Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mother vs Mother or, Mother Supports Mother

Oh no, I feel like this post may offend at least one reader, but I know in my heart that I need to get it out of my head .

How many of you are competitive, or feel the need to one up others? I lack that feeling of trying to out do people, but I realized the other day that I offer up advice too much, I offer experience that was MINE and every one's  experiences are different. Sometimes I even find myself apologizing to the individual because once I reflect on what I have said, I feel like a total jerk for coming across as pushy or aggressive or a know it all, all the while at the moment my intentions were pure.

I remember as a child having friends in the group that were always trying to out do or one up everyone else. I have a child exactly like this...(reason behind this particular blog)

All in 1 day........

Hunter : " (Excitedly telling his youngest brother) I got to whatever level on whatever game in however many minutes!"

Bubby: " I can get to whatever higher level on this better game in half the time!"

Couple of hours later.....

Ukie: " I am learning how to throw the football pretty far now!"

Bubby: " I am better at football than you, and my football is better than yours."

This is an every day behavior to puff himself up, make himself look better and be better than others. He's always been like this.

In a group dynamic you are going to find 3 typical types of people...

1) What I like to call the "Initiator" or"Seeker"
This is the person who will initiate the conversation within the group, seek information or advice.

2) What I like to call the "Know it all" or "Advice columnist" or "The Experienced One"
This is the person who is the first to offer their wisdom, first hand experience, or the person that feels the need to be at the top of the groups social pyramid.

3) What I like to call the "Compliant One" or "Following the Leader"
This is the person that just agrees with the leader, or likes things only because others in the group do, even if secretly they really don't like whatever it is.

I was very much a number 3 person in my younger years...You can stop laughing now, I know, it's hard to believe that I would just agree with people and keep my opinions to myself, but it's the truth.
I wanted to be liked and belong so badly that I found myself a sheep following the rest of the herd who was chasing after their Shepherd. It never dawned on me at that time that I would have true, real, mature friendships if I only stated what my true thoughts were.

As I get older, and as I watch my children grow, I see characteristics in my children that I saw in my childhood groups. I have always taught my children that having their own opinion is important to being true to who you are...and let me tell you...this mentality has become a hostile issue. I have 4 children who aren't afraid to state their opinions and who aren't afraid to fight for their cause...even though 3 of them are probably incorrect at the moment.
As a child and teenager I was a follower, I was headstrong and stubborn in my own world at home, but in the social scene, being liked and accepted was more important than being independent. I had just begun to find my backbone, and my independent thinking abilities when I met John, then I became a docile and obedient girlfriend. It didn't take very long before  I was nothing but a shell of a human, no emotions, no opinions, no voice and eventually I found myself unable to feel ...anything.

I was given advice from other women on how to "just leave" and the experienced ones would try and help me as much as they could, but in a frustrating time in life, sometimes advice and others experiences (though valid and ultimately helpful) can seem overwhelming and unattainable. You get in a mindset that you'll be able to figure this or that out on your own, and though you appreciate all that others are doing for you, it can sometimes just be too much.

Since our lives have become so social through Internet connections I notice, as I am sure you all do as well, that it doesn't take but a spark to ignite an entire fiery explosion when it comes to opinions. What happens though is that we have somehow forgotten that others are ALLOWED to have opposing opinions and they should without judgement. If everyone thought the same way..well, then you would all be juicing, dread locked, non shaving hippies...or something along those lines.

What makes me sad though is that these opinions bring such separation among the troops, and I see mother against mother, and shame throwing like it's the super bowl. Vaccinate/ don't vaccinate, circumcise/don't circumcise, hospital births /home births, vaginal deliveries/planned c-sections, home school/public school, spank/don't spank. Tell me this, when did judging and shaming become our responsibility? When did acceptance of other people rights and opinions die?

As the years come and go I find my soul becoming more and more sensitive. It is a strange feeling for me because allowing myself to feel emotions let alone show them usually was followed by punishment and ending in a fight. I remember when a friend of mine died in 2003, I felt so sad, but I was at work when I read the paper so I tried my hardest to hold my emotions back until I could get home. I hitch hiked home, walked in my apartment door and the tears began to flow, I couldn't control them any longer. John was furious that I was crying over some guy that I hadn't seen in years, and accused me of loving him, and blah blah blah. Crying was a weakness that John preyed on so learning how to bury them was a survival technique.

Geez...that went off track for a moment. SENSITIVE..that is what I was getting to.  I am incredibly sensitive now, and I have feelings that get hurt easily and often times for no other reason than I am open to energies that allow me to empathize and sympathize now.
I feel judged quite a bit. I see the disgusted stares by older people when they see my
 dreadlocks..I am sure they assume that I don't bathe or wash my hair because that is a stereotype. I wish that they could understand that the pain that I live with , the nerve damage that I have in my arms, prohibit me from being able to brush my own hair. Before I dreaded my hair I was having to try and teach my teenager how to properly brush someones hair or I had to rely on Casey to do it. Dreading my hair also gave me a self love that I have never experienced before. It opened up a door for me to walk through into self acceptance. I love my dreadlocks, and sorry, I have no future plans of ever taking them out.

I have felt judgement because I've seen the looks I would get when I would put my young toddler in a booster seat instead of a full car seat.  15 years ago I was taught by a police officer that the shoulder strap holes need to be above the shoulders and as they grow taller and when their shoulders are above those holes, that is a sign that you need to upgrade to the next size car seat, so that is the rule of thumb that I have always gone by for 15 years and 4 kids. The car seat movement is very new, and I am old. While I appreciate all of your dedication to your car seat safety concerns, my 50+ pound 4 year old was safe and now that she is 5, I feel she is even safer. I do appreciate all of you car seat ladies though so please do not let this blog post piss you off too much.

Breast feeding mommies....I love you, I appreciate you and I am sorry if you have every felt like I pressure you or anything. I know that some of you are on your last babies, and I just want to help you succeed.  I pumped like a mad woman with my first much so that I would pump 6 full bottles in the 15 minute scheduled pumping time. I remember crying as I was laying in recovery after my c-section because the nurse came in and had me pump and I only got an ounce out of each side and I was convinced then and there that I would starve my poor preemie baby to death. The nurse laughed in amazement (as I cried in fear and frustration) and informed me that she had NEVER seen any mother pump 2 ounces of colostrum the first time pumping. So for me, breast milk has never been an issue, but my heart hurts for you mommies that struggle getting you milk supply up, I instinctively want to give you the same HELPFUL advice that I was given with my baby because I remember so vividly feeling like my amount was insufficient (even if it wasn't, I still felt that feeling). I am sorry if you ever have felt attacked or invaded by me or my advice. I was dedicated to breastfeeding my youngest, I had made that promise to her and myself when she was still in the womb, and then when she was born, that wonderful and euphoric fantasy became a painful and frustrating reality. I wish that I had her checked for tongue tie because I feel her latch would not have been so painful, but, I didn't and I would be lying if I said that I was a pro. I cried every feeding for the first 8 weeks, and then from there my toes would curl from the pain and anxiety of knowing that her initial latch would be so excruciating. It would only hurt for a second or two and then she would be fine....I am not even going to talk about teething and biting, that would be another blog post.
Anyway, I just don't understand the guilt....I know it is there, and I know many women who have it, but why??? Is it a societal guilt? Is it a peer guilt from the other mothers? Is it a guilt stemmed from feeling like you failed? STOP allowing guilt to creep in...If you gave it every try and attempt, you SUCCEEDED!!!

Oh and lets talk LICE for a second (no, no one here at my house has it...but...) I remember the first time I had to deal with lice as a parent, it was terrible. For some reason when a kid gets lice, it is an automatic assumption that its because they are dirty or their living environment is filthy...quite the opposite...lice prefer clean hair because it is easier to attach their eggs to. Because society thinks of lice as gross, disgusting, and a "dirty" epidemic, it creates an embarrassment for the mother (and probably the fathers too, but I am speaking from personal experience.). Used to be that when a head check was done at school, the kid was then sent home....

Classmates: " Where is Tommy, he was here before lunch?"
                     " He got sent home because he has bugs"
                     " Ewwww, gross"

Great, now Tommy has a stigma and Joey's mom won't let him invite Tommy over for sleepovers again.
OK, so.....where is the Mom, Super Action Team showing up at Tommy's house to help his already stressed out, frazzled and embarrassed mom treat the house?
The first time we had to deal with it, I was so embarrassed and I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how to treat this problem. I shampooed everyone's head, I washed their bedding, and a week later, did the same routine. I was too embarrassed to ask for help or advice and it was from fear of being judged.
And while we are on the topic of head lice...I just want to express my disgust at how expensive it is to treat something that is a yearly epidemic?? I mean, come on....
I have 6 people in my house, and while I used to be able to just shave the boys heads, they are teenagers now and their hair is important to them, and I am not about to shave my daughters hair..yeah that's out of fear of her dad freaking out on me.
OK, so 6 people, if you get the whole kit, your looking at about $20. You will have to buy 2 since you'll have to do it all over again in 7 days. so $40....BUT...there isn't shampoo to cover everyone (especially if they have thick hair like my family) so you'll have to buy 2 extra bottle each time and the cheapest that I have found them is about $7, so that is another $14. EXPENSIVE.
I believe if one of the major shampoo companies (lets say Suave just as an example) would start making, and selling family size lice shampoo bottles for the same price as their normal family size bottles, then you could actually treat your whole family for $6. And not mention, having the bottles right on the shampoo isle instead of on another isle where it's noticeable, then it would be less obvious that you're dealing with lice.
To prevent, i have come up with the best cure-all. I buy a family size bottle of shampoo (Treseme ...sp?) for around $6, I pour about a third of it into an extra bottle that I keep around. I then buy lice killing shampoo for about $7, (I prefer the non pesticide, natural type) and pour the entire bottle of that into the shampoo bottle, and then I pour a good amount of Tea Tree oil in (bought a bottle for $6) and shake the crap out of that bottle. Since my kids are on an every other day cycle for bathing, they wash their hair with the shampoo every other day. I have instructed them to put the shampoo on as soon as they get in and allow it to sit for just a few minutes and then rinse it out. We are lice free and preventive (and I am pretty creative, but, you all knew that already.)
I will admit though that when I am in Wal-Mart and I am buying the Lice shampoo, I am embarrassed to be seen buying it. Thoughts run through my head like "Oh look, that girl with the dreadlocks has lice", things along that line.

I am guilty of judging people, we all do it, but I try and make a conscious effort to try and save the judgments until I know the person and they give me a reason to judge. LOL , I was telling Hunter about what the post was going to be about and then I looked at him and said..."Uhhh, I am being judgy by posting about others judging others.....I'm a judger judging judges who judge". Yes I know I just made those words up, but they are fun to say.

I am a sensitive soul who is no stranger to feeling judge.....I feel judged for my weight, my kids, having so many kids, my house, feeling like I am messy and dirty, for having dreadlocks, for not dressing nicer, for having been a spanker of children, for having previously been a vaccinating parent, and now, not being a vaccinating parent, for having a rude son, for being too hard of a parent, for not attending every fight with a kid, for staying on top of their behavior, for freely offering my uninvited opinions, for being lazy, for being gone all the time, for hiding in my room for days, for not working,  you name it, I have felt the judgement over it, and it is a terrible feeling. It creates a feeling of unworthiness, of failure, shame, embarrassment, and even depression and isolation.

How about being judged off of the word of others who dislike you? I had many people think that I was a terrible, absent, meth head mother who cared more about getting high than seeing my kids, when in reality, John was playing the "great dad" card. I was told what days to come visit and what times were best, and it was always when his girlfriends weren't home, this gave him room to convince them that I never came to see my kids when he had them. I was looked at like I was garbage and a horrible mother, and in the meantime I was working my ass off going through treatment, securing employment, working through bumps in a relationship, finding safe shelter, and preparing a safe and healthy life to bring my kids home to.

I have a difficult time when it comes to memes on Facebook, especially ones that present addicts in a stereotypical or less than human way.Today there is one going around with a man showing that he has no teeth in his mouth and his hand is messed up. I read the meme and it angered me right off the bat. There are a million different scenario;s that could be behind this picture...sad! I know that it is so easy for people to make fun of the meth addicts with no teeth, or laughing at them on a video as you follow them around a store recording them (which is just really an a-hole move), but coming from a woman who fights addiction every single day of her life, it's not funny to me. Passing judgement on these humans, it is sad, and calloused and it all boils down to the fact that this person made a different choice in life and that addiction is not the person, addiction is the sickness that they struggle with daily. Here is the thing non addicts (which lets face it...every one on the planet has an addiction to something) don't really understand about the average addict....most addicts already hate who they have become, they are already ashamed of how far they have fallen, and most addicts are disgusted at who they see in the mirror, the last thing they need is for people to make fun of their self destruction. For those of you with christian beliefs, this is where the verse "Love the sinner, hate the sin" comes in to play.
I was a meth addict for a very long time, I never stole from others, I never ripped people off, and I may not have lost my teeth or had pick marks on my face, and tob the outside world I looked pretty "normal", but I was every bit as much of an addict as those people in the memes.  I can promise you that when you judge those who already are their worst judges, you are just as much a part of the drug problem as they are if not worse. Instead of judgement, offer a listening'd be surprised to hear some of the heartbreaking stories that lead them to their addictions. Instead of judgement, offer comfort and empathy, they are after all still human and have feelings. Instead of judgement, offer kindness and humanity, ask them if there is anything that you could help them with, even a kind gesture of hygiene products can make a world of difference.and make them feel cared about. Instead of judging an addiction that you know knowing about first hand, offer to be educated about it so that you can try and get an understanding. No sin is worse than another, no ones addiction is worse than another, but, everyone's story offers forks in the road, and some just chose a different path.

As mothers, we ALL have the same end goal, to raise healthy, happy, responsible, and functional adults. We need to begin to defy the societal stigma and support instead of separate, unite instead of divide. If you do not agree on the topic at hand, it's alright to still support that other mother in her loving decision. If you choose to vaccinate, and someone else chooses not to, did you make your choice from love and concern for the well being of YOUR child? I can guarantee that the other mother did as well. As parents we make choices and decisions based on what we know, what we are told, and what is expected of us, and now, with the technology that we have, we are also able to make our choices based on our own research. I could care less what your choices in your life are because it is YOUR life and I support your choices for your children because they are YOUR children, I love you for loving your babies, that's what matters the most to me.

Whew, that was a long one, sorry about feels good getting it out of my head though because its been rolling around in there for the last two nights preventing me from getting good sleep....
I hope none of you took anything I said in here on the offensive side, it genuinely is just my opinion on things.

I love all you wonderfully amazing humans and I hope your day rocks...
Peace and Blessing to you all!!!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

About the Author

It is that time of year again, one holiday stacked on top of the next, busy dressing up and eating obscene amounts of your kids candy, then comes the turkey dinners and the "thank you's" only to be, what feels like, Christmas the next day,'s an entirely new year before we know it.
This year for Christmas the kids and I made gifts. I chose a relatively inexpensive idea and personalized them each individually to bring more sentimental value to them. I really wanted our friends and family members to be able to use the gifts (making them of even more value).
Here's what happens though when you MAKE gifts.....your entire life is dedicated to finishing them before the big day and then you look back and realize that you have done NOTHING more with your life other than play with photo paper, tiles, a wood burning kit and Mod Podge. Have you found time to blog during all of this crafty you had time to socialize with you had time to should fix that last problem today before I get any worse smelling.
The original plan I had was to transfer pictures to wood and create wood coasters...this idea looks so much easier when someone else is doing it. Even if you do EXACTLY what they are doing in the video...I am now a Pinterest fail. After blood, sweat, tears, and some small splinters later, I opted to go with Mod Podging pictures to, and virtually impossible to screw up.
I waited for pay day, went to Heartwood (its like goodwill but with home remodeling items). i bought $7 dollars worth of tiles (approx 70 tiles), soldiered my way though Walmart to buy  Mod-Podge, stopped at Bi-mart for matte photo paper and ink, and away I went. This was going to be soooo easy and cute!!!
 Some of you may know this already, but fore those of you who don't , my husband is the ULTIMATE handyman. If I were deserted in an island and able to take 2 things, I would take him so he could build me a house out of coconuts and "The Clan of the Cave Bear" ...well..that one's the best book ever written.
Casey pondered my picture to wood idea and during our trial phases of trying to figure out just what exactly our plan was, Casey jumped on board and started whipping out these adorable little boxes for the coasters.
Casey built the boxes, the kids sanded them, Hunter and I burned the first letter of the persons last name on the front, I found pictures on every ones Facebook accounts, created collages, printed and Mod-Podged them to tiles. Hunter then took the tiles and sanded them around the edges creating a cleaner look. We sprayed them with toxic fumes in hopes of water proofing them, There were a few up's and down's, a couple mishaps, but when it was all said and done, I think the gifts were a success. If you are a recipient and have some that you would like to share on Facebook..go right ahead and share away.
( I asked if they would refrain from fb sharing until after my last Christmas gathering since everyone was getting virtually the same thing)

OK, on to the actual blog subject.....

I have taken this little bit of free time that I have from school and crafts and started revising my book to get it back out on the shelves for sale.
I spent an entire day changing names, stating my legal jargon about how all the names have been changed, added a couple more inspirational quotes, shorten this and extended that. My book is about 15 pages lighter than when I began, this is good news for my buyers since it makes it a little cheaper than before.
I have gone through the reviewing process, the proof reading process, creating a new cover process...and this is where I run into my conundrum. I am literally on the very last thing on the checklist that needs to be done and I am suffering from writers block...ok, maybe not block..writers confusion, writers frustration, call it what you will, I am stuck...or was stuck...or, might still be stuck..not sure which at the moment as I chose to blog before returning to my delima.
I know there are a few of you friends of mine who are actual published authors, how the heck did you write your "about the author" part?
I sit down and I stare at the little text box where I am supposed to write something about myself, instead I find my words veering away from details about me and leaning towards what I have done, what I have gone through, what the entire damn book is about.
I then highlight and delete and start over again, only to do this same thing over and over again, as if writing anything good about myself is a sub-conscience taboo.
By the time I forced myself to close my laptop down for the evening, I had seriously considered the following descriptions to put on the back of my book...

1) V.A. Shepherd is a Goddamned Honey Badger
2) V.A. Shepherd lives somewhere with some people in that one state and she likes animals.
3) V. A. Shepherd wrote this book in hopes that people will actually buy it.
4) V. A. Shepherd I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you.
5) V.A. Shepherd is funnier than her husband gives her credit for

After some wise motherly/grandmotherly advice, I took my Que and shut my laptop down .

Do you have any idea just how difficult it is to 1) say good things about yourself without going into detail about what brought you there (that might give away details in the book...does she die?, does she finally escape and make something of herself? Guess you'll have to buy the book to find out)..because I am not going to tell you the ending in the "about the author" section!!
2) It is also really hard to type about yourself in the 3rd person. It was soooo much easier to write the book because I felt like I was just telling my story to a friend sitting at at table with me...but it gets awkward when the conversation changes to "Amber Shepherd is this and she has done that and she lives here with ....., and she is now educated and she likes pigs that wear little sweaters"

If I were a teacher, and you were my students, I would assign you this......(and by all means, feel free to actually create a bio and post it on here or on my fb link...I'm curious, oh and if I happen to steal it from you, I'll make sure you get credit in the book)-

Open up a word document (unlimited words) and write your own Author Bio. Now, keep in mind, this is NOT where you add in any details of your book, no descriptions or even revealing too much about your journey as to give the reader no reason to even open your book.

First twelve times I found myself just discussing how I ended up with a story in the first place, then  I discussed my educational success but that was too long and detailed about everything I did while in college. Next I discussed Amber's achievements, but that just added more length as well.

I have not  yet opened up my task for today, I had this blog on my mind literally ALL night. I actually have another blog for this evening.
OK, speaking of blogging......I have been really struggling with blogging lately, and maybe it's because my life is so boring, maybe it's because I have less to whine or complain about, maybe even that I have a fear of being judged for things I write publicly...I am not sure exactly what it is, but I feel a strong desire to write, but I can't seem to find great topics to, I am reaching out to you for ideas, topics, suggestions, anything really. I feel if I continue writing on a regular basis that I will once again find my groove and be able to run with it.

Well readers, this is where we part ways for the day...I have a book to get back out to the public, and I am sure you have a life.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read the blog...I adore you!!

Peace and blessings to you all!!


Monday, December 14, 2015

1 Year, 1 Month, 17 Days (Give or Take)

As some of you may already know, my house and I have a love hate relationship, I hate it and it is constantly giving me more reasons why I should love to hate it even more. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the shelter that it provides for my family, but as far as loving my house, I am trying.
A couple of months ago the universe opened my eyes to what needs to be done before I can leave here and begin a new journey, I need to grow to love my house, make an effort to make it feel like a home so that the next family to move in here will be left with remnants of happiness and love. When I moved in here, there was such a heavy feeling of loss and unhappiness, and once I knew the reason behind why the seller was letting this house go, I understood more clearly why this house had such a dark essence. This house had been a home for a man and his wife, and children for 16 years, but during those years, there was adultery, accusations, loneliness, anger and divorce. Darkness such as this has a tendency to leave a residue in the house, and I am sensitive to energy, so living here hasn't been a pleasant experience to say the least.
Several months ago, a member of my Mom's Club was considering listing her home and shared that she created a list of everything that needed to be fixed before they could put their house on the market....BRILLIANT!!!!
One morning while all the boys were at school and Kameo was busy with My Little Pony, I sat down and created a list (several actually) of everything that needed fixed, replaced, redone, or just done. I made a list room by room, from ceiling to floor, I also included the back and front yards and what I think would be appealing to a young mother and father looking to buy their first home in a quiet little neighborhood.
When I was pregnant with Kameo, I went through a mental breakdown and made my husband paint two of my living room walls, poop brown. I wish I could say that my sanity snapped back and I immediately went out and bought some paint to cover up the dark poop brown walls...ummm...not the case, as a matter of fact, after my insane pregnant brain birthed those wall colors, I went straight into midlife crisis mode and painted my bathroom black, white and menstrual blood red. Technically the red is called "Red Dahlia", and it is a GORGEOUS color...perhaps not in a bathroom, but when I am sitting there, on my throne, I feel happiness while staring at that magnificent red. I painted one whole wall red, all the shelving black and another wall white. I of course realized (as I usually do) that I really dislike painting. I am always so eager to paint, and then as soon as I roll on that first roll, it hits me...Amber, you hate painting, what were you thinking....Of course I have to keep going because the bathroom would just look ridiculous with one roll of menstrual blood red on it. So here we are, however many months later, I still need to finish painting the red, the black needs to be painted to the corners, and now I am trying to decide what kind of flooring is going to match this? I plan on accenting the bathroom with damask, damask canvas totes for the shelving, damask covered towel hangers, you know...accenting it makes it look less like a midlife mistake right?
Flooring, this is the meat and potatoes behind this blog post actually.....mmm, meat and taters sound really yummy right now!...Back on track Amber, geez!!
After talking to my friend (who happens to be the best insurance agent around!!!!) she lead me to check out Allure flooring. The flooring that I have in my house right now is one of my biggest sources of depression, and embarrassment, and why I never invite people to come to my house. No matter how clean the house is, this floor makes it feel like it is never clean enough. The gentleman who owned the house before us got a "great deal" on some parkay flooring......there was a reason obviously...this stuff is hideous, I would have given it away for free. Now, as if the wood flooring wasn't bad enough, he went and bought MARBLE GREEN tile and laid that in the KITCHEN and the entrance way into my house....what was he thinking????

1) I can't think of an appropriate room where this marble green tile would look decent
2) If you have marble floors in your kitchen, you should never own dishes that aren't plastic....never buy any glass kitchen ware for me, I promise you, it WILL get broken.
3) We live in OREGON, and when you put marble tile in an entrance way to a house, you will eat shit. You will be standing one minute and staring up at my ceiling the next.
4) You cannot find a good color to paint the walls with green accents would make it feel like Christmas all year, so off white it is.

Back to the reason for the post....I found FLOORING for LESS than $1 a square foot!!!!! I wish I could relay to you just how excited I was and how my entire outlook on this house changed the moment I realized that new flooring could be done. I live with Mr. Negative , and for all these years he talked about how expensive new flooring would be, and I would watch him nail back down a parkay tile with a red hot resentment. I have thought that new flooring in this house was  unattainable and I felt defeated. Then, to have someone tell me about this Allure flooring, and then to shop around and find it for  .84 cents a square foot...I about piddled myself with joy.

With some of our tax return I am going to get enough flooring to cover my entire house, and I think one of the first things I do is host a coffee date, I might even invite my brother and sister in law to come over for dinner..who knows, the sky is the limit.

In 1 year, 1 month and 17 days I will have lived in this house for 10 years. 10 years!!!! I have never lived in another house nearly that long. The Husband and I originally had a 10 year plan to live here and then hopefully have enough equity built up to turn around and sell....well, we won't have the equity, but we will have been here long enough to realize that we don't want to live here any longer than we have to. I have 1 year, 1 month and 17 days to make improvements, replace, redone, or done and then we will be listing our house for sale. We bought this place at the peak of the real estate market and paid waaaaaaaay to much for it, so we will never get anything out of the sale. I have been told that the market climbs back up about every 10 years, and that will be perfect timing for us to sell.
I have to make improvements to this house with love and care, so that the universe will be able to release me from it. I need to love this house so that someone else can see the love that has been put in to it, I need to love this house because it deserves to be loved and taken care of.

Life lessons suck and sometimes they hurt, and sometimes they make you cry because your floor never feels clean enough.

Thank you for sitting there and reading this ridiculous post and wasting your time...I appreciate it more than you know!!

I hope you are all cozy and warm, and know you are loved!
Peace and Blessings,

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Take Your Time, Don't Live Too Fast

Whats the rush? It seems in this life, in the world we live in, things need to been done swiftly, we need to be here or there and we are always rushing around in such a hurry. What a waste of a life don't you think?
The oldest teenager and I were driving into town the other night, and I changed the radio station to listen to Christmas music, which I wait all year for. He groans in protest and it begins a conversation about our difference in the holiday spirit.
It seems that my oldest has developed a dislike for the Christmas holiday...say whaaaaaat? How can any child that I have birthed from my womb, have a dislike of Christmas??
From October 31st until January 2nd, that is my favorite time of the year. I feel that people are a bit nicer, more giving, and more considerate of others. There is a crisp feel to the air, like wearing a coat but you have a little redness on your nose. I love the Christmas music and the decorations, the sound of the bell ringers in front of stores and the friendly nod that you get from random strangers as you walk by them.
The teenager asks me if I feel how rushed it gets around the holidays? I thought about it for a moment and told him that I felt just the opposite. I feel like time moves slower during the holiday months, and perhaps that is why I enjoy them so much. I felt a sadness come over me as I looked at my teenager staring into his phone screen and thought to myself.....when did he feel like it was time to grow up so quickly, when did he lose that wonderment that comes along with Santa and Christmas, when did he lose that innocence?
It is all happening to quickly, wasn't he just in diapers, or showing me that he could ride his bike without training wheels, or what about when he would just crawl up into my lap and cuddle with me until he fell asleep?
Today my teenager wakes up and immediately gets on that damn phone, and goes to school for the entire day, only to come home, do his chores and get back on his phone. Even without the phone, I just miss the time with him. His mother, grandmother and aunts are no longer the most important women in his life, we have been replaced by his girlfriend. His dad, grandfathers and uncles are no longer the most important men in his life, they have been replaced by his friends.
Hot wheel cars are now packed away and he is riding around in real cars driven by his older friends.  Time keeps moving forward and I feel like I am stuck in a vortex just watching it all happen (since I am in a vortex perhaps that means I will cease to age...crossing fingers).
Have you ever been to Mexico? Folks down there don't really have a concept of "time". When someone says they will come by, expect them sometime between breakfast and dinner. They are very rarely in a hurry, rather, they go about their daily lives and get done what they can, and they'll just pick up tomorrow where they left off today.
Why are we in such a hurry in this life? As children we can't wait to grow up and for what? So we can wake up and rush to get ready for work, stare at a clock all day so that we can rush home to hurry and get dinner done, bathe the kiddos and get them in bed, and then we enjoy the remainder of our evening trying to keep our eyes open while our partner is trying to tell us about how rushed their day was. We rush and rush our entire lives, and the next thing you know, your life is over. If I only have one life, I don't want to waste it rushing, I would rather take my time, and enjoy each minute of the time I have with my kids, my husband, my friends and family.
I know that we can't slow time down, I am a realist, but I feel like I have been so rushed in my life that I forgot to slow down enough to really watch my kids grow up. I only have two more years before my oldest is out of high school and out doing what he chooses, and two years behind him is Bubby.
I used to think parents who kept their kids home from preschools were insane, how could they not take advantage of some adult time without a kiddo constantly pulling at you? I get it now, I finally understand!! Kameo is the last baby that I will ever have, the last time I will ever feel those tiny kicks inside my belly,the last time I will ever experience the pains of labor, and the last one to breastfeed, or to snuggle up in my arms and sleep for hours. My sweet girl will be last diapers I ever have in my home or the pitter-patter of her little feet running down my hallways. I cannot stop her from growing up, I have tried believe me, but despite my attempts to keep her little, she is still growing into such a beautiful little lady. Kameo has lost two teeth now and it's now time for the tooth fairy to visit her while she sleeps, only now, the oldest teenager sneaks in to replace her bagged tooth with money. My little girl no longer needs help getting herself dressed, hair or teeth brushed, and she is learning how to tie her own shoes. I may not be able to slow down  her growing up but I can keep her home with me another year so that I can cherish this time I have with her. The time I keep her home is more time I GET WITH HER, rather than a teacher getting with her.
Our time with our children is so precious, and I really didn't understand the reality of this, until my son started replacing family time with girlfriend time, dad time with friend time, and mom time with a phone, or until I realized that my son no longer finds the Christmas time magical.
I will never lose that magic that comes along with Christmas, and I still so badly want to believe that there is really a Santa and reindeer. I love the cards that are sent, and the pictures of families in front of their beautiful trees, I love the smell of a pine tree in the living room and the idea of a white Christmas....I said idea, I don't actually find snow cover appealing when we have to travel for Christmas.
( is my issue with that nasty white stuff......I love snow when it is falling,and when everything is covered with soon as it gets dirty or you can see grass sticking up through it because people have walked through it, my brain goes NUTS and I want it gone. I can't handle dirty snow..eeeekkkkk........ I also do not think it is fun to walk in, drive in, or even really play in. I don't want to intentionally go play in something that is going to make me colder than I already am. I remember as a child getting my snow gear on and playing in it, making snowmen and whatnot, but as I have gotten older, I just don't like it...I could never live in Alaska. If I were an animal I would probably be a bear and just sleep though the whole snow season.)

I was an evil parent this weekend and I made the oldest stay home the ENTIRE weekend. He has been going non-stop for about a month now and I have decided that one weekend a month, my family will go nowhere and do nothing other than home or family stuff.  Today, we spent the day doing NOTHING, and it was WONDERFUL. I didn't even get out of my pj's today. Casey and I worked on Christmas gifts, and the kids played games and watched some movies. It was the best weekend. I think that even if everyone does their own thing, while all in the same house, it is still a day to cherish as a family. Our internet was out due to weather for most of the day so we spent some quiet time, and the watched movies, and then cooked dinner, and now we are all headed to bed, but you know what, I feel that we are all refreshed and renewed and ready for what the week ahead holds for us.
I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, had fun in the snow, and are all cuddled up warm and loved this evening!!

I think my pillow is  seductively whispering my name.....I should probably respond, I have dreams I need to get to.

Goodnight all you beautiful people,
Peace and Blessings,

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Battle of the Throne

 I have been with my husband for a while now, and any of you who have known him any amount of time know just the kind of morning person he is......HE ISN'T!!!!  He has a hatred towards the morning hours unlike anything I have witnessed. I am a morning person for the most part. I am a morning and night person, afternoons I could do without, or nap through, either way. I appreciate the morning feel, the sun warming up the earth, the peace and tranquility ( that other people must get to experience), he doesn't share the same fondness as I do.
Mornings in the Shepherd household are chaotic to say the least. Since I have been with my wonderful man for so long, I know how mornings work for him. He is a routine man, including his morning rituals of the three S's in the mornings, $*&^, shower, and shave, and god help anyone who disrupts his mojo that early.  Most mornings I try and stay in my bed and out of the storm as often as possible. I usually wait until I hear the sound of the Pathfinder's  broken muffler grow quieter and quieter as the King of the throne makes his way to work before I make my way to the bathroom. By the time The Husband leaves for work, my kidney's are screaming at me that I have waited entirely too long to relieve myself. Why do I wait this long, why do I put my body through such agonizing torment you ask? Well, The Husband is a tyrant of a king when anyone disrupts his time on the throne. I choose my battles and I choose most mornings to lay in my bed, checking my Facebook, waiting for everyone to leave so that I can start to enjoy my daily meditating once the house is quiet. Here is why I lay in wait....Because when I intervene it ends up like this.....

 Mornings conversations (sometimes screaming matches) consist of this....

The Husband :" Why is there always someone in the bathroom?"

Me:" (in my quiet and calm waking voice).... Because there are six of us and only one bathroom."

The Husband:" Well I need the bathroom and I am always having to fight for it."

Me:" (in my irritated, learn to share voice)..Sorry to inform you of this but, you don't own the toilet."

The Husband:" I am the one that works and pays the house payment, so I do own the toilet."

Me:"(in my, I am awake now, queen mentality "off with his head")....Well then you start cleaning it!"

The Husband: " I work so I don't have to clean it!"

Me:"( yelling authoritatively to make sure my point is heard and  that I have the final word)....Well I am a pretty sure I am NOT ONE OF THE ONES THAT MISSES WHEN I PEE!!!"

Yeah, it escalates -pretty quickly!!

(That usually quiets things down....he can't argue with The Queens logic when it comes to her using the throne now can he?)

This is a typical Shepherd morning, fighting over toilet time.......We need another bathroom, and when I move into another house someday there WILL be 2 bathrooms...I will not settle for less!

A couple of months back we discovered a leak in our bathroom. To remedy this problem we had to temporarily shut off the water and we had to replace the old toilet. We have the old toilet sitting out in the back yard until we can haul it off. The boys of course have already established a designated "pee" spot seeing as how we have lived here for so long. Now us girls, we usually wait it out...or at least I do. The Husband is fixing the toilet and working his hiney off when Kameo tells him she has to go potty. He tries to tell her that it will only be a little bit longer and then she can go

A few minutes later she comes back to the bathroom door and checks on dad to see how his work is coming along. I tell her that she can go potty now if she wants, she informs me that she doesn't have to go anymore, she already went..."Where did you go potty at?".........She looks at me like I am dimwitted ....( in a duh mom tone) "I went potty on the toilet".....Oh my are funny crazy sometimes.

Why is it that children pick that moment when you finally get a chance to break away and use the potty to ask you this or tattle about that? Why couldn't they have done this 2 freaking minutes ago when I was out in their area instead of as soon as I get the bathroom door closed....and turn that little's like they have bionic hearing for that little lock to engage...and then they ATTACK...BAM, all of a sudden I have 4 children asking, screaming, crying, wanting and tattling before I even get the chance to drop my drawers,,,UGH,,,,seriously?
Perfect example....I am waiting for my turn on the throne, finally get in there after three others before me have shared their stench, making it hazardous enough that I felt I truly needed a gas mask for my own safety. I no sooner sit down (already irritated about having to sit on a warm toilet seat, when Bubby chooses that exact moment to ask me if I would give him back his Ipod. ARE. YOU. FREAKING.KIDDING.ME???!!!!!

Me: " Bubby, can you please leave me alone for a few minutes?"
Bubby:" Yeah, but can I have my IPod back yet?"
Me:: Bubby, we will talk about this when I get out, give me a few minutes alone!"
Bubby:" I will, but can I please have my IPod back?"
Me: (growing irritated) ....Bubby, I am IN THE BATHROOM, will you GO AWAY and let me take care of business?"
Bubby:" Sorry mom.....(he is still standing RIGHT OUTSIDE the door).............Still standing there....
Me:" GET...AWAY....FROM...THE...BATHROOM!!!!!!
Bubby:" I just want to know if I can have my IPod back?"
Me:" NO!!!!.....( I am done with my business, now I am just in there waiting to see if this kid is going to leave.....he doesn't)

I open the door to Bubby just standing there.....WTF......"Bub, if you do this to me again, I am going to take away more than your Ipod, I deserve to take a freaking crap ALONE!!!, Do you understand??
Bubby:" Since you are out now, can I have my IPod back so I can do my chores?

I just walked away and went into my room and locked myself in there for about an hour. You mothers with the little hands under the doors are so cute!! Just wait, I'm telling you, little hands with little fingers are cute and whatnot, but once they are teenagers and they just stand there bugging you....lost all cuteness there!

Lets not forget about evening shower time, the time when I have two teenagers who battle for who's turn it is to take a shower that evening. We have a rule in the Shepherd house, since there is only ONE bathroom, you must take the time to ask everyone else in the house if they need to use the bathroom before they get in. It never fails...Hunter will ask everyone, no one needs it, as soon as he gets in , Bubby will start knocking on the door telling him to hurry so that he can use the bathroom.....UGH....That leads to a screaming match between two teenage boys. Then when Bubby takes his, Kameo will decide that is a great time for her to have to use the potty (even though she went right before he got in...That leads to a screaming match between a 5 year old girl (which naturally means high pitch screaming) and a teenager who acts like a 5 year old himself......I'm really glad ownership over our throne doesn't involve sword fighting....Kameo would most definitely come out the champion!

The struggle is real!

OK, enough about crappers.............

I wanted to post last night but I was so tired and blah feeling...I can't get lenient on the posting though so if you don't see one in a while, bug me about it....sometimes I just need  a little motivation or something to discuss....see, tonight is a great example, I just wrote an entire blog about bathroom use ( I may be hard up for things to talk about already and its only been a couple of days...geeze)....why do you think that is, that conversations often turn to bodily functions?

Well, I think it is time for me to head to bed!

Peace and Blessings to you all,


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Finally...Let the Blogging Begin

Do you have any idea how much of a pain in the hiney this blog has been.....NO, I don't think you have. First, I thought I could just create a second blog ( it would be spin-off of Womb Warriors) with my email, then I created one with the title that I was considering but it just didn't feel right, so it sat there, page open, staring at! Next I proceeded with an email address I created for the book, but it didn't want to let me continue without some kind of verification that was sent through an email...which never!!!
I waited and waited for a title for this blog to come to me, one that would jump out and slap me in the I said, I waited and waited....and waited. Finally the other day I was sitting in the parking lot and it came to me, Copacetic (one of my favorite words meaning "completely satisfactory") Karma (another favorite meaning "an action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad"), so there you have it, at this time of my life I am bringing upon myself "completely satisfactory results", I contribute this to the fact that I am learning to let go, to loosen the reigns of control and to try and enjoy the moment I am presently in...even if that is (at this very moment) one 13 year old calling a 5 year old names because she accidentally hit him with her toy as she is running around the house with our dog LulaBelle like a wild banshee howling like a werewolf while my 15 year old is begging (loudly) for everyone to please be quiet so he can watch TV and my 10 year old just brought me a slip of missing assignments that belongs to Bubby that someone wrote "one cock" on (because Ukie thinks his life's mission is to tattle on everyone) there I am, learning to loosen the reigns...allowing things to sort themselves out, or better yet, for it it get so loud and chaotic that The Husband can't take it any longer and he comes in and lays the law down, yelling at this one to act his age, that one to calm down and stop running around, for the older teen to chill out and telling Ukie that no one likes a snitch. I think I like handing the reigns over every once in a while.
I have had dreams of blogs since the 19th of November, and thought about writing them down, but....well...I didn't, so of course that means that they are long gone and lost forever in the abyss that I call my brain. I remember the date though because I had asked Facebook friends what they thought about dating to wrap up my first blog, I will give you a glance at what I remember about what was supposed to be my first official blog.....

What is So Important About Anniversaries ?

I guess to some a simple date on a calendar might not mean too much, as long as you remember the big ones right?
For some of us though anniversaries are HUGE and they are cause for big celebration. Casey and I got married July 1st, 2006 and so he feels that is the only anniversary that we need to celebrate, but for me, I appreciate the time we dated before our wedding, time we had to learn about one another, the good and the bad. We had fun in each others company and I feel like by not acknowledging that time, we are robbing ourselves. When you have lived a life like I have, small things like your 30th birthday are exciting and tearful because 30 was an age I never thought I would live to see.
The 19th of November is a HUGE anniversary in my life, it celebrates the release of a relationship that was toxic and deadly, and it celebrates a life I found with a gentle, kind and loving man, a man I knew would never lay a mean hand on me. This day represents a struggle coming to an end after I had worked so hard to create a safe home for my babies to come live in and a team effort to take my babies back. Besides it being Bubby's birthday it is also a day where I was able wake up on my own without the assistance of meth.
I remember dates, like December 22nd, the day that John took my babies from me. I remember that day like it was yesterday, it was such a sad day. That day is also the day that Casey and I had to take his dog Kitty in to be put down, and we finished the day off by hiking up Wolf Creek Falls. I doubt Casey would remember that date, but I do, it was the worst day of my life. It is also important for me to remember that day because it changed my life,  that day, December 22nd, 2003 was the day I hit my rock bottom, the day that I forgot how to breathe, the day the universe set me onto my destined path for the better, even though I couldn't see that at the time.
For an addict, for a mother who has felt loss, for a victim of domestic abuse, a simple date that one might not find "important" enough to remember or celebrate, could be everything to them.

So there you have it...I blogged!!! I found a title I like, I created a new email, I created a blog!!
I can't promise you that the blogs will get better or be of any relevance, but I have thoughts that roll around my head and they need an escape.
( I am also open to discussion topics, ideas, suggestions)

Till next time!!!
Peace and Blessings