For The Love Of Camping…

Standard

Every year, our family goes camping. Sounds fun right? It can be, but if your not careful it can turn into a hot mess, fast.

First off it usually takes around two hours to get there. That’s two hours locked in a car, with two excited little crazy people! You know what they say; pent up excitement, breeds irritation.

OK maybe it’s me, that says that.

It wont be long before they are ready to kill each other, and you’re only twenty minutes in.

My number one rule is always, ALWAYS, make sure everyone has used the bathroom before leaving. A no brainer right? Of course in the midst of packing everything up, my number one rule gets lost in the shuffle.

My kids are what I like to call, public restroom connoisseur’s. They love a good public restroom (or any public restroom for that matter). It’s like they intentionally hold their little bladders until just that right moment, when you’re in the middle of nowhere, not a restroom in sight.

So of course good old GPS, takes us thirty minutes in the wrong direction, to find the nearest restroom, and we end up in one that looks like a wet shaggy dog shook itself off in it.

As you delve further into the abyss of piss, (while simultaneously trying to not touch anything) you notice a lovely note on the wall from a nice girl name Sadie, who’s  looking for love in all the wrong places.

Not to mention you spent weeks preparing, only to find out once you get there, you forgot the bug spray.

Heaven forbid, you have to stay out there for four days with no OFF! I did this one year, by the end of the trip my girls and I looked like the elephant man’s wife and kids. It wasn’t pretty.

Then comes the fun part: setting up.

Now if you’re lucky, you get the tent that someone who knew what they were doing put away. If not, lord help you. You will end up spending the next three hours trying figure out why there’s no door, only to realize you were missing the pole that holds up the door to begin with.

Of course by the time you’re done setting up, the kids are all ready to go swimming!

Yay!!! Swimming!!!

Everyone loves swimming right? Except you’re in the mountains, and the water is freshly melted snow water, that’s 30 below.

Finally when your kids lips are pleasantly purple, with hands and feet that look like they’re ready to fall off, its lunchtime!

Who doesn’t love lunch?  I don’t know about you, but by this time I’m ready for everyone to shut the hell up, and go the fuck to sleep. A nap is the only thing on my mind, in this heat.

I don’t want to grill hot dogs, and hamburgers, or wait on little people. Of course, they are little people, so you’re kinda forced to make lunch.

Guess who gets to sit in the shade for a few and relax? Not you, because you have little people who need entertaining. Its time for a walk, some kickball, and who can forget sand castles?

Just when you think it’s finally time to take a load off, (hey you’ve earned it right?) it’s dinner time! If you’re lucky like I am, this is where the hubbs really shines. He’s a barbeque master! He masters that barbeque.

Once all the dishes are done, (because who wants unexpected visitors in the middle of the night) you finally get a little me time.

Wait. What’s that Lassie? The little’s want to go on a hunt for wood, to build a fire?

Of course if they want a fire, they’re probably going to want to make s’mores.  Of course if they want s’mores, you can’t go relax because their going to be near fire.

Fire is bad.

We like to take a stick and draw a huge circle around it. No one is to cross that line. EVER.

This goes on for four days and three nights.

Don’t get me wrong, the memories we make with our children, will last a life time. Each year my children get a little bit bigger, which makes things a little easier. The best part is, once a year we get four days off the grid together, without distraction. Mostly…

I must be a glutton for punishment, because I’m already excited for our annual camping trip next week. Time to go finish packing!

Fathers Day, From A Daughter To A Mother

Standard

IO0UJ7FYCAGrowing up my siblings and I didn’t celebrate Father’s Day. My father wasn’t a fixture in our houshold. I can’t remember even missing him.

How can you miss what you never really had in the first place?

Its only now that I’m grown, with children of my own that I see exactly what it is I missed out on.

When my daughter was born it was her and I against the world. By the time she was two, I was lucky enough to meet and fall in love with my best friend. He also had a child. His son was twelve years old at the time.

The first time I met them was with a group of friends that I was meeting up with, to float the river. He stood out to me immediately, and not just because he wasn’t wearing a shirt (although that was definitely part of it).

I didn’t know it then but I was hooked.

We started dating, and eventually went on to have one more child together a few years later.

His, mine, ours. We are a happily blended little family.

Almost eight years has passed, and my oldest daughter has been blessed to have him as her father. He accepted my daughter as his own and never looked back. He loves her unconditionally, as she does him.

This man, who works harder then anyone I know running his construction company, and still finding time to take his little girls to the park at the end of the day, never ceases to amaze me. He puts his family first, always.

He is not perfect but he does the best he can, and to me thats all that matters.

Watching him with our kids has truly shown me the importance of a father in a child’s life.

He is someone you can count on not to judge you, and will always have your best interests at heart.

He will take you for ice cream whenever he can, and teach you to ride your bike. When you fall he will help you back up.

He will paint your nails to look like minions, and let your entire rock band practice in the living room if the garage isn’t available (full drum set, and half stacked amps included).

Above all, he is supportive of everone of your dreams, even if at times he may not agree with them.

He does this not because he has to, but because he loves you and wants to see you succeed. Its what drives him to work those long hours, doing a job he doesn’t love.

That’s what a father does. He sacrifices for the ones he cares for, to give them the best opportunities in life he can.

I’m so grateful to finally have the chance to witness what it truly means to be a father.

The meaning of fathers day has changed for me over the years. From an annual reminder of what should have been, to a day my children and I can celebrate the man who I am proud to call, their father.

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it”

– Clarence B. Kelland

Kindergarten Camp: A Mothers Tale

Standard

As a parent I have had the pleasure of escorting both my children on their first day of school. Never has there been two polar opposites quite like my thing one, and thing two.

Thing one started her first day in preschool. She was such a sweet thing even then. She looked up at me with a smile, gave me a kiss and ran off to join in on the fun with all the other little things.

Apparently I took it way harder than she did as a small tear threatened to trickle down my left cheek. On one hand I knew she would be just fine and this was one of those milestones I would never forget.

On the other I knew I would miss her greatly. School would be her main concern from here on out, until she graduated college.

God, I had no idea! First time mom syndrome was in full effect.

Fast forward four years, and one wild child later, things weren’t exactly the same. Thing two unlike thing one was not an easy-going thing to say the least. If I would have had her first she’d probably be my only thing.

On the first day of kindergarten camp for thing two her dad and I walked her to her classroom to meet her new teacher.

When we got there I could sense the fear in her, or maybe it was the iron grip she had on me. As I attempted to pry little fingers from my inner thigh while my life’s blood was slowly being cut off from the rest of my body, I started to think we might have a problem here.

Thing two was shaping up to be a stage five clinger!
While I was trying to calm thing two down, I suddenly noticed the room got very quiet.

As I looked around I could see all the parents had left. Their tiny things left sitting quietly on the ground with their legs crossed and hands folded into their laps.

All eyes were on us.

When the teacher neared us, the look of utter helplessness on my face must have betrayed me because she came right over and helped me gently pry thing two off.

It was like she could read my mind (or possibly my lips, as I had said as much to my husband while amid the struggle) when she said “you guys go ahead and go I’m an expert in stage five clingers”!

As we exited the building I thought good luck with that. Thing two began to cry hysterically, and they literally had to hold her back to keep her from going after us.

Great we traumatized thing two, on her first day of school!

Within a few minutes after we left, the crying stopped! When I looked through the small window on the door, I could see thing two quietly sitting next to the teacher, as she read a story. What the hell? I guess her teacher really was an expert!

Later as I watched her quietly walk in line with her oversized backpack hanging on her tiny body, I thought to myself how lucky I was to have a brave little thing like that.

This would definitely be one of those milestones that I would never forget, and something tells me she won’t either.

The Duggers, Americas “Perfect” Family

Standard

With everyone weighing in on the whole Dugger molestation scandal, I thought why the hell not?

First I should probably mention, I use to actually watch the show from time to time. I was just amazed at how the hell that women could possibly have that many children and not go mad.

It kinda felt like I was watching a car wreck. It almost felt wrong for watching but I couldn’t look away.

I mean who am I to judge, if year after year this women kept popping children outta her vagina like some kids (and I) pop candy into our mouth.

I think I stopped checking in so to speak after baby number 17, so it had been awhile since I caught up with the Dugger clan.

Although recently god bless them, their stupid biggot rants started slipping through my media filters on Facebook. Michelle Dugger had political views? Who’da thunk it folks?

Whenever I actually watched the show she was practically always in the kitchen and pregnant. The only thing left out of the scenario was the barefoot part (which she might of been, I don’t remember  seeing her feet much). I got the feeling at the time, she was to only be heard when it came to child rearing and nothing more.

Even more recently it has come forth the Duggers have been keeping their horrific child sexual abuse past a secret.  I was shocked to hear the oldest son Josh Dugger has openly admitted to molesting five young girls at the age of fifteen. Four of whom are his sisters. The youngest only five at the time.

Believe me I felt bad for the girls as they cried about being re-victimized even more by this scandal coming to light, and how hurt they are that anyone would bring this up after all this time.

The fact is they have no one else to blame but their parents.

Their parents who put them in the spotlight on to a platform for which the entire world was watching. It would be pure ignorance to think that this wouldn’t come out, and frankly I’m surprised it didn’t come out back 2006 when the Oprah Winfrey show first reported them to the police about it.

Watching a clip from an interview with the Dugger parents, we saw just how screwed up their thinking is when they tried to claim they did the best they could.

Jim Bob Dugger, the father was asked why they went ahead and did a reality t.v. show after it was known that the cameras might uncover Josh’s past. To which he replied that they had already taken care of that prior to the first time they appeared on t.v.

From everything I understand from these allegations, the parents had Josh talk to a state trooper who is now convicted on child porn charges, and serving a 56 year sentence. They proceeded to send him away to another pedophile family friend, who Josh would do manual labor for as punishment (seriously wtf?).

No therapy for the victims or the perpetrator. They basically swept it under the rug, yet they claim they took care of that already. The girls had to continue living with, and was made to forgive the perpetrator.

I’m not mother of the year, but I also don’t claim to be. I do know that if it was my children being abused by anyone, the police and therapy would be involved IMMEDIATELY!

The worst part is the girls it seems have been brain washed into thinking their brother is not a child predator because he was only fifteen at the time. It is of my opinion that a five year old is a baby compared to a fifteen year old. His daughter is five now.

Let’s just let that sink in for a minute.

I read in one article it was such a problem they resorted to having all the girls sleep in the living room, and allegedly it was still happening.

Jim Bob’s answer in one interview, for why they didn’t turn their son into the police and get him the help he needs: It’s not required by law to do so in the state of Arkansas.

Ughh I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. It’s also not required by law to teach our children to swim. We do so to protect them.

I’m not even going to go into the cult like religious aspect of this, although I feel that has played a major role as to why this family is so screwed up.

In summary no family is perfect, but the welfare of our children should be first and foremost the number one concern to us as parents.

The Duggers failed miserably at protecting all of their children. What makes it worse is the parents claim they did the best they could.

They didn’t even come close.

As for me, I’m right there with the crowd who started the petition and succeeded in canceling the show. Why would anyone want to take parenting advice from these people?  I just hope the victims get the therapy they need and are able to move on from this situation the best they can.

The Day I Met My Future Son

Standard

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

The first time I met my future stepson and his daddy, it was the summer of 2007. At the time I was invited by a friend of mine to go with her, her boyfriend and some of his friends to float down the river. When my friend and I got there we were introduced to my future hubbs and his son.

We met up and got our gear and headed down the river. On the way up the river we stopped and my friend talked me into jumping off a 40 foot cliff with her into the water. I know what your thinking, because I’m thinking it now. What the hell was I thinking? I actually lost my shoes in the water!

Afterwards it was the sweetest thing, this little boy offered me his sandals. Of course his dad stepped in and gave  his son his own shoes (or else I wouldn’t have taken them). I remember thinking how sweet. What a gentlemen! He was 12 years old at the time.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, a lot more happened that day then me jumping of a 40 foot cliff like some crazy person. My life changed forever for the better. Unbeknownst to me I found my future. My family.

Its funny how things happened sometimes. One minute I was  a single mother to a 18 month old little girl just trying to provide a life for her. Within a year her and I added two more to our little wolf pack. And within two more years we had another daughter. On the day our sons little sister was born he made sure he was the first one to hold her. She was so tiny in his hands, yet he was so careful with her. Looking at them I thought to myself what lucky little girls they were to have such a good big brother. He was 15 at the time and I knew then he would always look out for both his sisters no matter what.

Around that time something amazing happened, our son picked up a guitar for the first time. Oh he was good, he was really good! I couldn’t believe it.

Of course just when he practically master’s it  (a year and a half later) he shocks the hell out of all of us and switches to the drums. I’m not going to lie I was a little heart broken. He was so good on the guitar! He went on to master those as well, and in his senior year he was picked as the best percussionist in the entire county! He is now a junior in college, on a scholarship for music at San Francisco State University. He worked so hard. He practiced daily with his band. And went above and beyond all our hopes for him. He has such a bright future ahead. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Although, I think of him as one of my own, I know he has an amazing mother and I don’t try to replace that. He doesn’t call me mom and he doesn’t have to. I know this might not be the case for some but I’m lucky enough to actually really like his mom. She’s genuinely a nice person.

As for me I never would have dreamed I would get to witness such an amazing journey. This small boy who I watched slowly grow into the charasmatic and amazing man he is today. I’m so proud of him. He is one of the most talented musicians I have ever met, and I’m just so glad I got to be a part of his life.

As I look back on my life I will always remember how a forty foot drop and a pair of sandals from one awesome kid changed my life.