Honestly….

I’m normally pretty chill (until I’m not). But right now, I am a little worried. I am trying not to worry about things that I cannot control (like whatever will happen at my work). This week I have bigger things weighing on me.

Nate is having surgery tomorrow. Not anything major – tonsils & adenoids are coming out. But, still…. that’s my kid. He has to be put under. His life will literally be in someone else’s hands. I am sure the surgery will be fine. I am worried about the recovery.

Nate (Tater) doing what he loves most… ❤️⚾️

I don’t like to see my kids in pain. Seriously… that will be the hardest thing. I hope his recovery is easy. I hope whatever pain will be worth it in the end.

I hope that he will breathe easier. I hope that he will sleep better. I hope that whatever we experience in the next couple of days, he remembers that we were here for him – taking care of him.

I am thankful that I have an understanding team at work, that will allow me to work from home over the next couple of days to take care of my kiddo while he needs me.

The truth is that worrying doesn’t get you anywhere. I have to trust in the skill of the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the hospital staff… I have to trust in God. I have to have faith that all will be good, and we will come out better in the end.

That said – if you are the praying type, please keep Nate in your thoughts and pray for a safe and speedy recovery. We will take all the good wishes we can – today, tomorrow & always.

P.S. I find it very disturbing that the hospital has mentioned multiple times that he is a minor, and one of his parents needs to stay there with him…. Is this a thing? Do parents just drop their kids off for surgery and go grab a bite to eat?!? They will practically have to restrain me from going in the operating room with him…..

#CrazyAsAMother #MyTaterTot #StressingMeOut #EverythingIsGoingToBeAlright #FaithAndValorWillGetMeThrough

Seriously Though

Y’all… it’s been a hot minute, but I need to get something off my chest. You are my free therapy. My sounding board. My people.

I’ve been writing another post, a light and fun one – but that will wait for another day or two. It’s been a crazy week. Let’s be real, a crazy month that seems to go on and on….

Let’s get down to business:

Raising kids is HARD. Raising boys sometimes seems to come with its own set of challenges and rewards. Now, I’m not saying that raising girls is easy (nope, no way… I am thankful every single day for boys) – but sometimes I just don’t even know what to do.

To say that I love my kids, seems too small. They aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. But they are mine, and I am theirs. How do I protect them and still let them learn that life is not always easy?

My boys are VERY different from each other. It is a blessing and a curse. Raising twins is an added layer of complication to this parenting gig. Right now I want to talk about something that happened to one of our kids today at school.

This is my Kevin.

He loves to read. He loves to play soccer. He is an artist. He is a musician. He has a huge heart. He is super smart. He loves to volunteer. He is passionate about a lot. He is also quirky. He has a sassy mouth. He has a habit of being a know-it-all (that makes us all crazy). He can be a little sensitive & dramatic. He is complicated, funny, unique and amazing. He is one of my sons and means the world to me.

We have been trying to work with him on being more social at school. He prefers to go to the library at lunch and read quietly. I read at lunch too…. so it is hard to fault him there – but I want him making memories with his friends, and if I am being completely honest – I don’t want him known as the weird loner who just reads. The kid has friends. He is a typical kid, when he lets himself be. It’s that hard area of being a parent where you want them to be themselves, but also be “normal-ish”.

I know. That makes me sound like a terrible parent. I am just trying to be honest, like always here.

So knowing a little bit about Kev, let me tell you about today’s Middle School Adventure:

He went to the library before school (because that is what Kevin does). Some older kids, that he doesn’t know, opened the door and were calling his name and taunting him.

He got ready to go to class, and these boys were hanging out close by. There were about 10 boys – 7th & 8th graders – who surrounded him. He saw them, he ignored them when they called out… and yet they felt the need to push him a bit, cuss him out and threaten him.

Apparently the ring leader was under the impression that Kev was bullying his sister. Thankfully a teacher (who knew the older boys) broke it up, but Kevin was scared. That is not okay.

He got to his class, visibly upset, and told his teacher what happened. She was quick to act and try to figure out who the kids were. At the same time, the teacher who broke it up was trying to figure out who the young kid was, to check on him and report the incident.

The school called me to bring me up to speed. My first thought – I am driving straight to the school and kicking someone’s ass!

But, I didn’t. I talked to the Vice Principal – who told me what happened. And told me that they were actively investigating & would keep an eye on him and keep him safe. I know her. I trust her.

I talked to the Librarian, who was letting him chill in there during his morning break and lunch. She let Kev call me to tell me his side of the story and he assured me that he is okay.

I was called by his first period teacher who brought me up to speed and shared what she could. She assured me they were all working to resolve the issue and would all watch it for him. She also asked Nate to get Kev after school so they can walk across the field together. And, she walked with them.

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I am grateful for the school staff and administration. So far. Now, I know that the school has policies and procedures. AND, as happy as I am for the care they have shown, I will be calling tomorrow. I want to know what happened to these offenders. I want to know what happens if they retaliate. I want to know HOW DO WE GET IT TO STOP?!?

{sigh}

So. Kev figured out who’s brother it was. She claimed she never said anything about Kev & doesn’t know how her brother even knew who he was. I (being the fabulous parent I am), asked him if he ever said anything mean or that he thought was funny to her that could be perceived as being a bully. He said no, I believe him.

What I didn’t realize about my role as a momma-bear…. is that I have to keep all the men calm. Like seriously, how am I supposed to lose my shit when I have to keep them from losing theirs?!? WHAT-THE-ACTUAL-FUCK?!?

J is out of town for work, if he were home he would have been down at the school. He left a message for the boys to call him (I’ll come back to this in a minute). Rich was in a meeting, but I brought him up to speed when I could. My nephew T is fired up, and wants to talk to some of these bullies. And I love them all for being so fiercely protective. But, trust me guys – momma’s got this!

Here is the interesting conundrum that comes with raising boys…. we talked to Kev, told him he did the right thing – but if he needs to fight back to protect himself he should. J talked to Nate and told him that he needs to look out for his brother. If he needs to stand up for him, he better. We DO NOT condone violence. But, what the fuck are you supposed to teach your kids when it comes to this sort of thing?

But wasn’t that the essence of what this other kid – the ring leader – thought he was doing? Even if his information was wrong, did he think he was standing up for his sister?

Regardless- 10 older kids ganging up on a smaller, younger kid is unacceptable. I PROMISE you that if my kids were on the other side of this – there would be hell to pay. Serious consequences. Being a bully is not okay.

Everyday I read about teen suicide. Usually because of bullying. It has got to stop.

I sincerely hope that there is a group of parents on the other side of this, that is struggling with how to deal with this on their end. I hope and pray they find a way to get through.

The dynamic duo….

I will be following up. I will be checking in with my kids. I will listen with both ears. I will guide them with my heart. And I will hope they come out stronger for this experience.

Whew… That was a lot of info… I tend to be a little wordy when I am fired up! Here is the moral of the story folks:

Learn to listen to your kids, so they will always talk to you. Talk to your kids, even about the hard stuff. Do not worry about being their friends- you need to do whatever it takes to raise decent human beings.

Boys…. they make family photos interesting

{photos were done by the AMAZING Patty Schmidt Photography}

#CrazyAsAMother #FrickAndFrack #RaiseThemRad #StopBullying #TeachKindness #DontMessWithMyKids #AdultingSucks

One Day, I’ll Get My Shit Together

Hello…. is this thing still on?!?

It isn’t like I suddenly don’t have anything to say. My life is still chaos & fun & stress & all the things…. But being unemployed leaves me feeling a little lost. Work has always been an anchor to help weather life’s storms. I enjoy the sense of purpose. I thrive on deadlines and schedules (and you know – having money to pay for crap)…. and I am currently drowning in my stress of finding my next anchor. But I will write more about that soon.

While I work on getting out of my own way, and reaching some goals – I wanted to share a funny little story (that proves my normal shenanigan filled life is still in full swing)….

Last year, I helped start a non-profit travel baseball team for one of my kiddos. I am by no means a coach or anything important, just the chaos coordinator (my natural calling). I have been collecting fees for start up costs & our first tournament. One family paid cash yesterday. I guess I had stuck the cash in my book (that I take to practice, but never read).

I always read a bit before going to sleep – sometimes a paragraph, sometimes a whole book…. last night I remember reading a couple of chapters & off I went to dreamland.

Around 2 am – I woke up. No clue why…. but I noticed I had something in my hand. I was holding a $5 bill, like someone had just handed it to me. I lay there for a bit, trying to figure out where it came from. Did Jerritt give it to me? Why? Did one of my boys sleepwalk and give me money?!? What the heck is happening???

Then I heard one of the dogs licking something under my blanket. I found a $50 bill! Holy hell – what is going on?!? 2 am is not the best time to try to figure out where money is coming from… but (for a few minutes), I was pretty damn happy that I was finding money!

It was only after finding the $20 on the ground on the way to the restroom that it clicked… $75 found in my bed, the same amount paid to me at the ballpark! I swear – sometimes I just don’t know how I manage to survive.

I don’t do my best thinking at that hour of the morning, but thank God I am able to laugh at myself….

#CrazyAsAMother #GetYourShitTogether #SinkOrSwim #SleepShenanigans #CantMakeThisShitUp

Plot Twist!

Sometimes you have a plan for your life…. and sometimes your life has a plan for you. There are just some things that you cannot control.

I recently was laid off…. again. This time it was different. I LOVED my job. I loved the people I was working with. I loved learning new things every day…. I felt that it was my end game. But, those at a much higher pay grade than I decided that some roles in our group needed to be eliminated. It had nothing to do with my performance. My boss (and her boss), and most of the people I worked closest to, were not very happy that I was “going”…. they have all been supportive and helping me to get my resume seen at other opportunities – I am actively interviewing, but still bummed (borderline depressed), and anxious to find work again.

I have been laid off more than most…. it sucks. Although I can confidently say that it has never been based on my performance, it starts to wear on your confidence. Usually, by the time a lay-off hit – after an acquisition, or management change; the environment was toxic, that while hard to be out of work, it was almost a relief. This time was different…. I walked out of there knowing that I had done an amazing job, that I was leaving my “family”, that I was being asked to leave the role I was meant to be in. But, in true Pisces style, I am going to find the new flow to go with.

I don’t know where this plot twist will take me. I hope in another role that pushes me and helps me grow. I hope for a team that will support and help me succeed.

I know, I know…. all things happen for a reason. Enjoy the time off I get with my kids. Know that I did a great job, and made a great impact and impression…. but damn – it sucks!

I’ll just be over here, doing my thing (while secretly freaking the fuck out), waiting to figure out where the next chapter will take me.

#CrazyAsAMother #PlotTwist #GoWithTheFlow #ChaosCoordinatorLookingForChaos

Hot Mess In Progress

To say that life has been busy lately, feels dramatically understated.  I’m definitely not complaining.  It is the good kind of busy, that burns up your days but leaves good memories in it’s place.

The month of May has been a blur…. and to think that the year is almost halfway done – INSANE!  I mean, tomorrow is the first of June, and I haven’t had the time to start on my New Year’s Goals yet.  Maybe that is just me….

Here is a little glimpse of what the past couple of weeks have looked like, and what more is to come.

Last Tuesday, my sister and I headed to Fresno to see Pink in concert!  The tickets were a Christmas gift from Jerritt, and the show was AMAZING!  One of my favorite concerts ever, so far!  We also stayed with my sweet friend (and phenomenal photographer) – which is always fun, and always makes me wish I had more time, to just hang out with my people.  Anyhow, the start of the week was crazy, busy, and so very good! If you have not seen her show…. you need to!  This is my favorite new song off her latest album:

I had taken the rest of the week off, because the concert, kids birthday, school events… and well, we were coming up on a holiday weekend, so it made perfect sense.  Thursday – my little monsters turned 11 years old.  Ugh…. where does the freaking time go? I swear, it wasn’t too long ago that we were snuggling little babies, or preparing for starting elementary school – now we are a week away from “promoting” to middle school.

In case you haven’t guessed, or haven’t read many of my posts, I fiercely love my children.  I really do.  They are why I am who I am.  They were so very wanted before they were ever conceived.  The medical struggle to become a mom made it all more precious.  And I literally cherish every minute that I get to be their mom.  I am not a super mom.  They are not perfect kids.  But good golly – we are lucky to have each other & all the people in our lives who love and support us.

Eleven years of crazy, stupid love.

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People always say that I go above and beyond for my kids.  I am not looking for praise, or recognition.  I am not trying to make other moms look or feel bad.  I am just trying to give my kids the best childhood, while teaching them to not be assholes.  Being a twin mom is a bit of an additional challenge.  Yep, I have 2 kids.  Yep, they want different treats for their class on their birthday  (I mean… it is their last elementary school birthday celebration – it’s not like I will be cooking treats for all the middle school classes next year!  There, I said it, I’m not going to do it….)  Yep, it was a lot of work.  Yep, it was worth it to make their day as good as it could be.   So I made breakfast kabaobs (doughnut holes and delicious fruit on a stick!), and 2 kinds of cookies to take to school.

It was a busy day too!  I hustled to campus loaded up with treats for the two classes.  It was Field Day at our school (another last for us), AND, the boys’ classes were headed to their future middle school for a feeder assembly!  I didn’t see my boys until they got to school.  A quick hug, an embarrassing picture session by the marquee out front – then hustle to class to hand out all the sugary treats before they loaded up on the buses!

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I helped all day at the Field Day event, well, I mostly walked around and took pictures – but I enjoyed being there and spending time with the students, parents and staff that have made our school experience so far the BEST we could ask for.  The 5th grade classes made it back and had fun out there too!  It was by far the coldest Field Day and birthday we have had to date, but we made the most of it.

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Then, we spent the evening of their birthday at the ball park.  Nate’s team won the championship game for our division/league!  Poor Kevin had to spend his birthday in the stands – but at least we were all together!  We celebrated their birthday (and the WIN) with pizza and cupcakes after the game.  Then home to open up gifts!  Maybe not the way they wanted to spend their day, but we all did all that we could to make the most of it!

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Friday and Saturday, I honestly didn’t do much.  And that was AWESOME!  We had a dear friend visit from Arizona.  Jerritt was enjoying concerts in Monterey at CaliRoots, and the boys were with their dad.  I had a quiet house, and no reason to stray too far from home.  Sunday and Monday were also good – we finally had good weather and I started cleaning up the pool area to prepare for summer entertaining, while the boys tested the frigid water.

This final week of May has me back at work, except for yesterday…. I took the day to go on one of their final field trips of the year… because I am sucking up every last bit of their elementary experience that I can.  We had a fun day out at Hollister Hills, learning about nature and just hanging out.  It always makes me happy when I get to spend the day with these kids that I have watched grow – and when their awesome parents sign up to drive too! Such a good day!

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This weekend is going to be beyond insane.  I am tired already, just thinking about it.  And the week after…. well, there is no rest for the wicked.

Saturday you will find me in San Jose for Kevin’s soccer tournament.  Home to change, and then up to Sacramento for a Maroon5 concert – my second bucket list concert Christmas gift!  Then home again after (3ish hour drive). Back up to San Jose for another soccer game (that starts at 8 am!), then all the way down to Salinas for Nate’s first TOC baseball game of the post-season.  Work Monday, then off Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday for “promotion” stuff and a birthday party for my kids…..  I will be living off caffeine and little sleep.   I apologize now to my family if I fall asleep at the dinner table, but if we get dinner on the table still, I consider it a success!

Again, I am not complaining… life is so good.  And I always remind myself that one day, before I know it – all the hustle and bustle will be a memory.  We are already getting ready to start a new chapter in our lives…. one where mom’s help is less needed at school.  One where my kids enjoy more time away with friend than they do at home hanging out with me.  I am a little scared.  I am a little relieved.  I am determined to suck up every minute and every memory that I can.

Life can be hectic.  That is not always a bad thing.  Be present in all that goes on in your world.  Take pictures.  Share your story (when you can get a minute) – but live and love each and every day.

I’ll just be over here, trying to keep my shit together, raising my kids one mistake at a time….

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#CrazyAsAMother #FrickAndFrack #RaiseThemRad #EndOfAnEra #NateAndKevinTurn11 #HustleAndHeart #LaVidaLoca

My Thoughts Exactly….

If you don’t follow Jenny Lawson’s blog, you are missing out on the good stuff.  Usually there are a lot of laughs and completely ridiculous shenanigans… but this hit me right in the feelers.

You never know what someone might be going through.  Go… read this blog.

Then, when you have hours to invest, go back and read some of the other posts.  You won’t regret it….  she hooked me a long while back with the story of a giant chicken named Beyonce.

via Happy Whatever.

Everyday Appreciation

It is Appreciation Week for Teachers/School Staff!  Always a fun and busy week – full of treats and surprises that show how much we appreciate all that these folks do.  Let me tell you – a week isn’t enough (kind of insulting like one day a year to appreciate Mom/Dad… but I digress).

Look – your child’s teacher is not only dealing with whatever you deal with daily (times 20-30 more kids)…. but there is SO MUCH drama and emotions that are so very different at school than they are at home.  I highly suggest that you hang out at the school a few times a year (note that any time after a break or holiday is 10X worse… and don’t get me started on rainy day schedules).  Kids at school have a pack-mentality, and it is a volatile environment! You need to be in touch with teachers on a regular basis – don’t wait until you are dealing with a major issue.  Being in contact with them also might give them the chance to tell you all the good things going on too… and who doesn’t love that!?!

And if you hear that there is a “problem”…. LISTEN to what they are telling you.  Don’t start out defending your “poor” child.  Actually listen to what they are saying.  Process it.  Understand where they are coming from, and work together to resolve it.  If a teacher is reaching out to you – they are TELLING you that they need your support as a parent – take that gift and BE AN ACTUAL FREAKING PARENT.  Chances are that your child is not a sweet and innocent victim, at least not 100%.  Even if they feel justified in their action – use it as a teachable moment and help them understand that while their intentions were different, the perception of their behavior does matter.  Now, I know of adults that need this lesson too, but I am going to leave that alone for now.

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My kids have had such AMAZING teachers over the years.  I’m not just saying that.  Many of their teachers I consider my personal friends.  I trust them with the well being of my children.  They deserve my respect.  They deserve your respect.  Respect their time.  Respect the rules of their classroom.  Respect the depth of what they are trying to achieve every day, every year…. They are expected to reach certain levels of academic achievement, while dealing with all these emerging personalities!!!  I don’t know about y’all, but I can barely deal with 2 the same age!

By showing your teachers you are human, by showing them that you listen, by working together…. you will build a relationship that benefits your child.  You guys… your teacher should be like family.  They say it takes a village, and I agree – it makes life SOOOO much easier.

My kids are in the 5th grade.  Hormones – UGH.  One of my kids (who fancies himself something as a funny-guy), has had a few “instances” this year.  But because our teachers know I will listen to what they are saying, and address it with my kid – they reached out to me to “fix” what was going on before it became a real problem.  Now, we aren’t talking major crimes…. we are talking inappropriate behavior in PE (twerking instead of squats, telling a classmate that his push-up isn’t good, unless his penis hits the floor), or the day he was enjoying (read: goofing off) a dance class with his buddies, and the visiting instructor found him disruptive, or when his teacher found him just a bit too talkative….  Each time the teachers reached out to me and told me what the concern was.  I cannot tell you how much I value the opportunity to talk to my child about choices and consequences of his actions – that is the bread & butter of raising tiny humans.  After talking with the kid – he explained his side of the story, I heard him, I explained to him that while he did not intend to be disruptive or rude – he needed to understand that his actions affect others.  I had him write an apology for his behavior (or the perceived outcome of his behavior) and have him explain why he was sorry – not just go through the motions.  Whether I agree that his actions were wrong, right or indifferent – it doesn’t matter.  His actions caused an issue that was worth his teachers reaching out.  It is my job to address it the right way.  I did not have him take blame for anything he didn’t do.  I did not run to the administrative staff and complain that my goofy kid is being picked on.  I handled it. #LikeABoss

And you know what I love even more…. when these teachers take the time to send a little text or an email to says – your kid is doing AWESOME, or hey – you are doing a good job as a parent!  Things like that make me so proud and grateful that someone see’s how hard we are working at something so important – so why wouldn’t I want to show them the same appreciation like ALL THE TIME!

Now, let’s talk the administrative and support staff at school….  these are the folks who have their pulse on the big picture.  They see all.  They hear all.  Usually, the only people causing them issues are parents. They deal with those who feel their child is being picked on – when usually they are part of the problem.  They deal with those who show ZERO responsibility – oh yeah, school pick up was at 11:55 today, and my kid is still there will you 2 hours later.  People yell at them.  People demand from them.  People dismiss them.  You guys – these are my people, and I love them!  Years of volunteer work, I cannot tell you the value of an amazing school staff!  I can tell you that they have a lot more patience than I do – I don’t know how they stay so calm and nice to all “those” parents.

My point here today is this – the folks at school are an important part of your child’s village.  An important part of your family.  This week is a great week to celebrate all their awesomeness – but keep in mind that they deserve a little love and respect EVERYDAY.  Try to make it a habit to occasionally pop by (and a Starbucks card is always nice too), and tell them that they are doing a great job.  Or talk to them if you have a concern.  They are hard working peeps who do their best each and every day they walk into their classroom.  Be involved – and be an actual, grown-up parent to your little!  They need that more than they need another friend.

Treat your tribe with the same respect that you deserve & it comes back tenfold.

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Thank you to ALL the teachers and every staff person at Ladd Lane Elementary School!  You are hands-down the ABSOLUTE best school around!  Thank you for whatever part you have played in raising my (not-so) tiny humans so far!

#CrazyAsAMother #FrickAndFrack #LaddLaneRocks #ParentingIsHard #ItTakesAVillage #RaiseThemRad #BeTheCorn #IFreakinLoveYouGuys