4.30.2011

My Happy List

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With the stressful stuff going on at Dysfunction Junction, I was really hoping for a weekend full of happy. And this weekend totally delivered!

1. After an insanely stressful day on Friday, I made it just in time to go to Girls' Night Out with the ladies from church. We had a great time; we had dinner and then saw Soul Surfer, which is a great movie; so much more than I expected! I enjoyed myself so much. I never do anything like that, I'm always at home with the kids, and I really needed it!

2. My teenage daughter Shelbie went out of town with her best friend, who is my best friend's daughter, this weekend. Shelbie's BFF is in Baton Competitions, and Shelbie went along with her. I am so glad her dad let her go; it's his weekend and since he only sees her every other weekend I wasn't sure if he'd want her to miss a whole weekend with him, understandably. She has been texting me all weekend and is having a blast! I love that these girls are so close; they remind me so much of me & my BFF! They are definitely their mothers' daughters.

3. This morning my Littles had a soccer game. Their team didn't win, but they played hard and I always enjoy their games, win or lose.

4. Afterwards, we went to my BFF's (same one mentioned above) son's birthday party. The Littles came with us. I got to hang out with my BFF and the kids played and had a great time.

5. It was a beautiful day and when we got home, we spent some time outside, doing some stuff in the yard and just soaking up the son. My two unhealthy addictions are Diet Dr Pepper and the sun! Ok, and chocolate. So that's three, but who's counting?

6. Yes, there's still more! Tonight John and I went to the burger place where my son works for dinner. We got there just before his break time, so he sat and had dinner with us! I love any extra time I can grab with my kids, especially the 18 year old.

7. One more - went to Winn Dixie for a few things; I had coupons and a sale list. I spent $30 and saved $20; not bad for a quick trip!

And now I'm sitting with the hubsicle, laughing at Parking Wars and just enjoying our night.
If only WEEKDAYS could be as wonderful as WEEKENDS!

What's on your Happy List?

Visit Mamarazzi for more Happy List posts!


4.29.2011

Royal Fragments

Mommy's Idea


Well well well, the end of another week. I'd like to say 'another fantastic week', but I'd be lying. So let's just say 'week', and leave it at that.



The storms that ravaged Alabama last night are heading South. They are not predicted to be as bad where I am, but we are definitely seeing some effects. Right now it's cloudy, with thunder and lightning, but no rain. And we need rain!
My prayers are with the people affected by those horrific storms last night. What a tragedy.
*Update: I fell asleep while composing this. (What? It's perfect sleeping weather!) Anyway, it finally rained. The storms were loud & made the kids nervous, but we are safe & sound.





Royal Wedding: Are you interested? Me, only mildly. My in-laws will be up watching it though. In fact, they considered a visit back home to England so they could be there for the wedding, but decided against it. (I don't know why. I was only mildly interested in that story, too.)



Tonight I'm going out with some girls from church. Dinner and a movie! I never do stuff like this, and I'm looking forward to it.
Saturday the kids have a soccer game and then we're going to a birthday party. I'm hoping for another fun, relaxing weekend.


Speaking of which, I hope you have a good one too! Check out Half Past Kissin' Time for more Friday Fragments.



4.28.2011

Waiting to Breathe

I feel like I am holding my breath, waiting to let it out, waiting, waiting....

I'm waiting for a lot of things; my birthday, Mother's Day, my son's high school graduation, summer vacation, my niece's wedding......

But that's not what has me waiting to breathe.

I can feel the tension in my neck and in my back, the tightness in my chest. From stress. From being wound so tightly.

I am waiting.

I'm waiting to see what the Judge is going to decide about Andrew's BM. Will she continue to have chances to assert her "parental rights"? He is emotionally and physically affected by what's going on with her right now. He is going through more than any child should have to go through. It's painful to watch.

And that's not all I'm waiting for.

My daughter Elayna has been having chronic headaches. They have become more and more frequent, and then she began having dizzy spells that would last for hours and cause her to have to lie down and rest, sometimes for hours. They have affected her life. I thought perhaps it was her vision, maybe she just needed glasses. But she saw her pediatrician last week and her vision is 20/20. Her doctor suspects migraines, but because of her family history, she has ordered an MRI. Because my son, Elayna's brother, has Chiari Malformation, and her symptoms are very similar to his.

I'm waiting.

I'm waiting for the phone call to tell me when her MRI will be.

Then I'll be waiting for the results. To see if my world is going to come crashing down yet again.

I try to keep myself busy, my mind occupied, so I am not obsessively worrying.

I am watching my two youngest children hurt; one emotionally, one physically. And waiting to see if there is anything I can do to help either of them; to ease their pain.

I wish I could take the pain away from both of them and make it mine.

My breaths are quick and shallow. Because I can't really breathe; not until I have answers. Not until I know.





4.26.2011

Autism Awareness - Guest Post


I have a guest poster today! Heather from Acting Balanced has written a wonderful post about her family's experience with Autism. April is Autism Awareness Month, and this is my way of helping to raise awareness. Please also visit Heather at her 'home', Acting Balanced.

Acting Balanced Autism Awareness Month



As a mom, I like to hope that I'm tuned into what is going on with my children, especially when they're with me almost 24/7, so when, at 15 months my older son wasn't yet regularly calling me mama, or saying much of anything at all, I sent an email to a friend of mine whose son has Autism and asked the question... Does this sound like Autism? hoping that she'd say nope, but what she did say was "You have great mommy instincts, if you think there is something going on that isn't quite right, you're probably right, it might be autism or it might be something else, but you are a great mommy and you've noticed something different in your son, so talk to his pediatrician"

It wasn't just the language issue, although that was a big part of it, wasn't the only thing that made me suspicious of Autism - when I was doing online research, I found a list of symptoms and started checking some of them off (Source):
  • The child does not respond to his/her name.
  • The child cannot explain what he/she wants.
  • Language skills or speech are delayed.
  • The child doesn't follow directions.
  • At times, the child seems to be deaf.
  • The child seems to hear sometimes, but not others.
  • The child doesn't point or wave bye-bye.
  • The child used to say a few words or babble, but now he/she doesn't.
  • The child throws intense or violent tantrums.
  • The child has odd movement patterns.
  • The child is hyperactive, uncooperative, or oppositional.
  • The child doesn't know how to play with toys.
  • The child doesn't smile when smiled at.
  • The child has poor eye contact.
  • The child gets "stuck" on things over and over and can't move on to other things.
  • The child seems to prefer to play alone.
  • The child gets things for him/herself only.
  • The child is very independent for his/her age.
  • The child does things "early" compared to other children.
  • The child seems to be in his/her "own world."
  • The child seems to tune people out.
  • The child is not interested in other children.
  • The child walks on his/her toes.
  • The child shows unusual attachments to toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string or having to put socks on before pants.)
  • Child spends a lot of time lining things up or putting things in a certain order.
Liam was always my loner, preferring not to engage with us very often and only engaging when we were singing or holding him in certain ways. I would take him to play dates where he would ignore the other children and fixate on a toy or activity, and he wouldn't respond to his name regularly.

My pediatrician listened to my story and set me up with early intervention services, but at 18 months, Liam only qualified for speech therapy on their tests, so we went with a diagnosis of speech delay, but Autism was in the back of my mind, especially as his speech wasn't improving with weekly sessions, and I was even noticing regression in his receptive listening skills.

We finally took matters into our own hands and privately sought out a developmental psychologist to do our Autism testing. I remember being nervous, hoping both that she'd tell me that I was crazy on one hand and that we'd get an Autism diagnosis on the other. I know it might sound crazy to want the diagnosis, but it opens up more doors than it closes and it helps us as parents and caregivers to build skills and understand how Liam thinks and feels and interprets the world around him.

While I don't wish Autism on anyone, I do hope that if you have or know a child who displays these signs and symptoms that you also know that there is a world of hope and love out there in the Autism Spectrum Disorder community and the opportunity to get beyond the diagnosis to the little boy or girl you love is in there too!

Liam is now four and a half and attends a full day Partially Integrated Preschool with a fabulous teacher, who guest posted on my blog, www.actingbalanced.com, along with a number of other parents and experts as part of Autism Awareness Month. I would love to have you stop by and check out their stories.




Heather is a never-stay-at-home mom of three children, a teenager, a preschooler and an infant. She's a Canadian from Toronto living in Charleston, SC with her husband and kids and she started her blog, www.actingbalanced.com as a way to keep friends and family in the loop about her life. Acting Balanced has taken on a life of its own and is now an outlet for Heather to share her family with a wider audience, as well as product reviews, giveaways and more!

4.25.2011

Not-So-Extreme Couponing

I don't know about you, but it seems like for us, there's always too much money going out and never enough money coming in.
I've clipped coupons here and there before, but never really been a committed, organized "couponer".

But the more I read about couponing, and the more I see about it on TV, the more interested I've become. One of my friends is a serious couponer, and often posts his deals on Facebook. Someone asked him how he does it, and he said "All it really takes is time and lots of printer ink."

So, finally, I decided to get on this bandwagon. I got a printer. I asked my couponing friend to add me to the email list he sends out weekly, in which he finds sales & combines them with coupons, and tells you where to find and/or print the coupons. I joined other coupon sites. I bought a coupon organizer & labelled it (I had a small one but I knew I'd need a big one for this!).


I have no aspirations of becoming a true Extreme Couponer. I have no interest, nor enough room, to store things like 75 bottles of mustard and 8745 rolls of toilet paper.
All I'm really going for here is a full pantry, full extra freezer, and a smaller grocery bill.

So this weekend, I did my first couponing shopping trips.
For the first one, I went to Publix. They have a lot of Buy One Get One Free deals, and when you combine those with coupons, you can get some really great bargains. At Publix I saved $51.49. I paid $73.56 for $125.05 in groceries.

Then on Saturday, I went to Winn Dixie, which also has a lot of BOGO deals. I can't find my receipt from Winn Dixie (and I'm so mad about that!) but I saved right around $47 and paid $56 for $103 in groceries. So all total this weekend I got almost $100 worth of free groceries. I think that's awesome for my first time!

Another thing I had to do was put aside any embarrassment I had about couponing. I always felt like people were judging or whatever, and I myself always teased my parents for using their senior citizens' discount wherever they went. Well, no more! I am doing something smart, to benefit my family, and I won't let anyone make me feel badly about that. I won't hesitate to go up to the service desk to ask questions or clarify policies (I did that at both stores this weekend). I will watch each coupon get scanned and make sure I get the money taken off as it should be. I will walk into a restaurant and use a coupon and not care what anyone thinks of it.

The funny thing is my kids think it's great, even the teenagers! They are totally impressed by what I've saved already. Elayna found a coupon on the floor at a store the other day and proudly brought it to me.

If you have any interest in couponing, let me know and I will share some links with you. It definitely takes time. Since I work part time, I'm literally considering this sort of a part-time job. The time I spend on this pays off, so it's worth it for me. You have to have a printer; the newspaper inserts are great but to save a good chunk of money, you need to use printable coupons as well. You also need to learn your stores' coupon policies. You can't rush through the store; you have to take your time and organize your coupons as you go, make sure you're getting the correct product, etc.

It's also a lot of fun, and a rush when I read my receipt and see all that money I've saved. It's fun to spend time online hunting down deals. It's fun to post them on Facebook and impress my couponing friends!

Good luck, happy couponing!

4.24.2011

Easter Sunday in my City

We had a great Easter. We went to church and then to my parents' house.

It was a nice, relaxing day, just what we all wanted - and needed.
And there was lots of delicious comfort food. Soooo good.

Here are a few pictures of the fun.

Me & John


Shelbie, Ace, and Me


This is what happens when Big Sister plays Easter Bunny.


Lilly even got in on the fun.

and this Lily just made things prettier.



Visit the always-fabulous Unknown Mami for more Sundays in my City posts.

Unknown Mami

He is Risen!

This verse always gives me chills.


He is not here; He is risen, just as he said! Matthew 28:6



And I post this every Easter, because it makes me smile.






Hope you've had a wonderful Easter Sunday!


4.21.2011

Fragments from my Easter Basket

As you can see if you've been reading all week, it's been a crazy one. It's going to be a busy weekend, but maybe - hopefully! - the craziness is over. For now.
So. Do you know what time it is? It's Half-Past Kissin' Time, of course! Also know as time for Friday Fragments!



The good news is, my kids will be with me for Easter! YAY! Except for Andrew who is going to spend the weekend with his grandmother, and Tim who has to work. OK, the girls will be with me for Easter! YAY!
We're going to an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday and having a cookout. Then on Sunday, we'll go to church, then go to my parents' house. It should be a fun, relaxing weekend.



Since April is Autism Awareness Month, I would love to do a post about autism. However, I don't have any in-depth knowledge or personal experience with autism. So, if you do, and would like to do a guest post here, please let me know, I would love to have you! (more than one poster is welcome!)




Also, today is Earth Day! Will you be pledging an Act of Green? I have already started a garden, and I am hoping to start a compost pile this weekend.

I got lots of sweet comments this week, and many with questions or comments that I would LOVE to reply to. But I can't, because they don't have their email enabled!

Please, even if you think your email is enabled, do a Dysfunctional Mom a favor and check. I will love you forever! Please, just click on Mamarazzi's super cute button below and follow the steps to check & fix this issue! Did I mention PLEASE?!

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I had to bring back Facebook Faves this week. I posted this on FB last week, and it got a lot of laughs!

Cyndy N. E.:
John: Do you want to get up early with me and see the deer in the field by the house?
Me: I think I need more motivation than deer to get up early. Maybe if there were unicorns? And they all had chocolate for me?



And last but not least, here's a song for you! Enjoy.



Don't 4get to visit Mrs 4444's 4 more Friday Fragments!

Mommy's Idea

4.20.2011

A Phone Call I Won't Forget

Many of you know the back story with my stepson, Andrew.
His biological mother has never been a stable presence in his life.
Then, she basically disappeared for about a year and a half. We didn't know where she was or how to contact her.
Andrew was adamant that he did not want to see or speak to her.
(there is a whole lot more to this story, but for many reasons, I'm not going to post it all here.)

Anyway, at the end of last year, we started getting letters from an attorney representing Bio Mom (a.k.a. BM). They demanded that we bring Andrew to BM for a weekend visitation. This, after him not seeing her or talking to her for nearly two years. Clearly, we did not jump at the chance to do that, as neither we nor Andrew's psychiatrist felt that it was in Andrew's best interest.

So, we now have an attorney representing us. We've had a few meetings, and then today was the Preliminary Hearing in front of a judge. It was a one-hour hearing in the judge's chambers. Her attorney requested this; it was to be a first step towards her officially getting visitation set up (and we were trying to keep that from happening). Both BM and John were required to attend. The lawyer said that I would not be able to go back to the judge's chambers, so I stayed home with the kids. As the time for the hearing to end neared, I was on pins and needles waiting.

And then, I got the phone call.
I ran outside and John said, "Are you ready for this?"
And I said "Yeah, yeah, TELL ME!"
And he said........"BM did not show up."

That's right. For months she has pushed this issue. Blamed us for her lack of involvement in her son's life. All she wanted was a relationship with her son. Etc............
And she couldn't even be bothered to show up.
Her attorney had been calling her all day. No answer. None of us have any idea where she is or why she didn't come.
But needless to say, that doesn't exactly help her case.

And that is most definitely one phone call I will NOT soon forget!




{Joining in with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop ~ A Phone Call I Won't Forget}








4.19.2011

Hello? HELLO??

Earlier today, I was playing on the computer, contemplating what I would post about today. Would I post some pictures and join in Wordful Wednesday? Would I Pour My Heart Out with Shell?

But then, Trouble the Cat intervened. She took matters into her own hands paws, climbed into a basket, and created a blog post for me.

I don't think I've ever posted a video on my blog before, but this one demanded to be posted. I promise this is 100% real and unedited. And hilarious!


video

{that's Shelbie cracking up in the background!}

4.18.2011

Have You Ever?

Have you ever gotten an urgent call from your son, asking if you can PLEASE take in his girlfriend's cat, because if not, her father will take it to the animal shelter (or just save time and shoot it)?

Have you ever received the aforementioned cat from his very teary-eyed girlfriend 30 minutes later? The cat she's had since she was a little girl? The cat she's had for 9 years? And promised to take good care of it, as she choked back tears?





Have you ever received a phone call from your teenage daughter's school, informing you that she had just passed out at her desk, fallen on the floor, and hit her head? And that she seemed fine now, did you want to come get her or should we just send her back to class?

Have you ever made it to that high school in record time?




Have you ever, on that same day, received a phone call from the lawyer representing you in yet another child's custody/visitation dispute? A phone call that made you wonder if said lawyer has listened to a word you've said since you hired him? Oh and this was TWO DAYS before your court hearing?



Oh. I have.




Getcha Some Southern Loving


Nothing to see here today.

It's Monday, and I got nothin'.

BUT- head over to Southern Loving to see what I cooked this weekend! Yum-yum!


4.14.2011

Robin Eggs - Way Better Than Chicken Eggs.


Mommy's Idea

It's been a busy week here at Dysfunction Junction! Doctor appointments, work, soccer, work, soccer, doctor appointments, did I mention soccer?......TGIF! My tired brain is ready to defrag.





I'm watching Swamp People for the first time tonight. I love this show...I absolutely love Cajun accents, and these people are hilarious. Right now Ma and Pa are cutting a bullet out of their son's arm. How did the bullet get there, you may wonder? Pa was shooting at an alligator and Junior got in the way!



We took Andrew to the pediatrician today and she asked him what he did over Spring Break. He said, "I went to the beach, and I went to Orlando, and I visited my Grandson..." He meant cousin! I have no idea how he got that mixed up, but we were all nearly rolling on the floor laughing - even the doctor!




Speaking of grandparenting - I'm not ready for grandkids, not for at least 10 years! But we haven't had a baby in our family in a long time. So I informed my niece, who is getting married in June, that I want her to go ahead and have a baby ASAP. Because that's totally my decision, right?



My Easter time obsession:



A lot of you commented on the Taylor Swift video I shared last week & the fact that I called her "T-Swizzle", so I thought I'd share this one this week in case any of you haven't seen it. I love it!! She's so freaking cute.



Have a wonderful weekend, my lovelies! And visit Mrs 4444s for more Friday Fragments.


4.13.2011

Zipping My Lips


There's a story from my mom's family that has been told and retold many times.

When my aunt and uncle were newlyweds, my Aunt Betty called my grandma crying. She and her new husband had a fight. She was terribly upset, which of course made my grandma terribly upset.

My grandma fretted for hours after that phone call. How dare her son-in-law treat her daughter that way?

Finally, she decided to go visit her daughter & her husband. They lived just a few miles away. When she arrived, my aunt and her husband were sitting on the sofa, holding hands, happy as could be. My grandma was stunned! Aunt Betty said they'd made up hours ago.

So all that time my grandma was stressing....Aunt Betty and her husband were just fine.
Aunt Betty was over it. Grandma wasn't. Because as mothers, when someone hurts our babies...it takes us longer to forgive.

The lesson that's taken away from this works two ways. One, don't call your Mama about every little spat you have with your significant other. Because the two of you will probably make up quickly, but Mama? She holds a grudge.

And on the flip side, as a Mama, don't take your kids' spats too seriously. Listen, try not to judge, and try not to stress. Because while you're stressing, they're making up and planning their happily ever after.

The flip side of this is already happening in my life. My oldest son, Tim, has been dating a girl named Jessica for over a year. They're both high school seniors. Tim is not the type to come to Mama (or anyone else) with their little spats, but sometimes, they post things on Facebook that let everyone know they're fighting. They're nowhere near as bad as many kids about plastering their relationship all over Facebook, but they do share some stuff.

And in the beginning, I would get so upset. For one thing, I really like Jessica, and I know how hard it is when your child is dating someone that you strongly dislike; my best friend is going through that right now and it's tearing her apart.
(and for me, the more my parents disliked my boyfriends, then more I liked them!)

But more than anything, I know my son would be broken hearted if they broke up. So I would worry and stress and fret for hours if they were arguing, only to learn that....you guessed it....they had made up hours before.

And that's when I remembered my Mama's family story, and realized that I have to take a step back. When I hear that they are having one of their arguments, I refuse to let myself worry about it. I brush it off, at the most maybe asking my son (jokingly) if he's being mean to Jess, and he usually blows me off. And the next thing I know, they're fine.

It happened just this week in fact....something silly was posted on Facebook. I felt that familiar flip-flop in my heart, but then reminded myself to chill out.
The next day, both Tim & Jessica came over to visit with me, both happy as could be and clearly no longer arguing.

So even when they publicize their issues on Facebook, I still stay out of it and mind my own business. No questions, no Facebook comments. If they need my advice, they'll ask for it.

It's better for everyone that way.

4.12.2011

Stuff My Parents Say

My parents are unintentionally hilarious. My dad is 75 years old, and quite a character. He is odd. Strange. Unique. My mom is 68, and she is quirky and funny too. She is also easily embarrassed and kind of proper. As a child we were not allowed to say "Fart" or anything related to it.

So I thought I'd share a few stories of my parents with you.

  • At our new house, we have a workshop that is fully wired for electricity, climate controlled, very nice. So my dad called my husband to the side, glanced around, and quietly said, "You know what you need to watch out for? Those pot-smokers. Those pot-smokers would love to have one of their pot-parties in that workshop. So keep that thing locked so those pot-smokers don't get in!"

  • We went to a Gator baseball game last week with my parents, and I talked my Dad into buying me some popcorn. He comes back, hands me the bag, and says "You better enjoy every last piece of that popcorn because it cost me THREE DOLLARS. Three dollars for a bag of popcorn!" I offered him some, but he told me he couldn't eat popcorn that was that expensive.

  • My parents are now the primary care-takers of Ace, our chihuahua. We weren't able to bring all of our huge collection of animals to the new home, so we're now sharing custody of Ace. The other day I was talking to my Mom on the phone, and she said "I had to take one of Ace's stuffed bears away from him." I said, "Why?" and she said, "because he kept messing with him!" I honestly had no idea what she meant, so I said "What are you talking about, messing with him how?" and she said "he was acting like it was another dog!" I guess I was in la-la-land because I truly still was not getting her meaning, and I told her that, so finally she said "he was HUMPING it!!!" And I died. I got such a kick out of making my prim old mom say "humping!!" And I didn't even do it on purpose!

You have funny kids, I have funny parents, what can I say?




4.10.2011

Sunday in My City


Unknown Mami



This actually covers the whole weekend in my City!

It all started on Saturday, with a soccer game for The Littles, Andrew & Elayna.



They won 8-0! The team is doing great this season.



After the soccer game, we took the kids to a pizza buffet for lunch & did some shopping.

It was our 6th Anniversary.
For the first time ever, we left all of the kids at home alone and went out, just the two of us! We went to dinner & a movie. We had some time to kill in between, so we hung out at the mall & hit the photobooth.

We saw Insidious, and OMG it was so scary! Very good movie.
The kids did great while we were gone, the house was still standing and everything!
Today we went to church & then to our town's Spring Festival.
Elayna got her face painted like a cat!

Andrew ate a smurf.
Kidding, he ate a blue raspberry slushee.

My niece was with us, so I got a rare shot of the whole fam-damily.

We had a good time, I love living in a small town because you see everyone you know at these little festivals. I also bought a jasmine plant, mmmm I love that stuff!

Elayna and I have matching shirts, so we had our picture taken by this jasmine plant.


And now we are home, out of the heat - it was in the 90's today!

Hope you all had a good weekend.
Visit Unknown Mami for more Sundays in my City posts!