Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Question I Need to Answer

A wonderful friend of mine said something to me once that really caught my attention.  I was having a hard time and she said, "Mandi, I know you are a private person, but you can always share with me."  And I probably didn't respond to it the way a person should at the time because I was caught up in these five words:  you are a private person.  Really?  How could that be even remotely right?  I have a blog, for cryin' out loud!  I'm on Facebook.  I'm a private person?  Ha!  How could that possibly be so?

You know what, though?  She was right.  It's taken me about three years to come to that conclusion, but she was.  It's not exactly that I don't share with people, though.  It's that I don't share deeply.  There is a part of myself that I keep locked up in a little box and shoved into a remote corner of the cleaning closet in my brain.  Most of what's in there isn't really pleasant.  My shames, my fears, my insecurities, my angers...all the things that make me feel vulnerable.  The idea of being vulnerable to someone is just unbearable.  Yes, there are many reasons for that; no, I'm not going to detail them out right now.

Why won't I share?  Because the idea that some of you reading this would roll your eyes at those reasons and think, "Wow.  Holy white-girl-first-world-problems, lady.  Get a damn grip." makes me want to curl up into a ball and fall in a hole.  That's why.  (I think it's safe to say that my defensiveness is in that box too.  Mostly.  Apparently it can escape.  Ha!)

It's not just the negatives, though.  I'm like this with the things that make me happy, as well.  The moments I cherish most very rarely see the light of day.  It's not that I don't appreciate them.  It's that I feel protective of them.  I don't want my shiny moments seen through the tarnished lenses of others.  You know that Eleanor Roosevelt quote about nobody being able to make you feel inferior without your permission?  I've never been able to get behind that one.  It doesn't matter how happy I am about something; if someone poo-poos all over it, it affects me.  I don't think I will ever understand the need that some people have to cut down the happiness of those around them.  I find joy is some really small things, I know; that doesn't make me ridiculous or silly.  I'm just simple-hearted.

I love to write.  I mean, I love it with a blind effin' passion.  It's hard to do that, though, when you are suppressing the uglies and protecting the lovelies.  Do you know what I mean?  Great writing requires depth, and I'm only allowing myself the expression of what is in the middle.  There's a beauty to that too, but it's not the type to which people truly respond.  And if I'm not expressing things here that people can really connect with, then what's the point?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Always learning

Good idea:  Toy boxes with lids.  Containing kid-clutter is always a good thing.

Great idea:  Litter boxes with lids.  Not having to look at cat poo is awesome.

Horrible idea: Having those two items in the same room.  Ask me how I know.

Sigh.  Good thing she's cute.

Newest family member!  Meet Miss Sylvie!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who needs fingernails, anyway?

After dropping the two middle kids off at school this morning, I decided to take the  bookend kids on a walk with the dog.  We have some great walking paths around our village and the weather was beautiful this morning!  So we threw on some jackets and shoes and headed down the road.  Isn't it pretty?  I love living here.

This was Izzy's first time 'walking' Fiona and he absolutely loved it. Is there anything more wonderful than a boy and his dog?

I wish I could say that we finished our walk and came home to do something artsy. Wouldn't that be nice?  If I had a fun little tutorial on how to sew bean bags or paint rocks or something?  Yeah, that's not how things go around here.  Y'all remember that about us, right?

About three minutes after I snapped this pretty little scene, Izzy stepped off the side of the path and fell.  (Fiona did not knock him down or drag him--'twas momma's genes that got him on this.)  It wasn't that bad of a spill, in all honesty; unfortunately, he was holding the leash when it happened.  His finger got trapped underneath and he ended up ripping off half his fingernail.  I, of course, had no bandages, wipes, or tissues on me.  Nothing, nada, zilch.

To further muck things up, we were at almost exactly the half-way point in our walk.  Isn't that always how it goes?  It can't happen right at the beginning or right at the end, when you are at the closest points to your house (where all your first aid supplies are).  No, it's always got to be at that moment when you round the outermost corner.  (Why is that?!)  So we 'caught' Fiona (I say 'caught' because she was sitting just a few feet away from us with a, "Hey guys?  Someone dropped my leash" look on her face.) and headed back to the house.

When we were just a block from the house I sent Sam ahead so that he could gather up the first aid kit and have it waiting.  Halfway there, Fiona ducked out of her leash--and came running straight back to me.  Her thoughts were written quite plainly across her face:  Someone in my herd is hurt!  How dare that woman send me away when they so clearly need my presence?!  Forget about all these cars on the street--I need to get to my boy!  

We finally arrived back at the house and tended to Izzy's finger.  He was highly upset about the blood but lots of love, a couple band-aids, and an entire season of Ninjago later, all was right in his world again.  Ahhh, to be young again!  (See? He's okay!)

How's the week treating the rest of you?

Friday, July 13, 2012

101/1001 Finale

How about a 101 in 1,001 update?

(Why, hello!  Fancy seeing you here!)

Tuesday (10 July 2012) marked the end of my 1,001 days.  I have to went fast.  I didn't finish near the amount I thought I would (only 39%--ouch!).  I would like to point out, however, that we had an unexpected move from California to Germany which took place roughly 12 months after we moved from Germany to California.  The planning for those two moves (one of which required us to leave the military) took a huge chunk out of my 1,001 days!

Some of the things I did accomplish:

#7: Money to charity for foreign children.  I now regularly donate money to Reece's Rainbow.  (I've mentioned this charity a few times on this blog--and I try to advocate for them once a month on my personal FB page.  I also keep a link to their site here on my blog.  Do I make a huge difference?  No.  But I do what I can.)

#11:  Family Recipe Book.  "Accomplished" is a strong word; we are in the midst of doing this now.  We are trying new recipes, tinkering with old ones, and finalizing everything just exactly how we like them.  The whole family is really enjoying the process.

#36: Paris!  (Um...apparently I never did a Paris post?  That links to the one and only photo I posted onto the blog from that trip.  Yikes!)

#96: Grow hair past shoulders again.  I grew it all the way to the small of my back--and then I chopped 20 inches off and donated it to Locks of Love.  I didn't realize I had enough to make TWO donations--yes, that made me ridiculously happy!

Some things I did NOT accomplish:

#1: Gift $20 to 5 random people.  I don't know why I never did this.  I think it's because it was one that was so 'easy' that I just kept putting it off.  I still want to do this one!

#25: Update will.  *hangs head in shame*

#43: Family photo.  Oh, I don't even know what to say here.  It's awful.  Our last (aka, "only") family photo was done in 2002.  We've had two kids since then.  Yikes!

#63: Stop cussing for a week.  I'm sorry, y'all.  This just isn't ever going to happen.  I've made my peace with it.

#99: Enter and "win" NaNoWriMo.  I did attempt this and, while I did not technically "win", I learned so much about myself in the process that I didn't feel like it was necessary to attempt again.  It was a great experience for me and I highly recommend it to others with an interest in writing.

So there you have it.  The end of my 101 in 1,001 project.  (See here if you really want to look at my whole list.)  I could have done better; I could have done worse!  I don't plan to do it again but I am working on a 'Bucket List'.  I kind of like having a for-real written list of big goals and dreams!

Do you have your goals and dreams written down?  How do you stay focused on the things you want to do?  What is on your 'Bucket List'?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Last week I lost my 10-year-old. Twice.

It was an eventful week. What can I say?

The first time was on Tuesday. Jake accidentally took the bus home instead of coming out to the parking lot to meet me. He has this story about his friends pulling him onto the bus by his backpack. (Really, Jake? This is what we're going to go with?) He was struggling and everything. (I strained my eyes rolling them during this portion of the story.) He just.couldn't.get.away. (Ha ha hahaha!)

The second time was Thursday. That was the day I officially hit 72 pounds lost. Yep. Since July, I have lost the weight of a fourth grader. Crazy, right?

I had intended to 'go public' with my weight loss when I made the 50 lb mark. When I got there, however, I chickened out. When you've been significantly overweight for a long time, people get used to you always being on some kind of diet. Whether it's a program like Weight Watchers, a 'plan' like South Beach, or simply counting calories...many of the people in your life tend to become immune to your attempts. And, as frustrating as that is, I can understand it. I can't tell you how many times I lost 20 lbs on some plan only to gain it back (with interest, of course!) when I got burnt out or bored. So I kept putting it off until I felt like the weight loss was real.

I have accomplished most of the weight loss using a meal replacement plan but I think I would have been successful with any approach this time. From April until July I spent my time in a place called "rock bottom". I was not in a good place and it was just not getting any better. (I even sent in an application to be on a weight loss show. I made it two rounds in, which was kind of neat! Then I got cut and that wasn't quite as neat. I wasn't truly a sad panda, however, until I found out that Ty Pennington is one of the people who works on the show. I love me some Ty.) Anyway--I think I have just had that switch flipped. I am absolutely ready to lose this weight and willing to do whatever it is that needs to be done to get rid of it.

If you've been around awhile, you might have noticed that I don't make many appearances in the picture portion of my blog. I think I'm ready to nudge my way out into the open. It's been about a year since I posted anything weight-loss related here and there's a reason for that--I started gaining weight. And a lot of it. Here's the picture I've been using as my "before" picture. I had actually lost about eight pounds when this picture was taken but it's the closest thing I have that works. (When compared to the picture of me in the sidebar, the weight gain is pretty obvious.)

And here is my current picture. Jason snapped this for me this morning before he left for work. (Forgive the photo quality. It's the same camera as above but indoor photos don't come out quite as well.) I am at my lowest weight in about eight years.

I still have a long way to go, but I am very happy with my progress. I am currently struggling a little, but I have faith that I'm going to push through it. I'll probably be sharing a little more about that next week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Looking for a Home Sweet Home

Let's talk a little bit about finding a place to live, shall we?

We've been in country now for more than six weeks. I couldn't even begin to guess how many places we have called trying to find a home. We called realtors, home owners, the housing office, current took us five weeks to even get an appointment to see a place! I've heard a bunch of people say that they had to look at 20+ houses before they found the right one--man, I wish we had that problem. We have been inside of three houses since we arrived. That's it.

About two weeks ago we found a house on the housing site that we thought would be perfect. We e-mailed and called the landlord (he is American and lives in the states) and he said he would forward our information to the tenants. He claimed that we were the first on the list and that they were planning to let us see the house the following Monday. Great! We kept looking around but we both figured that we would be taking that house. It was very close to base, big house, lots of room--pretty much just what we were looking for.

Sunday rolls around and we still haven't heard from the tenants. We e-mail the landlord and ask if we should go ahead with the time he had told us for the next day or what? He tells us that the tenants are very busy right now and that we should just wait for them to have the time to let us see the house. It could be awhile.

Um...really? They don't move out of the house for another six weeks. They can't take 20 minutes out of their day to show us around the house and hand us a lease agreement? We've PCS'd from Germany before so we know how it is--and I'm telling you, they aren't that busy.

It was at about that point that we started to sour on this house. (Well, on the landlord anyway. It's not the house's fault it has a &%*$& owner.) We didn't cut things off with him but we did start to look a little harder for a house. The very next day he e-mails us again: Oh, hey. My bad. Someone else called before your initial call and left a message on the voicemail. It was only fair to show them first since they called first. The tenants showed them the house already and they took it. (I might point out that our initial call was also a voicemail. I guess he didn't listen to them all the first night? What-freakin'-ever.)

Question: Does that strike anyone else as a jerk move? Because I really think poorly of him over the way that he dealt with this situation--if that is indeed what happened, which I totally doubt. I'm pretty sure that what he's saying really translates to one of two things: either someone else just showed up and knocked on the door and the tenants decided to just get it over with OR someone called after us and offered the landlord extra money if he bumped them to the top. Is that jaded thinking? Sorry. It's been a little frustrating having none of our calls returned, realtors who are RUDE and just hang up on you, and just dealing with the overall lack of housing of the type that we're looking for. It's hard to maintain that eternally optimistic glow under the circumstances--especially since I'm not an optimist to begin with! Ha!

We did see a house last week (like, we saw the actual inside of it!) and it looks like we are going to get this one. We think. We hope. Family and friends think we're moving into a different house (Surprise! We're not!) but at the very last minute we decided that it wasn't a good fit for our family. We still have about six weeks before we have to move and we decided that we didn't want to settle for an 'okay' house when we still had more time to look. I didn't update my personal FB page about that because, quite frankly, I had been whining about the house-hunting situation for awhile and figured that they all needed a break!

So yeah. To recap: house hunting in Germany sucks. And now you know.


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