Saturday, October 20, 2012

Truly appreciating my new car

When I was 17 I got my first car. It was a hand me down, as all or most teenagers have and should have. My very first car was a 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis, with cream paint and cream leather interior, in it's heyday it was a luxury car. By time I started driving it was just a smidge above ghetto. Don't get me wrong I loved that car and everything it represented, most importantly my freedom and independence to do what I wanted and needed to do when I wanted or needed to do it without having to ask for a ride. I loving named her my land yacht and she got me back and forth from work, and my boyfriends and where ever else my little heart desired to go so long as I continued to put gas in her very thirsty tank. Of course back then gas was like $1 a gallon so $20 would get me pretty far. After about a year or so of driving her around she started giving me some problems, mechanical issues I just didn't have the money to fix so with the help of my boyfriend I traded her in and leased my first new car.

From then on for the next 10 years or so I drove nothing but new cars. Every 2 years or so a shiny new car would grace my driveway. Sometimes there would be more than one at a time, as the boyfriend became the hubs and we became parents we both needed vehicles. So this continued for about a decade.

I loved everyone of those vehicles but I will be the first to admit I don't think I ever really appreciated them. I had learned to expect them, that was the way it was. A nice new car that I enjoyed driving but never truly appreciated.

Then things got rough for awhile and we just couldn't afford to get another new car with a shiny new car payment when are last one went back. So we found the nicest used mini van we could find and purchased it. For 3 years I was just like so many others, I drove around in a car I didn't love but I appreciated it because it was dependable, got me every where I needed to go and when we weren't in a place that we could take on a payment it was paid off.

I dreamed about the day I could have a new car again, but was also grateful for how lucky I was to have what I did. I knew so many others who didn't have anything, or had unreliable vehicles that would constantly break down. I knew it could be worse and that we were very lucky to have what we did.

Over the summer I started working and are income had improved, we found ourselves in a place that we could actually afford to take on a payment again. We waited a little while to research and decide if it was the best choice for us. We looked at a lot of different options, hemmed and hawwed over gas mileage, size, etc.

This past Monday I picked up my new 2013 Ford Escape. It's everything I need and want in a vehicle. It's beautiful, comfortable, roomy enough for my whole family and has amazing gas mileage. The monthly payments are super reasonable, and most importantly I've learned how important it is to not only love your car but to appreciate it.

I'll never regret my years with my used mini van because it was a great family car, but also because it taught me to appreciate everything I have. Be it a brand new shiny right off the showroom floor car, or one that has 100,000 miles on it and petrified goldfish forever stuck in the carpet under the seats.

I'll write another post about all the awesomeness that is the Ford Escape later with pictures, but for today I just wanted to write about how important it is to know what you have and not turn into that chick that was once me with the attitude of entitlement and expectation. I'll never expect to get what I want just because that's how it's always been again. Now I'll enjoy every minute of what I have, be grateful for the good and work my butt off to get those things I want.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our family vacation~ memories made and memories found

The family and I just returned from and almost 3 week vacation and honestly I'm glad to be home after all the traveling. We did have an absolutely amazing time.

10 days were spent in Florida with my mom, who I already miss. She moved almost 7 years ago and I only get to see her once a year, twice if I'm really lucky. It was a great 10 days though. We spent a few days at the beach near where my mom lives, took a trip to Orlando and spent the day at Universals Islands of Adventure (really cool place), spent a day at Daytona Beach which was a first for all of us (except for my mom) and spent some time with my grandfather and great-grandmother.

I think out of all the family time though my favorite day was the day I spent with just me and my mom. My amazing husband stayed at my moms with the kids and our dog and hers so we could have a mother~daughter day. Something we haven't done in many years. It was really awesome we didn't do anything super exciting just some shopping, including drooling of Coach bags at the Coach outlet,picked up some clothes for the princess at the Justice outlet, and the little prince at the Carter outlet, and a few things for myself a Rue 21, after shopping we went to Old Saint Augustine and wandered around and had a late lunch. What was so great about it was just being able to spend time with her and not have to share her attention with my kids or anyone else. Maybe that sounds selfish, but I don't care how old we get sometimes a girl just needs time with her mom.

When it came time to leave we had all had a great time, but it was so hard to say goodbye. My mom, the princess and I all cried, and the princess and I continued to cry for a good 100 miles after we got on the road. I know it was hard for mom too, but she swears she's coming up no matter what for Christmas. I sure hope nothing happens to stop that from happening, I may have to hurt someone.

After we left Florida we headed up to Tennessee to visit with my dads side of the family. Our trips there are a tradition that started the summer I was pregnant with the princess and have continued every year since. I have a huge extended family there and I love them to pieces. We say with my great-uncle (my grandmas baby brother) who I've always been fairly close to but really became a special an important part of my life when my grandmother passed away. He's absolutely amazing he's like the keeper of the families stories. While we were there I was able to spend time with some of my cousins and an aunt who has always been a favorite. There isn't a ton to do in the small town they live in but it doesn't matter much when you get to see family that is able to give you pieces of your past back. While I spent time with them I was told story after story about my grandparents when they were young, when they were older and I was already around, my dad both as a child and adult, even things about my childhood I only vaguely remember. It is always so amazing to hear these stories and have them brought back to life for me. I miss my dad and grandparents so much and they are able to make me feel a little closer to them. Of course it makes me sad that their not here, to see me and the life I've built with the hubs and the beautiful children we have, or for those children to get to know. But at least I have these wonderful people in my life that loved them too, and can help me teach my kids about their grandpa and great grandparents who would have loved them with every breath in their bodies.

I was pretty emotional during the time we were in Tennessee from already having had to say goodbye to my mom, and then from my walk down memory lane. So when it came time to say goodbye to my uncle I was a wreck. We both cried (we always do) but my heart felt like it was breaking to walk away and get in my car this time. I sobbed over having to leave him, over missing my mom, over the deep ache that will never go away from the loss of my daddy and grandparents and over the distance between so many of our family members (and I don't mean in miles).

I realized on this trip that not only does family mean everything to me, but I need to do more to try to fix a few relationships that I've allowed to become splintered and broken, while there are some I may never be able to do anything about, and some I need to let go. But for my heart and my babies sake I need to make things right or at least try and if I don't make the first step then chances are no one else will either.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

And another school year comes to an end

Tomorrow morning I will drop my munchkins off for their last day as a kindergartner and a fourth grader, and it's oh so bitter sweet. It's been a long crazy year with many changes and more to come, both at home and school.

On a personal level we moved from the only home the kids had ever known and out of the city to a completely different district, we were able to finish the school year but were unsure what next year would bring. After a lot of thought, tears, agonizing and talking it over as a family we decided to go ahead and apply for out of district school of choice and see if we could at least keep the kids in the school they knew and loved. The girl was especially heart broken at the prospect of leaving her friends and classmates all of whom she had been with since pre-school, next year is huge for her 5th grade graduation, the dance, along with a dozen other activities just for them and I can't say as I blame her for being upset at the thought of leaving. I was too, I love that school as much as she does, it truly has a sense of community I don't want to lose. So we applied and within a very short time were thankfully accepted. So my babies get to stay where I know they'll be happy.

On a school level we gained several classes and couple hundred students when another local school closed it's doors, we also went from having only a principle to also having a vice principle. Many of our teachers moved grades and a few retired. The biggest news though was finding out a few months back that our principle of 18 years was in the running for the superintendent of the districts position. She got that position with the backing and blessing of everyone of us, because if she can do for our entire district what she's done with our school amazing things are in store for everyone who attends that cities schools. That does leave us wondering who will fill her shoes, and those are very big shoes to fill, but I have faith that she will leave us in good hands.

The princess was blessed not one year but two years in a row with an amazing teacher that we both came to love and adore and I believe will both miss something awful next year. To the point I almost begged her to move up a grade just one more time so that the girl could stay with her throughout her 5th grade year as well. Sadly it was not to be. I have put in a request for a particular teacher for next year but I won't know till a few weeks before school starts if she will get her or not. Hopefully whomever she ends up with will be half as wonderful as the teacher she's had these last two years, because she's one that will leave a lasting impression for a lifetime.

The little prince was beyond blessed this year and after the amazing pre-school teacher he had she was a hard act to follow. But his teachers, yes plural were more than I could have ever asked for. The main teacher Mrs.G is actually retiring this year and I want to cry just typing this, because she so obviously cares and loves these kids. I just thank god she chose to wait one more year before leaving, so that my son and I got the chance to be apart of her class. And her co-teacher Ms.C is probably one of the sweetest people I've ever met. I have no idea how to thank these women for everything they've done to help prepare my baby for what comes next. Especially when I wasn't entirely sure at the start of this year if he was ready for any of this. But thanks to the hard work they put in everyday I know he is not only ready but will do well.

So tomorrow when I drop them off I will be happy for the break that comes and excited for the munchkins because they made it through yet another year and are now 1st and 5th graders. But a little sad because they are growing up so fast and because some amazing women that have graced our lives will be gone when we return next fall. I wish them the best in whatever comes next on their journeys and hope that maybe someday our paths might cross again, even if it's just for a quick hello.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The scare of my life

On Friday after school the princess went home with a friend and stayed the night. Saturday afternoon I picked her up, and off to my godsons birthday party her, her brother and I went. She was a little more clingy than normal but I didn't notice anything off about her and she played with the kids like she normally would.

But that night sitting down talking with her dad we noticed that the right side of her mouth wasn't moving when she talked. We thought she was purposely talking out of the side of her mouth, after a few minutes we noticed her right eye was a little droopy and wasn't blinking either. The longer we looked at her the more concerned we both became. In all honesty though I'd never heard of a 10 y/o having one she looked like she had, had a stroke. She said she felt fine but there was definitely something not right going on.

Not having any idea what could be wrong, we decided the best course of action would be to take her to the emergency room just to be safe. Because of the type of symptoms she was having they got her in very quickly, and though he doctor determined in the first few minutes that she most likely had Bell's Palsy they still had to run the full gamut of test for the stroke protocol.

After 4 of the longest hours of my life she was officially diagnosed with Bell's Palsy and prescribed steroids, has to wear and eye patch to bed and use eye drops to keep her eye moist since she is unable to blink on that side. They have no idea what may have caused this, especially since she has had no illness in the recent past. They do want her to follow up with a neurologist even though all the tests they ran at the time came back clean. The doctor at the hospital assured me that she would be ok and shouldn't have any long term complications from this. It will probably last a few weeks to a few months, and will gradually get better till it is gone.

But I have to admit I'm still scared. I know from everything I've read she's 99.9% likely to be absolutely fine, and it's something that just happens sometimes. But I also know it's not all that common in children and it usually happens after some kind of viral infection, head trauma, or other illness. She's had nothing wrong with her recently except for this. It's just super scary when you have a perfectly healthy child suddenly have something like this happen. I can only begin to imagine what parents with kids far worse off than mine go through, and my heart goes out to them even more if that's possible.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The princess hits double digits

10 years ago on this date I was in full on labor with my first child. The princess was born on February 16th at 2:52p.m. after 25 1/2 hours of excruciating labor. I've written about that before so I won't go into all the details again.

Tomorrow morning when my beautiful baby girl wakes up she will be 10 years old, double digits y'all that's crazy. I've officially been in possession of this most precious of gifts for a decade. (I'm feeling really old right now) So when my girl wakes up in the morning we will sing to her and smother her in hugs and kisses, and give her the second of her outrageous gifts. We may have spoiled her a bit this year. Today we gave her the first of her gifts which was her new 22' flat screen tv with a built in dvd, tomorrow she gets her new ipod nano. I won't apologize for being a tad bit excessive though, both of my kids are gifts I'm lucky to have and I want to give them the world, seeing as that's not possible I do what I can. Also she's a damn amazing kid. I won't begin to pretend she's perfect but like the songs says She's close enough to perfect for me.

I count my blessings everyday for what a wonderful kid she truly is, she has her moments of little miss sassy pants, but she tries hard to help me out as much as she can, she does what she's told most of the time, she doesn't yell or throw tantrums like I've seen so many kids her age do, she has a heart of pure gold and would give the shirt off her back if someone was in need. I'll take some of the credit for her good behavior, we all know parenting plays a part. But to be honest the majority is just who she is. She's just a wonderful soul, that's full of life and love that shines on everyone who has the opportunity to have her in their life.

So yea we spoiled her a bit, were also having a party for her this weekend nothing over the top there. Just a party at home with family and friends, food, cake and ice cream. Oh and how could I possibly forget the sleepover. It won't be the first by any means but it is the first time I didn't limit the number of overnight guests. I really have no idea how many little girls I will be hosting all night, but it should be interesting. The party itself is Smurf themed but the sleepover will be spa night. Yes folks I may have finally gone over the edge and lost what was left of my mind. But the girl, she's looking forward to it so a good time will be had, even if it kills this mama. I do think Xanax may be in order by time the night is over, please wish me luck.

For now though I just want to tell my beautiful girl how much I love her and wish her the happiest of Birthdays <3

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The closing of a chapter

Tomorrow marks the closing of a chapter in mine and my families lives. We've known for almost a year this was coming and for the most part were all ok with it, the hubs and myself are even relieved it will finally be over. Tomorrow we sign the closing papers on our old house and it is officially another young woman's new home. Her first new home at that. I have to admit that makes me feel well kinda good. That house was our first home.

We bought it when I was about 7 months pregnant with my daughter who is about to be 10 in just a few short weeks. We planned our wedding surrounded by those walls, we cried over the loss of a pregnancy, we rejoiced over the conception and birth of our son, we fought, we loved, we had many family gatherings. It was a wonderful first home to us even if the bank wasn't so wonderful, the memories of that house will always be with us, cherished reminders of our first decade as a family.

Leaving it has been both easy and hard. Easy because we had plenty of time to get use to the idea, not to mention our new home is also mine and the husbands old home. We moved back to the house we lived in with my in-laws before we bought our own house. Only now the new house is remodeled to our standards and the in-laws have all moved on to different lives. But I think moving to a house we all know so well has made it easier. It's also been hard more for the kids but emotionally for us as well. This is the only home my babies ever knew, and as I said this was our first home. We picked every piece of carpet out, painted every wall, laid tile and marble ourselves. Not to mention I'm giving up some truly amazing neighbors, whom I will miss desperatly, hell I already do. Miss R from next door who moved in after her just as amazing grandmother passed away. You just don't find them like her, or Miss C from across the street with her beautiful backyard garden who always had an ear and a shoulder to offer. Or the great school moms that were within walking distance, and were always there for one another. I will miss all of them, thankfully I have Facebook to keep in touch, but we all know it'll never be quite the same.

The other really hard thing about this move will be the transferring of schools next school year. I refuse to pull my kids in the middle of the year, but next year I have no choice I just can't keep up the 20 minute drives one way 5x a week. That makes me as sad as it does my daughter. She's been there since kindergarten and next year would be her final year there. We've both invested a lot of time in that school, a new school is as scary a concept for me as it is to her. I love volunteering and being a part of the school, now just like the kids I have to meet new teachers, new staff and try to make new mom friends. Honestly I'm freaking out a little.

But tomorrow it's time to close this chapter in our lives. The home we've all known for so long will be someone else's. It will be her turn to make it hers, paint the walls, put in new carpet, re-tile floors, and begin making her own memories. I wish her all the luck in the world and I hope she finds much happiness there as we once did. May the closing of this chapter in our lives be the beginning of even better chapters for everyone involved.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Skylanders and the a-holes on ebay

For Christmas we got the lil man the Skylanders set up for the Wii. For those of you unaware of what this is, it's the newest generation of Spyro the dragon game. You get a disk, a portal, and 3 character figures. Then you must buy extra figures to help advance you further in the game. I bought him 2 extra packs of figures and figured he could buy more after Christmas with the money I knew he was getting from the grandmas.

He loves his game and of course wanted to get more figures as soon as he had money to do so. So like a good mommy I got his want list and off to the store I went. 6 stores later and I hadn't been able to lay my hands on 1 single Skylanders figure. Turns out this is one of the hottest sellers this season, and either A)the stores were all completely unprepared for this, B) the manufactures were and didn't have enough product made, or C) a little bit of both. Either way after several hours and much agonizing I came home empty handed. So I went to the internet and couldn't believe what I saw.

People on ebay have these figures all day long and are making and enormous profit from them. I now understand why the stores are out. Normal people didn't go out and buy these. Asshole ebay sellers did so they could sell them for double, triple sometimes even more than the actual price. I'm dumbfounded, whats worse is people are paying these prices. Listings read very rare, hard to find, blah,blah, blah. Yeah because people like this seller went and bought the local store out of every single piece on the shelf. Stores should really have some kinda of quantity rules when it comes to hot ticket items like that. I mean it's kind of obvious when someone is buying multiples of the exact same item they aren't for their own household. And people should really wise up and quit playing into the scam I've actually seen people bidding on 1 single figure for over $100 that I heard is coming back out in the next couple weeks for under $20.

Don't get me wrong I love ebay and will shop through them when I'm having trouble finding something or looking for a deal, but I hate when I see people twist it's purpose in this way. Although their not alone in this one, I went on Amazon this morning and saw similar price gouging going on there, just not to the extremes I witnessed it on ebay.

Where does the greed end? These are children's games and people are trying to make the biggest profit possible off some poor hard working parent whose just trying to give their kids the toys they want. I can even understand wanting to make a profit but this is just beyond ridiculous.

A couple of great things about the game itself is if your interested in purchasing the start up kit you can get it for almost any system (Wii, Nintendo 3ds, PC/MAC, XBox) and only the portal and disk are different for each system. The figues themselves are universal so if you find them they are good for any system. The game says 10 and up but my lil man is 5 and really has no trouble at all with it. Both my kids enjoy playing and to be honest the hubs and I don't mind getting suckered into playing with them. Draw back is obviously how hard it is to get the extra characters and it is only a 2 player game.

*Disclaimer legal thingie this post was in no way sponsored by anyone I bought the video game and all opinions are my own. However if Skylander, or anyone else would like to send my kids extra figures I won't say no. (you can't see it but I'm giving you a big cheesy smile and batting my eyes)