple. They were given to him by his soccer coach, whom I adore, by the way. My friend picked him up from soccer for me, so I wasn't there to say "No thanks!" to the coach. Instead, I had to be the meanie who took the Starbursts away. Andrew has had a ton of dental work at his young age; he didn't get any dental care until he was about 5 or 6. He has fillings, crowns, spacers, I don't even know what all he has in his mouth, and Starbursts could snatch all of that stuff right out. Now, Andrew knows he is not allowed to have that type of candy, but of course, he conveniently "forgot". That's another tantrum for another time.

Earlier that night, after Elayna's volleyball game, they were passing out Little Debbie Snack Cakes. One of the little girls on the team quietly asked me, "Do they have eggs in them?" We checked the package and sure enough, they contained egg whites. This little girl is a vegan, so she didn't get a treat.

I really think, if we're creative, we can come up with some good alternatives to candy. How about sugar free gum? Fruit? Stickers, tattoos, Silly Bandz?
I know that candy is cheap and easy to come by, but let's do better for our kids. They deserve it!

What do you think? Does this drive you crazy too, or am I just a Mean Mama?


He Would Be Twelve

Every year we visit the grave of John's firstborn son, Johnathon Wayne.
We visit several times per year, but we always make sure and visit around the end of October. Because he was born on October 18th, 1998, and he passed away on November 9th, 1998. We want to visit his grave around his birthday, around the time of the year that he was here on earth.
It's kind of awkward to be the step-mother of a baby who passed away. I feel like if I include him when discussing "our" children, I am seeking sympathy for something that did not happen to me.
However, I feel that it's wrong to exclude him.

Recently, I asked John, "If someone asks you how many children you have, what is your answer?" and he immediately said "Five". My three, and both of his sons, living and in heaven.
But what makes it awkward for me is that if I say "we" have five, and then go on to explain that John's firstborn son passed away shortly after his birth, I feel as though I'm laying claim to a loss that wasn't mine. I never met Johnathon Wayne. Although I grieve for my husband's pain, and for what might have been, I didn't suffer that loss and I can't even fathom how it truly feels.
I'm not asking for answers here....are there really any answers?
Another thing that is awkward is that "Baby JW" would be twelve now. We still refer to him as "the baby". In the beginning, around his birthday, we would leave Hot Wheels cars or other toys on his grave. But what do you leave for a twelve year old? What would he like now? How do we do this? Is he twelve, or is he three weeks old forever?
I'm reading a book right now, a memoir by a woman who lost her first son. He was stillborn. Reading her point of view makes me think about the loss of Baby JW even more than I normally would at this time of year, and think about it from a mother's perspective. Reading her story gives me insight into what John went through. He doesn't talk about it much, and even when he does, it's hard for him to express those kinds of feelings.
I just want to make sure to never forget Baby JW, not even for a moment, and to never exclude him in a way that would hurt John. He has hurt enough.


Sundays in my City

Unknown Mami

We've had a very full weekend. Not busy, because it's been very relaxed. No rushing around. Just laid-back, doing what we want and enjoying ourselves.

Friday night John and I had a date night. We went to dinner and a movie. We saw
Paranormal Activity 2.

Holy Scarethecrapoutofme. That movie is great! I liked it even more than the first one.

On Saturday, Andrew had a soccer game in the little town of Newberry, Florida. We left early and hit a few garage sales, and found two beds for our boxer, Sofia, that were in great condition. She is thrilled with them! The soccer game was a tie, 2-2, which is the best Andrew's team has done so far, so we were happy! We take what we can get.
The Newberry Festival was this weekend, so we hit that up after the game.
Then we decided to stop by Dudley Farm. Neither of us had been there before, although we've driven past it many times and some of the kids have been there on school field trips. It's an old family farm dating back to the 1800's which was donated to the state of Florida.

This was on the trail leading back to the farm.

All of the cows were literally crying
because their babies had been taken to market the day before.
Just so we can have cheeseburgers?!?!
How does that make you feel???
What's that? HUNGRY?
Yeah, me too. *sigh*

a tobacco barn

the home itself

mail, anyone?

Nope! Just a nest.

We enjoyed our visit there and plan to go back soon with all of the kids.
For the rest of Saturday, we did some shopping and then went home where I made dinner....Greek food...it was delicious!

Today is Sunday. We went to church this morning, then visited John's firstborn son's grave, which I'll be blogging about more later.

This evening, we're going to a church event; it's a campfire at the farm of a family from our church. I made cookie/brownie bars, and they're grilling hot dogs and everyone is bringing a dish. We're looking forward to a good time!

So, that's what's up in my city and the surrounding area. Visit Unknown Mami for more Sundays in my City!


Fall in Florida

Well I just so happened to find myself at the library on Wednesday again, so it looks like it's time for another Wordful Wednesday post!

It's all about fall here.

We don't get much fall foliage in Florida, so we have to make the most of what we do have.

and now for some outside deco....

...and Lilly, who followed me around and got in my way
and generally made a nuisance of herself until I took her picture!

and now some inside deco....pumpkins courtesy of the Littles.

True blue Gator fans, in all kinds of weather....
{even the storms we've been battling lately...sigh.}
(this was at the Homecoming Parade.)

doing the Soccer Mom thing.

The End!

All is well here, and I hope you all are well too.
Visit Parenting by Dummies for more Wordful Wednesday posts!


Wordful Wednesday

My, how things change! I'm gone for a little bit and now Wordful Wednesday has moved.
You can check it out here now:

So, this is what's going on around the Casa de Dysfunction!

Visiting the Pumpkin Patch....



...and just hanging around the house.

This weekend is UF's homecoming, so we have the parade Friday and the game Saturday. Andrew has a soccer game Saturday also. On Sunday, our little town has it's annual Harvest Festival. Good times ahead!

Oh, and as for me:
I finished my CNA course and now just have to wait for an exam date. I interviewed today for a caregiver job to do until I get CNA certified and hopefully get on with hospice. Other than that, I'm reading some good books, chaufferring kids around, losing my mind, decorating the house for fall, cooking, losing my mind....the usual!

And now I'm off for a little bloggy catch-up. Hope all is well in your world!


Just Peeking In...

I miss blogging like crazy!

Just a quick note to let you all know what's going on in my life, now that I am able to do so.

~~~I quit my job!!~~~

Now you may remember that I actually loved my job, and wonder why I'm all happy. But here's the thing = loved the job, hated the workplace. Know what I mean? 'Nough said.

It was one of those situations where I may have went along for a whole lot longer, being unhappy but staying stuck in my rut (you may also remember that I am very resistant to change!).
But a few things happened at work & outside of work that lit a fire under my butt and made me realize it was time to take the plunge.
Thankfully, John was super-supportive.

So, I did it! And then I immediately enrolled in a CNA (certified nursing assistant) course. This will enable me to do a large variety of jobs, but the ones I'm interested in are Home Health Care or Hospice. I'm going to take care of old men! (and women) Originally I only had home health care in mind, but my pastor is very involved with our local hospice and feels pretty certain that he could get me on there. If so, I'm going to try that first. I have had some experience in death & dying working in the ICU, and think I could handle hospice. In fact, I think I'd do a great job there and my pastor is very supportive and encouraging.

This is what I was talking about when I mentioned Serendipity a couple of weeks ago - that soccer mom that I randomly started talking to? A few years ago she did exactly what I had been wanting to do - quit her job (at the same hospital I just left!), got her CNA and went into home health care. She now does home health care privately, she has her own clientele and does very well, and loves what she does. It was one of those almost surreal moments where I knew I was in the right place at the right time! It was like a sign.
Then when I saw my pastor at Elayna's volleyball practice, and told him what I was doing, he told me about hospice, and it was like yet another sign! I am absolutely certain that I am right where God wants me to be right now, and I'm just trying to keep following His lead.

Today is the third day of my CNA course. I will be done on Friday, and then I will take the exam within 3-6 weeks. So far, so good, although getting back into a day shift schedule is super weird and kicking my butt! The classes are all day. Then I'm taking the kids to their sports and doing dinner & all the other usual Mom stuff. So I'm super busy and super tired!

Fortunately there is a Starbucks directly across the street from the school. Also? My blood pressure cuff and stethoscope? PURPLE, baby!!!

The ONE drawback of all of this is that my blogging time is now basically zero. Neither of our computers (PC or laptop) are working, and now that I'm not working I don't have that internet access/time. So, until I get another laptop, netbook, whatever....my blogging will be very few and far between. And since I'm not working at the moment, and when I do start I will take a pay cut initially....that won't be any time very soon.

I miss you all and want to catch up so badly! I'm at the library now, and will do as much catching up as I can (there are no games or practices tonight, hooray!).

So, that's it in a nutshell. There's so much more going on too, we are thoroughly enjoying the fall weather and had a fantastic weekend. The kids' sports are going very well also.
It's all good, except for the bloggy department! So, if you have a spare netbook just lying around, I'll be glad to give you my address. HA!