Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Twins-A Blessing or a Curse?

Are twins a blessing or a curse?

The first 31 years of my life, if I had been asked this, I would have said a curse. I grew up with an identical twin sister and I always felt as if I never measured up to her. She was the leader and I was the follower. She was the smart pretty thin good twin. I was the dumb ugly fat evil twin. She was always better than I was in every way. By the time I was 32 I would change my mind and say twins are a blessing.

I was at my twelve-week prenatal appointment and everything checked out great. The doctor asked if I had and questions and I asked her if I was measuring big because I was showing a lot and had gained twelve pounds already. She said I was measuring where I was supposed to and that it was probably because it was my fourth pregnancy in quick succession. She told me we could do a dating ultrasound to be sure I wasn't farther along than I thought I was.
I knew for a fact my due date was correct because I had been keeping track of ovulation. I reluctantly agreed. As I walked to outpatient scheduling I thought "this lady is stupid, my due date is not off." I scheduled the ultrasound for the following week anyway.
The day of the appointment I almost just didn't go. I would have to pick up a babysitter, take a one, three, and five year old out by myself and have them sit in the tiny radiology waiting area with the babysitter during the ultrasound. I was thinking "This is such a waste of time, I know my damn due date is correct." I went anyway. That's when things got real!
As I lay on the ultrasound table and the ultrasound technician started to scan my already huge belly I saw two babies on the screen and nearly screamed "NO ******* WAY, THIS CANNOT BE TRUE, KILL ME NOW." I stayed silent and waited for her to say something. She then said in the most cheerful of voices "oh, look, two babies!" I snapped "I know, I saw that already!" She kept talking incessantly about all the cool stuff she was doing but I was too pissed to look and just stared at the ceiling. When she said " Here is baby A's heartbeat, here is baby B's heartbeat," I snapped "I do not want to look at any of this crap, just do whatever it is you need to do so I can go home." I spent the next twenty minutes staring at the ceiling, pissed as hell, having racing thoughts about what this meant for us.Thankfully she was silent the rest of the time until she asked if I wanted pictures. Of course, I did because how else was I going to prove that it was true to myself or to my husband?
I told my twin sister I was having twins and that they were due on September 21st, 2008. She thought it was so cool and said that maybe they would be born on our birthday which is August 15th. I told her that would be impossible since that was 5 weeks before they were due and it would be too early. What are the chances?
I was pretty upset for the first few weeks. I wanted 4 kids not 5, and surely not twins. I didn’t want them to have the experience I had of competing with a twin and always feeling inferior. However, as the weeks passed I got used to the idea of having twins. I started telling everyone we were getting a bonus baby. I loved and wanted them both and talked to them constantly, and when there were growth issues with one of them I would tell her “come on baby grow”.
My water broke abruptly on August 14th, 2008 at 10 PM and by 2 AM August 15th they were here! YES! They were born on my and my twin sister’s 32nd birthday! What are the odds of that? Well, according to the Minnesota Twin and Family Study it is a 1 in 3.8 million chance! WOW!
After being flown on a life flight to another hospital they spent a short 6 days in NICU then were sent home. Caring for them was much harder to do than it had been with all my others. I had never had a preemie and never two babies at once. I slept very little and spent all my time nursing two babies. They grew and thrived. They were fun babies, very content and quiet. As toddlers, they found ways to get in trouble together. As preschoolers there was a lot of fighting, scratching, biting and hair pulling. There was also a lot of laughter and play. As kindergarteners and first graders they were in different classrooms and began to come into their own. It was a little sad for me to send them to school, since they are my youngest children, and to start seeing them more as individuals than a pair. It has been very good for them though.
Today my twins are eight years old and about to enter the second grade and if you ask me now if they are a blessing or a curse, as a mother of twins, I would say a blessing. We still call our youngest twin our little bonus baby!

What do you think? Blessing or Curse?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tearing Down the Walls

The day after Trump became president my daughter went to school crying because she was sure her Hispanic friend would be sent back to Mexico.

That very day at the bus stop a group of kids were chanting "build that wall" over and over to a group of Hispanic children.

Families and children are afraid and confused. People are being bullied, mistreated and abused.

This hate has got to stop. It seems hate is being encouraged these days.

Here is a novel idea. Instead of building new walls of exclusion, how about we tear down some existing ones.

There are many groups of people that have walls they need to get over in order to be accepted.

Just to name a few: those with mental illness, those with disabilities, those with addiction issues, minority races, the LGBTQ community, those of different religious beliefs, those that participate in social programs and more.

America is a melting pot. It was meant to be a place of acceptance for all people. This is not the America I see today. It is not what it should be. ALL of us need to start to tear down these walls that separate us instead of creating new ones. Although they are invisible, they are a barrier as strong as any physical wall could ever be.

Can we love all people? Can we accept those that are not like us? Can we see and try to understand their struggles? Can we include them? Can we give it a try?

Let's all do that. Let's start today!

Monday, June 27, 2016

ADHD in Aisle 3

Last week 3 of my children had dentist appointments 20 miles from my home in the town I usually do all my errands. I usually do errands alone to avoid behavior problems, this time, however, in order to save a trip back to town, I decided to do my errands after the dentist appointments. Keep in mind we were at the dentist for 2 hours.

After the dentist, we went to Target to get a few birthday gifts for parties coming up. After Target my 13-year-old son and I needed hair cuts so we went to Great Clips. My other son who is 9 years old and has moderate ADHD started getting antsy and was peeking behind the curtain to see me, standing on a chair, wandering back and forth from the product shelves to the opposite wall. All the while, my 7 yr old daughter was sitting nicely and being quiet. By the time the hair cuts were completed we had been gone for four hours.

Looking back, I now see the error of my ways.
I guess I should have known better than to think my 9 yr old could make it through another store, judging by the way he acted at Great Clips, but I pressed my luck. Next stop, the grocery store.

We began the shopping trip with the kids each being asked to retrieve a grocery item. I allowed them to choose fruit and put things into the cart to keep them busy. Five minutes into the trip, my 9-year-old started running. I begged, I pleaded, I nearly cried.

After a bit, I grabbed his neck so he would look at me and quietly said, "Please slow down." This is when things got a little out of hand. We only had dairy and frozen left to get through, so I thought we could manage. He immediately began walking is super slow motion. He loudly said, also super slowly "I can't keep up." He looked ridiculous and I was mortified. People were staring. Others were shaking their heads as if to say "She can't control her own kid." I ignored all the looks and told him I was not waiting and the other kids and I went to the frozen foods without him.

Eventually, he showed up. I assumed this would be the easy part because I was allowing each of them to choose a TV dinner, which I rarely get. He chose his quickly then decided it would be a good time to begin writing the word "poop" on every freezer door since I was distracted trying to choose dinners for myself, my husband, and the 2 kids left at home. I had no idea he had done this until he had written it on every freezer door in that aisle. I held onto him while my 13-year-old went to all of the doors and rubbed the word away.

This concluded the shopping and all the kids were super helpful putting the groceries on the belt, but then after they were done, the 9-year-old was goofing off at the end where everyone walks through and he was getting in people's way.

What people do not understand is that ADHD kids do not have the same impulse control as the rest of us and often display behaviors 3-5 years behind their actual age. He will be 10 in July. Yes, he looks like a normally developed 5th grader. But behavior reflects that of a 5-7-year-old. It seems as if he has bad parenting. I will tell you, none of my other kids act like that. I actually spend double or triple the amount of time correcting his behaviors than I do on the rest of the children. He really is a very sweet kid with a ton of amazing qualities. They are just difficult to see through all the rambunctious behavior.

Next time you see a seemingly normal looking child acting out at a store, keep in mind that there is maybe something you do not know that can not be seen. Consider that this tired mama works hard to help her child overcome these obstacles but can not possibly stay on top of it every second of every day. Consider the daily struggle this family encounters and the judgments by others they face. Above all else, recognize the treasure each child is and realize there are probably amazing things about this "terror" that you are not seeing. It makes me very sad that people can not see the amazing kid under all of the crazy behaviors. I am the only one who really knows him. Let me tell you-I am oh so blessed!

Do you have a child with struggles that are hard for others to see? What are your solutions?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches and Hawaiian Pasta Salad

I am not a food blogger but I just needed to share my versions of these recipes! I don't know how to make them printable so I apologize for that in advance! I hope you like them!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Motherhood:What it Means to Me

Motherhood is painful, scary, and unpredictable.

Motherhood is body changing, life giving, and life altering.

Motherhood is little hands, little feet, and big hearts.

Motherhood is late nights and early mornings.

Motherhood is cuddles, kisses, and hugs.

Motherhood is soft, comforting, and precious.

Motherhood is creating, discovering, and exploring.

Motherhood is anger, yelling, and apologies.

Motherhood is compassion, support, and forgiveness.

Motherhood is hellos, goodbyes, coming, and going.

Motherhood is joyful, peaceful, and graceful.

Motherhood is school programs, football games, and dance recitals.

Motherhood is powerful, all encompassing, and soul searching.

Motherhood is overwhelming, disappointing, and bewildering.

Motherhood is tickles, laughter, and rosy cheeks.

Motherhood is hard, confusing, and frustrating.

Motherhood is wonderful, exhilarating, and fulfilling.

Motherhood is tiring, thankless, and heartbreaking.

Motherhood is holding on and letting go.

Motherhood is lonely, sacrifice, and expensive.

Motherhood is giggles, smiles, and games.

Motherhood is dance parties, picnics, and trips.

Motherhood is busy, crazy, and scheduled.

Motherhood is goofy, silly, and sweet.

Motherhood is beautiful, important, and magical.

Motherhood is emotional, brutal, and  frightening.

Motherhood is messy, irritating, and cluttered.

Motherhood is forts, movies, and talks.

Motherhood is everything, indescribable, and priceless.

Motherhood is love!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Motherless on Mother's Day

The past few weeks I have not been doing well. I just started feeling out of sorts. I was angry and/or sad very often and could not figure out why. I felt irritated much of the time. Then I saw a Mother's Day post and it dawned on me. That was what was upsetting me. I am about to celebrate my first Mother's Day without a mom. She left this earth shortly after last Mother's Day.

Every time I see a Mother's day commercial or Facebook post I get angry and it all seems so unfair. I don't want to do Mother's Day without my mom here. Why does everyone else have a mom except me? Obviously, that is not the truth, but it sure feels that way. I get angry when I see very old ladies. Why do they still get to be alive but not my mama?

I told my friend about my feeling about this and she acted like I was being selfish. Maybe I am. Isn't it okay to be selfish every now and then? I told her I would like to just skip Sunday altogether. I want to go to bed Saturday and wake up Monday and just skip it.

I realize that I am a mom and my kids want to celebrate me, but I just don't know how I am going to do it. I have seen them sneaking off to their rooms to make me gifts. My daughter has a weekly schedule written on the whiteboard. For Saturday it says: Making and buying gifts for mama. I feel like crying whenever I look at it for two reasons: because it makes me sad I don't have my mom, and from guilt over not being happy and joy filled reading how much my kids love me in those words. They have asked me what I want for a gift. I tell them I want my mom. They are dumbfounded because that is just something they can not deliver. They talk excitedly about the day we will have. I am worried. I want to be happy and enjoy my kids and the joy and happiness they feel over it. I just don't know if I can. I am not sure I can paste on a smile and be happy for their sakes. Furthermore, I don't really want to. I want to lay in my bed and cry for my own mama. I know that would be the wrong approach.

I am stuck. I love my kids but I really miss my mom!

Are you facing your first Mother's Day without your mama? How are you planning to cope? 

Friday, April 29, 2016

You Are Not What You Look Like

Lies. They are everywhere. The beauty industry feeds us these lies and builds our insecurities around them. Once we have them, the beauty industry uses them to sell us so much crap we do not need. We just think we do.

If you have skin issues cover them up.
If you have frizzy hair make it less frizzy.
Unstyled hair looks sloppy.
If you have a tummy wear something to hide it or get liposuction/tummy tuck.
If you have yellow teeth get them whitened.
If you have crooked teeth get them straightened.
If you have stretch marks fade them.
If you have wrinkles reduce them.
If you have gray hair color it.
Bare nails are ugly, manicure them.
Comfortable clothes look sloppy, wear fancy shit.
The shoes make the outfit.
If you have body or facial hair remove it.
If you have cellulite reduce/remove it.
Makeup will brighten your face, pale is out!
Tan is in, go to a tanning salon.
Dull hair looks bad, get highlights!
Wear a lifting bra, saggy boobs look terrible.
If your boobs are too small, get implants.
If you are fat you're gross, go to the gym.

Good news. There are a bunch of products you really need to fix yourself! Do all this and your insecurities will disappear!

anti frizz serum
curling/straightening irons
tooth whitener
stretch mark cream/laser treatments
wrinkle cream/botox
hair dye
nail polish and acrylic nails
high fashion clothing
dress shoes
waxing kits/services or laser hair removal
cellulite cream/liposuction
Self-tanners/tanning booths
salon visits for highlights
expensive bras
plastic surgery
gym membership

Look, I am sure there is much more. The point is these are not things we need. These are lies in a bottle. There is a reason the beauty industry wasn't hurting during hard financial times and a reason why the beauty industry continues to thrive. It is because we believe our worth is based on what we look like. So we try to fix our flaws in hopes that we will become more confident and less insecure. Does it work? I say no. I think it just makes our insecurities worse because once we fix one thing another thing comes up that needs fixing. It is a never ending cycle of find and fix, find and fix, repeat, repeat, repeat. But we are never happy with ourselves because we are constantly being told fix this, fix that and everything is never totally fixed. It actually causes us to notice our flaws more because the industry is feeding us so many lies daily.

Here are the beauty products you actually need for hygiene purposes.

See that short list? If we could all just simplify to use just those things and ignore the lies the beauty industry feeds us daily wouldn't we all be much happier? I think yes! The sooner we realize what we look like isn't who we are we will be better off. I have value no matter what I look like. How about you?

What do you think? Is the beauty industry causing more harm than good?  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Working at Home

For 13 years I was a SAHM. Four and a half months ago, right after my oldest son turned 13, I got a job at a local factory doing Home Assembly. It is 29 hours per week as a supplemental income. In that time I have learned a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of such an arrangement.


  • I get to make my own hours. I can work around appointments, sickness, and anything else that comes up.
  • I get to have a pajama day ever day. Nothing beats working in your PJs!
  • I don't have to deal with people.
  • I can take whatever breaks I want/need to.
  • I am here for the kids when they have days off.
  • The DVR stays empty. I always have something on to at least listen to in the background while I am working.
  • No commute. It is nice not to have to waste time, gas, and wear and tear on the van.
  • I don't get behind on laundry. I switch things from the washer to the dryer and start a new load when I take a break.
  • I don't need to pack a lunch.
  • No wardrobe expense. I wear whatever I want, PJs normally, as stated above.
  • I don't need to look presentable. I sometimes don't brush my hair or teeth or wear deodorant.
  • I control the thermostat.


  • I get distracted by things like Facebook, house work, and phone calls.
  • There is no separation between home and work-same place.
  • I don't get paid breaks.
  • I have to multitask when the kids are home, they want ALL THE THINGS when I decide to work.
  • My house looks like a factory. My living room always has boxes and equipment everywhere.
  • I don't get paid for the time I spend loading and unloading orders, picking up and dropping off orders or setting up a job to start working on it.
  • I need to be organized and schedule my work or else it won't get done by the due date. If I get behind I am up all night finishing work the day before i need to return it.
  • Loneliness. I get stir crazy sometimes when it's just me, myself and I all day while the kids are at school. 
  • My family gets mad sometimes when they want things and I am working. They do not get that I need to work. Just because I am here does not mean I am available.
  • I don't get vacation or sick days. I still need to get my hours in even if I have plans or if I am sick.
  • Friends assume I can do things with them any time any day. Just because I am home, that does not mean I am available.
  • I feel compelled to work ahead even if I got done with the amt of work I had planned to do that day.

As you can see, the pros and cons are about equal. If you have a paying job, do you work at home or out of the home? Which do you prefer?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Building Calluses

One day I noticed a hard rough spot on a few of my fingers. I began scratching at them and then it occurred to me that they were the start of calluses. I began working a new job doing home assembly in October for a local factory. I then realized that I must leave them alone. Imagine if I had peeled them off. I would have raw open spots. Then whenever I worked it would be painful. Every thing I did would cause me pain.

Calluses are ugly and rough. Nobody wants them. But they serve a purpose. Our bodies are smart. They build calluses to protect our tissues and prevent pain from doing repetitive tasks. A callus is defined as: a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue, especially in an area that has been subjected to friction. It makes perfect sense for our bodies to do this. Otherwise every time we worked there would be pain and we would be reluctant to continue with the work. So in order to keep doing the work we need to accomplish we build calluses.

We need to build figurative calluses also in order to survive this life. We can't be left open and raw to every encounter that occurs. We would never survive it. So we callus ourselves to certain situations we may encounter. We toughen up to certain words or situation that we know have hurt us in the past. If we leave ourselves open to it how would we ever live, short of hiding out from the world? We wouldn't. Some things we leave ourselves open to. We are raw and open and vulnerable in many, but not all, ways. We need to feel, just not ever pain. Some need to be protected against to insure survival. If we left ourselves open to all hurts it just would not work. Life would become too hard to bear and we would give up completely. The secret is figuring out where to build calluses and where to allow ourselves to feel. That is the hard part. After we have found that balance, however, life will be an easier walk and we will have much more bliss!

I used to care what everyone thought  of me and I wanted everyone to like me. I would be very hurt if someone was nasty to me or didn't like me. I callused myself to what most people thought, and decided who was important enough to care what they thought of me. I also callused myself to things my loved ones said to me during disputes, because I realize they probably don't mean it. I decided to live my values despite what other thought. This has made my life so much easier.

Where have you built up calluses and where have you left yourself open and raw? Are there areas you still need to build calluses?