02 July 2014

Catching Up

Between work, the house, the kids and a little bit of everything else, I've been super busy.  Since my last post, I celebrated a birthday.  My last birthday of my 30's.  And no, I'm not sad or freaked out over turning 40 next year.  I'm actually excited about 40.  My sister made me an awesome cake.  She seriously needs to go into business.  She made Lane's graduation cake and other cakes over the past few years and has gotten good at her craft.  Sorry the photos aren't so great.  They were taken with my phone, not my good DSLR camera.

We celebrated the Latvian midummer solstice celebration known as Jāņi in Michigan.  Unfortunately, our celebrating was cut short by a 3 hour long thunderstorm.  We ended up going back to my parents trailer and sat on their  covered deck enjoying the light show until the rain ended. The next day it was a perfect day to take the kids out on the boat to try our new inflatable ride on tow.  The kids, especially Emi loved the new toy.  She was laughing and grinning from ear to ear.  She wanted to ride the lake all day.  Unfortunately though, we had to get home because I had to return to work and Lane had bar review class on Monday.

However, we returned last weekend to drop Eriks off at camp and I'm heading up by myself with Emi for a weeks worth of R & R while Lane hangs out at home with the animals and finishes up his bar review class before he starts intense studying for the bar exam.  The weather should be good all next week and it'll be fun hanging out with my friends who also have their kids up there at camp for a few weeks.

27 May 2014

I Feel Like I'm Failing as a Parent

I work really hard to make sure I don't allow Eriks to get under my skin.  I know some of his behavior is due to his Asperger's and other autism spectrum issues.  Some of it is just being a kid and annoying the hell out of their parents and some of it is fighting for attention because he has a little sister that showed up 5 1/2 years into his life.  I think he really hates having to share our attention with her.  As long as she's not around, he behaves OK.  As soon as she appears, he does a complete 180 degree turn and goes out of his way to hurt her, annoy her or make her cry or scream.   But, I'm beginning to suspect that the largest majority of this is because he's super pissed off at his birthparents for placing him for adoption and not being the ones to raise him.  As far as he is concerned right now, Lane and I are NOT his parents and he doesn't have to listen to a damn thing we say.  He has told us repeatedly that he should be living with his birthmother and not with us.

Right now he is going out of his way to be disrespectful and constantly argues with us.  And by constantly, I mean CONSTANTLY! You tell him it's time for dinner and he needs to stop what he's doing - there's an argument about it.  You tell him he needs to take a shower and he argues about it.  You get my point.  And when you explain to him why the rules are the way they are, here are his responses, "You're an idiot", "You're stupid", "I hate you", "You're not my real mom.  You can't tell me what to do", "You're a dumbass.  Go away", "I wish you were never my mother because you're a horrible mother."  All of this takes its toll on a person.  Especially when you hear it every - single - day for several years.  From my perspective it seems very abusive.  I'll admit, I haven't been a perfect parent and have said some things a few times that I should've bit my tongue on.  But most, if not all parents have said things to their kids they wish they hadn't.  Lane and I try to be very fair to him, but we are not here to be his friends.  We are here to be his parents and raise him with morals, self-discipline and respect not only to himself, but others.

He's in counseling with us but I don't think he listens to a thing she says about what he needs to be doing.  I'm not sure where to go from here or what's going to get him to change his behavior.  I'm seriously afraid that this child will end up spending his life behind bars if the light doesn't go on.

His end of the year school program and 8th grade graduation is this Friday.  As of right now, I have no plans to go for the following reasons:

A) It's my birthday and this program fell on my birthday last year.  I do not want to spend my birthday 2 years in a row going to this program.  Who the hell has an end of the year school program on a Friday night?

B) They do the same program EVERY SINGLE YEAR.  Nothing about this program changes.  It has been the same for the 3 years that we have been with the school.  Also, I think it's completely ridiculous that they combine the school program with 8th grade graduation.  So I end up losing at least 3 hours of my life that I will never get back by choosing to combine them.  When my kids are in 8th grade, I'm not going to care if the whole school is there for it or not.  The school I went to had 8th grade graduation as a completely separate function from everything else.  No one else in the school was obligated to attend unless they had a sibling in that grade.

C) With the way that my son has been treating me, I don't want him ruining my birthday with his behavior.  Because he's going to act the way he always does and then I have to go to his school program on top of that?  No thanks.  I know that may sound selfish but when you live with this daily and your kids manages to ruin every single birthday and holiday every year it gets really old - FAST.  I'd like to spend one day a year not being called stupid, being told I'm the worst mother ever, or being yelled at by a 10 year old at the top of his lungs about something.  We can't even have a Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc. without him ruining it with his behavior or his mouth.

In all my years being alive, I have never seen a kid behave like this.  To be so spiteful to his parents and disrespectful to many adults (not necessarily to their faces - it's often behind their backs).

It feels like we are drowning as a family because of this.  I want to fix this because I love that kid so damn much.

23 May 2014

Law School Graduation

I'm sorry it's taken me 2 weeks to post these photos.  I just haven't really been in the mood to blog.  I'm frustrated with myself.  Frustrated with kids.  Frustrated that Lane's having a hard time finding a job after working his butt off for 3 years.  But, enough about that.  I'm thrilled that he accomplished it without incurring any student loans.  So if you're reading this and you know a lawyer, especially an Intellectual Property lawyer pass on the following:

2014 Robert H. McKinney Law School at Indiana University graduate. Dean's List several times.  In top 20-25% of his class.  Hard-working.  Air Force Veteran.  Seeking job in Intellectual Property Law.  Externship at Roche Diagnostics.  Resume available by emailing me, the blogger.

Overall the weekend was super busy but nice.  Lane's graduation happened to fall on our 17th wedding anniversary.  Go figure.  I knew it was just going to be my luck that law school was going to overshadow some other important event in our lives.  But I'm glad that I was giving it up for a good cause.  There were over 300 graduates which Lane told me was if not the biggest, but one of the biggest classes the law school had seen in a long time.  My kids were amazingly well behaved during the approximately 2 hour ceremony.  This completely floored me because we can't even get though 1 hour of church every Sunday.  I was so worried I was going to have whiny, complaining kids on my hands and I wasn't going to get to enjoy it.  I was wrong!  We did have one kiddo that needed a bathroom break 1/2 way through but that I could handle.

After Lane's graduation we headed off to another celebration.  My SIL's mom's 70th birthday had occurred the day before and her 4 kids planned a surprise party in her honor.  It was a nice way to wind down after the hectic day rather than head back to our house to entertain people.  We did have a party for Lane on Mother's Day which was nice, but I didn't any time to relax due to cooking food and keeping our guests happy.  It was OK.  I'll get a do-over sometime soon.  I'm hoping next weekend since last weekend we had a busy weekend and this weekend it's the same scenario.

06 May 2014

Follow Up Post to Paging Poppins

I was really angry when I wrote my last post.  I also felt very used...maybe even abused by my family with rarely a 'thank you' to be found.  I started working outside of the home at the beginning of December part-time to make our lives a little more comfortable while Lane wraps up Law School and continues to hunt for a job.  Ever since he retired from the Air Force and has been in school, money has been tight.  It's a life we chose so that Lane could do something he was passionate about, but it has been really hard adjusting to a different lifestyle.  Now with me working, I can't do it all.  I never was, never claimed to be and never wanted to be "Supermom".  I have never envied moms who can do it all.  But my OCD self wants my house clean 24/7.  I don't necessarily want one of those perfect houses you see on display in Better Homes & Gardens but I believe everything has a place and it should be in its place.  When you're done using something, put it away!!  If you take off your shoes, you put them in the closet where you found them.  You get my point here.

For years I have talked about decluttering our lives and trying to enjoy more of what we do have than what we don't have.  I look back at all the crap that I've amassed.  For what?  Just so that I can have it in case I need it?  Now I will admit, I stopped buying most things unnecessarily years ago.  We didn't even upgrade to a flat screen TV until 2010.  We had a 27" bubble front TV until then and were perfectly fine with it but it was 13 years old, not always turning off when you turned it off.  Sometimes it would turn itself on when you weren't even near it.  Probably an issue with the remote but it was time for the TV to go.  When you're in the military and moving every 3 years or so, you'll never know what you'll need in the next house so you just hang on to most things just in case.  Now we have no more excuses for all this stuff that sits around going unused.

My kids are cursed because of when their birthdays fall...Eriks just a week before Christmas and Emi's just about 6 weeks after Christmas.  The kids always get way more than they need and many things often go unplayed with.  And I've been trying to come up with ways to deal with what I call the 'Birthday Blues'.  It's when in my head I'm strategically trying to plan where I'm going to put all the stuff they get between their birthdays and Christmas.  Would their be a kind way to tell people not to buy my kids anything so I didn't have to deal with it?   I get highly stressed out and overwhelmed between the kids' birthdays and Christmas.  Mostly because I don't want all the stuff in my house.  We don't need it.  It's not that it's not appreciated, it's just that it often goes ignored.

When I posted on my Facebook page that I had blogged, my cousin posted a link to another blog/website about a mom who had had enough with all of her kids' *STUFF* and she was going to get rid of it.  At least most of it.  Her article was the lightbulb that I needed.  It was my 'ah-ha' moment.  If she can do it with her family, then surely I could do it with mine, right?

I figured I'd link the article because I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way about all the stuff that their kids have and don't need.


So, come the weekend after Memorial Day, we are having a HUGE yard sale to get rid of all the stuff sitting in cabinet, closets, basement, garage, etc. that we don't need.  Some of my nicer stuff will go to a consignment shop - designer clothes that are too big because of the weight I lost, a few designer purses that I no longer use, shoes that I bought and wore once or NEVER, etc.

I know we'll be happier with out all this nonsense and maybe my kids will enjoy what they do have more than what they don't have if I get rid of all the stuff they don't touch anymore.  Who knows, we might just use that money to take a family vacation to explore somewhere and learn something.

I really want to experiment and see if we can live a simpler life.  Maybe getting rid of all this stuff will help my kids get along better because they're going to have to find ways to play with less stuff.

03 May 2014

Paging Mary Poppins

I am completely exhausted right now.  I am trying to get my house decent for next weekend which is going to be completely chaotic with activity - mostly Lane's graduation from law school.  It's also our wedding anniversary which I doubt we'll really be able to enjoy or celebrate thanks to graduation and other activities.  So I assume it'll just be kind of swept under the rug this year and at this point I don't care.

Why is it children can't clean their stuff up?  Really?  I know, I wasn't perfect and neither was my room often.  I shoved stuff under the bed and in the closet.  But when my mom told me to pick up and put away my stuff, I usually did.  I'll give them warnings that it's time to clean up because dinner will be ready in 5 minutes.  They totally ignore me and go on their way.  They come inside from school or wherever they've been and just drop their stuff on the floor for me to trip over.  This morning alone I think I told them 5 times to pick their jackets up off the kitchen floor and put them away.  Did they do it?  Nope.  Maybe if I had Mary Poppins' magic powers of snapping her fingers in the nursery scene and everything just starts flying up off the floor and into the toy box or closet, etc, my kids would love it and want to do it too.  Real life doesn't work that way.

Unfortunately as much as I love my husband, he's no great example for the kids.  The office that we're supposed to share and I never enter anymore is completely trashed with stuff all over the floor and desk. And other areas of the house that he has stuff in, he's not great at organizing.  I'm just frustrated that the 2 or 3 minutes it would take to do something, not a single one of my family members takes the time to do it.  They're just so in the mindset of, "Mom will do it."  I'm ready to go on strike again I am so pissed off about this.  You make a food on the counter and spill something you wipe it up.  It's not that hard!

I told my kids this morning after the jacket incident that I'm giving them until the end of the day to clean their stuff up.  If there's anything of theirs out at the end of the day that shouldn't be, then it will be sold on Ebay that I will put towards a vacation fund for me, myself and I because dammit, mom's deserve some alone time.

I am tired of cleaning up a room and an hour later it's completely trashed again.  I did not sign up to be a 24-hour a day maid service.  I understand it's my job as a mom and wife to take care of my house and my family, but this is beyond what I expected.  I'm about to lose my sanity because I have no time to myself or take care of my needs.  There are times that I wonder what it would be like to just walk away from it all and put what I want ahead of everyone else.  I know I haven't put myself 1st since before I got married.  After Lane and I married we had to answer to the government and what they wanted of him.

Maybe that's why I'm so resentful of my husband and kids right now.  For the 3 of them it's all about, "Me, me, me."  Lane's focused on school and looking for a job.  And the kids...well, we all know kids are just selfish and most of the time don't care about what anyone else needs or wants except for themselves.  But just occasionally it would be nice if one day the 3 of them came to me and said, "Don't worry, we'll clean the house, we'll make all the meals today.  You just sit back and relax and do nothing."  Wishful thinking, but a girl can dream can't she?

I warned you my posts weren't always going to pretty.  This is one of them.  Back to taking care of everyone else because I guess that's what I'm expected to do.  Be the doting wife and mom.  Now I see why alcoholism is becoming a huge problem among young moms.  Saw this story covered by one of the big national news channels...NBC, CBS, ABC...one of them.  Women get together and drink while their kids play because there is so much pressure on them to be the perfect wife and mother that has it all together.  They talked to several moms that at the end of the day after the kids were in bed, they'd uncork the wine and by the time they went to bed, they'd drink the entire bottle.  Sometimes more.  It became their way to deal with the stress of motherhood and life.  I don't drink much because I don't like the way it makes me feel if I drink to much.  I have enough other problems to deal with and I know my health issues wouldn't tolerate it well.  But if I didn't have to worry about that, who knows, maybe I'd become one of those moms.  I definitely feel the pressure of having to keep my house clean, meals made every day, etc.  It sucks.

So what do you think?  Are we as a society putting unrealistic goals on women today to be perfect wives and mothers?

21 April 2014

Happy Easter!

This is going to be a short blog as I've got a million things going on right now.  However, it's been almost a week since my last post that I decided I needed to blog before I got behind.

Yesterday we attended mass at our church.  Of course it was extremely full and they even had a 2nd mass going on in the parish hall.  We attend a very large parish.  It has about 3,300 families and many of those families have 4, 5 and 6 kids or more each.  Our Sunday masses are always pretty full.  And then of course we have Easter & Christmas - the 2 largest Christian holidays that for some reason seem obligatory for those who don't attend church the rest of the year.  My sister call them "Christmeasters".  I should be grateful they attend church on those holidays rather than not at all but, for those who are truly faithful and feel that attending church every week is important, it's hard not to be critical.

After church, we headed to my parents' house for brunch.  My mom always over does it.  Every year she promises she's not doing it again and without fail she doesn't keep her word.  So of course there was a huge spread and we all stuffed ourselves.

Once we had finished stuffing our faces, we went and did an Easter egg hunt for the kids.  We ran around hiding them so I burned off a few calories.  It was fun to see Eriks and Emi run all over the yard.  Emi was much more careful when it came to looking closely for the eggs.  Every time she found one she screamed, "Found one!!"  It was super cute.  They didn't get anything but some Peeps in their baskets because I know they would get their fair share of candy from the egg hunt.   Then we came in and had dessert.  Let me tell you, I had the BEST homemade coconut cream pie I have ever put in my mouth yesterday.  My sister rocked it with that pie.  I honestly may never shut up about that daggone pie.  Most of the coconut cream pies I have eaten have had a super thick, dry crust and have been sickly sweet that I can't eat it all.  With this pie I almost licked my plate clean...almost.  I tell my kids not to do it, so I figured it would be a bad example if I did something I tell them not to do.

Up next for me was nap time.  I've been battling headaches and migraines for some time now.  If they stay bad, I'll have to go in for a CT scan to see if there's something more going on in my brain.  Yesterday I was still getting over a horrible migraine that started Friday and continued into Saturday.  I'll have what I call "aftershocks" for a few days after I get a bad migraine.  Sometimes I've had migraines that have lasted 3 or 4 days and then have had smaller headaches for another 3-5 days after.  So I dozed for about 45 minutes or so.  It felt great and I woke up refreshed.

Then...I got dragged outside by my son for a game of bocce ball.  It was boys against girls (my sister & and me) vs. boys (my dad & Eriks).  It was a heated battle that went back and forth.  For awhile my sister and I were ahead by a bunch of points and then Eriks and my dad caught up and went ahead.  It was at the very end that my sister threw the pallino in a great spot and the boys just couldn't get there balls there as well as we could.  And of course the adults made jokes about the bocce balls..."my balls are really heavy"..."just kick my balls over here"...you get the idea.  A few times we were laughing pretty hard about it.

By the time the game was over, it was dinner time so we sat down to leftovers from brunch.  The weather was beautiful and we sat outside eating our dinner.  It was time to head home and put the kids to bed after that.  Enjoy the pictures!!

14 April 2014

I Am Not A Cupcake Mom

I had struggled for a long time whether or not this made me a bad mom.  It is now the trend that when kids have birthdays they take treats into school to share with their classmates.  Usually cupcakes.  When my kids started school, I rolled my eyes at this.  Really?  We have to make a big deal about birthdays at school?  Why?  Oh and don't get me started on the Halloween and Valentine's Day nonsense at school.  Who decided that kids needed to bring in treat bags for classmates on those holidays?  Nevermind, I know exactly who...Hallmark, Nestle, Hershey's and every other company that could make a dime off of this crap.  Mattel, Crayola...they're all in on it.  It's a conspiracy against parents to make them feel like crap if they don't.

I'm going to date myself but I grew up in an age where you went to school, your teacher and classmates often wished you a 'Happy Birthday' and that was the end of it.  No mom's making or buying special treats to either bring in or send in to school.  You went home and had birthday cake with your family.

So when Eriks started pre-K, I caved and followed the trend.  I didn't want to be seen as THAT mom.  You know, the one who is lazy...doesn't care...doesn't have time..(insert your own reason here).  So I took in cupcakes to his class.  Especially since I was hearing about all the treats the other moms were sending in.  Heaven forbid my child scolds me because I made him feel like an outcast because I didn't send in treats for his birthday.  I didn't want to feel like a dog that had had an accident right next to the door waiting to be let outside.  I've never dealt well with being reprimanded for my mistakes because even though I know better, I'm the person that takes them personally.  But that's for another time and another blog post...maybe.

Kindergarten year, I think I caved as well, but don't remember.  See?  That's how important I think this school birthday nonsense is.  From then on I gave up.  With one exception.  The 1st year Emi was in preschool, I sent in birthday donuts.  Even though neither one of them remembers it,  I had to be on equal footing with both kids.  You can't do it for one and not the other.  Because you know, if you don't do it for kid #2, when your 75, losing your memory and the kids are deciding what nursing home to put you in, it might come back to bite you in the ass with kid #2.  She may do something to spite you all because you didn't send in some birthday treat but you did for her older brother.

Trust me it's not easy.  Although I think where Eriks goes to school now there isn't a whole lot of birthday treats happening for a few reasons.  The school really doesn't want the distraction and many of the kids who Eriks goes to school with are from families of 5, 6, 7 and 8 kids.  We are the minority at his school with only 2 kids.  I'm sure those families who have 3 and 4 or 5 kids at his school don't have time for this stuff.  I know if I had that many kids, I sure as heck wouldn't.  Ditto goes for Emi.  I don't think it's popular at her school either partly because there are enough kids who live in the dorms during the week away from their families so there isn't anyone there to do it for them.  But at Latvian school we are definitely the odd family out.  In the 3 years we have been there we have never brought treats in to school and most of the other families do.

I've come to terms with giving up and no longer sending my kids in with birthday treats.  Personally, I think my reasons are valid.

1 - My parents didn't do it, so I shouldn't feel guilty because I'm choosing not to.  It wasn't the thing to do then and why should I feel obligated to do the trendy thing.  I don't do trendy.  I do Liene.

2 - I'm sure the teachers really don't appreciate the time they're taking out of their day to distribute your child's birthday treats and allow them to eat them.  Two words...SUGAR RUSH.  Bet the teachers don't like that either.  Luckily my kids are in small classes.  Eriks has 6 kids total in his 4th grade class and Emi's class may be up to 9 kids now.  I can only imagine what it would be like in a classroom of 25 kids whose systems are loaded with sugar.  Not to mention those kids with food allergies and sensitivities.  Then you have to make sure you find them their own special and appropriate treat so they're not left out...As we say in Latvian, "Nē paldies!!" (No Thank You!)

3 - I am cursed, blessed with a son who made his way into this world exactly 1 week before Christmas and a daughter who was born 4 days before Valentine's Day.  Seriously?  Those holidays scream candy and over indulgence.  They get enough sweet treats around those days, plus birthday cake that they don't need another treat on top of that.

So no, I am DEFINITELY not a cupcake mom and no longer feel guilty about it.  If that makes me a bad mom, so be it.  My guess is that most teachers and parents are thankful for that as they're not having to deal with sugared out kids at school.

13 April 2014

So the Resurrection of the Blog Never Happened...Until Now.

I really, really wanted to get back to blogging last year.  But I didn't.  I had been struggling with being ill and that was my excuse for being lazy.

So last year I was in extreme pain on a daily basis and finally started seeing a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with osteoarthritis at the ripe old age of 38.  Yeah, I didn't think it could happen to me so young but when it comes to me, I seem to be susceptible to anything and everything unexpected.  My pain is really bad in the winter when it's cold outside and was started on Prednisone to deal with the joint swelling then.  I'm currently being weaned off of it for the summer.

On top of that, I was just feeling so tired in general and out of it, that my cardiologist ordered a heart catheterization to be done.  So at the end of May, I was sedated for 8 hours to map my heart.  Yeah, my heart is so ass-backwards it took them 8 hours to figure it out.  They also plugged some collateral arteries that were probably making me feel bad because 2 weeks after the procedure I became this crazy ball of energy.  Think Tasmanian Devil whirly ball of insanity.  So it was good for me to undergo the procedure.  Especially since my cardiologist told me if things don't look good, he was going to highly recommend transplant.

Since then I started a part-time job working while my kids are in school.  They head off to school before I have to leave for work and I'm done with work just after lunch time and have an hour before I have to go pick Eriks up from school.

So, what exactly my plan is for this blog now, I don't know.  It's definitely going to be different from the way it was.  Yes, there will still be some documentation of my kids and their lives, but it will probably be more about me, my journey of life, etc.

20 February 2013

Will Resurrect this Blog Soon

I have been sicker than a dog on and off since the Fall.  I've had more colds than I can count.  Got one so bad right now, I don't know whether to sneeze or blow my nose.  My head feels like it's going to explode.  I've had the Norovirus.  Bronchitis.  Aches and pains that lead me to think I have arthritis.

When I've been well, which hasn't been often, my kids and the hubby have kept me on my toes running all over kingdom come.

I miss blogging and want to come back.  I just need to get my head above water and healthy again.

24 October 2012


Like my blog title says, "Never a Dull Moment..."  Doctors appointments for me mostly, but some for the kids.  The kids started back at Latvian school a few days after my last post.  Lane's in over his head with school work.  I started oxygen therapy which is helping but now I have a sinus infection that I have to find time to treat (making an appointment to see my primary doctor and get on antibiotics).   Eriks is starting Cub Scouts.  We have birthday parties the next 3 weekends in a row that one or both kids is attending.  There will likely be another one somewhere toward the end of November.  It's complete chaos right now.

I have at least one thing I need to blog about but I still haven't even uploaded photos from it.

I'll try to catch up soon.  I really want to.  Just need to find the time.
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