Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is she alive?

So, I totally fell off the radar.. The blogging radar that is. We had our final in-home visit today, so I thought tonight would be one of the best times to catch up my blog, right?

Not to mention, I just strategically crept into our front door without making a peep in hopes of not disturbing the dogs who are sleeping in their crate. Dustin is at work for the next hour or so, and I finally have peace and quite.. So, this bottle glass (see what I did there!) of wine and I have planted our self in front of the computer screen..

Here we go.

 Last time I blogged Dustin and I had been wanting to further our education. It was a flop. I was skeptical about the online college thing, and honestly I am glad I went with my gut feeling. Come to find out, I was almost six hours away from signing for a loan that would put me eight grand in the hole (not to mention Dustin was signing one for himself also) before I realized the university wasn't fully accredited. Though they were "regionally" accredited, they were not "nationally" accredited, and no matter what silly ways they tried to talk me into it, it wasn't (and never would be) as legit as a degree from UM. So, I bolted as did Dustin. 

I would love to go back to school, but right now isn't the time. I know education is important, but so is everything else. And, right now, I don't have the money. No matter hoe many commercials I watch on television that promise "free money" for college, I can NEVER find that free money. Either we don't qualify because we make to much money (which is a joke in itself) or you have to apply for the scholarship and hope you get picked out of the other 1.3 million students riding the same boat as you. And, between you and me, I am lacking in the "luck" department.

Oh, but I wasn't on February 12th. ;) That story is to come..

So, college is on hold for both of us. And, honestly, I am okay with that. I want to get my degree and make my parents proud. And, I liked to think anyone with their degree is out their making double what I am right now, but honestly they aren't. Sure, some people are making bank with their fancy job with their fancy title, but there are also a ton of folks making the same I am, doing the same work as I am, stuck in the same job, same routine, same lifestyle. 

I am content for now though. Check back with me in a year or so. :) 

Once I realized school was not going to work out, I proceeded to find something else to keep me busy. And, for the first time in twenty two years, that "something" was exercising. 

Yep. You heard right. I joined a gym.

I joined the gym on Saturday, January 15th, at 11:12 AM. I attempted my first work out (which consisted of just walking on the treadmill) on Saturday, January 15th, at 10:14 PM. I officially felt like I was dying on January 15th, at 10:18 PM. Lol. It was bad.

I managed to walk a mile in thirty two minutes.

It's been over a month and I've lost twenty three pounds and can walk a mile in twenty one minutes. Some nights I walk two miles. Some nights I work my arms and ride the stationary bike- which is a work out if I do say so myself. Some nights, when my day has completely sucked, I punch the punching bag until what I think is sheet rock falls from the ceiling. Idealy, I'd love to lose about a hundred and fifty pounds. That is an entire person.. I know, over the next few years, that I can do it. I just have to stick to going to the gym and eating healthier. It's not easy, and at times it's totally dreadful, but I can do it. What do I have to loose? Oh, wait, I have weight to loose;)

So, my goal right now is to loose fifty pounds. I have lost twenty-three pounds, so I have twenty-seven left to go. I can do it. 

Oh, and another sweet victory I've crossed is I've been caffeine free for thirty-six days. The only thing I've been drinking is water and the occasional cup of orange juice or wine. I've eaten things like kale, tilapia, spinach, and I even tried sushi. I don't mind eating healthier. I haven't eaten fast food (with the exception of Arbys once) in over a month. I haven't had a hamburger in over a month. I haven't "cheated" on anything totally unhealthy yet. I miss sandwiches- like lots of mayonnaise, cheese, and turkey sandwiches. Oh, and BREAD. Lol. Isn't that strange? I've had Subway a few times but I stuck to the six inch flat bread with no condiments and semi dry chicken breast, hah. I did have a pretty good sun dried tomato wrap today for lunch from Publix Deli. I am not on a so called "diet", I am just trying to chose healthier eating choices.

Like I said, it's been tough. Dustin is doing this change of lifestyle also. He hasn't been to the gym near as much as I have, however, he is always on his feet at work. He strays away from the "healthier choices" every now and then and, here's the kicker, he is still drinking diet sodas, yet he is loosing weight faster than me.

I know, I know- men loose weight faster than woman. I get it. It still sucks.

So, aside from our new weight loss goals, we have finally made progress with our foster care journey. We were scheduled to have our final visit on February 12th. Unfortunately, mother nature decided she didn't like that date very much and she sent us a good ole Alabama snow storm which consisted of rain, rain, three snow flakes, and more rain. The entire city shut down- including DHR. 

So, we had to reschedule. We had our final in home visit this morning. It went well. We woke up- made the bed- which we NEVER do. Who are we fooling? Lol. We walked the dogs and loaded them up for a car ride and went down the street to Publix to buy some muffins AKA "sweet offerings" for our DHR worker. Hah. I totally had this awesome idea where I was going to pop them suckers out of their plastic containers and line them up on a cookie sheet and try to play off the "I would make an awesome foster mother because I baked these awesome muffins.." but on the way home we got stuck by a train- a SLOW train. As we were pulling into the apartment's parking lot, so was she. She caught me with Publix bags in hand. Lol. Oh, well. She still loved the muffins and I sent her home with an entire container full, so I say we gained a point. 

The visit was short. She asked us about what kind of child we were comfortable getting. You want to know our response?

A human one.

We don't care if it's white, black, blue, purple, green, or orange. We don't care if it has eleven toes and six eyeballs. (Hmmm, that would be strange) We just want a foster child. We just want to hold 'em, and love 'em, and take 'em to the McWane Center. 

She walked around the apartment and checked off stuff on her never ending check list. Everything played out, and we met each and every requirement. She was impressed with the room we set up for our foster child. She was even more impressed when I opened the closet and revealed the million boxes of organized clothes ranging in each gender from newborn to size 8. I think that earned us 10 points. 

Now all we do is wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

She is carrying the jobs of three different woman, so her work load is heavy. I know she is a busy lady. I know she has a million things going on at work. I know she also has a family and two girls. I know she isn't superwoman and she can't snap her fingers and have paperwork automatically typed up, printed off, and filed. 

But, I also know their is a kid out there needing a home, a safe place they can rest their head..

I know there is a kid out there that needs me, and that makes me absolutely anxious and absolutely impatient.

So, we are now just waiting for her to finish things up and finalize everything.

We are excited. We are nervous.
Some days we are more excited than nervous, and then we see a kid have a total melt down in Walmart on isle three because he can't eat the spaghetti-O's RIGHT NOW and those days we are more nervous than excited. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Career Week in Pre-Kindergarten sparks a lot of interest....

This week was Career Week in my classroom- keep in mind my students are four years old. First and foremost, I had to explain to my children what "career" meant. When I first asked them what "career" meant they said- and I quote- "...that's when you pick someone up and take 'em somewhere." I was so embarrassed.. Either my students are at that age where they are trying to put two and two together or I have the voice of a country bumpkin. They thought I was saying "carrier" and their use of "carrier" was even more country bumpkin than my uncontrollable accent. " when you "carrier" (carry her) to the store." Lord, help us.

Once we got past the confusion, we had a blast. Monday we made firefighter hats. Tuesday we made police officer hats, badges, and stop signs. By Wednesday my fingers were crippled with premature arthritis from all of the cutting, LOL, never the less, Wednesday we made chef hats. Thursday we made doctor bags with gloves, gauze, band aids, and cotton balls. And, Friday we made tool boxes with a hammer, screw driver, and a saw. All in all, it was very fun and very educational.

Not only did the children learn a lot, but so did I- and my husband, Dustin.

Friday the children had to dress up as what they wanted to be when they grew up. I got to thinking about that myself, and even discussed it with my husband on Tuesday evening. I love my job. I love children and I love teaching children, but I don't think I want to do this forever- especially at the pay rate I am at. I dropped out of college my junior year. Partially because I was tired of school and partially because the cost of living isn't cheap and being a full time student doesn't put food on the table.. I needed to work forty hours, and you cannot be two places at one time. 

So, I got to thinking about what my dream job would be. I love to write- hence my blog. I am also writing long statuses on facebook, and as a teenager I even wrote a children's book that is published in my high school library. I am a good writer, and I would enjoy writing for a magazine or a newspaper. So, that's it. I want to major in communications with a concentration in journalism. 

I still cannot afford to be a full time student on a campus, so I decided to check out University of Phoenix. As of right now, I am projected to start my first class in February. I haven't finalized anything, and we still haven't done my FAFSA but I am headed in the right direction.

Not only have I had this urge to pursue higher education in hopes of a brighter future (that sounds straight up like a commercial for University of Phoenix), but my husband is also interested in going back to school.

As of right now, he is talking to the same adviser as myself about getting his associates in food management and hospitality. 

It sounds all good, right? But, the fear of digging the hole that I like to call DEBT bigger and bigger scares the crap out of me. The thought of an online math class scares the crap out of me... And, last but not least...

The thought of being a first time parent to a child coming into foster care while balancing college AND a full time job scares me. I am not just jumping into the deep end, I am jumping into the flipping Atlantic Ocean. 

Dustin and I have already dedicated so much of ourselves into this foster care thing, and we aren't backing down. We are dead set on fostering children.. I am glad that we are trying to better our future for ourselves and our future children (whether they be our own or our foster children), but I am scared to death that we are "biting off to much than we can chew". So, with that being said, keep us in your prayers. I know God has a plan for both of us, and I am one hundred percent sure his plan for us included foster care. Now, I am just trying to decide whether or not he thinks University of Phoenix is a good idea right now. Decisions, decisions. 

Oh, and for the record, a lot of my students came dressed as Princesses and Superman. I didn't judge them or break it to them that those characters aren't real. Who knows, maybe they will land a gig in a movie or work at Disney World. None the less, I hope their dreams come true. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Overcoming the fear of Big Foot

It's New Year's Eve, folks. My Facebook is lit up with promises to loose weight, find a man, get closer to Jesus, pay off debt, etc. I've got friends hanging onto the slightest chance that 2014 will bring them a fresh start, a new "me". The truth is, I love my friends, just the way they are. They might want to lose a few pounds or read visit with Jesus a little more often, and I am all fine and dandy with that. But, what does it mean to be a new "me"? What does that include? Sounds painful. And, super duper hard. I hope my friends are just casually saying this to get by unscathed from the New Years Resolution band wagon. What if all my friends became "new" and I liked the "old" better. Humph. When did New Years become so complicating?

Speaking of complicating, try explaining the concept of New Year's Resolutions to four-year-olds. Seriously, it's hard. First, I made the fine distinction between a resolution VS a tradition. They assumed a New Year's Resolution was a firework, lol. Obviously, they are at the age to put New Years celebration and fireworks together. Yes, we recite the days of the week and months of the year every morning, but they don't understand the concept of a "new year". So, I explained to them a New Years resolutions was kind of like a promise to yourself (or maybe others). You are promising to change something about your self or your lifestyle. Luckily, none of my students are wanting to change their entire selves like some of my adult friends. My four year olds are perfectly comfortable with who they are. We could learn a lesson from them, eh? 

So, we did a craft where I let them decorate a piece of paper and I traced and cut out their hand prints. I took turns writing each child's New Years resolution on their hand prints, and, once they were finished decorating their paper, I glued their hand print promises front and center. Simple. Cute. I love cute, but not near as much as I love simple. Wise words of a teacher.

It's only fair that I dug deep down into my own messy, over-processed head and figured out at least- AT LEAST- two of my own New Years resolutions. Should be easy enough, right?

First and foremost, 2014 is looking to be a busy year for us. We are hoping within the first few months of this new year, we will wrap up our licensing process for fostering, and hopefully be placed with a child. That's a pretty big deal, so, I guess one of my 2014 New Years resolutions is to be a great, encouraging, positive-role-model-ish, fun-craft-making, yummy food creating, tuck into bed giving, memory making mother. You know, I want to be one of those poster moms for parenting except I want to be legit. I want to be that awesome mother making crafts and homemade cookies because, believe it or not, the laundry can wait until later.. 

Secondly, I don't want to become a "new" me. I believe I have a lot of positive traits, but I also know I have some negative ones that need fixing. I want to become absolutely, one hundred percent, comfortable... with being myself. I don't want to change myself. I just want to learn to accept myself, and to love myself for who I am. That way, maybe- just MAYBE- I can stop worrying so much about what people think about me. I let people drive me up the wall with their opinions, their judgments, and their "well, if you asked me..". That is the beauty of this life. I didn't ask you, and I am perfectly capable of living my life the way I chose to, because believe it or not, this is my story, not yours. In order for me to become comfortable with being myself, there is a lot of small changes that I must make. I am not going to list them all, because then I will become rather overwhelmed and then want to crawl into a hole until 2015. 

With that being said, I am extremely excited about this upcoming year. I can't give 2014 all of the glory though. Let me recap a few of the most awesome events in 2013. 

February 11th of 2013- I celebrated my one year anniversary at the child development center I work at. Sounds small, I know, but I am twenty-two years old and this is the longest job I've ever kept. Go me!

February 14th of 2013- My husband actually managed to send me flowers to work ON Valentine's Day. I didn't end up with the ONLY teddy bear left on the shelf with his mangled body and missing eye ball. One up, husband!

March 28th of 2013- I turned the big 22. No big change here other than cashiers at Publix don't have to strain the math in their heads to ensure in fact that I am over twenty one years old and I can certainly purchase they Pink Moscato. 

July of 2013- Dustin and I took our very first vacation together. We went to Atlanta and had a blast. Five days, four nights of pure relaxation as a couple. I hadn't left the state of Alabama since I was eight years old. That vacation was well overdo. I also sold my 2 door Saturn and bought a 4 door PT Cruiser all in one weekend. 

August 2013- I got a new batch of students at school. Last year I had all boys and three girls, this year I started with all girls and one boy. Super hero talk suddenly changes to Princess talk. I think I did well with the switch;)

September 2013- Dustin and I started the journey of foster care. We went in to orientation questioning the program and came out completely convinced this was our calling.

All in all, 2013 had it's up and it's downs, but I can honestly say my marriage has grown ten times stronger this year. Dustin and I have come such a long way. We were married at such a young age, and we had so many people doubt us, but we are going strong and I love him more each and every day.

So, bring it on 2014. I am ready for the ups and the downs, the curve balls and the delights! I am ready for whatever you had in store for me, because in the end I know God has a plan and I am living out His plan for me. But, for the first time in twenty-one years, I can honestly say I am headed in the right direction!

Speaking of New Years resolutions, my kiddos did pretty well with grasping the concept. I got a lot of "I will eat all of my vegetables" and "I will be nicer to my brother". The best one of all time is the one below... This kid has grabbed life by the horns. She is facing her fears, and isn't letting anyone stand in her way. Watch out Big Foot! 2014 is OUR year! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Post-Depression-Christmas Syndrome

Christmas decorations started coming down tonight. Dustin is suffering from post-depression-Christmas-syndrome. It's hitting him much harder this year than previous years.. I am just happy to be putting up my new decor;) Still can't figure out what to do with my pink bird cage. Pictures to come!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Traditions, Tears, and Belly Aches

This year Dustin and I started a new Christmas tradition. We always struggle with splitting the holidays between my parents and his. I cannot begin to imagine how divorced parents manage splitting their children not only for holidays but every other weekend and such. Can you say, headache? This year we decided to load the dogs up and head South for Christmas Eve. We spent the night at my parent's home with the intentions of waking up and eating our traditional Christmas breakfast at my grandmothers- as we have every year since I was able to consume quiche. Speaking of traditions, we always make Christmas candy, and this year we did it on Christmas Eve. It was a blast! I tried several new recipes- one in particular called HillBilly Toffee. If you don't mind spending what might be the next six months in a sugar induced coma, then you will LOVE this recipe. Seriously, it's good but dangerous. No one said living on the edge every now and a then was bad, right? Lol. Seriously. Check this out. 

Look scrumptious? Oh, it is. Trust me. I am no expert cook, so for me to say this recipe was easy-peasy means this recipe was seriously easy. First, set your oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with tin foil. You take a sleeve of saltine crackers and line them on top of the tin foil. In a medium size sauce pan, you boil 2 and a half sticks of butter and 1 and a half cups of brown sugar for three minutes. It will get foamy looking almost. Make sure you are constantly stirring. My husband warned me that this stuff can burn easily. In all seriousness, I timed three minutes on my iPhone just so I wouldn't mess this up. After the three minutes is up, you poor it on top of the crackers and put it in the oven for seven minutes. Once you take it out, you sprinkle it with Heath bar bits and chocolate chips. Let it cool completely and then break it into pieces. It's not going to break into perfect cracker pieces. It's hard- just like toffee, and man is it delicious. Just by me writing this post I had to sneak in the kitchen and grab a piece. Yummmmy. 

Anyhow, we ended up making this hillbilly toffee, peanut butter rice crispie treats dipped in chocolate, white chocolate pretzel, rice crispie, and nut balls, peppermint puppy chow (another idiot proof recipe), frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, buckeyes, oreo truffles dipped in white chocolate, white chocolate holiday popcorn mix, ritz crackers and peanut butter dipped in chocolate, and haystacks (Chinese noodle, butterscotch candy).

Seriously. We made enough candy to fuel Santa's elves for the next ten Christmases. 

We laughed and reminisced on past Christmases. I love this candy making tradition. Each year we start out strong, but by three hours in our peanut butter balls go from being the size of a ping pong ball to the size of a softball. Lol. After the third hour of double boiling almond bark we become tired and... then come on the belly aches.

The "I ate to much chocolate, licked to many spoons, tested to many peanut butter balls" belly ache. Oh, and man, this year it was full force. Lol.

I could have starred in a Pepto-Bismol commercial. 

Heartburn, nausea, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea! Yay, Pepto Bismol!

The night (or early morning for that matter) came to an end at two o'clock in the morning. Dustin and I dragged our chocolate stained faces into the guest bedroom which was decorated a few of my childhood memories. The full size bed is that of which I slept on growing up. In the corner of the room was the life size Tiger that my daddy won for me at Vision Land.

Let's stop there so I can explain that one- Long story, short.. I was about ten years old and we visited one of the new theme parks that opened a few hours from our home. We kept passing a small carnival game that featured a HUGE tiger from Winnie the Pooh. He was gigantic and I wanted him more than I wanted anything else in the world. The game was rigged, as most carnival games are. You had to be able to get a ball into a cup. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. In all reality, the ball is bigger than the cup so the odds of the ball fitting into the cup are slim to none. Not when your home team consist of God and Daddy. My dad paid the five dollars for his three chances. First chance. Fail. Second chance. Fail. Third chance? I prayed harder than I ever had, and believe it or not- and I have the Tiger to prove it- that ball went over the cup, bounced off the wall, and landed right into that tiny cup. WINNER. And who says God doesn't answer prayers? There ya' go folks. Sounds silly, but that's where my testimony of prayer blossomed. It works, folks. He listens. He provides. He is the All Mighty. 

Anywho, we strategically got comfortable on the full size bed and were out like a light. I woke up earlier than everyone else in the house, and I just sat in the living room crying.. A happy cry, none the less. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family, and I was given such a wonderful childhood of blessings, traditions, and fun. Yeah, it had it's ups and it's downs but the down's taught me something new every time. My parents taught me right from wrong. They taught me manners. They taught me how to be strong, how to stand up for what I believe in, and most of all to never give up on myself or my family. I had a great childhood, and though I am twenty-two now and have been out on my own for four years, I still feel the love from my parents. 

I want to give a broken child a childhood that I had. I want to show a child what love, family, hope, and God is all about. I want to show a child what it feels like to be loved by many. I feel like I have this awesome family, willing to welcome in a stranger and love them like a grandchild.. I am just ready to share memories like these with a foster child. Yes, I want children of my own, but I specifically want to help a child that wasn't as fortunate as me. I want to share these experiences with them. I want to show them my four foot Tiger and teach them that anything is possible through Christ. I want to show them how silly my Dad is and how loving my Mom is. I want them to have a belly ache- not because it's empty because they have been neglected food- but because they ate so much chocolate on Christmas Eve that they are miserable yet so, so, so loved. 

After everyone woke up and had their fair share of coffee, we headed to my grandmothers house for breakfast. I was devastated to find out there was no breakfast. Not because I was starving but because it was a Christmas tradition. I don't like quiche, but every year I would stomach eating sausage quiche just because my Mom had slaved over it for two hours. We would sit around the table, thank God for our many blessings, and tear into some biscuits and gravy. Afterwards we would pass out gifts and share more laughter and stories. This time there was no breakfast. No quiche. 

I don't want to get into any complicated family drama on here, so I will make this short and sweet. I grew up in my grandparents house. I was blessed enough to have two wonderful parents and two wonderful grandparents. My grandpa was my best friend, and though he has been gone for over ten years, God has given me the gift to remember every memory of him just like it was last week. He was a wonderful man, and he and I shared a close relationship. I was devastated when he passed, confused almost. I was eleven years old, and maybe I didn't accept his passing as I should have, but, hey, I was young. I lost him, physically, but I had the memories of him and the material things he left behind to help me feel his lingering presence. 

Within the past few years his house has changed. My uncle, whom lives with my grandmother, has changed so much around. And, it makes me so angry. I want everything to stay the same. I don't want anything to change. I want every piece of furniture left in the same spot just as if nothing had ever changed. Just as if, I could wake up and it'd be Saturday morning, the smell of pancakes cooking would be lingering in the air, and my Papa would be calling my name for breakfast..

I know that's never going to happen, but I didn't want to come to terms with it. When I was missing Papa and needed to fill that hurt in my heart, I would go to Grandma's house. I'd sit where his chair once sat, and take in the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of the house I once grew up in.

But, things changed.. The house is filled with unfamiliar furniture and trinkets. The kitchen resembles that of a green house- seriously? Ugh.

It wasn't until this Christmas that I realized I had been holding onto these things to fill a void that I've got to come to terms with. My papa has been gone for over a decade, and no matter how perfect and untouched his house stays, he isn't going to walk in the front door. 

I was so angry that we weren't sitting down for breakfast on Christmas morning. It's another one of those things I wasn't willing to let go of. If we didn't have Christmas breakfast, if Papa's chair wasn't set at the head of the table, how would I feel his presence on Christmas morning? 

We went straight into opening presents, and call me crazy but I knew my grandpa was in that front living room with us. I felt him, and I was finally able to let go of things I've tried to hold onto for 10+ years. I felt like a child trying to hold a handful of bright colored balloons in a hurricane. The balloons were slipping away one by one and I was crying out, begging God to bring the balloons back. But, the thing is, the balloons will always be in my heart. Those memories I have of my grandfather will always be with me no matter what furniture inhibits his house- no matter what traditions are broken- no matter how many plants my uncle crams into the kitchen.

So, I let the balloons go, and I feel relived. My uncle is free to decorate the house with leopard print couches if he pleases. My grandpa lives in my heart, not in that house on Hinkle Road. I can't believe it's taken me this long to realize this. Oh, well, better now than later.

My grandmother is an amazing woman also. She is a strong willed woman with an intense love for God. She has been a member of the LDS church since I can remember, and she is the closest thing on this Earth to perfect. Ever since she's had her stroke, her speech has weakened and she has lost a little bit of the light that once shown in her eyes. When she speaks, I listen (and normally take notes). Here are my notes from Christmas-

Grandma told me a personal story about a child that was bouncing on one of those bouncy balls with the rubber handle. She said the mother kept telling him to get off the bouncy ball, stop bouncing in the house, go outside and play with that, STOP IT I SAID! The little boy was reluctantly saying, "No! You cannot make me!" and after several of these disrespectful remarks the mother got up, went to the kitchen to get a butcher knife, and stabbed that bouncy ball several times until it was lifeless, lacking air. The little boy was terrified. The mother loved her son and had never hurt him physically or emotionally. She was a good mother. She had acted spontaneously and that small decision she made to pop that ball stuck with the child for years. He was terrified of balls and butcher knives! That's a small memory that little boy will hold onto forever. 

She told me this to remind me how something simple, that maybe we, as adults, don't think is that big of a deal can have a huge impact on a child. Even if it wasn't directed towards a child, maybe they witnessed something or overheard something. 

I have all of these amazing memories of my parents and my childhood. With taking on this fostering adventure, I am just hoping that when these children grow up that they can look back and have memories of fun times when they felt loved and happy. I hope that maybe they can take something they learned or experienced from our home and incorporate into their own lives as they grow up and have their own family. I hope they tell stories to their children about fun Christmases spent with their foster family.

The thought of them leaving my home with a bad memory plaguing their mind scares me to death. I struggle with the thought that some of these children will come to me not interested in school (because they were never taught to put forth effort in academics). What if I have to be the bad guy and enforce strict rules about school attendance, participation, and grades? Most of these kids lack discipline and it's our job as stand-in parents to teach them right from wrong, to show them proper discipline techniques, and to be their parents first, friend later. I've got to be tough but soft. I've got to understanding but firm. I've got to do an awesome job because it's my job to turn these child's lives around. Whew, what a concept.

In other news, I bought a pink bird cage. What should I put in it? Birds terrify me. But, pink bird cages are adorable. I am thinking, plant maybe? Hmm... 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas from Mom and Dad

Dustin and I really enjoyed spending time with both of our family this year. We might have started a new tradition. We always struggle over splitting Christmas into two time slots so we get to spend time with both families equally. This year we decided to load the dogs up and go spend the night at my parent's house on Christmas Eve. I hadn't spent the night under my parent's roof since I moved out at age 18- so four years to be exact. I was excited. Lol. We spent Christmas Eve cooking yummy Christmas candy. We laughed and reminisced on past Christmases and various memories. The dogs got to get some much needed love from grandpa and grandma, and I got some much needed family time with my family.

Funny story. I am a list maker- everyone knows that. I had made a million list of things we had to pack in the Cruiser- just for one night! Lol. We had to pack everyone's presents, the ingredients for Christmas candy, my overnight bag, my favorite pillow and blanket that I cannot sleep without, my dogs crate and leashes and junk, and Dustin's clothes. I checked the list a million times while we were loading up. Dustin was in charge of transferring the Christmas candy groceries from his car to mine. He had one task at hand. And he failed. Lol. We got to the parents house and realized we were missing marshmallow fluff, chocolate, and powdered sugar. Guess what is in the back of Dustin's car? Marshmallow fluff, chocolate, and powdered sugar. Lol. Oh, well. Good thing WinnDixie was open. 

Dustin was SO mad at me- which he was really just mad at himself for forgetting the bag and having to get back out in the cold weather. I was SO mad at him for forgetting the bag. He stored off to WinnDixie and my sister mentioned how that was a reason why she is never getting married. Incident's like those are exactly WHY I got married. Before he could get back to the house, we were both giggling at the situation. He would do anything for me, as I would him. 

My parents got me an awesome Shark handheld vacuum cleaner- specifically for people who own pets. That's us! Yay! I knew just what I was going to vacuum up first! Our vacuum cleaner is excellent, but it's big and bulky and doesn't really get up against the base board. The other night I made a mistake of leaving a bag of sweet heat barbecue chips on the nightstand. Guess who else loves sweet heat chips? Ants. I swear I killed 9000 of them that night. My vacuum wouldn't get close enough to the base board to suck the dead ants up. The Shark worked perfectly. I love it. You know you're getting older when household appliances make you happy. 

We also got some super soft hounds tooth sheets that Tinker has already tried out for comfort. I got the necessities socks, makeup, brushes, hair ties, etc. I can always count on Santa to make sure I am stalked up for the year. Dustin got an awesome flash light and knife set- on top of a five pound bag of his favorite candy- Sour Patch Kids. 

Santa also had some cash for us;) The bills keep piling up but I made a pact with myself that I would NOT spend that money on bills or groceries. I rarely do for myself, honestly. I have been so busy making sure we've got everything for the foster care licensing that I've done without the past few months. I decided that once we took down all of the Christmas decorations we would be lacking in home decor. So, I love decorating and with that mind set- I set off to Ross today. And, boy did I bargain shop! I got some awesome pieces! A lot of the things I picked were half off! I am stoked and can't wait to put them up! ;) 

Boycotting Society

I have been meaning to blog about how awesome my Christmas was- and I will do that (but maybe not until this weekend). For now, I've got to vent to someone about how ungrateful, disrespectful, materialistic, borderline evil men and women can be. Not all of them- let me make that point very clear. And guess comes out of ungrateful, disrespectful, materialistic, borderline evil men and women? Ungrateful, disrespectful, materialistic, borderline evil children. 

And when do ungrateful, disrespectful, materialistic, borderline evil children's claws really come out?

Christmas. Or, excuse me, these children like to call it X-Mas..

Let me explain to you the difference between x-mas and Christmas. 

Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is when you have the chance to relax beside a beautiful Christmas tree with joyful Christmas music plays in the background while you ponder the blessings God has put into your life. People spend countless hours trying to find the perfect gift to show how much they appreciate the people in their lives, whether they are coworkers, friends, service men and women, teachers, or family. Christmas is when you spend time with your family while you make memories and traditions that you will pass down the line of generations. Christmas is when watching movies in your pajamas while drinking hot cocoa is a must, and the cold weather makes scarves and layers of clothing a necessity. Christmas has it's own distinct smells- turkey cooking in the oven, peppermints, cinnamon, apple pie, sugar cookies, and more. I love everything about Christmas. I love the lights, the music, the decorations, the anticipation of awaiting Christmas morning, the joy of spending time with your family, and the giggles and whispers about Santa. I love Christmas.

Now, let me explain to you what X-Mas is.

X-Mas is when you spend every waking hour in retail shops trying to buy the biggest and best Christmas presents for your children or whoever not because they deserve them or because you want to show your appreciation of them, but because it's "go big, or go home" or because you think money buys all things. You spend so much time out shopping that you forget to count your blessings- you forget to take the time to stop and enjoy the smells, the traditions, the "umph" of Christmas. You realize you don't even have your Christmas tree decorated and it's three days before Christmas (oh, wait, X-Mas). X-Mas is when you are to busy on the phone in the store's check out lines to smile and wish your cashier a Merry Christmas. X-Mas is when you're so stressed out that you accidentally run a red light and almost crash into a mini van. X-Mas is when you are lucky if you get to catch five minutes of the five o'clock news. Screw Christmas movies! X-mas is when the only Christmas carols you've heard all season are those that you are lucky enough to hear over the madness of people talking and the beeping of the checkout line in Walmart. X-mas is when your children are more busy demanding what they want Santa to bring them. X-Mas is when your children grow up knowing NOTHING about the birth of our Savior. X-Mas is when you fear your child will be kicking and screaming if they don't get that Barbie dream house even though they just unwrapped Barbie's universe! 

Which sounds better to you?

Why am I on this rampage? Because I am disgusted by the amount of "tweets" and bashing from all ages towards the UPS and Fedex workers. There are all of these YouTube videos where children are YELLING at the top of their lungs because parents had to tell them their presents aren't actually here yet- that they are in some truck awaiting delivery. These children are pitching these huge fits, turning to Twitter to degrade UPS drivers- claiming they "ruined their X-mas". Seriously? What about the children out there that are NOT getting Christmas presents? There presents aren't just going to be late- they AREN'T coming at all! You don't see these kids posted on Facebook YELLING at their parents complaining about what they didn't receive on Christmas morning. Geeze.

Children die on Christmas. Death doesn't just take a holiday off. I know that sounds brutal, but that's the reality of things. What about the children that lost their lives on Christmas. Now, there "X-mas" was ruined. The families of these lifeless children Christmas' is ruined. What about the homeless people? What about the families that lost their homes from a fire? or the ones freezing up North? What about the families that loos a loved one from an automobile accident? 

Your Christmas wasn't ruined because of Fedex. 

Teach your children the meaning of Christmas.

God sent his ONLY son to this Earth to die. If the birth of Jesus had never happened, not only would we not have Christmas but we wouldn't have the promise of eternal life. We wouldn't have a forgiving Father in Heaven that forgives us for our mistakes. We wouldn't have salvation. We wouldn't have the blessings that we all experience daily. We wouldn't have ANYTHING.

We also wouldn't have Fedex workers willing to put in 60+ hour work weeks to deliver gifts to people- even if they are a little late.

Wake up, people. 

Christmas is over. Santa might not technically be "watching you".. but guess who is?


Let's be honest. Are you on his nice or naughty list?