Tuesday, November 18, 2014

today is the day

today is the day it happened...

today is the day I broke down in tears and yelled at my kids because I really needed to yell at myself and I guess that was just too weird to actually do.

it's been a hard week at the Hydeen house.  or a hard month?  monthS, actually.  months.

I think it's sort of the cumulation of a lot of things making it hard, but it's like it's been just barely at the top, bubbling, spattering a little (or a lot), but not boiling over.  I've been at that point for months.  just BARELY not boiling over.

ONE of the hard things has been my relationship with my oldest child.  Now, I realize that some of you are probably rolling your eyes and saying FINALLY she's giving you a run for your money!  I'll be the first to admit, she's been a pretty easy kid for most of her life, once we got the eating thing figured out.  She made me cry at every meal for the first 2 and a half years of her life, and I wondered if I would ever ever ever enjoy a meal ever again in my life, and wondered why why why why why God designed us to eat so FREAKING many times a day.  So she hasn't been easy breezy her WHOLE life, just remember that, you eye rollers. :)

But lately, we're getting to this whole "pre-teen" thing.  and oh my gosh.

I've been hearing parents talk about it for years now, and honestly, it's always made me really sad.  I've always wondered why parents always just assume that their teens will be horrible and they all just seem to have this "oh you just wait..." type of mentality.  OR those words actually come out of their mouths.  sad.  it always made me sad.  never let me say that to you.

but now I'm realizing, for my daughter anyway, and I guess I'll just speak for myself, that it's not a "horrible" thing, or an intentional disrespect thing (usually...).  It's a completely emotional thing.  Her teenager emotions are starting now, and she's scared to death, and she totally can't help it that her brain is not fully developed, and it's practically impossible for her to control her emotions.

The PROBLEM here, is that her mom is still fighting her own teenager emotions as well.  I have confessed on here before that my gut reaction to things is to turn into a sassy teenager.  Just the other day I sassed my husband, the person I love most in the whole entire world, because I'd had a hard day and how dare he act like his day might be hard as well.  SASSY pants.  that was me.

So I get it.  She gets it from me.

And now here we are trying to figure this all out together.

She's fighting, like, really fighting, things like the knowledge of periods and sex and all that "good stuff" that awaits her.  We've been doing this question thing lately where we either take questions from a game we have and ask each other one card's-worth of questions before bed, or we ask questions at the dinner table that everyone has to answer.  I saw this really sad Facebook video about the question "If you could change one thing about your body, what would you change?"  So I wanted to test the theory (that kids say things like "I'd have a shark mouth" and grown ups say things like "I'd change my forehead bc it's too big") so I asked my kids.  And before I could even finish asking the question, Lillian shouts "PERIOD!"  really loud.  mass confusion came over the other two kids, and mass dying-of-laughter came over her parents.  And she laughed too.  But it was the kind of laugh that you  laugh because you're so freaked out and if you don't laugh you might cry.  Or you might actually even cry a little bit while you're laughing.

It's always on her mind...this huge change that she could end up waiting YEARS for, but it has her so freaked out that her emotions are out of whack.

She also knows the sex talk is coming soon.  The one from me, that is, because soon her school will start the "human growth" classes or whatever.  And yeah, I signed the papers so she can attend the class.  I don't think much will be taught besides maybe body parts this year.  I read the class descriptions, and felt comfortable with the progression (3 classes a year, for 3 years), and signed the papers.  They won't be learning much she doesn't know already in 4th grade because I've always given her pretty straight up answers to her questions.  She also knows, however, that some things are for a later discussion.  BUT, I also know that once her classmates start learning about this in a group setting, they'll also probably start talking about it in a group setting, and girls who know more will starting talking about "more."  So anyway, I told her not to worry, and that we'll have a good talk before her class starts so she can hear it from me, the way that God intended it, and when she hears her friends or songs or movies talk about it in different ways, she'll know that God's design is different.

But she's like, totally freaked out about that too.  She just doesn't even want to know anything.  Her friend asked her once, "Did your mom talk to you about sex yet?" and she said, in the most "Lillian-way" EVER, "Um...no.  And I'd APPRECIATE it if you didn't tell me anything, because I'd really like to hear it from her."  But the thing is, she doesn't even WANT to hear it from me and she's begging me to wait til the very last minute before I tell her anything.

it's like she's trying desperately to cling to the last bit of childhood she has left before her body is taken over by hormones and emotions and everything else that's coming, that's slowly starting, and she hates it.  she hates it all.

I know that will change.  I know.  But this is where we are.

And these emotions that are building are like a tornado, wreaking havoc on her not-fully-developed-brain.  which, in turn (you guessed it!), is wreaking havoc on my should-know-better brain.

So the result is HUGE battles about, for example, which pants she should wear.  To me, it's obvious, that you either wear THESE jeans that I dug out of the dirty laundry, even if they might smell bad, because they are the only pair of jeans that I can find right now, OR, you can wear something else like leggings, which, yes, might make you cold.  But right now those are the two options.  or maybe three, if you count your pajama pants you are wearing right now.

but no matter the situation, it's the same thing.  She simply can NOT accept either option.  so round and round and round and round we go until both of our emotions are at an all time high, and we've BOTH tapped into our inner teenager, and even though we don't want to hurt each other's feelings, we sit there freaking out on each other because we don't see the other one's point.

so that whole refusing two options thing just KEEPS happening over and over.  no matter what the situation.  and I can be really calm and "good-mama" for about three rounds and then I LOSE IT.  So lately we're both ending up in tears over the stupidest things EVER.  And I tell her that i"m sorry I"m just a sucky mom for her, and this whole phase of life is new for me, and I'm trying to learn.  And I know what's right and I'm still choosing what's wrong, and that she's doing the same thing, and it's just not working.  so there we sit with our emotions on high gear, crying in each others arms, both apologizing profusely for being that way, just to do it ALL OVER AGAIN in 30 minutes.

for real.

it's so bad, actually, that our sweet boy who is VERY sensitive, especially within the last year, and thinks a LOT about death and dying and loss (ever since our Katie died) can't get these horrible thoughts out of his head about me and Lillian fighting.

These changes in Lillian and me have snatched us out of the lovely phase of life we've been in for the last few years.  It was wonderful.  The kids were old enough to do things on their own, and I finally wasn't needed for every single thing, and they were young enough where they still liked each other and loved to play together, and they still thought me and Steve were cool enough to hang out with, and we just loved being together as a family.

And now, thanks to a little change, their mother has become a total spazz freak out mom who cannot control herself no matter what.

Sunday was hard.  I have been looking at all these old pictures the past few days.  I saw pictures of sweet little me, with my sweet little kids, and wondered what on earth had changed.  I ended up in tears in the fetal position on my bed, just devastated at what our family has become.  The mom really sets the tone for the whole family.  In our house, anyway.  That whole "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" thing is true for us.  gosh, I hate that.  Because I haven't been in a very good mood for most of the last few months.  We've all been going through an adjustment with me working outside the home.  But seriously...I've got to get a grip...

So this morning it happened.

Steve left early, I was making lunches and finding L's socks and brushing B's teeth and doing dishes and all the bazillion things that need to be done each morning.  And they were whining and bugging and sassing and just plain being mean to each other.

and the pot boiled over.

I burst into tears and pleaded with them to stop.  I explained how daddy got in a car accident yesterday and thankfully everyone's okay but we just never know how much time we have!  we don't know when our jounery here is done!  and there are kids with siblings in the hospital who will never come home, and kids whose brothers or sisters have died already and they don't get to have them in their life.  And here we are in this house and we all  have each other for who knows how long, and this is what we're doing!  you're being mean!  on purpose!  and please please please can we just stop?????  Can we please choose love?  can we please forgive?

what I meant was...

there are PARENTS with kids in the hospital...
there are PARENTS with kids who have died...
there are PARENTS whose arms are empty...

can you, Andrea, please just STOP?
can you, Andrea, please choose LOVE?

you're being mean.
on purpose.
and you're the mom.


I just keep begging God to not take my life right now.  Because these will be the memories my kids have.  No "best mom ever."  No "best wife ever."  No "great example of God's grace." None of that could be said of me now.

Give me a little more time to change.  Please, God.  I just keep saying it.

And thank you Jesus that you forgive.
Thank you Jesus that when you look at me, you hate my sin, but you don't see it.

You see your child.  and you choose love.

HELP me to just see my children.   and to choose love.


I literally had a pot boil over this week.  on the stove.  and it leaves such a mess.  the mess is still there actually, because that's how I roll.

But one of these days I'm going to work at it, and scrape up the mess, and shine up the stove top again.  It would have been easier to add the couscous to the boiling water/seasoning combo BEFORE it boiled over.

But sometimes you miss your chance and you're left with a mess.

a big mess.

I'm so grateful I have Help for my messes. so grateful...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

cinnamon gum moments

It's mother's day, and I often find myself writing posts on this day.

so much emotion.

Today my people served me well.  well, first of all, yesterday, before Steve left for a long day of teaching improv, he got up early to clean the house for me!  woot, woot!

and also yesterday, while I sewed my brains out in the basement, the little people fulfilled their big plans for me.  cake baking, craft making, card writing, mess making. :)  it was so sweet to see them at this stage of life where they did it all without prompting, and really just wanted to bless me on Mother's Day.  They're so sweet!!!

This morning I woke up to pancakes and cereal that spelled out "mom" and gift bags galore on the table.

seriously, how sweet is that. :)  and in those bags were the crafts and cards and school crafts, etc.  Lillian baked me a cake, Josiah made me a craft he found on pinterest (seriously, love that kid.) and a paper jewelry tower thing he thought up himself.  Brielle wrote me a card, with her sweet sounding out stage she's in.  and cut out shapes of paper just for me. :) melt my heart.  You can "cis Mome" anytime you want babe. 

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the gift from Steve, which the kids were VERY excited about because he couldn't wrap it, was a super long kiss, complete with moans and groans and eye covering from the kids.  nothin' better. :)  

my people know how to bless me.  forget the flowers and diamonds.  this was my kind of day.  

But then there's always the "motherless daughter" in me who doesn't quite know how to celebrate this day that I should be celebrating her.  I read this blog post the other day. (http://lysaterkeurst.com/2014/04/mothers-day-for-the-motherless-mother/)  and by read, I guess I mean skimmed, because I couldn't quite let myself fully feel quite yet, while the kids were still awake and such.  But I passed it on to my sisters, because we're in this boat together, mothering without our mother in our lives.  it's a tough place to be.  I fully intend on reading and weeping through that post again, probably on Tuesday morning, when I'm here by myself.  that tends to be a good time for me to feel things...

But a few weeks ago I had this "moment" I guess of such a strong surge of memories of my mom.  It was totally out of the blue.  I was at a church meeting, in the home of one of my friends, and after we finished up a few of us were just sitting and chatting about nothing and everything.  My friend Rachel got out a pack of gum and I spotted it and quickly asked for a piece before she stuck it back in her purse.  For some reason, she apologized that it was cinnamon gum, which was weird to me  bc I grew up on Trident sugar-free cinnamon gum.  I quickly smiled and said, "oh! that's going to remind me of my mom!" and the second I stuck that piece of gum in my mouth, I BURST into tears.  It was the type of moment that almost never happens for me, especially in a group of people.  And there I was apologizing to my friends but completely unable to get rid of the rush of memories that sparked from the smell/taste of my mom's gum of choice.  

It wasn't really even any particular memories.  It was just like, the ESSENCE of my mom felt so close.  and I just sat there bawling like a baby, remembering my mom.  Sometimes she feels SO far away.  Like it's been so long and I"m starting to forget things, like EXACTLY what her voice sounded like, or EXACTLY what her cute feet looked like, or if her jaw popped all the time or just sometimes when she chewed, things that probably seem weird to you but I want to remember so clearly and sometimes can't.  

But the feeling the cinnamon gum gave me made me realize more about what being a mom is all about.  I just FELT her in that moment.  I didn't remember any special trips we went on, or any special presents I'd been given by her, or any momentous occasions.  I just felt my mom.  her love, her warmth, her smile.  And these are the things that made her HER.  

So when I was sitting here today with my kids, working extra hard on my patience or whatever other fruits of the spirit needed tuning up in the moment, because it's Mother's Day and you're not supposed to get frustrated with your kids on the day you celebrate being their mother... Today I was realizing that it's not about the special days. (although, for this family, it was the perfect type of "special day" for me, nothing fancy, just little acts of love.)   But in general, it's not about what you give them or where you take them or any of those things that seem so important to most parents these days.  and it's also not about the million ways I feel like I've failed them as a mother.  

it's about being there.

it's about your everyday attitude.

it's about listening and making them feel loved.

It's about giving them something to FEEL when they chew your gum after you're gone.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

we got "robbed"

most of you already know about the break in we had this morning.  for those of you who don't, here's how it went down.

5:00am- roll out of bed, brush my teeth, put my shorts and my shoes on

5:10am- head to kitchen, fill up water bottle, mess with fish tank that steve cleaned up last night, and grab cash envelope thingy out of my purse

5:15am-leave for body pump class

6:35am- stop at HyVee for some tofu

6:45am- come home, realize computer is gone, wake steve up.

At that point things get a little blurry for me.  We just stood there in our kitchen trying to figure out what in the HECK happened (even though it was quite obvious) and if it really could have possibly happened to us.  The evidence makes it pretty obvious what happened.  He (ok I know it could be a female too, but we keep slipping and saying "he," so I'll base it on statistics and stick with "he."  no sexism intended...) moved our flower pot, climbed up our deck, wrecked our screen to pop it out, opened our (unlocked, bummer) window, climbed over our sink, left tree seed CRAP all over our kitchen floor bc it was stuck to his feet, walked down the hallway to the bedrooms and realized people were home, went back to kitchen to grab my brand freaking new computer (which I just bought to do photo editing), my purse, and some cash I had left on the counter (probably like 50 bucks), walked over to our dining room, unplugged my external hard drive (HALLELUJAH!!!!)  and put it in some totally random spot in our dining room, moved our big board block thing that goes in our sliding door as an extra precaution, unlocked the back sliding door, put our door block thing outside, and left.

there are a lot of electronics in this house.   they're all pretty crappy, but still...he only took the one computer and my purse and some cash.  we actually feel very blessed for this sort of outcome.

The next part of the morning was total chaos.  we had to tell the kids because there would soon be police officers showing up and we didn't want to freak them out.  So the first police officer comes, and Steve starts showing her around while I (attempt to) get the kids ready for school.  they were freaked out a bit, but also wanted to be in on the action with the police officer, and I was making tofu scramble for the kids' lunches that day.  Part way through I realized that my purse had also been taken, so at that point steve and I switched because it became "my" police report instead of just a household one.  So Steve was finishing the tofu scramble, packing up the kids lunches, signing folders, making sure they all got dressed, etc, welcoming my daycare girl, and managing the chaos while I talked to the police officer, called the bank (they got gas with my card at 6:14 am, which gives us about a 45 minute window that we KNOW it happened in, ugh...) and all the other stuff that comes with having your purse stolen.  Then the crime lab techician or something came over, so that meant TWO police cars outside and TWO people inside, and she was taking pics and dusting for fingerprints, which was sort of cool, except for the fact that it was my house as a crime scene.  :(

Steve got all the kids off to school, so when he got back we had the rest of the morning to go open new bank accounts, and go through all that business which is a HUGE pain in the butt.

and later in the afternoon my friend took the girls for a couple hours so Steve and I could focus and either call or change info online for all the places we pay bills to that are connected to that specific account.  that is a very very long and annoying job.

it was a long and grueling day, and I still haven't gotten the shower that I came home to take at 6:45.  blech.  but so many people have so many other issues.  so many BIGGER issues.  I kept telling myself, out loud, all day, "this is okay. this is not cancer.  this is not divorce.  this is not death.  this is not kidnapping.  this is not SO MANY HORRIBLE THINGS.  we can do this.  this...is easy."

but it's still sort of sinking in I guess.  We got robbed.  and that sucks.  But I'm realizing that it's not the stuff I feel robbed of, it's other things.

We got "robbed" of our sense of security.  That's not something that will easily be built up.  I know that burglaries happen everywhere.  small towns, big towns, small cities, big cities, north omaha and west omaha.  I get that.  but you don't quite understand the feeling of the loss of security until it happens to you.  when it's YOUR house that someone was walking around in.  when it's YOUR kids sleeping in the bedrooms that he obviously peeked in on.  when it's YOUR husband who was finally for one moment (it's been a rough sleep week) sleeping soundly enough that he didn't hear.

Steve got "robbed" of his role as a protector of our family.  that's all I'm going to say about that because I am not a man and don't even totally get it, but I'm pretty sure that's pretty high up there on any man's list of things to be for his family.

We got "robbed" of our hard work!!!  Steve and I both work more than most other people we know.  we work hard for less pay than most people, so it takes us a really long time to save up for something like a computer, or the software that I put on to do my editing, or the cash that was on the counter, ya know?  we work HARD and LONG for the stuff we have in this house.  and someone just robbed us of our hard work and cheated us out of something that we earned.

I know it's just stuff, and trust me, that's not lost on me.  But our current "stuff" isn't recent enough to be a replacement bc the sofware (or whatever it is- Windows Vista and Mac 10.6.8 instead of Windows 7 or Mac 10.7, or soemthing like that.  I don't even know...) don't support my photo editing sofware.  and well, that just sucks.  so I really do sort of "need" the "stuff" even though it's "just stuff" in order to do my work.

We were also "robbed" of sentimental value.  I realize this is going to sound REALLY dumb, but one of the things I'm saddest about is that they took our mouse pad.  When Josiah was a baby and Lillian was, well, a baby too, practically, I took this odd-angled selfie of me cuddling with my two babies, and I ended up LOVING the photo because it was so real life.  I was in a hooded sweatshirt with no makeup and my hair in a ponytail, looking like my every day self.  and my babies were just so cute because they were mine, ya know?  So for Father's Day that year I spent about 6 bucks on a mouse pad for Steve with that picture on it.  and the dumb guy took that mouse pad.  I know he doesn't even want that freaking mouse pad.  why would he take it?  I'm saddest about that.  I know I can get a new one, but it won't have the pen marks all over it from one my sweet angels totally attacked it with a black bic.  and I grew to love those pen marks all over my face I guess because now I'm having a hard time imagining a new mouse pad with the same picture, but no pen marks. :(  He robbed me of that sentimental value, which you just cant replace.

so yeah, I mean, we got robbed.  in so many ways.  but here's the truth of it all.

You cannot rob people of God.  You cannot take God's peace away from someone who is choosing to cling to it.  You cannot steal from us our Refuge and our Fortress.

so we spent the day talking about God's peace.  He's the Prince of peace!  We discussed how God can use bad things to make good things happen, and maybe the good thing was FIVE Hydeens choosing to let GOD win this battle and have FIVE people grow their trust in God when ONE person chose to sin.  We had lots of good talks today about choosing peace, and choosing to let God win.  but as evening fell upon us, that peace was getting a little farther from our sweet kids' minds.

It's kind of tricky to let them feel their very real feelings, but to also encourage them to not allow the fear to hijack their minds.  I'm not even sure how to do it.  all I knew was we had to hear it from God.  We want our kids to know that the Bible is God's clearest and easiest way to "talk" to us, and guess what.  he usually has something to say that we need to hear.

For us it was Psalm 56:3.  When I am afraid I will trust in You.

So easy for the kids, so simple to understand.  But I could tell it wasn't quite enough.  it was recommended to me to read Psalm 91 with them (I LOVE FACEBOOK!!!) so that's what we did.

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my refuge-- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

I definitely skipped over the "stalking in the darkness" line, I'll admit it. :) But this is the perfect passage to end a fearful day with.  we talked about baby chicks nestling under their mother's wings.  we talked about angels coming and guarding us through the night.  and we talked about how this is like a little message for us from God, telling us just what to do when we're afraid.  

and I'm not saying we did it perfectly, or that it was the magic potion that worked for this time, or anything like that.  I'm jsut saying that I saw God work in their little hearts, and take away the fear.  Josiah sweetly said, "um, mom, I didn't forget about the robber, I just....."  and he told me something TOTALLY random, I don't even remember what it was.  but the fact that I could see him release his fear (which had him in tears moments before) without even releasing the memory of the experience proved to me that God really IS bigger than the boogie man, he's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on tv. (veggies tales reference for those of you deprived people in the world who don't know bob and larry).  

and he's BIGGER than being robbed.  of stuff, of security, of sentimental value, of hard work, of anything.  so BOOM.  take THAT, robber!  WE WIN!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

a few things...

so, it's the middle of April and I haven't blogged once in 2014.  So I guess it's time to get a few things on the ol' internet for all to see.  sometimes I wonder why I do this.  and then random people approach me at random times and tell me that either a) they read my blog, or b) they like reading my blog, which I guess don't necessarily mean the same thing, but it makes me feel like something besides the babysitter/seamstress/mom in me matters.  and it's fun for me to go back and read about my life.  if you know me well, it's no secret that I can NOT remember ANYTHING ever, which makes me look like a really bad friend on many an occasion.  but it's not intentional, promise.  plus it's awesome because I can rewatch Friday Night Lights over and over and over again and recite the lines with them but still wonder how each episode will turn out. it's awesome! :)

ok so anyway, I figured I'll write a few things out again.  just...you know, the recent happenings.  the hydeen happenings.  yep.  I just did that.

1.  so the beginning of the year kinda sucked.  I'm not even exactly sure why, but I was just really sad.  didn't quite feel like myself, laid around a lot, crushed too much candy, cleaned on a rare occasion, and cried more than usual.  I actually think a lot of it was sparked by a book I read which was supposed to teach me about being a great wife for my dear husband, and instead made me feel like the worst wife EVER in the whole entire world and like there was no possible way I could be everything he needed me to be, so I went with the obvious decision and was NOTHING that he needed me to be.  not exactly sure how that made sense in my head but I went with it.  still slowly climbing out of it, if I'm being totally honest. but the good news is that I"m slowly forgetting everything the book said, since that's what I do!  and that probably helps the situation a bit.

2.  or it might be the fact that mini cadbury eggs made their appearance for the year, and that seems to help whatever ails you, right?  now, listen here.  I'm full of self control when it comes to money.  but not so much when it comes to portion control.  So those suckers at Cadbury know how to get someone like me.  I can say "no" to the giant (but actually quite small) purple bag of heavenly chocolate drops, because I"m unwilling to pay 4 bucks for a small bag that I will eat in entirety in one afternoon.  BUT, they have these 69 cent mini bags with just a handfull of them inside, and I let myself buy one every time I see one.  it's small, and cheap, and it's helping with "the sadness."  so I figure I can't go wrong.  right?  RIGHT???

3.  I started doing some indoor photography the last few months.  It started bc I wanted to do my own pinkadink photo shoot, which could also be read that I procrastinate way too much to get prepared for a shoot with another photographer ever again like I did last year.  even though it was AWESOME last year, I thought I could save myself some last minute stress and do it myself.  I liked it, thought the pics turned out pretty cute, and people started asking me to do their baby shoots, etc. so I said I would!  I took a photo editing class last fall, and so I bought some new editing software a couple months ago so I'd know what I'm doing when it comes time to edit the WEDDING pics I'm taking in May.  Yes, I"m doing a wedding.   (what!?!)  but I'm so excited!  so anyway, I was doing all these photo shoots, and ended up pretty happy with the pics in general, and then someone tried to print them and they were SO HORRIBLE. I thought surely it was just a problem with how they were saved or something bc the digital versions looked way way way better. anyway, I tried for like 3 or 4 weeks to figure out the problem.  I stressed out so much over these darn pictures.  I spent hours and hours and hours trying to figure it out.  I asked 3 other photographers to see if they could help me figure it out.  LONG STORY SHORT: Sara Crane is my hero.  I was just whining to her one day about the problem, and how much stress it was causing me, and she googled the problem, gave me a link, I followed these totally random directions for doing who knows what, and changed a setting that the software came with, and it worked.  ba-da-bing.  easy as pie.  I cried happy tears and then got raging mad that I spent hours in the software "help" section when all along I should have just used GOOGLE.  I google things about 700 times a day, but didn't ever google that problem, since I thought I'd find the answer in the actual help tab.  sooooo anyway, here's a little glimpse of the cuties I've been shooting. :)  and here's the link to my facebook page if you want to check it out:

4.  another new thing in recent months is that we joined the YMCA and I'm doing body pump twice a week.  It's not nearly as fun as when I did a trial class with my sisters over Christmas, but it does feel good to feel stronger.  I could barely move the first week, got stuck when I tried to pee, and felt like I had weighted shoulder pads in every shirt for about 2 weeks straight.  but now I'm getting strong, and I even did a couple pushups on my TOES last week, which is major.  The only problem?  I'm gaining weight.  so I decided to try and measure inches lost instead, hoping that would boost my spirits.  and, um, well, let's just say....see #2 of this post. :(  

5.  and I'm not the only one eating candy around here either.  The kids' bus driver gave them each a bag full of candy a couple weeks ago.  yes, this would be the same bus driver I had a little chit chat with a while back about slamming on the brakes when the kids were doing something out of line, even if it meant just having their foot in the aisle.  I HATE confrontation and it was a huge deal for me to climb up on that bus and talk to her about my concern, but I put my big girl pants on and TOTALLY humiliated my kids, but it had to be done.  and now she's totally kissing my butt by giving out candy bags and friendly honking at me when she drives off after the kids get off the bus.  and I'm like 'whatever, lady!  just don't slam on your freaking breaks with kids inside!'  

6.  daycare is winding down.  I have had a variety of daycare situations over the last 5 years, but Maddie (that cutie in the b/w pic up there) has been with me for 4 of them.  That girl is as close to my own kid as you can get.  But I always said that I wanted to stay home with MY kids (which is why I did daycare instead of teaching) and not necessarily OTHER people's kids, and Brielle is going to kindergarten next year, so it's time to be done.  I'm now spending my days half-dreading and half-desiring the days in the future when I can just, like, do whatever I want whenever I want.  sorta.  it's like the dream from when you were a kid and you thought that's what adulthood would be like, and then it doesn't turn out that way, but then all the sudden all your kids are in school and it sorta DOES turn out that way.  except for the fact that you have to figure out how to pay the bills (that's the half-dreading part), which leads me to my new job.

7.  I've started sewing princess inspired fleece hoodies for a lady here in Omaha who can't keep up with her etsy shop.  she has EIGHT seamstresses and we'll be super busy from Aug through Dec because apparently there are a lot of people willing to pay over $100 for a hoodie for their little girl.  I'm certainly not one of them, but just in case you are, then you should check out this shop!!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/MagicPrincessWhitney?ref=l2-shopheader-name  I'll be trained in Rapunzel, Snow White, Anna, Elsa, and the my little pony ones.   so that will keep me super busy and give me lots of time to work on my posture since I am convinced I'll be a hunchback in a couple years if I continue to sew the way I do.  so, posture practice it is!  I'm not totally sure what will happen with the pinkadink during those months.  I'll probably see if I can do both for a while, but if it gets to be too much I'll have to close the shop for a bit while I work on making the big bucks. :)  for those of you who think my pinkaink stuff is overpriced, well, I BARELY make a profit off it so I gotta do what I gotta do for my family now, so hoodies will have to take priority.  kinda sad, huh?  but I am really excited for it too.  We just got our taxes done for the year and I was reminded once again that nobody else in the whole world would work as much as I do for the pinkadink and get paid what I get paid for doing it.  so... I"m trying to figure out what to do with that information, once again. and this gives me a chance to still sew cute stuff and get paid pretty good to do it.

ok, it's time for me to make taco soup.  the kids are not impressed with the idea, and they are quite tired of me trying out new recipes.  I'm actually considering starting a new blog where I just post aobut stuff I"m doing around my house, not necessarily personal stuff like I do here.  and recipes would definitely be a part of that since people ALWAYS ask me what we eat. and like craft projects or DIY things that I've always wanted to do and would feel inspired if i was going to blog about it.  but I don't know, would anybody even read that???  hard to know.  

alright, in the words of Paco, and in honor of being TEN YEARS past our semester in Spain next month, "paz afuera."  

which is a really horrible gringo translation of "peace out."