Around Here Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer.

After spending over a decade in law enforcement, victim services and social work, we circled the wagons and brought our kids home from public school. Now, we are on year five. After the first years, we learned to lay to rest all of those good intentions of facilitating unrealistic goals of growth, having tri-lingual kids, and raising prodigal children. We now focus on strong vitals and an education that stands just above 3rd world countries.

Frankly, our boys live like college freshman – stay up late, sleep late and cram like it’s their job. Yes, we have the same 24 hour day as the rest of you, but the mental exhaustion of homeschooling puts that productivity at around 4 hours a day. By the time I do my own jobs, home school and some typical chores, I am mentally done. So, I add wine to the equation and gain a few more hours of productivity.

What do I do with this 2nd wind, you might ask? Mostly, I curl up with a book and ignore all types of responsibilities for a couple more hours. What are my boys doing during this sacred time? They are enjoying endless amounts of technology – YouTube, Xbox, Ipads, TV, etc. Why? Because it keeps them quiet. Because it keeps their vitals strong. Because it protects my sanity.

My boys often ask if we are normal and I say, “Yes!” with resounding confidence. I explain to them that they belong to an internationally, renowned private home school program, I somehow manage to work enough to contribute to my part of the household bills and 80% of our food budget goes to home-cooked food! Did I mention the strong vitals?? We are good, I say!

What’s ‘normal’ anyway. Around Here Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer.

Worn Slap Out!

Well, our clan has just completed our annual vacation and so we are absolutely worn slap out. All of us….however, the energy exerted on these annual vacations is not equally divvied up and therefore, the whining shouldn’t be either. Since my bunch doesn’t care what I have to say, I am putting it out there to you and hoping for an Amen, Sister!

Let’s talk about preparing for the family vacation with kids. We all decide on where to go. All have opinions and suggestions.  That is where the ‘all’ ends. Period.

Then while kids are bouncing off the walls in excitement, annoyingly asking “how many more days?” and endlessly pouring over which toys to take; momma plans, budgets, cleans, packs, stresses and drinks. Fast-forward to arriving at your destination or sooner if you are part of my clan, the ‘others’ begin to ask if I remembered to pack……whatever. I reckon they should have thought of that before leaving. My job is to keep all vitals strong and basic hygiene needs met.

Now, let’s go ahead and talk about coming home. We will clearly divide the duties to ensure you get the appropriate picture.

Dad drives home. Dad helps unload car. Dad naps.

Kids play or otherwise vanish into thin air.

Mom begins unpacking. Mom sorts the laundry. Mom starts the laundry. Mom puts up the luggage. Mom inventories fridge and pantry. Mom runs to the grocery store. Mom cooks dinner. Mom goes through the million receipts, invoices and charge accounts. Mom begins drinking, even though she can’t afford to. Mom gets everything ready for the next day. Mom catches up on her work emails. Mom takes a quick shower and falls into bed. Mom listens to the ‘others’ talk about how tired they are. Mom tries to remember that vacations are necessary and it was fun.

Mommas need a vacation after the vacation. Can I get an Amen, Sister?!

Thoughts from a Deranged Homeschooling Mom!

Some say that February is the hardest teaching month of the year. As a homeschooling mom,  I tend to agree. All the built-in breaks of the holidays are over, with no end in sight. As a homeschooling mom, we hope to recoop lost time from the holidays and this battles with the kids being overwhelmed with the interminable task of school. All together, this should sum up my thoughts for this month:

Original Plan:

  1. double digit multiplication
  2. geography of the Middle East & Central Europe
  3. diagramming Object Complement Nouns and Adjectives
  4. Creative Writing
  5. WWII leaders
  6. Newton’s Law
  7. Latin & Spanish Memory Work
  8. Read, Spelling, practice guitar, Cub Scout knots and typing

Revised Plan:

  1. What do you mean help? It’s addition!
  2. What country do we live in?
  3. Seriously, please for the love of baby Jesus, tell me that you know what a noun is!
  4. Stop asking me so many questions. Its just writing. Aim for subject-verb agreement!
  5. Just remember Hitler.
  6. What don’t you understand?? Your little brother goes until I stop him!!
  7. Our language is English.
  8. No, I don’t care if you read an Xbox magazine. Guitar is not necessary right now. How should I know how to tie those knots? I will just type it for you.

There is always next month…………………

 

 

If Everything Is Coming Your Way, Then You Are In The Wrong Lane!

 

It’s that time, once again, which we all sit down with pen and paper to set forth unrealistic goals for the coming year. With the best of intentions, we proclaim that we will become the person that we have very little chance at actually becoming. We share our goals within our circle, so that when we fail, others can celebrate in our misery. Perhaps we do all of this so that we are guilt-free for the debauchery we cause our bodies and souls on this very night? If we plan to diet, we embrace gluttony. If we plan to eat healthy and exercise, we become one with the toxins that enter our system in one evening. If budgets are on our horizon, we spend money like its 1999. Maybe you plan to quit smoking, so tonight you will go through a carton. We won’t even venture into the abyss, if your goal is to drink less.

Regardless of which unrealistic promise that you are making to yourself this evening, let’s talk about reality. Life isn’t meant to be easy. If in 2017, you find that everything is going your way, you are very sure to be in the wrong lane. The other shoe will drop. Your New Year’s Resolution should be aligned with the stars, tides, Black Magic and Murphy’s Law. Cause it ain’t gonna be easy. Don’t set yourself up with concrete ‘rules’ for 2017. Celebrate tonight, without guilt. You deserve it for surviving 2016.

Instead of making promises, pick one word and adhere to it for all 12 months. What word? That is up to you, but make sure that Regardless follows it. Make your WORD + Regardless, be your new mantra. Your WORD will serve your personal, family, work, friends, spiritual needs, financial needs and health. Your WORD needs to be all-encompassing. There are several online areas to pursue your WORD.

For example, instead of diet, choose MODERATION and do it regardless if there are 15 Cookie Exchange Parties in January or six weddings in June. Eat healthy before you go and limit yourself to the sweets/alcohol. Instead of exercise, choose CONSISTENCY. Be consistent in your active life – join an adult league, play more WipeOut on the Kinect/Wii, play a game with your kids or do some crunches before bed, if nothing else. Instead of saying that you will volunteer more, choose SERVE. Make it a point to something for someone else every week or month or quarter. If you are seeking less stress in 2017, choose SIMPLICITY. Practice saying no, at least once a month. Want to spend more time with those you love? Choose BALANCE. See where I’m going with this?

I started choosing WORDS two years ago, and it is total life-changing. Whatever WORD you choose, it should serve in every single area of your life. In 2015, I chose Consistency. In 2016, I chose Balance. In 2017, I choose PROGRESS.

This blog is about survival and I would be remiss if I didn’t share this particular means! What’s your WORD for 2017?

 

Thoughts of this Deranged Mom at Christmas!

My thoughts for the Christmas season:

  1. To celebrate my hubby’s payday, we bought the good trash bags and a box of wine. I wish I had the money to buy wrapping paper to wrap them.
  2. Good gingerbread houses are one of the things required by Facebook to remain in the good parenting network.
  3. Good gingerbread houses with two boys are a myth.
  4. Why do my boys think they know how to hang Christmas ornaments?
  5. Is it appropriate to ask for Christmas money to pay for wine and cigarettes?
  6. Why is good wine so expensive?
  7. Why is my 8 year old fascinated with cardboard boxes and duct tape?
  8. I’m totally wrapping these vitamins for Christmas presents!
  9. Why am I wrapping presents, when they will just tear them a part?
  10. Why did I even buy this?
  11. Should I re-wrap this gift with the appropriate size of wrapping paper? Or just slap a bow there?
  12. Should I have bought the batteries to this?
  13. Why didn’t I ever realize the amount of energy that went into making Christmas memories?
  14. I really should have bought more wine.

Words You May Never Have Uttered…

You may need a passport to enter another country, but you just need an open mind and some gas to reach the South. However, you may experience the same culture shock that you would endure in the Congo or African Sahara – we have similar language barriers and mating habits. You will certainly encounter those that think you should just turn around and head back where you came from. But…just maybe, if you are in the right frame of mind, you will find us just as fascinating as the Omish, the Cherokee, New Yorkers or the Mormons.

The single defining characteristic of any foreign culture is language and for real, the Southern language should count for a language in college prep. For example:

Befuddled. Definition: confused with a hint of ignorance to the reasoning that X topic is even being discussed. Like…why do you have to discuss ear wax when you could instead discuss the ramifications of Billy Bob thinking that he could fix the leak in his house with anything other than duct tape? This word MUST accompany the gesture of scratching your head at least one time during the conversation.

Flabbergasted. Definition: shocked with a hint of anger. You may hear this when a redneck stubs his toe and blames the wife for placing the incriminating obstacle in his path. Apparently, the wife thinks that if something is static for 50 years, her husband should learn to walk around it. Whatever!

Spirits. In the south, we refer to all alcoholic beverages as ‘spirits’ because it lifts our spirits to partake. Very simple. However, southerners don’t get the whole wine connoisseur mess….we make our own wine from the fruit that God gave us…right here in our backyards. The idea that ‘wine tastings’ happen, definitely befuddle us.

Tattoos. We all run into people and ask them about their tattoos and some get very upset if we insinuate that they had a personal experience with image that they later marked themselves with because they just get tattoos. BUT, in the South, our tattoos mean something. Period. Most may say MOM, some may say F-Obama, but they all mean something to us that will still mean it tomorrow (unless we were drunk.)

Mountains. Some may believe that this is a geographical distinction or even a place where they “vacation.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘Mountains’ is a way of life. It’s a religion. It’s a people.

Helldamn. Although Webster does not recognize this as a compound word, it is the only compound word that can succinctly describe something that went wrong. This something could have been intentional, stupid or just plain fate.

Waterlogged. Definition: a state of being after too many hours in the water. In the olden days, logs were transported via the rivers and they stayed in these rivers for quite some time before they reached their destination. See, our words make sense to us!

Church. Definition: The single reason to defuse any argument under the sun. This word is synonymous with the Good Book, the people attending or the very argument that you can’t win. Church is the end all, be-all in the South. You don’t wear jeans to church….ever….under any circumstances. TV Shows do not have any place in a Southern Church – no divorce, no Modern Family, no Law & Order, no Teletubbies.  Criminal Minds and other murder shows would be acceptable.

Caddywompus. Definition: describes when something is askew or off-centered. For example, I have this retarded tree in my yard that has limbs that are caddywompus and drives me to the brink of a misdemeanor. I would include a picture, but I don’t want to ensue riots, because we don’t have the parking space.

Oh Fresh Hell. Definition: A new ‘alternative’ way of thinking, acting or being. A southern woman might exclaim this after seeing her teenager come downstairs in all black attire and make-up or maybe hearing her son exclaim about the newest way to talk to his girlfriend. ‘Oh Fresh Hell’ may be timeless, but the shit it explains is not – just grab a homemade wine, get flabbergasted, drag them to church in the mountains and scream a Helldamn to those that are caddywompus.

 

This post is brought to you by the my personal friends on Facebook! I hope you enjoyed and please let me know if you have some Southern Terms that weren’t included!

 

I Am As Nervous As A Long Tail Cat In A Room Full Of Rocking Chairs.

So a few months ago my Facebook news feed was overrun with pictures and celebrations of little angels receiving numerous school awards. This week, it’s overrun with first day of school pictures. Facebook has led us to a point that we broadcast every praise bestowed upon us or our little petite ya-yas. We are a homeschooling family and  I just want my homeschooled kids to get their due. Since by May, I am ready to eat my young and could care less about celebrating, I’ve decided to start the year off with a clean slate and award Expectations. This is apropos since we started our school three weeks ago. The very first Monday was a teacher workday…..the first Thursday was a field trip……Friday was a half day….. Yet, another reason to do this now. So bear with me as I celebrate the ‘potential’ of my kiddos. We will stick to public school awards….Presidential, Achievement, Attendance and Overall. Ready?

As far as Presidential Expectation, I have decided that my 5th grader be awarded the Clinton Award. Regardless of evidence, he is always innocent and will only concede an ounce of guilt. My 3rd grader deserves what I shall deem the Watergate Award. He won’t know what happened to his work…won’t remember any conversations that took place during this school year, nor will he admit his own name.

As far as Achievement Expectation, I would like to celebrate my oldest with everything I have got! He is conscientious….persistent and ready to fill out whatever box I throw at him. He will absolutely achieve whatever goals that he sets for himself. Now…about the goals that I set for him:

  1. Putting laundry actually inside the hamper.
  2. Putting his dirty dishes actually in the sink.
  3. Finishing his homework on time.

In light of these goals, I give him…..a 5 out of 10.

For these same goals, plus basic everyday work, I hereby award my youngest with the infamous “Get Out Of Bed” each morning award!

English Expectations: they shall speak the language. They shall understand the language when its suits them. On certain days, they may even correctly define a noun and verb. I hereby award both boys this distinction.

Attendance Expectation. Let us just go ahead and call this award what it is….the Pulse Expectation. In public school, if they show up, they get a mark. In homeschool, we have much more room to move. I don’t mind counting field trips but I refuse to count a day that every participant is comatose. So for our school, both boys shall win the Pulse Expectation. And to add my expectation…thats 3 out of 5 days of school work that they ACTUALLY complete to the best of their ability.

Overall……let’s stop with the rear.

Speaking of rear, allow me to offer their rewards for the entire school year. My 3rd grader shall receive, with all the dignity and pride that comes along with, the Rear of the Year Expectation. If you need a description of this achievement, please look in Wikipedia for a Person that could give two shits about school.
Now my 5th grader has his own distinction. He shall be proud to receive the Mother Theresa Award, because he cares. He cares about his school; he cares about my sanity; and he cares about what others think.

Soooooo…..I’m excited that my boys will meet my wildest expectations for this school year. Wildest being…..they will participate, learn something and not hate me for the rest of their lives!

What are your expectations this year for your young ones?