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Don’t sabotage your parenting partner

don't sabotage your parenting partner, frugalista blog, parenting styles, different parenting techniques, when your spouse and you parent differently

You know I love giving McSweetie a hard time. I rib him constantly on his lack of finesse when it comes to loading the dishwasher or when he puts food garbage in the recycle bin. That makes me SO STABBY! But I move on. I step away and don’t smother him with a pillow, because I’m nice like that.

But what I have learned over our married life is to not sabotage his parenting. It truly comes down to sometimes just biting your tongue.

Now that the kids are older, we parent together but differently and over different things. Not like in the olden days when there were bedtime routines to struggle with, or sleeping habits of a toddler to argue over, or what to do with a whiny child and how long the time-out should be.

I look back on those days though and remember they were a struggle. Parenting was more physical, more taxing. Now I feel emotionally drained as a parent. Helping my daughter through heartbreak or anxiety over teen stuff is more of a thing around here than whining over a cookie before dinner or struggling with a preschooler during naptime.

Sometimes I get attitude from Owen. He seems to be in a confused place of little boy on the brink of teenhood but with surging emotions and he has even said to me, “I just don’t have words and all I can do is cry!”  Sometimes I want to go soft on him and James will want to be the tough guy on him.

So sure, we differ on our parenting styles, like most parents do.

But of all the things to do with your spouse and disagreeing over how you parent your kids, try not to fall in these sabotage scenarios that will only set a lit match into a powder keg.

Number 1. Probably the most important of all. Do not say, “He never does that around me. What do you do when you’re with him?” Another version of this is, “Why does she always act like that when you’re around?”

Kids behave differently for different people. Even their parents. This is true especially with grandparents. Sometimes the primary caregiver gets more ‘stuff’ thrown at them when they’re with the children day in and day out.

So maybe if you see the kids mostly in the evenings and the weekends, your time with them is different than how they are at school or during the day at home. Kids can be tired and spent from trying to behave in front of teachers all day. Or maybe the stuff you get to do on the weekends is fun and the kids get to let off steam around you. Obviously they are going to act and feel different during those times.

Number 2. Don’t say ‘shut up‘ around the kids to each other or to them.

I firmly believe in this. It has been a rule in our house since the day we were married. When you say shut up to someone it completely negates their validity. It takes away compassion in the argument, it tells the other person that no matter their pain or feelings, you don’t want to hear them. And you know what, it hurts feelings and cuts like a knife.

Number 3. Don’t belittle your spouse in front of your children. If you want to criticize something your partner does, by all means, go ahead. But don’t say it in front of your kids. Okay, well, say it in front of your kids but in a way you would want them to say it to their peers, or their superiors. Speak to your children the way you want them to speak to you. I’m guilty of saying something like, “How come you always do it wrong?” But if Emma talked to Owen that way, I would step in. So instead I should be saying, “I know how you do it gets the job done, but could we try my way to make it more efficient?”

Yes those are more words and more work. I know our fuses can be short. But isn’t this where our love, commitment and effort come into our relationship?

Number 4. Crop dusting your spouse with a task as you walk out the door. You know what I’m talking about. You’re heading out with your girls for the latest Benedict Cumberbatch film and you tell your husband, “Oh hey, while I’m gone, be sure Timmy learns to ride a two-wheeler, and Julie needs to build a rocket ship for the Science Fair.” I mean, maybe that was your husband’s plan while you were out of the house, but if you catch him off guard, he might feel a huge obligation he can’t meet, which puts him on the defense.

The fact of the matter is, your kids love both of you. Whether your spouse parents differently than you do, your children probably love you the same. Just like your spouse loves your children as much as you do. Different styles don’t mean different love.

Focus on that, take a lot of deep breaths and choose your words. And as much as you can, always choose kindness.

Thanks for this round of joining me as Dr. Phil. I try to keep it real folks.

I want to hear about the parenting landmines you try to avoid, share them in the comments or email them to me!

 

 

I luv me some strays

If I had all the money in the world, I would adopt every cat, kitten, dog and puppy that needed a home. I would need a really big house. And lots of kitty litter. Plus, can you imagine the vacuuming? I barely keep up with the two furry critters that I have.

Interestingly enough, the only time I have ‘bought’ a kitten from a farm or breeder, it ended up dying within 6 weeks from FIP. Feline Infectious Peritonitis. A very contagious, deadly infection that has no cure.

It broke our hearts. So when we got a new kitty, what better way to adopt one than out of some guy’s van in a Safeway parking lot?

Almost like a crack deal in a back alley; he showed us the kitten, covered in fleas, barely old enough to be away from its mama. It was climbing over pizza boxes and Burger King wrappers on the floor of the back seat. We paid the guy 20 bucks for his trouble. Or maybe just to go buy more Whoppers with cheese. Who knows? It just seemed better to give him money for this whiny little fuzz ball.

We drove straight to the pet store and got all the flea products available.

We bathed him, dried him, combed his fleas off, and snuggled him. Boy he  was cute. And little.

I took him to the vets the next morning and sure enough he needed de-worming. Good Lord. How could such a little thing be so infested?

He was too little to climb the stairs to the laundry room where we kept the litter box. And the de-worming meds gave him the runs. So we set up a shoe box downstairs with litter. As soon as he would start to pop a squat, we put him in the little box. Ugh. It was nasty! Poor thing. He would sit there with his eyes closed pooping up a storm of nasty brown soft serve.

He had a few accidents on the couch. What had we gotten ourselves into?!

I’m not doing a very good job convincing you to adopt a stray, am I?!

Once the worming issue was taken care of and he could use the litter box upstairs, we settled in with life with a cat and our dog, Sophie, who we had also adopted years earlier.

If I told you the cat nursed on the dog would you believe me? Yeah. That was a little strange. He had mother issues for sure. The dog put up with it three times. After that, she growls whenever the cat comes near. Now I think SHE has issues.

The last time they were ever this close. Still a better love story than Twilight. #LUVSOME

The last time they were ever this close. Still a better love story than Twilight.

We named the cat Pluto because he was so tiny he looked like he was a tossed out planet in the solar system of cats. Well he showed us.

Now he’s a 20 pound regal beast. He thinks he’s so cool. Mostly he just sits around all day and eats. And eats. And sleeps. And knocks shit off the counters.

If I did ever run that shelter with all my fur babies found from dumpsters, freeways and minivans in parking lots, I would feed them all LUVSOME pet food.

The nice folks at LUVSOME sent me a switch kit to ‘wean’ Pluto off his fancy pants food that is super expensive and I have to go across town for. I got coupons for free dry food and wet food and did the switch. He’s not happy with change, but he’s also not happy with starving.

frugalista blog on #luvsom

So now I don’t have to go all over creation but can get LUVSOME at Kroger stores anywhere. There’s crude protein and meat meal and whole grains in their products, and better stuff than some humans eat!

You know what else I like about LUVSOME? Besides their incredible price and quality ingredients? They partner with Best Friends Animal Society www.bestfriends.org to help give all sweet furries loving homes.

See? We’re like minds LUVSOME and me! So go ahead and support them and then McSweetie doesn’t need me to complain about all the cat boxes I’d have to scoop.

Two of my readers will win a Switch Kit pack, coupons for free food, and a $50 gift card to spend at Kroger stores.

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given product and compensation for this post by LUVSOME but all words and thoughts are my own. Thankyouverymuch.

Frugalista Blog for #LUVSOME pet food

The lost bouquet

 

 The Lost Bouquet by Frugalista Blog, wedding, anniversaries, marriage, bridal

 

If you’re like me, you pretty much obsessed over every wedding detail since you were five.

Of course, by the time I was 25 things changed. Like, I wasn’t going to have a horse-drawn carriage or a dress with a hoop skirt. The 80s of my childhood consisted of a lot of Princess Diana wedding dreams. Then my teens and early twenties took me to an obsession with Jackie Kennedy. So much so that I found a very similar wedding dress like the one she wore when she married John.

And in my typical fashion, it was on sale!

That’s pretty much where my Jackie Kennedy vision ended. Except for the wrist length gloves and strand of pearls I wore. But there were no dignitaries, senators, or heads of state at our wedding. And we also had a budget, so no old Bouvier money to pay for the jazz band I ordered.

I found a florist that I simply fell in love with. She created a ‘Martha Stewart’ type portfolio of lush foliage. And actually, Martha Stewart had only just started her Weddings empire in the early 90s, so all of this seemed ahead of its time. I kept in mind the orange blossom and narcissus flowers Jackie had used, but I also had a theme of hydrangeas throughout. Hydrangeas everywhere!

When we headed out for pictures the morning of the wedding with my bridesmaids, I was tucked in the backseat of my dear friend, Melissa’s Subaru Outback. My dress spilling over me, I dare not move, but the flowers had arrived and I wanted to see my bouquet. She brought it to me in the car and I carried it on my lap in its delicate cool-petaled glory. It was fragrant and felt just the right weight in my hand. I arrived at the park that had the rose garden we reserved  for pictures and for my groom to get his first glimpse of his bride.

It all went perfectly well. The clouds hung over us like they were about to rain, but held off, not sprinkling but creating a reflective veil of lighting for the photographer.

I felt fabulous in my dress. I felt terribly uncomfortable in my shoes! But that’s another story. They sure were adorable. Everyone looked beautiful. I held on to my bouquet tightly. It was an anchor for the day. Giving me something to do with my hands, drawing me in to its delicate, sweet scent. Scent is a powerful thing. It settles back in our ole factory glands and burns itself in our memory vault.

I had the florist make a mini bouquet for the bouquet toss at the reception. It was a sweet little nosegay of similar flowers so I could spare my bouquet and have it as a keepsake.

By the end of the festivities and cake cutting, garter throwing and first dances, so much was happening and time was running out to get changed and to our honeymoon suite. I felt like Cinderella at the ball. I didn’t want it to end, but the clock kept ticking and even though I wasn’t going to turn into any pumpkins, we had to keep a schedule. I knew my bridal party would look after all the cleanup and details that bridal parties do. All our bouquets were on the cake table to add to the floral decor. I needed to change and run off with my husband for our wedding night. Things like where to store my petticoats and paying the caterer were left to all my ladies in waiting of moms, aunts, bridesmaids, sisters, etc. I knew things would be handled.

The next day at my parent’s house was a wedding breakfast. An all day open house that gave us time to soak up each others company and bask in the post wedding glow. For friends and family that traveled from afar to be with us, this was an extra special day that gave us that time to share without so much of the craziness of the previous day’s events.

I saw many of the centerpieces from the reception displayed throughout my mom’s living room and patio.

“Where’s my bouquet?” I asked her.

After going through each and every box, vase and display, my bouquet wasn’t anywhere. Not one of my bridesmaids remembers picking it up.

Strange, because most of the flowers made it back to my parent’s house. How could this particular piece not?

I didn’t get too upset over it. Heck. Lots of things could have gone awry for the occasion and that was such a minor thing. So many of my cherished people were working so hard to make this day a success, what was a little detail like ‘we lost the bride’s bouquet’ going to really add up to in the end?

Anyway, we had a two week honeymoon ahead of us to New England to see the sights of Cape Code, Vermont and the shores of Maine. There wasn’t any need to worry about some dumb flowers.

After returning from my honeymoon, I still needed to get some last few personal belongings from my apartment I shared with my roommate, also a bridesmaid. I let myself in when she was at work, and packed up my final box of whatever. I noticed her bridesmaid’s bouquet sitting on a side table. It was drying and looked like a still life reminder of the fabulous event that had just happened two weeks prior. I felt a let-down of sorts.

It was over. All the planning and dreaming, magazine clippings, dress shopping, fantasizing was done. I had had my wedding that I wanted. It was a dream come true.

I was jealous I didn’t have a bouquet of my own drying on an end table.

One year later, celebrating our first anniversary, we had planned a weekend getaway to Victoria, B.C. We were going to visit the gardens and have high tea. It would give us that feeling of the wedding that took place among the gardens and flowers a year prior.

The night before we were to leave as we’re packing, James tells me to close my eyes and he wants to give me my present.

I’ve had presents and surprises from him before. Mountain bikes. Hmm, that didn’t go over well. Ice cream cakes. Okay, sweet, but I’m lactose intolerant. I figured this would be something charming and funny in his typical style.

I didn’t cheat. I kept my eyes shut. But I could smell it before I could see it. The fragrance hit the back of my sensory triggers and brought me all the way back to the beautiful day a year before when I married this man.

There was my bouquet. Not the same one from the wedding, but an exact replica he had the florist recreate.

I cried.

Its petals were cool and soft. It had the same weight of the first one, anchoring me in place as a bride. Orange blossom, freesia, roses and narcissus wafted above.

I couldn’t stop looking at it, smelling it and holding it. Much like a little girl getting a new doll, I was enraptured with my bouquet! I also, was unbelievably overwhelmed with gratitude and fulfillment that the man I married could see into my feelings and heart so much to know this mattered to me.

It meant more than any jewelry or crystal, paper or clocks, that any anniversary list could have.

I kept that bouquet for 16 years. I only just threw it away after going through a revamp of my living room. It was disintegrating and dusty. I didn’t preserve it professionally. I didn’t need to.

I had had my fill of my flowers, I had my memories and pictures. And I had my husband who cared so much about me and understood sentimentality like I could only hope.

It was a dream come true, that I hadn’t even dreamed in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not my place to judge

“Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes. And I can take or leave it if I please.”

Remember those lyrics to the M*A*S*H theme song? Well, it wasn’t sung in the opening of the show, but I had the sheet music when I was 9 to play on the piano. I thought those words were so odd to me at that age. What on earth could be painless about killing yourself?

But I’ve learned in my adult years, that to the person who commits suicide, the pain of living is greater than the act of death. Hard to comprehend, I know.

There’s been much talk about suicide after Robin Williams’ death on Monday. Many bloggers have written about the topic. Some with stupidity and ignorance that makes me cringe, and some with understanding, poignancy and heart that reaches out to those who might be in a dark place.

I’m not writing this as click-bait. I’m sort of jumping on the bandwagon, I suppose. But I want to keep the dialogue going. And I want to offer my comfort and love to those suffering among the living.

Not the depressed ones, no. The survivors of someone they love that has committed suicide. This post is for them. I know a few, sadly. And what I’ve been reading and hearing on the Internet and social media makes my heart break for them. Because it’s no one’s place to judge or condemn their loved one for something that person did. Albeit final, permanent and devastating, but not their place to judge. No.

The stages of grief are first Denial and then Anger. I think some people dwell in the stage of Anger longer than is appropriate.

Can you imagine your mother or husband taking their own life? Leaving you behind to grow up alone with your sisters, or raise children without a partner? I can’t either. I do feel angry for those left behind. I could scream on their behalf. But I’m not the one living it. It’s not my place to judge.

But I know people that are living this. And I want to tell them that there is no shame. The pain of that family member was so great, so confounding that no one can understand. And it isn’t anyone’s right or place to tell them what ‘choice’ (not my words) they made. They were sick. Sure it wasn’t cancer, but they were sick. And it’s not my place to judge.

The mind’s chemistry is still a mystery. But we have come many strides in science to know that there are chemicals the body needs to function. Just like insulin or oxygen, we need a balance. And when that balance is off, things can go haywire.

How horrible that Sarah goes to school ashamed she has no father because he killed himself over the summer when he lost his battle with Bipolar Disorder. But Sally’s mom passed away from cancer and everyone is making her cards and offering help. But Sarah’s mom and siblings don’t talk about their loss. They’re too ashamed. Everyone says, “How could he do such a thing? How could he leave his family like that?”

He didn’t rob a bank. He didn’t gun down a school. He was sick. Just like Sally’s mom. He was sick. And the flames of pain and darkness burned too hot. It’s not our place to judge.

I can’t say it better than David Foster Wallace:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

I feel so unqualified to even broach this topic. But battling depression myself, knowing a friend who sought help to keep from attempting suicide, and the dear loved ones of friends and family that I know who are survivors of suicide; I can only offer my words as a salve. A balm to their wounds that might wear off temporarily, but hopefully will be felt at a time of need. It’s not my place to judge. And it’s not yours either.

 

It's not my place to judge by Frugalista Blog lifting the shame of suicide for those left behind

 

 

A kid’s guide to how to ask your parents for a hamster

 

A kid's guide to how to ask your parents for a hamster by Frugalista Blog

My daughter knew her father would be a tough sell on getting him convinced she could have a hamster.

We have a cat and a dog and despite my request for a houseful of kittens, he says that we have all the pets we’ll ever have.

Emma is a pretty clever kid.

So she knew that if she left the gate with just, “Dad, can I have a hamster?” the answer would be “NO”.

She decided to come up with a plan.

First- clean your room or bathroom, wherever you plan on keeping the little furry rodent’s dwelling.

Second- don’t ask for anything for awhile and come across as very low maintenance.

Three- have ovary surgery where they rearrange your insides.

Okay, that’s not fair. Not every kid can pull the surgery card, but it does work well if you do have it in your deck.

Find a time when dad isn’t stressed or just came home from work, isn’t distracted by a World Cup game, watching the NBA draft, or finishing his roster for coaching your brother’s soccer game. Yeah, if you understood that sentence, that means there’s very little time dad isn’t stressed or distracted.

Have a whole bunch of your babysitting money saved up so you don’t ask your parents for funding this furry venture.

Once you’ve accomplished all the above, sit down with your dad casually. Probably while he’s chilling with a beer.

And then in your sweetest, yet direct on mature, but not too mature voice, ask, “A lot of my friends have gotten them, and I know it seems weird at first, but I think you’ll consider the idea, can I get a belly button piercing?” Then hold for dramatic pause.

Then when he looks at you in shock, appease his worries with soft laughter,

“Ha ha, I’m just kidding.” “But rather, actually, can I have a hamster?” Then look him squarely in the eye and smile.

Ha! See? It’s the old ‘bait and switch’ tactic!

Once the shock of the thought of his little girl getting some kind of ornamental piercing hanging from a part of her body that he once bathed and applied ointment to the first few days after birth to ensure it healed properly, he can wrap his head around a furry little friend joining your home that pees and poos in a cage of wood shavings.

If at first he gives you the no answer answer, which goes like, “Oh, a hamster, ha ha. I get it. Hmmm…”  and then goes back to his beer and laptop, don’t fret. That’s not actually a ‘No’. It’s a non-answer that just hangs in the air.  What’s critical here is not to press him. Just go with the flow.

If you’re mom is already on board and supporting you with the decision, then let her do the closing.

Do your research and maybe mention a few people you know who have experience with hamsters as pets. Stress the low maintenance feature. Dad’s appreciate this.

It doesn’t hurt to take a trip to a few pet stores and scope out the one you want to get.  Once you find the one you fall in love with, bring back these anecdotes of how you held the cutest, sweetest hamster of the bunch and we wouldn’t want him to get purchased by someone else.

Have your mom approach him casually with, “well, Emma’s gotten all she needs for her hamster and we’ll head to the pet store tomorrow to bring him home. It really was the cutest one and it liked her immediately.”

When your mom helps convince your dad, you’ve hit a home run.

Bring that fur ball home and congratulations! You are now the owner of a tiny rodent.

Oh, and the pee and the bedding do stink. I’m not gonna lie. Be sure to tidy it daily, and clean its shavings weekly. If the smell overwhelms your parents, you’ve failed at the hamster parenting task and they’ll never trust you again.

For part two of this story, stay tuned on how to retrieve your hamster from the floor boards when you lose him behind the bathroom cupboard. That was fun. (sarcasm font)

 

 

 

My America. Your America.

Are you a Republican? A Democrat? Maybe you’re an Independent. Maybe you’re apathetic and seem to just ignore politics and those public figures.

Are you Christian? A Jew? Athiest?

What I’m getting at is, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of your beliefs or ideals, some things are just a big deal and really cool to experience.

Yesterday, I got to do something with my children that we will never forget. It was something only a handful of people get the opportunity to do.

We greeted Air Force One and shook President Obama’s hand!

Yeah! Pretty freaking amazing!!

Have you shaken a standing president’s hand before?

Have you been [this close] to Secret Service? It’s pretty cool.

We have a lot of crap going on in the world. A lot of ills and worries. But there’s also lots and lots of cool and wonderful things. I like to focus on the wonderful. But that doesn’t mean I’m not helping or trying to help the ill or ailing as well.

We took the kids to Washington D.C. in 2010. Seeing the Smithsonian monuments and hearing all the history was a banquet of memories and emotions for the kids and us. We love history. We love this country.

I watch documentaries on presidents all the time. I have a fascination with the Kennedy’s. I modeled my wedding dress after Jackie’s gown. And then I got to see it at the Kennedy Library on our honeymoon, but only by coincidence. I didn’t plan things THAT well!

Politics and politicians can be incredibly divisive. We have a tendency of hearing things on 24 hour news channels and either wanting to believe them because they fit with our ideals, not having the energy to disbelieve because ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’, OR, wondering if everything you hear you need to take with a grain of salt.

I respect the office of the presidency of the United States of America. And whether or not you voted for that particular president that comes to your town, doesn’t matter. The president is in town! How cool is that?

We have a lot to be grateful for. I am grateful for my rights as a citizen and enjoying the freedom to shake a president’s hand, go to my church, and love who I want.

Oh, and I asked about your religion earlier because, had I met the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis, would you spew your religious inclinations my way? Your grievances with the Catholic church or Tibet? I hope not. I would hope that you can understand that it’s awesome and fabulous, and an experience that should be respected.

My kids got to do something they will tell their kids about one day.

So here you go. Our pics with the president.

Frugalista blog with Air Force One

The kids and I  pose in front of Air Force One in Seattle.

 

President Obama with Owen

President Obama chatting with Owen, and Emma’s head in the foreground.

 

The money shot and Owen shaking Obama’s hand.



She could have been a doctor, but she’s just my mom

It’s my mom’s birthday today. She is 73. Sorry mom. I suppose divulging your age is the first rule of lady code I just broke.

Well, I say wear your age proudly. Because when you’ve lived 73 years and seen what my mom has seen, I think you just throw your hangups about age out the window.

My mom is my compass. She’s my lighthouse in the dark. She is my mom and that’s my everything.

I am probably one of the luckiest humans to have such a woman in their life that breathes into her hope, inspiration and security.

My mom doesn’t have it easy. She takes care of my sister, who is disabled. Mom has had her own bout of hardships. Three joint replacement surgeries, a life saving surgery when her intestine was blocked and she could have died. OH, and she’s a cancer survivor. So, there’s that.

Also, when you’re born in Frankfurt in 1941 you are surrounded by a world at war. To think this little being and many others like her, came in to this world under Germany’s darkest years. But if there’s a light one can not extinguish even during this dark period, it was my mom coming forth. Little Uta. I think she was born speaking and solving problems, but that’s just my admiration for her. I know she was a regular little girl, a person with her own hopes and dreams before she was my mom. It’s hard for us as children to picture our parents as people. I mean, you’re telling me they had lives before they devoted it all to us? Indeed. This is a hard fact for my own children to accept sometimes. When you wear the badge of ‘MOM’ it’s hard to be seen as anything else.

Sure like other children, I have fond memories of the way my mom smelled (Chanel No 5 during the 70s) and the smells of her kitchen too. We would have her homemade pizza every Saturday night. We watched the Muppet Show from our kitchen table my dad built. Kermit was smaller then on the 18 inch color television that wasn’t even remote control yet.

But I also have memories of my mom when I was in high school and college. The morning after a late night out, she would sit on my bed while I would sip a cup of tea she brought me. I’d share details of the night like I would share to a girl friend. I would preface certain stories with, “Okay, you’re not my mom right now, what I’m going to tell you.” And she would listen without raising an eyebrow. She didn’t judge or scoff. Let’s be real though. I was a pretty square kid. I didn’t really drink, I never did drugs, I was usually home by midnight, and my male conquests were theater boys I would crush on from afar only to find out they were gay. Translation- I didn’t get much action in college!

So there really wasn’t a whole lot for her to judge me on anyway. BUT, I still felt comfortable sharing all my funny stories, crazy happenings when there were some, and girl to girl details only other women get.

I remember one time either in my early adult years or when I was still in high school, my mom and I were having a heart to heart. In one of her somewhat bleak moments, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “You know, I could have been a lot of things. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a scientist. But I’m just a mom.”

It broke my heart. How could this woman not be satisfied with anything more than being my mom?! Had she been a career woman and not stayed home with her kids, what would life have been like? Selfishly, I was glad this was all she was. My mom. Our mom.

But I told her that she is more than ‘Just a Mom’. She is patience, and trust, nurture and light. She helps the downtrodden, she advocates for the helpless. She friends the homeless and the addicts. She counsels the stranger she strikes up conversation with.

She is an amazing woman that is more than just a mom. But a person who betters this world just by living in it. She raised me and my brother and sister. She looks after my dad and is his partner of 55 years. She reads and swallows up information by the libraries. She is one of the smartest people I know. She can cook up a pie crust and help you with your 401(k) paperwork. I don’t know how this woman does it.

Did I mention she moved here from Germany when she was 17 after marrying my dad? They had my brother a few years later and within less than 10 years had their own two children and fostered troubled children. Mixed race children in the 60s! They took a road trip with their black foster daughter and their own two children down to Atlanta. The guts they had. This is how my parents live. By example.

So yeah. You turn 73 with 3 grown kids of your own, 4 grandchildren, a husband you’ve been married to for 55 years; you wear that age proudly.

And mom,  if you ever think you’re ‘just a mom’ and there was something else you could have been, think for a minute the lives you’ve touched. The ripple effect of what your living has created. How there should be more people like you that are as selfless, reliable and loving. I have never been more proud of you to just be my mom.

Happy birthday.

 

She could have been a doctory but she's just my mom by Frugalista Blog

My mom in the 1950s.

12 life lessons from Siona

Today would have been Siona’s 10th birthday. She died before her 7th birthday of Leukemia.

She was our neighbor’s daughter. Our friend, the little girl who wanted to pet the dogs that walked by and ride her pink bike. She was sick from the time she was 4 years old.

4 year-olds shouldn’t have to wear feeding tubes. It’s not fair.

But what lives on in her legacy are her Life Lessons we call them. Such wisdom from a 5 year old. Siona’s older brother Sohil, is a good example on living these life lessons.

He keeps his little sister’s spirit in his heart and makes sure others feel that spirit too.

He posted on Instagram for today his friends to wear their ‘Siona shirts’. The ones they’ve worn each year for the Big Climb in Seattle to raise money for the American Leukemia Society.

I wanted to share with you today Siona’s Life Lessons. You can read her story here that her mom wrote.

Carry on about your day and look for butterflies. Siona loved butterflies. Happy Birthday Siona.

Siona's Life Lessons on Frugalista Blog

 

How to get your children to listen to you in public

How to get your children to listent to you in public by Frugalista Blog

My friends. This is easy. If no one has taught you the value of how to humiliate your children in public, then you’re doing it wrong. **

You see, I have a very high tolerance for my own humiliation. I’m pretty much fair game. Have you seen my Spanx post? Right.

Once upon a time, my children and I were at the mall.

We went to the Lego store to look around.

We spent a lot of time looking, putting together some pieces, sitting on those tiny stools they put at those tables, checking out the million dollar Millennium Falcon. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Legos are cool and Star Wars Legos are even cooler, but I was thirsty. And hungry.

Honestly being hungry and thirsty in a Lego store isn’t fun. There’s not even any lip gloss or shoes to distract me. So when it’s lunch time and mom is ready to go, it’s go time.

The children did that thing where when I say, “Okay kids, let’s go get lunch!” and I’m super positive and all happy parent on them, they are like, “Just a sec mom.”

Uh huh. I know ‘Just a sec’. It’s the classic stall. My husband does the ‘Just a sec’ when I tell him to take out the garbage. And now the children have mastered the ‘Just a sec’ as well.

Tick tock. Seconds are going by and my stomach is rumbling.

“Okay my little kidlets, this mama hen is hungry and it’s time to feed the chicks. Let’s go.”

“Wait mom, this is so cool, did you see this?”

“Yes, I did honey. Diagon Alley is awesome when it’s made from 15,000 pieces. But there’s a burrito in the food court calling my name. Let’s GO.”

“Sure mom…”

And then it’s like they turned into turtles. The Slowskies are now my son and daughter. Seriously? Like how cool can bricks of plastic be?!

“Hey kids, if you don’t come when I count to 5, I won’t let you have ice cream later.”

Them- “….”

“Hey kids, if you don’t come in the next two seconds I’m just going to start dancing right here in the mall.”

“MO’OM, Right. You’re just kidding. Just a sec.”

You did not ‘Just a sec’ me a second time.

“Okay here goes. OOOh, I love this song. Reminds me of high school. How do you do the Running Man again?”

I proceed to do some version of the Running Man. I’m outside the Lego store and the kids can see me through the glass wall.

“Hey kids, I’ll stop as soon as you join me.”

Kids come running.

“Mom that was SO EMBARRASSING!! How could you do that? Oh my gosh, like people were watching!”

“And from now on, you come when I call and I won’t break out the Cabbage Patch. Deal?”

“Deal.”

Seriously. It’s worked ever since. Which is good, because my Cabbage Patch is worse than my Running Man.

 

**No children were harmed in the sharing of this blog

 

Birthing a teenager

When you have a baby your thoughts are surrounded by this little bundle of joy. Wait. Scratch that. Bundle of joy? Bundle of crying, pooping, difficult to latch on toothless beast. That’s more like it.

Emma is 14 today. I remember when she was born and the soft skin on her back felt like I put my hand in a vat of warm butter. I had no idea what to expect. I could barely wrap my mind around the number of cells that divided and divided over the 39 weeks bringing me this fleshy, peach fuzzed, pink child.

The sense of overwhelming duty to feed this human was daunting. Everything hurt. My boobs were sore beyond imagine. I couldn’t get her to latch on. Her cries of hunger brought me to tears. Like Pavlov’s dog, her squawks sent chills straight to my nipples. I wanted to run away. But I also wanted to love her and never let her go.

Then a thought occurred to me, somewhere in that first week of having a newborn. What if I don’t like her when she becomes a teenager? What if we clashed and hated each other and didn’t speak? Maybe she would rebel against me. Maybe she would slam the door in my face every time I attempted to connect with her.

When babies grow to be 3 year olds, everyone says, “Wait until they become teens. Then you’ll really have your work cut out for you.”

Guess what? Everything I feared, hasn’t come to fruition. Yet.

I find myself loving and growing with Emma more and more as she enters womanhood. We bond over gross things like tampons and body hair! She tells me about her friends. Her fears and her loves. We still ooh and ahh over Disney princesses.

We have frank discussions about sex. She asks me questions, and I answer. Always trying to wrap it in a context her young mind and heart can relate to. But trying not to sugar coat things to unrealistic proportions. I want her to be a strong, sexually independent adult female. I want her to gain her own claim on her boundaries, intimacies, and relationships.

Radical? I don’t think so. I think one of the greatest hardships we face as parents is letting our children actually leave the nest. I don’t want her to leave. But I want her to. You know what I mean?

She has the spirit and poise and intelligence to do wonderful things. Could she be a UNICEF ambassador to developing countries? Sure. Could she travel the country in a Broadway production? You bet. Do both of those scare the shit out of me? ABSOLUTELY.

But I can’t let her know those fears. I think what scares me most, is if she DIDN’T try those things. If she limited herself and succumbed to her own fears and shut herself in to just stay close to home, and follow the simple path.

Don’t get me wrong. Her happiness is based on her choices. If she goes to junior college and finds a nice job, gets an apartment nearby, and is happy- then perfect.

If she decides to live in Belgium? Then perfect also.

Where am I going with this? All of a sudden I’m breathing in a paper bag realizing I have four more years before she is emancipated in the eyes of the state.

Back to the little girl I’m raising. None of the things I feared have come true. Her door is open, our conversations flow. We’ve had words, she’s rolled her eyes at me. She’s stomped up the stairs and looked at me like I had two heads. But in the end, we connect.

And that’s all I can ask for.

Dearest Emma, I truly want your heart and mind to soar to its fullest potential. To find love and content within yourself and the people you surround yourself with. God bless you and keep you.

xoxo

 

You and me girl. Let’s keep it goofy always.