Counting My Blessings

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Three years ago, all of this was nothing but a dream. I was in a toxic on/off again relationship and renting a 950 square foot condo for me and my two kids. Then, in August, I decided to look online at houses in the area. I figured it was a pipe dream and I would, once again, be left longing.

But there is was, an awkward 187 year old bright blue house in my price range, sitting on the market just waiting for me. Three months later, I was moving in and on with my life. Two months later I met my husband who brought with him my bonus son.

The house is in constant disarray with half the neighborhood running in and out and all the animals living in various areas on the property. Laundry piles up and dishes sit in the sink. Corners fill with dirt and dog hair magically appears in the bathtub. The kid’s rooms smell like feet and their are turkeys living in their playroom. Even with all this, I couldn’t be happier.

We live an amazingly full life where we are constantly attending activities and school functions. Some weeks we aren’t home except to sleep, which only make days like these a welcome reprieve.

Days like these I can sit in the backyard, overlooking everything I have created and feel truly blessed. None of this was because of luck or because it was given to me. It all came about because I persisted. I refused to accept that what I had was all I ever would have.

Today, and every day, I count my blessings. I list them off in my head and thank each and every one of them. Because life is what we make of it, and it will never get better unless we allow it to. Allow yourself to let go of all the negative holding you back. Allow yourself to be independent and confident, to forge your own path. Allow yourself to do all the things, but don’t forget to be thankful for every little thing because those little thing build up to be big things and I’m living proof.

Not Going Anywhere

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About a month ago I decided to shut down Mommy Undressed. My kids were a little older and I no longer had poop stories or sleepless nights to talk about. I had been in a relationship with a man who more or less hated my blog and it sucked the fun out of me making fun of myself as a mother. I no longer had fun doing what I had always loved to do, writing. I tried to write about other things but let’s be honest, nothing is as funny as parenting. Please excuse the horrible posts from the last few years.

Then, in walked this gorgeous 23-year-old who seemed to have a thing for older women. Actually, he was 33 and had a kid but he still liked older women so I went for it.

Long story short, nine months into the relationship I pounced on the opportunity to keep him around for a long while and proposed to him. You read that right, I proposed to him. *chest bump, ladies* So, now I’ve got this young hot stud (who comes with a funtastical little dude) in my life who will be waiting at the end of the aisle for me in August. The kids are 9, 10, and 11 and we are swiftly coming up on the teenaged years. Needless to say, I now have PLENTY to write about without anyone bitching about it!

So, stayed tuned, life on the farm with a blended family is promising to keep us on our toes and provide me with more than enough material. Also, teenager’s hormones suck ass.

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Santa: Never Stop Believing, a true story.

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Everyone knows the story of Santa Claus. How could we not? Every year that jolly old elf pops up on store shelves shorty before Halloween, and watches over us with a tinkling eye until he comes barreling down our chimneys to eat  eat cookies and leave presents behind. As kids our parents threatened us with gifts of coal from the big man, and as adults, we threaten our kids with the same. Santa Claus is quite possibly the most loved and adored man to have ever “allegedly” walked the face of this earth. With magical reindeer and an army of overly productive elves, it’s hard for any child to not get excited about the thought of Santa coming to visit.

I remember, as a child, sneaking down the stairs Christmas morning hoping to maybe catch a glimpse of that man in red. To my dismay I never saw him, but I never stopped believing either. Over the years my friends would stop getting presents from Santa. They said it was because he wasn’t real. I said it was because they didn’t believe.

My father was possibly the most joyful person you could ever meet. He had a smile that could light up a room, and a laugh that made you feel good all over. There was no better feeling than to be wrapped up in his arms when I would go home to visit, and at 36 years old, I would still sit on his lap and talk to him about my hopes and dreams. I’m almost pretty sure he lived off of a steady diet of cookies and sweets, much to my mother’s dismay, and it was because of this he had quite a bulbous belly that made him recognizable to almost anyone.

To say my father loved Christmas was an understatement. I used to catch him silently staring at the tree from time to time with a glimmer in his eye. One corner of his mouth would turn up, and a gentle chuckle would escape his lips for no reason other than the fact he was looking at the tree. After my brother and I moved out of the house my parents downsized their tree. It went from being a marvelous wonderment we would haul out of the woods, to nothing more than a table top tree from the back yard. However, I would still catch my father chuckling at that table top tree because, to him, it was still marvelous.

Last month my father passed away after being diagnosed with cancer. I was so angry when it happened because I wasn’t done spending time with him, and neither were my kids. Like so many “children” I wanted to think that my father would be around forever, but as we all know, all things must eventually come to end. The grieving process has been a roller-coaster. I have my good days, and I have my bad days, but the other day turned it all around.

As we were sitting at the table one night for dinner, the kids and I started talking about my father, aka Papa. I was telling them how much Papa loved Christmas, how it was his absolute favorite holiday. We laughed about how he had a big nose and rosy cheeks, and how his belly shook when he laughed. My son then mentioned how we needed to buy more “cheap Christmas cookies” because we were out, and they were Papa’s favorites. We then all looked at the tree in the corner of the living room. It was all lit up and cast little shadows of homemade ornaments on the walls. Then it hit me.

I looked at the kids and said, “Wait a minute, we all know that Santa doesn’t live forever. Right? I mean, someone has to replace him every once in while. Right?” They agreed. “And who is the jolliest person you know?”

“Papa.”

“And who loved Christmas more than anyone else, EVER?”

“Papa!”

Suddenly my daughter pops up in her chair, “And who eats Christmas cookies ALL the time???”

“PAPA!!! Papa is the new Santa!!!”

It all makes sense to me now. Why I loved my father’s laugh. Why I sat on his lap every time I saw him.

Why I never stopped believing. Who could ever stop believing when they grew up with the future Santa after all? So, this Christmas, my family can take a little joy knowing that my father isn’t really gone. He will live forever in our hearts and minds as we take comfort in knowing that he will be coming down our chimneys for many Christmas Eves to come.

I miss my father every day, so can you do me a favor? The next time you’re out at the mall or store, and you see Santa, go sit on his lap and tell him his family misses him, but we’re so glad he’s spreading the joy and magic of Christmas.

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Things You Want To Say To Your Kids, But Can’t

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We’ve all been there. That moment where we teeter on the brink of saying the worst thing ever something inappropriate to our children. We get lost in the heat of the moment. Tight lipped, we inhale sharply through our nose as we prepare to let loose on our unsuspecting, yet deserving, child. Suddenly, at the very last millisecond, we pause and rethink our words. Later we laugh at what we wanted to say versus what we actually said. So, here it is, my list of what we want to say to our kids but can’t.

1. Omg! Shut the fuck up already!
2. I swear to god, I’m going to throat punch you if you don’t stop.
3. There are days I wish your father had pulled out. This is one of them.
4. I’m about to put my foot up your ass if you don’t hurry the fuck up.
5. If you don’t eat what’s on your plate, I’m going to shove it down your throat myself.
6. If you don’t clean your room now, I’m going to burn the whole house down. Then you won’t have anything to mess up.
7. Quit acting like your fucking father!
8. Quit acting like me!
9. Holy shit! What the fuck were you thinking?
10. If you don’t do your homework, you’re going to end up an uneducated worthless piece of shit.
11. If you throw yourself on the floor one more time, I am going to throw you out the window!
12. I’m about to beat the whine out of you. Your choice.
13. Traffic, go play in it.
14. There is a black market for children, and it pays very well.
15. Fuck! Just…FUCK!!!

To those of you who just got their panties in a bunch because of this list, get over yourself. We all want to say these things. It’s 100% natural. The key point is, we don’t say them. We all get frustrated as parents it’s why we drink, and sometimes we even hate it. That’s ok. Just remember to keep your mouth shut, count to 10, and say the appropriate thing. Also, you may slip from time to time…that’s ok too.

Kids Do Stupid Things…I Make Them

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I ask my kids to do stupid things. I’m a mom, that’s my job, it’s what I do. I understand that kids have an easy enough time embarrassing themselves, but I often feel the need to aid in this process. I blame my mother 100%. The number of times my mother has embarrassed me by showing up at my work dressed in bizarre costumes and acting like a lunatic in public is a number I lost track of long before I even hit 21. I come by it naturally, obviously. Now before anyone gets their panties in a bunch because I take serious joy in humiliating my kids, let take a moment to discuss this. Kids are simple and vulnerable. Admit it, they are. Not a single parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent hasn’t used this fact to satisfy their own comic needs. Grown-ups are pure evil like that, and we love it! We make kids shove marshmallows in their mouth and say “chubby baby”. We make them say “truck” over and over again because it comes out as “fuck”. We make them do silly dances as we record them, and promptly post in on the internet for the world to see.

If we engage our kids in this kind of embarrassment and humiliation while they are young, they end up being well rounded jokers as they get older. In short, they play along! Congratulations, you have just raised a kid who can laugh at  themselves and make light of every day situations. Seriously though, what’s better than that? I love the fact that my kids will now play along with all the stupid things i have running through my head. Granted, my daughter plays along more than my son because she loves attention, but my son now understands what is really going on. He enjoys it, not for the attention, but because it makes people laugh.
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