Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's a zoo out there!

Last week was spring break here in Texas.  Does it matter that it wasn't even officially SPRING yet?  Apparently not.  Anyway, since kids happy to be at home = mom NOT happy to have the kids at home, we all scramble to find something fun and interesting (and cheap!) to do. 

We decided to visit the Forth Worth Zoo.  If you've never been there, I highly recommend it.  It's easy to get to (just over 2 hours away and two turns off the interstate) and very inexpensive.  Adult admission was $12 and the kids were $9, parking was $5.  In the DFW area, that is almost unheard of.  I do not, however, recommend going during spring break.  Apparently this particular zoo sets ATTENDANCE RECORDS that week.  Lovely.  Fortunately we went on Monday, and not half-price Wednesday, so it was only slightly crazy instead of total insanity.

All kidding aside (ok, I wasn't kidding), we had a great time.  We packed a lunch and had a picnic on the grass outside the parking lot before we went in because I'd been told the food was the one expensive thing at the zoo.  The zoo is very pleasantly landscaped with a lot of nice walkways, shade trees (we don't have those in Abilene) and even a handy little train that takes you from the back of the park to the front for only $2.  That was nice when the kids were tired of walking after seeing everything!  We saw hippos, elephants, flamingos, tigers, leopards, turtles, horses, fish, birds, penguins, bears, monkeys, and so many more.  The only bummer was we couldn't find the cheetah - we found the exhibit, but NOT the animal - and that was the one big cat K was so excited to see.  Oh well, there's always next time.   But NOT during spring break!

Parking lot picnic!

I'm not sure what animals were behind us, but it made for a nice backdrop for the photo!

The tigers were LAZY!

The mountain goats were NOT lazy!  They were playing on the rocks and giving us quite a show!

Sharks!  (they were small)

J sat on his perch much more easily than K!

Happy train riders!

The girls each picked out an animaland animal to "make".  J picked out two bags of rocks.  Yeah.

Another photo op?  C'mon Mom!!!

I don't think the 10 yr old in the way back ever slept, but this is what the zoo did to these girls! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not feeling the love

Do you ever have days where you are not necessarily in a bad mood or upset with someone, but certain things are just pissing you off?  That's me today.  I feel good.  I slept good last night.  I exercised this morning.  I enjoyed lunch with my kids.  There was nothing bad that set me off, so I'm not cranky.  There are just these.... annoyances.... that have been gathering in the back of my mind, and I'm reaching the point where I have to let them out.

  • This God-awful-blowing-dust-everywhere-making-breathing-difficult-strong-enough-to-rock-my-CAR wind.  I am SO over it.  I have lived in Texas for eleven years and I think the wind has gotten progressively worse every year.  Last year was the absolute worst.  Everyone says "Oh, the March winds".  HA.  March?  Try February, March, April, May, June.... you get the idea.  IT.  NEVER.  ENDS.  I don't have the kind of hair that looks good after a wind storm.  I have stick-your-finger-in-a-socket kind of hair that is barely tame on a good day.   Baseball caps are a fashion requirement for me in the spring and summer.   I also have very sensitive eyes, made worse by allergies (or so my optometrist tells me).  My eyes water all the time.  See a Visine commercial?  Watch my kids practice crossing their eyes?  Bright sunshine or a slight breeze?  My eyes water like crazy.  40mph winds are NOT my friend. 
  • My sixteen-year-old cat refuses to stop pooping on the floor.  She only does it at night when she's in the laundry room (where she has slept for the past eleven years).  I've noticed lately that if I put an assortment of boxes, rubbermaid lids, etc, over the carpet where she is going, then I don't wake up to any surprises.  Until now.  She  outsmarted me.  Last night I put out my anti-poop tools all over the floor, only to walk out there this morning to find a present on the OTHER carpet in front of the washing machine.  Damn cat.   She gets yelled at and her nose shoved in her droppings when she's bad.  She gets heaps of praise, love and treats when she's good.  You'd think she could figure out which is the better deal.   Little does she know that she's pushing me to the end of my rope.  My next step is putting her in the garage for the night.   She can bunk down with my car on the cold concrete floor and see how fun that is.
  • Fox.  I am not a big tv watcher.  In fact, during the day I don't even turn it on.  I'm the anomaly in my house, because when my husband and kids get home, the first thing they do is turn on the television.  There are very few shows that I like to watch on a regular basis.  American Idol is one of them.  Unfortunately, that show airs on Fox, which my Dish Network no longer offers thanks to a dispute in price.  Seriously.  I live out in the boonies so there is no other option.  We can't get cable.  We switched from Directv because we had to PAY for local channels.  Now that we have free local channels with Dish, they proceed to drop one.  Trying to hunt down American Idol the next day online is frustrating, and watching the show on my laptop is not my idea of a good time.  Good thing I don't ever want to vote for the singers.
  • The current craze over grown-ups reading young adult novels drives me crazy.  I love books, I am a dedicated reader and my tastes are pretty varied.  However I have no desire to read about teenagers!  The whole Twilight thing?  Ick.  I have nothing against vampires or love stories.  In fact, one of the best books I've read lately is Darker After Midnight - a book about vampires.  But they are ADULTS!  I don't care how good the story is or how talented the author is.... I just can't get into a book about children just a few years older than my son.
  • People who preach about the evils of flour, sugar, carbs, artificial sweeteners, etc.  I get it.  You are a food nazi and you are skinny.  You also can't be as happy as this bread loving, french fry eating, Diet Coke addict.   I know that people who rigidly control those items in their diet maintain a ridiculously healthy weight.  Good for them.  I can't and I won't give them up.  If that means I'm ten pounds heavier than I want to be for the rest of my life, so be it.  I eat healthy.  I love salad, fruits, water, tea.  I will take chicken over red meat any day.  My blood pressure is perfect and my cholesterol is fine.  I walk three miles several times a week and I can ride eight miles on my exercise bike in thirty minutes.  If I want to eat a Dove chocolate or twelve, leave me alone.
  • Speaking of fitness.... I want to say I will NEVER become a runner.  I don't know how many people in my life have told me recently that they always said the same thing, and now they love to run.  Bully for them.  They obviously didn't stick to their convictions.  I. AM. NOT. A. RUNNER.  If I had to run two miles to save my life, I'm not sure I could do it.  I don't have a runner's body, I don't have the stamina you need, and I don't enjoy it.  It's torture.  I would rather walk ten miles than run half a mile.  Talk it up all you like, you will never convince me that I will learn to like running.   
  • When do you think someone will realize that we have taken the whole reality show concept too far?  I will admit there are some good reality shows out there.  I watch some of them.  My husband watches far too many of them.  So many people do.  I don't get it.  Why would I want to watch a show about hog hunters or whatever they are called?  Or Swamp People?  I'm sorry, but if you need subtitles for a show that is broadcast IN ENGLISH, that's not my kind of entertainment.  Alaskan troopers, Cajun Pawn, Gold Rush.... the list goes on and on.  Hubby's (and J's) latest obsession?  Finding Bigfoot.  This show is beyond ludicrous.  These seemingly sane adults are standing in the woods at night, they hear a crash, and immediately they announce that it was a sasquatch throwing a rock at them.  It couldn't have been a branch falling or a deer running through a bush, right?  Maybe it's the unbelievable factor that makes these shows so popular....  millions of people sit around their tv saying, "I can't believe they made a show about THIS!"
I know I have more rants and raves in me somewhere, but my mind is tapped out for now.  That should relieve enough steam that I won't boil over into a PMS-clone anytime soon. 
Happy Wednesday everyone.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A mother's love (and a daughter's love)

I have a little framed artsy-looking saying on my dresser that says something like "The best thing about being mother and daughter is one day you realize you have turned into friends".  I am too lazy to walk into the bedroom and read it so I could post it word for word, but you get the gist of it.  I wish every mother and every daughter could live out that sentiment.

I know there are mothers without daughters, and daughters without mothers.  And some of the ones who do have each other sometimes (or all of the time) wish they didn't.  Sometimes all of that femininity and estrogen just clash day after day and the relationship just doesn't work.  And sometimes even the best mother-daughter relationships will have struggles.  There are some of us, though, who are blessed to truly be friends with our mothers.

I don't mean to paint a picture rosier than it actually is.  Mom and I have had our differences.  I was not always the easiest teenaged daughter to raise (or the easiest twenty-something daughter).  There were times when I loved my mother and times when I really really resented even the idea of her.  I knew what I wanted and what I was doing and how dare she say otherwise.  I'd like to think that every child, male and female, feels like that at some point, though, so I don't have to look back and think how exceptionally rotten I was.  I believe I'm going to remove K's bedroom door before she turns into a teenager so I can avoid the "go to my room and slam the door" fiasco that most girls perfect at some point.  I know that every fight and every tantrum and every mom/daughter battle in our future will be worth it if K and I turn out to have a friendship like I have with my mom. 

I think that maturity, as well as motherhood, have made me a better daughter.  I appreciate my mom, I have fun with her.  I like her.  Do we always see eye to eye?  No.  Do we want to be in each other's back pocket?  No.  But today, on the eve of her leaving after a ten day visit, I am feeling the warm & fuzzies toward the lady known in this house as Grammie. 

If you are blessed to have a loving mother-daughter bond AND you are able to spend a lot of time with your mother, consider yourself lucky.  I would give a lot to be able to erase the 2000 mile distance between my home and my mom's.  Thanks to technology (and her recent addiction to texting), we talk every day.  I spend time in her home every summer and she spends time in mine every spring and fall.  But I don't have the option of calling my mom and saying "Want to go see a movie?"  and I certainly don't have the option of sending my kids to the safe haven known as Grammie's house when I am at the end of my rope and need a break. 

My kids adore their Grammie.  They are closer to her than most kids are to grandparents who live right around the corner.  They love spending time with her.  They make her laugh and she showers them with love.  I am not ashamed to say that it is a vacation for me when my mom takes HER vacation here with us.  My kids generally want nothing to do with me when she is around.  It's exhausting for her, but a very nice bonus for me - I get to spend time with my mom while giving my kids a rest from THEIR mom!

I know tomorrow I will have a tearful goodbye at the airport when Mom leaves, and my kids will not be happy campers at school.  Tomorrow evening this house will be full of long faces and it will take a few days to work off the post-Grammie stupor.  I pray for safe travels for my mom, and I am thankful for the time we are able to spend with each other.  I'm even more grateful that we ENJOY that time, and we are all already counting down the days until our next visit with Grammie.