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The Joy of Grandparenting

 

 

Todays LOL:

My 6 year old grandson recently spent some time at my house with my 12 and 16 year olds listening to music – maybe not the best idea in retrospect. So he says to his mother, “At Nana’s we listened to a song about big fat butts. What does he mean when he says you know what to do with that big fat butt? What does she do with it mom?”.

My daughter said she almost passed out.

I, however, laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe and am still giggling about it.

To fully understand why I find humor in it, you should know that my daughter was THE BIGGEST instigator of bad behavior in her younger siblings.  So this incident is actually her own fault – at least thats my theory.

I have to say that there is no greater pleasure than watching your children parent their children.  Not only have I dealt with the inevitable “I’ll never do or say _______ to my child” statement but because there is a gap in age between the first two kids and the second two, I’ve had to deal with the older girls trying to parent the younger boys WITH me – which, to me, at times has been more frustrating than co-parenting with my ex.

So now, my reward for making it (almost) through all of that is I get to watch as my daughters parent their kids.  I am blessed (and amused almost daily)!!!!

Karma at its best!

Have a joyful day!


Crash The Site Sale

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Paris and Orlando

 

 

This was originally written about the attacks on Paris in November of last year.  I’m so sad that there has been yet ANOTHER instance of hatred that has resulted in the loss of innocent lives.

Being the mean mom that I am, when my children use the word “hate”, I tell them “we don’t hate – you may strongly dislike something but hating it is unacceptable. Hate is ugly.”

I then make them repeat whatever statement they made using “hate” and replace it with “I strongly dislike….broccoli or rain or school or my brother”.
After a few times of this, they  generally don’t ever use the word “hate” around me again.

My daughters were 11 and 7 in September 2001.  I felt they were too little to watch the news coverage of the terrorist attacks but they talked about it in school and we talked about it at home.  I explained to them that this was an act of “hate”.  That there was a hate driven attack on people by other people who had never even met one another.

As they grew up, they began to understand what I meant about “hate”.  I can tell you that I have personally used the word hate.  For example, I hated that my daughter became an addict;  I hated that I couldn’t help her;  I hated what it did to her.  There may have even been a point where I thought I hated those she was involved with at the time.  I can honestly tell you that I didn’t “hate” them – I did however very, very strongly dislike them.  They, too, were someones child.  Even with my own sorrow about MY own child, I would never want anything bad to happen to someone elses.

Everyone at some point or another in their lives feels what they believe to be “hate” toward something or someone.  This past weekend, while watching the news about the attacks in Paris, my 16 year old son came into the room.  He stood for a bit quietly watching the broadcast, seeing the horrible images and turned to see me silently crying.  I said to him “THIS is hate.  Hate is not something every person feels in their heart.  The people who did this felt hate”.     He nodded and hugged me.  I think he’s beginning to understand.

My heart goes out to the people of Orlando and all victims who have been affected by these terriorists.  My heart grieves for the families of the lost sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

HOW I wish the world were a different place.

Peace and love to you all.

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Five Things to Do For Yourself

 

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So, with the weekend on the way, you really need to take some time to indulge.  I wanted to post this as an example of something I do for myself and now that warm weather is finally here, I can!  To me, lying in a hammock is as luxurious as taking a bubble bath or getting a massage.  And being able to have this view is a bonus!

First, you need to decide that it’s ok to take some time for yourself.  It will feel uncomfortable – push through that feeling.  You deserve some “me time”.  We all do.  It took me a long time to realize and accept that it was ok.  I’ve actually gotten rather good at it!

So what five things can you do for yourself right now that don’t cost a mint and won’t take you hours?

#1.  Take a bath

Seems simple enough but what I really mean is, send the kids with your husband, turn on some music, light some candles, put a cup of epsom salt and 2 drops of lavendar oil in the tub and go soak.   If you don’t want to listen to music, pick up a book and start reading.  You need to spend some time in the tub and really, REALLY relax.

#2.  Read a book

Ok, you can’t sneak away to the tub.  Grab a book and head to your bedroom.  Or carry a book with you to work and find a place to read for 20 to 30 minutes a day.  Losing yourself in a story is a great way to destress.  My favorite indulgence these days is listening to audiobooks.  Check out this link, get a free trial membership www.audible.com and see what they have that interests you.  I think you’ll be surprised.  I find that there are times when I can’t silence my mind enough to focus on reading a book but listening to a book is a whole different experience.

#3.  Craft

Do you enjoy crafting but never have the time to indulge in it?  I keep a skein of yarn, a pattern and a crochet hook on my night stand.  The satisfaction of making progress on a project is emence even if it is slight progress.  I love to crochet – as a matter of fact, I have a yarn addiction.  I also love to sew but my sewing machine is too big for my night stand! 😉  JoAnn Fabric, Craftsy and Pinterest have great, free projects.

#4.  Go shopping

ALONE.  Enough said.  Ok – not enough.  Go somewhere other than Walmart or the grocery store.  Go to a craft store or that little gift shop you don’t dare to take the kids in.  Wander around – you don’t have to buy anything – just enjoy yourself.

#5.  Purchase an exercise video (and actually  use it)

It doesn’t have to be a complicated workout video.  You need something to get your body moving.  A beginner yoga video or a stretching video.  Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and get up a couple of times a week to do the video.

The bottom line is this:  You are important.  You do a ton of things for everyone else every day without complaint.  You run yourself ragged.  Take some time this weekend and do one thing for yourself.  It will invigorate you.  At first, it will really be uncomfortable taking the time away from everyone else.  Just push through the feeling and sink into the tub of water.  It will be fine – it will be better than fine – IT WILL BE FANTASTIC!

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

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The XBox Debate

As a mother of two boys, I am beyond familiar with electronic devices.  I have found over the years that my boys become deeply engrossed in the games, spending hour upon hour playing.  They’ll even forego eating to continue playing a game.  I have watched as the two of them argue relentlessy about who’s turn it is to play, timing each other down to the second.  I have been involved in conversations with them during which “Call of Duty” was in some way used as a life comparison to something – “well, in Call of Duty, blah, blah, blah” or “you know, that reminds me of blah blah blah in Call of Duty”.

After some particularly questionable grades a year or so ago, the XBox found a new permanent home at their father’s house.  They get to play it every other weekend, IF they aren’t doing something else.

This of course has meant I’ve had to endure begging on and off to bring it home.  “We don’t fight over it anymore”, “we won’t play it all the time”, “you can limit our time on it”.  I won’t cave.  The peace in our home now without that damn thing is unbelievable.  Honest to God, neither of my boys (ages 12 & 16) have cried over a game controller  (to my knowledge) in over a year.  SUCCESS!

Or so you’d think.  Enter – their older sister.  As a new mom, she now thinks she has all the answers to every parenting situation that might arise.  Her child will be a month old tomorrow.

I made the mistake of letting the 16 year old stay with her this weekend.  He pleaded his case to her (her husband has an XBox).  He told me he only got 3 hours of sleep while he was there because he was so engrossed in playing, he forgot to go to bed.  THIS is my point.

Now I know that not every child has these issues nor does every parent feel the way I do about it.  And thats ok.  I’m not here to debate what you should or shouldn’t allow your child to do.  I’d be happy to let my kids have it if they had some sort of self control but they don’t.

So my daughter is now pleading her brothers case.  She thinks I’m being horrifically cruel to them – they should be able to have the things they want; they shouldn’t feel different from their friends; it will give them something to do.  All reasonable arguments.  But I don’t believe they should have everything they want simply because they want it or because their friends have it.

And trust me, they’ve found other things to do in the past year.

For example, they’ve learned to ice skate, they’ve been playing AirSoft.  Yes, I bought them “guns” – they aren’t real guns but when you get hit, you feel it.  Much more real than a game and honestly, an important life lesson.  Now I’m not saying I want them to get shot – I want them to have an understanding of what it means to be shot – there’s no reset button.  They now know that.

We went out and purchased about 10 board games.  They regularly play them and we have family game nights.  They ride bikes, they kayak, they swim and climb trees.

I am a mean mother and I’m ok with that.  I want these children to use their imaginations and move their bodies.  I want them to be able to converse with actual living human beings – not a voice over XBox live.

I think my daughter has forgotten how I canceled our internet service after she, her older sister and a bunch of other girls started arguing over AIM.  Shockingly, they all survived.

So, there won’t be a reappearance of any electronic games at our house.  If I get an “I’m bored” (which rarely happens) there are always chores to do or the option to go entertain yourself (which is what does happen).

Tell me, are you a mean mom?

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5 Things I’ve Learned as a Parent

Now that you’re a “seasoned” parent, how do you respond to the young, non-parent who makes the comment “MY child will never…..(fill in the blank)”?

I’ve learned over the years that the best response is no response.  Those people will never fully understand until they have children of their own.  Even then, they still might not get it.

~ I’VE LEARNED that each child, while somewhat similar, can be extremely different from each of their siblings. What worked with one, may not – and probably WILL NOT – work with the others.  Take the time to find what works with each child.   You will make their (and your) life so much simpler.

For example, my oldest daughter could have cared less about “things”.  She would not, no matter what I did, clean up her toys.  I could threaten to take them, ground her, etc.  What worked with her was having me bring a chair into her room, park my butt and point to each item and make her pick it up (or else I’d be in her room FOREVER).
Her younger sister, however, would frantically run around picking up her toys at the meer mention of them being taken (because I actually emptied her room one time).

~ I’VE LEARNED that kids are going to hurt your feelings.  They are going to say things when they’re angry at you (which will be frequently) that sting.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, let that deter you.  You certainly have a right to let them know they hurt your feelings or that what they said was inappropriate, but don’t gimp out or they’ll keep doing it.

~ I’VE LEARNED that its important to spend individual time with each child – even if its only a few times a year.  Take them to a movie or to lunch.  These will be the moments they will cherish – not a clean house.

~I’VE LEARNED that you need to accept your child for who they are – not who you wanted them to be.  This was difficult for my kids father and was ultimately what drove us apart.

I know that when I first set eyes on my daughter after she was born, I never once thought “I hope you have your first child when you’re 19”.  Hell no……I was angry.  So I get it.  You have dreams for your kids; you want them to have a better life than you did and you don’t understand why they can’t just listen to you.

Once I got over it and accepted my daughter for who she truly is rather than who I wanted her to be, I felt more at peace and so did she.

The simple fact is, they’re individuals and they’re going to do and be what and who they want.  It’s more important for me to have my daughter in my life than for me to be upset over something I can’t change.  And by the way, who she is, is pretty great.  She may not be living the life I had envisioned for her, but she’s happy, healthy and is a great mom and a contributing member of society – isn’t that all we ultimately want?

~I’VE LEARNED that even when we think they don’t hear us, they do.  They’re not going to admit it – at least not until they have kids of their own (if you’re lucky).  I still smile to myself when I hear my kids repeat something I’ve said that I SWEAR they completely ignored.  They’re listening – trust me.

~I’VE LEARNED that I have just as much to learn from them as they do from me!  They’re pretty wonderful people!

 

Have a wonderful, family filled, fabulous weekend!

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What Are You Here To Do?

The following is one of my all-time favorite questions.

WHAT are you here to do?

I’ve always said I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I think I said it again last week…….

How is it that some people simply know their calling and others struggle with it?  As long as I can remember, the one thing I wanted to be was a mother.  Well, with two kids out of the house and another two on their way out within the next few years, what do I want to do with the rest of my life?

Oh, I know you never really stop mothering – it just changes – you aren’t needed with the same intensity.  And you eventually get to grandparent (which, by the way, IS WONDERFUL).

I guess I always thought there would be some sort of sign;  a defining “AHA” moment in which it would all come to me.  There hasn’t been. So I look at the 5 things that I do each week that make me happy…..as suggested by Joe Vitale in “The Ultimate Law of Attraction” (available on www.audible.com or www.amazon.com).  Joe states that one or all of those things could be your calling.

My five things are:  yoga, reading, writing, cooking and mothering.  Which of these are my calling?  And how do I transform it into a career or what I’m meant to do?  Hmmmm…..I’ll have to get back to you on that one.  I’m still working on it!!  But I WILL figure it out!

So tell me, what are YOU here to do?

Peace & Love!  Have a wonderful week.

 

What Are You Here To Do
By Jim Warda

What are you here to do?

O.K., so that question might have caught you off guard but off guard can be a great place to start.

So, again, I’m curious. What are you here to do?

The thing that, when you think about being it, you almost catch fire.

Because I’ve been noticing your wild eyes lately. In fact, I had meant to tell you earlier. But, somehow life got its hands on me.

But, the truth is that I’ve seen your restlessness, the way you just can’t seem to get comfortable, like sitting in a leather chair with shorts on.

And I’ve heard your fingers tapping against the railing as you make your way down the stairs. And you’re humming a song from a high school play you never tried out for.

And I know that look. The one that means you’re getting clear on who and what and why you want to do what you’re going to do with your life. And even more definite about the fact that you’re intended for a quest, a quixotic blaze of goodness and glory.

So, please let me know, what is it? What gifts are you going to gift us with? What tales will you tell with your lips and your song?

What chills your skin with the thought of just doing it? What widens your eyes simply by saying it?  I’m so excited that I just can’t contain myself.

And, you know how impatient I can be, so I’ll just ask again.

What are you here to do?

Oh, and I almost forgot.

Are you doing it? 

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Khalua

This recipe was SO much fun to make and turned out GREAT!  I made this to give as gifts.  Everyone absolutely loved it!!

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Khalua

Ingredients

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 1⁄2 cups vodka

Instructions

  1. Boil water, coffee, sugar.
  2. Simmer for 3 hours (stirring frequently) - it will become syrupy.
  3. Let cool and add vanilla and vodka.
  4. Bottle and cap tightly
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://daphnes-delights.com/2016/05/23/khalua/

I made my ahead of time so it can “age” slightly.

 

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5 Signs You’re Codependent

I first pondered the notion that I might have codependent tendencies when my oldest daughter was in the midst of her, shall we say, “rebellion”.  It  was not a good time in our lives, I was a complete wreck, I thought she had lost her mind and it was scaring the crap out of me.  I kept attempting to “make” things better and “fix” her.  Not a good strategy at all.

Somehow, in my mind, if I continued to “help” her, the situation wasn’t REALLY as bad as it was (and it was BAD).  I thought if I was able to help I was still somehow in control.  Turns out, I was never in control.

And thus began the dance…………..for several years – yes YEARS (I tend to be a slow learner).  I wasn’t making the situation any better.  I was prolonging it (hindsight is a wonderful yet frustrating thing).

She knew that I would jump into action when she called with whatever sob story she had concocted that particular day.  I would give her money, buy her food, take her places, help her move, get her a new phone – the list goes on and on and on and……..well, I’m assuming you get the picture.

In the process, my other children felt like they were forgotten. And a lot of the time, their needs became secondary to hers.
My primary focus WAS on her.  My life started to fall apart.  It was hell.

In retrospect, I thought I was keeping her alive (which was my greatest concern – my biggest fear was that I would get the call to identify her body).  Thankfully, that never happened.

But what did happen was, after a very, very long time (because I’m a slow learner), I got sick of it.  I got sick of being in a constant state of chaos; sick of handing over money (always with a promise to THIS time pay me back – also never happened); sick of the excuses; sick of being completely consumed by her issues and so, so, SO sick of the lies.

I started to do a lot of reading and research.  I needed answers.  Why had this happened to our family and for the love of Pete, how?  Most importantly, could I make it stop?

Turns out, you don’t make IT stop; YOU stop.  That too was a very long process.

So, how do you know if you’re codependent?  There are a few tell tale signs.

#1.  Control

This is a BIG one.  When I was trying to “fix” and “help” her that was about control.  I was attempting to manage her and her situation.  I was trying to manage and control how things “looked” to other people – i.e.:  my daughter hadn’t really gone wild – I had it under control.  My intentions were good.  I believed I was doing what I was supposed to do as a parent.  I believed I was still teaching her.

And I was.  I was teaching her how to manipulate me and laid right down and let her do it.  Not a lot of control there was there?

#2.  Poor Boundaries

Do you overshare with people?  I am an over sharer.  I sometimes can’t stop myself.  Even with strangers.  Somewhere in my head I’ll hear a voice saying “STOP TALKING” but I just can’t.

I think this stems from very poor boundaries that were set by my mother and sisters when I was little.  They each told everyone else EVERYTHING about themselves, their kids, their husbands and worst of all, each other.  I remember doing it also when I became an adult.  It was normal to me.  Trust me, its not normal and its not healthy.

#3.  Dependency

Along with the poor boundaries in my family, there was also a lot of dependency.  If I didn’t check in with my mother at a minimum of once a day (as a 35 year old woman), she would call my sisters to see if they had heard from me.  They would then call me to let me know that she was upset that I hadn’t called her.  Never mind that I had children, a husband and a house to take care of (while working full time).  I learned from a very young age to always tell them all where I was going and with whom.  A vacation out of the area was extremely stressful because “God only knows what could happen”.  Sigh.

Decisions about simple things were discussed with my parents and sisters in addition to my husband.  We were all very dependent on one another.

#4.  Low Self-Esteem

I don’t remember really liking who I was until just a few years ago.  I never felt like I was my own person.  I felt as though I was an extension of all these other people and who they wanted me to be.  I do remember being completely consumed with worry about what other people thought about me.  It was the catalyst in most of my decision making and probably why I didn’t trust myself to make a decision alone.

#5.  Pleasing Others and Giving Up Yourself

It’s not unusual for women to put others first.  It’s just what we do.  But when it’s ALL you do, it’s problematic.

Do you do things for yourself?  Do you spend time doing things that only make YOU happy?  Do you ask others to help you or do things for you?  Or is your time consumed completely with work, cleaning, kids, schedules, your parents and your husband?  If you can’t think of a time in the last week that you spent doing something you love for at least 20 minutes, you need to step back and take a good look at whats going on.

There are many good books on codependency.  My favorite is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.

And it never hurts to find someone to talk to about it.

The good news is that you CAN stop being codependent.  It isn’t an easy thing to do, it takes work and sometimes that work is difficult.  But you can do it.

I have made significant progress and am happy to report that my daughter is no longer “wild”.  It honestly took me removing myself (some call it tough love – I have a hard time with that) and making her figure out her problems on her own. She did have to hit rock bottom but guess what?  She’s a smart girl – she’s just fine.  She didn’t need her mommy constantly hovering over her and her bad decisions trying to fix them.  Once she realized I wasn’t doing that anymore, she started making better decisions.  Go figure!!!

Hang in there!  Be tough.  You can do it too.  And don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

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Why I LOVE My Kindle Fire

So you’re looking for a new toy!  Let me direct you to the Kindle Fire HD 7.

I absolutely love my Kindle Fire HD7.  It is my “go to” electronic device.  It travels everywhere with me – I mean EVERYWHERE.  I take it in the car to listen to audiobooks, I leave it on my night stand so I can pick it up to check my blog quickly or look up things on Pinterest, I bring it to work with me so I can read on my breaks. I have downloaded textbooks for my courses, games for when I’m bored (ha.ha.ha.) and use it just like I would a tablet or IPad.
With a Kindle Fire you can surf the web, manage social media, download apps and download books.  

The selling points for me with the Fire were:

1.  Cost

This was a biggy.  I think I spent around $100 when I purchased mine.  They’ve now gone down quite a bit in price.

I have purchased tablets in the past and I have to say that the Kindle is a much better product than a generic brand tablet for the cost.

2.  Ease of Use

I literally took it out of the box and started using it.  Set-up was EASY.  I didn’t want something that I had to fiddle with because I’m am the least techy person I know.

The only real issue I’ve had with it, was one time (in 2 years) it froze.  I simply had to reset it.  That was it and it’s never done it again.

Even my 6 year old grandson can use a Kindle without it being complicated for him.

I also discovered Kindle Unlimited which allows you to download certain books (an unlimted number of books) for $9.99 per month.  This was a much more economical solution for us given the number of Kindle’s we have.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in your purchase.  We absolutely love our Kindle’s.

For the best deals, head on over to www.amazon.com.

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Alzheimer’s Disease

This is my favorite picture of my Mom – she was around 14.

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She would have been 82 in February.  She’s been gone for over 4 years.

I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone to tell her something or to ask for her advice.  I still miss her just as much as I did 4 years ago.  The pain of losing someone never REALLY goes away – you just get use to them not being around.

The day she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is forever etched in my mind.

She was 76 and had started to repeat herself quite a bit.  There were a few occasions that I would be on the phone with her and she would simply go silent.

Then one day my father found her lying on the kitchen floor.  She couldn’t get up and cried out in pain when he tried to help her.  We ended up taking her to the hospital where they couldn’t find anything wrong.  This scenario repeated itself several times – her seemingly falling and then having to be transported to the hospital. The day she was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she went in on a stretcher, screaming at the male nurse that if he touched her she would call the police.

She didn’t know where she was.  That became the norm for the remainder of her life.

We ended up moving her to a nursing home because she became increadibly weak and needed around the clock care.  The day we dropped her off, I remember wanting to climb in the bed with her. It was horrible leaving her there.  I wonder if she knew it broke my heart.

She was in the nursing home for a total of 16 months.  For the first 12 months, I only missed two days of visiting her.  One of the days, she ended up with an intestinal blockage.  When I got there, her belly was distended and I had to argue with a nurse to get her to call the doctor, who promptly had my mother transported to the hospital.  I felt horrible.

We were fortunate that until the day she left us, she knew all of us.  Alzheimer’s left her disoriented – she never fully understood that she was in a nursing home.  She thought my father had added on to the house and brought in nurses to take care of her.  It took her strength – she eventually was too weak to get out of bed.  She saw things floating in the air, snakes coming in the windows and cats wandering around her room.  But she remembered her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  That was the one blessing out of all of it.

Four years ago, a week before she passed away, I took my 4 children and my grandson to the nursing home to celebrate my mom’s 78th birthday.  She couldn’t get out of the bed but sat up, talked with us, had some cake and knew each one of us.  We laughed, cried and reminisced.  She seemed so alert that day.

Ten days later I received the call that the end was near and I needed to come.  I got to the nursing home and two of my sisters were already there.  They told me that my mom had been mumbling for hours and the only audible thing they could understand was my name.  When I kissed her and talked to her, she settled down.  Throughout the day other family members came to say goodbye.

She passed away peacefully several hours later, after everyone decided to head out to get some rest.  I should have known that she would wait for us to leave.  She spent her life protecting us right until the very end.

So, everyday I try to celebrate her life.  She was a gift to us all.  She loved her family beyond measure and I believe, because of that strength, never succumbed fully to the disease that took her from us.

I love and miss you Mom.