Poison

It all started with a silly dream.

I have been restless lately, battling insomnia and having vivid nightmares the last several nights.  This morning, I was startled awake by my dream, when in it, I was bitten by a baby cobra snake.  It was very dramatic, and thinking of it now, I can still feel the stinging pain that ultimately woke me from the dream world.

I filed that away to Google later, and went about my morning routine.

When I did find the time to search for the hidden meaning, the relevance of the serpentine rude awakening, I found that dreaming of snakes, and especially of bites and fear with them, can be brought on on the verge of an emotional breakthrough.  Working through something that has subconciously been eating away at you, stumbling upon an “aha moment”.  I thought on that for a few minutes before being called away to let the dogs out, brush Sara’s hair, feed the fish, etc.

The next time I found myself at the keyboard, I stumbled upon an article about toxic family members, and the lasting effects those relationships can have on a person.  As I read on, several light bulbs went off in my head, shining light on something I have been guilty of and hiding in the shadows for as long as I can remember.

When you grow up in a toxic environment, you are learning how to be toxic yourself.  The poison seeps into your veins through the constant years of marinating, learning to hate, distrust, hold grudges, be abusive, anxious, fearful and having unhealthy relationships.   You end up being programmed for misery.

Look at the people who have lived on toxic land, radiation in their soil, leeching through and poisoning them, causing illness and cancers, even death.  Living in an emotionally toxic environment is the same!  And it is highly contagious!

All of the poison, all of the bitterness and anger, the distrust and low self esteem had been leeching off of me for years, in some ways more pronounced than others.  I have essentially been teaching my children through my poor examples, to have all of the horrible, miserable traits that have only caused me pain and agony since being exposed to them in my early childhood.

This revelation has reduced me to tears.

I have been very, very careful over the years to parent in a way that was very different than my upbringing, but the potent venom has still slithered around and found hiding spots in my home.  I have seen it and I know that I brought it in.

This is not a death sentence, the cycle can be broken, the damage reversed.

Protect yourself from toxic people!!  Family members especially, the damage is real and whether you see it or not, it will bleed from your very existence and taint your loved ones and your home.  Distancing yourself from the offenders is the only way to truly heal yourself.  It’s hard, and not guilt free, but I know with my heart that it is the only way to be sincerely free from the disease.  I can love them from a distance, but my harmony with myself and my husband and my children trump any feelings of guilt they may try to bestow upon me, blemishing my recovery and blissful existence in a  toxin free environment.

So dreaming of snakes can be evidence of an emotional breakthrough.  Once I got off my knees and dried the tears, I couldn’t help but laugh at how insanely true that simple little sentence has proven to be.

Cutting The Cord

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This has been an idea stewing in the back of my brain for years and years, but finally, it has been brought to fruition!  Today, we have officially cut the cable tv cord!!  Not only will this save us over $100 a month, but it will also remove the hypnotic feeling that having over 200 channels to choose from tends to give us!

Now, don’t get me wrong, mama loves her some television!!  It is how I unwind at night, watching the ridiculous housewives, or the rapidly multiplying Duggars, or even the annual Walking Dead Fourth of July marathon.  (Yes, I have seen every Walking Dead episode multiple times, and yet, can’t seem to help myself from binge watching them again every year!)

But, with free antenna tv, which just so happens to play the vast majority of television shows that we watch, and the addition of Roku and Netflix, honestly, paying over $100 a month for tv just did not make sense!

I’m looking forward to having more time to just appreciate being together as a family!  No more endless tv choices for us and the kids, keeping us from spending more time outside or out doing things together.  No more constant begging from the kids to own every single toy that is blasted in their faces during the insane amount of commercial breaks on the many 24 hour kids networks.

I’ll have to let you know if we are all still as blissful a week or so from now!  Haha!  I know my biggest hurdle was convincing Abe, what with his MLB obsession.  Once I got him on board, I knew it was time to take the plunge!

Have you cut the cable tv cord?  Did it feel this amazing and freeing to you when you slashed your bill?  It’s wicked awesome, in my humble opinion!  ;)

Brain cells, where art thou?

Still have only one running car at the moment, and that totally blows!  Whatever, we will get by.  I need to stop making plans, expensive obstacles keep popping up and ruining them!

My baby cousins both have birthdays this month, and with it being so close to Easter, we had *hoped* to make a road trip to Indiana to go visit them with Easter goodies and birthday goodies.  Then all the car drama, boo!  And apparently, not having many brain cells left in my head after having four babies and perhaps inhaling too much E-6000 during all my crafting, it never occurred to me that the giant over sized gifts I got for them would be ridiculously expensive to ship, since we weren’t going to be there in person.

I didn’t even realize this until it was too late to ship on time for one birthday, and meanwhile, have been scrambling to find replacements that are more easily shipped.  Why does shipping have to be so expensive, by the way?  They don’t live across the world!

I feel awful about it, but it is what it is.  I miss having them all so close to us, Saraphina is only 6 weeks younger than her one little cousin, so it has been so fun watching them grow up together.

Wah, wah, wah, woe is me.  :P

Meanwhile, it is already the end of the school year!!  When did that happen?  And as always, May is insane here for us, with end of year school activities, scout outings, band concerts and dance recital!  I am trying desperately to stay on top of everything, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a wee bit panicked.  Bella has 8 costume changes in one of her performances this year, and being on the dance team, she doesn’t do just one of the two recitals, she does them both.  o.O

I splurged a bit and invested in a Dream Duffel.  I am in the process of blinging it all out, but in the mean time, I will tell you that it’s awesomeness is neverending!  It has a collapsible garment rack, for hanging and organizing all of her costumes, loads of room for shoes and accessories and even a stool to have Bella sit on while we do the hairstyle changes!!  No more sitting on the floor!!!  Gosh, I am way too excited about this thing!  Haha!

Another big change coming up, Abe has finally agreed to change scout troops!!!  Thank goodness!!  The commute was insane, and more often than not, they cancelled meetings with zero notice, after already driving the half hour it took to get there!  Ugh!!!  This will help immensely with calming down the hectic schedule and crazy commuting.  Yay!  Plus, Matt has made friends with some scouts in his new school, so he knows he will have some buddies in the new troop.

Matt’s birthday is at the end of May!!  My baby will be 12 years old!  What?!  Huh?!  Craziness!!!  Although, he is starting to get the attitude of a 12 year old, not yay.

Once all the craziness of May comes to an end, I will buckle down and commit to fully potty training Sara.  There is just too much going on right now, it’s not fair to throw something so big right in the middle of it all when I don’t have all the time needed to completely devote myself to the process.  I know she will catch on quickly though, she has shown lots of very promising signs!  Yay!

I am hoping in the very near future, maybe this weekend, we will be able to start digging into the Lancer and seeing if we can get our hands dirty and get it fixed ourselves.  I love the sense of accomplishing things on our own, and honestly, we just don’t have the money to take it to a shop that will charge way more than it would cost for us to do it ourselves.

I am feeling stretched very thin right now, I feel like I am letting people down, taking too much on, stressing about the cars, etc.  I love the fun activities in May, but I am always so relieved when June comes around and I can take a big breath before the next birthday!  Whew!

*sigh*

Last night, as I was driving Bella to dance class, my phone rang.  Now, I don’t answer my phone when I am driving.  Ever.  I have to be 100% focused on the road, I figure whatever it is, the person can wait.  I did tell Bella she could answer it for me though.  She tried to, but it rang just enough times to go to voice mail.   We could see that it was Abe calling, and I knew he was stopping at the store before going home after work, so I assumed he was going to ask me a silly question, something that could wait.

Meanwhile, Bella is explaining to me that she’s just not very good at using cellphones.  I tell her she is eight years old, there is no reason for her to be good at using cellphones.  Of course, all of her friends have them, she adds.  To which I reply, “Well that’s silly.  You don’t need a cellphone until you are old enough to drive and have an actual reason to use it.”  She agrees, and starts excitedly telling me what they are working on in dance class when the phone rings again.  It’s Abe.

“Go ahead and try answering it again,” I tell her.  This time she is able to catch it in time and happily greets her daddy over the phone.

“Daddy says it’s very important,” she says.  I laugh and tell her to relay the message to me, I can’t talk, I’m driving.  I’m expecting it to still be some silly question about which cat litter to buy, or if he should get milk while he’s out.

“He says he was in an accident.”

My heart stops.

I know I have to stay calm.

“Is he okay?”  I have nowhere to pull over, my hands won’t loosen their grip from the wheel.  I am hyper aware of every car around me, suddenly focused nearly to the point of paranoia.

“Yes, he says he’s okay.”

Breathe.

“Is the car okay?”

Breathe.

“No, he says the car is not okay.”

Breathe.

“Okay.  Tell him we love him, to stay safe, and I will call him back in just a few minutes when I can pull over.”

I can’t freak out, my baby is sitting right next to me, watching me, reading my expression, my body language, trying to gauge how she should react.

“I’m sure he is just fine, and that’s what’s important.  Cars are nice, but they’re just things, you know?,” I glance at her face as I try to reassure her.  She nods in agreement.  “At least we still have your car, Mommy!”

The closer we get to the studio, the more uncomfortable I get.  I am anxious to hear Abe’s voice, to hear what happened, to be reassured myself.  I’m also stressed, worried about the car, worried what we will do, how bad it is.

Once Bella is in class, I sit in the car and dial Abe’s number.

He answers quickly, assures me he’s okay, but tells me the car is undrivable.  The only thing that honestly matters is his safety, but I won’t lie.  The thought of a totaled car was a heavy weight on an already tired back.  I know he is far more stressed than I am, he is very much a pessimist.  I can hear the stress in his voice.  We decide he needs to have the car towed to the house, that we will just figure it out from there.  He tells me the tow truck will give him a ride home and so I hang up the phone and try to digest what happened.

The weather was gloomy.  Dark, cloudy, smelling like rain.  It was too warm to sit in the car with the windows up, so I rolled them down, closing my eyes and letting the breeze cool my flushed face.  As the first tears began to fall, the sky opened up, spilling raindrops into the car window, disguising the sadness and washing it all away.  I saw my reflection in the rear view mirror and laughed.  You couldn’t tell a single tear was shed, it simply looked like I was caught in a quick spring storm.  And before I could reflect further on my sadness, using the gloomy, dark weather as a crutch, the rain stopped, cut by brilliant sunshine.  Another look in the rear view mirror revealed a gorgeous rainbow behind me.

You can’t have a rainbow without rain.

I was drunk in the symbolism of it all, how perfectly it was all timed.

My husband is safe.  He was not injured.  We are so blessed, every single day and in so many ways.  This too shall pass.  It sucks, don’t get me wrong, but it could have been so much worse.

On an optimistic note, while the car does not look good by any means, I am hoping that it is possible to repair it.  I have been doing some research, (I’m a Google Queen, remember), and it sounds like there is at least some possibility that it can be salvaged.  Not right now, not right away, but hopefully soon.  I refuse to be pessimistic about it until proven wrong, so, you know, I got that going for me.  :)

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Saying Goodbye

I am not a funeral person.  I have this problem of being overly emotional, I truly wear my heart on my sleeve, and my skin is so thin you can see through it.  I cry at the drop of the hat and it makes me crazy.  Even in situations when I am angry, I can often be brought to tears.  It is a weakness that makes me crazy.

I have been to a total of four funerals in my life.  The first one was when I was 16.  It was for a teenage boy that I didn’t know, but a friend I was working with at the time wanted to stop in, so we did.  It was a huge funeral, the church was so full it was standing room only when we arrived.  We got there at the very end of the service, just when you are supposed to walk by the body and pay your last respects.  We walked up, I remember glancing at the young person in the casket, feeling completely removed from the situation, and then we left.  This funeral gave me a false sense of strength in dealing with future funerals.

The second funeral I attended was for my maternal grandmother.  I want to say I was 18 or 19 at the time.  I was dating Abe, so he accompanied me.  When we got there, to the tiny little room, my grandmother, who I hadn’t seen in far too long, was seemingly sleeping in the ornate box surrounded by flowers.  Reality suddenly hit me.  This was real.  This was family.  My grandmother was gone.  Went to pieces.  Like, ridiculous sobbing, my embarrassment making it all worse.  My parents were there, and my aunt and my little cousin who had to be 10 or 11 at the time.  My aunt and cousin actually lived with my grandmother and knew her so much better than I ever had, were so much closer to her, and yet they were able to compose themselves and behave like normal, sad but functioning adults.  Even my younger cousin.

My parents were not any comfort at all, I felt like my dad expected me to be tough and was disappointed in me, as usual.  I didn’t care.  I was embarrassed, but I was sad.  Only one of my uncles was able to attend, and with a shortage of pallbearers, Abe was pulled in, happy to help, of course, but I remember being even more sad that not enough people were there to pay their respects.  In all of my boo hooing, I realized that once you cry enough into a tissue, it becomes linty and crumby, leaving white residue all over the black clothing one traditionally wears to funerals.  This added to my embarrassment, but I assumed it was a one time thing because I was young, it was my first “real” funeral, and I would be so much more mature by the time I went to my next one.

The third funeral I went to came many, many years later.  Surely enough time for me to handle my emotions a bit better.  I was 28 years old and it was for my paternal grandmother.  This was the grandmother that used to come and get us for weekends at a time when we were younger, taking us to the movies, the zoo, visiting all of her many friends, etc.  We spent a lot of time with her, and years later, she spent a lot of time with my kids, Matthew and Isabella.

On the day of her funeral, we drove up to the funeral home, but I could not make myself walk inside.  I was crying in the car, I couldn’t bear to walk through the doors, see all of the crying faces, see my lifeless grandmother, be bowled over with the memories and the grief.  We waited outside and decided we would just go to the small ceremony at the cemetery.  We watched as they loaded her casket into the hearse, and then got in line behind the funeral procession, driving to her final resting spot.  Once there, with the warm sun shining on us, and the cool breeze drying the tears, I was able to look at her beautiful coffin, white and covered in gorgeously painted pink roses and say my goodbye and be at peace.

My fourth and most recent funeral was yesterday.  It was a rough one.  The mother of one of my closest childhood friends.  She was like a second mother to me, the “fun mom”.  Anywhere we went with her, we had fun without even spending a penny.  She had this amazing way of showing us the beauty in the small things, and her calm and loving nature was almost hypnotic.  I was fortunate to see and spend time with her off and on for the last 26 years that her daughter and I have been friends.  As much as I hate going to funerals, I knew I had to go to hers.  Not only for her, but for her daughter, who had been like a sister to me all these years.

When I found out she had passed, I cried.  A lot.  And then I cried some more.  I cried so much I had to take my foggy contacts out and just wear glasses.  I had hoped that I would cry enough to be over the initial shock and sadness, so I could attend the service like a “real adult”.  I wanted to be strong and supportive for my friend, for her daughters, for her mom.

Arriving at the funeral home, the same one my grandmother had been at years before, I instantly tensed up.  Walking through the doors, surrounded by the deafening quiet, I was very uncomfortable.  I saw familiar faces and I knew I should offer my condolences, but I couldn’t.  Abe pulled me over to a couch and forced me to sit down, to breathe.  I was focused on the large grandfather clock just a few feet from me, slowly ticking away, and almost amused at the real life metaphor of life’s temporary existence on Earth.

Finally it came time to find a seat, and so I chose one in the very back, both to avoid seeing the coffin as much as possible, and to have a quick escape if I began sobbing.  I was terrified of falling to pieces and upsetting the family, who had enough to worry about.  We sat in silence until I heard the familiar throat clearing of my dear friend in the hallway.  I felt a tiny sense of relief, but also more fear and pressure to hold myself together.  When she walked in, we made eye contact and I jumped up to hug her.  We chatted and I told her how sorry I was, feeling pretty proud of how well I was doing.  Then her sister walked up and took my breath away with her resemblance to her passed mother.  Suddenly I couldn’t hear the words my friend was saying and instead I felt my eyes fill with tears as she showed me pictures of her mom.  That quickly I had failed.  I was so upset with myself.  Here I am, supposed to be offering support to my friend, and instead, I am crying in front of her, before the service even started.

Needless to say, we kept our seats in the very back of the room, far from the grieving friends and family, where I could cry into my annoyingly disenigrating tissue.  I really need to remember to bring a handkerchief to these things, the tissue crumbs are the worst.

The service was beautiful, and I was able to walk up to the coffin and say goodbye to my dearly beloved “fun mom” without breaking into the ugly cry.  We followed the procession to the cemetery, as a final farewell, and then the day was over.

Death sucks.  I mean, it just does.  Are we ever really ready to say goodbye to our loved ones?  As beautiful and wonderful as Heaven surely is, are we ever really ready to send our cherished friends and family to those gates?

I would like to formally request that none of my friends or family ever die, because I just don’t enjoy funerals or saying goodbye.  No more death, no more sad, just happy, please and thank you very much.

The Feeling

I am a huge Graham Norton fan, if you aren’t familiar with him, well, make yourself familiar because he is awesome.  Basically he is a talk show host in the UK, and his show can be found on BBC America here in the states.  He has several guests on his show, and often a musical guest at the end.  The production quality of the musical guests blows me away!  Amazing sound, lighting, camera angles, I mean, really high quality, it pulls you in!  He often has bands or singers that had you not been watching, you may have never had the pleasure of hearing.

One such band, for me, is The Feeling.  I caught them at the end of one of his shows and they sang “Turn It Up”.  LOVE that song!!  Super catchy, upbeat, and just plain awesome.  Not available on Spotify, BOO!  But I found the music video, which I will share.  I wish I had the video from the Graham Norton Show!!  The lead singer is deliciously dramatic, it is very amusing.  If you want to hunt, it’s from season 3, episode 8.  :)

Meh to the video, it’s too dark for the melody, in my humble opinion, but I just adore the song.  Through this one little song, I explored a lot more of their tracks and several of them have made it into my regular rotation, great for cleaning house to or just belting out the lyrics and dancing around with the babies!  :)

March 2014 Nerd Block Jr Girls Review!

Woo hoo!  We got TWO Nerd Blocks at our house this month!!  As you have heard me gripe before, the regular Nerd Block, while definitely awesome and highly loved by all the stinky boys in my family, does not have enough girly stuff!!!  Like, we don’t need tampons or makeup or anything, but how about some awesome Disney Villains, or even women super heroes??!  Just sayin’.  It definitely seems geared towards the boys.

That said, when I saw that they were now offering Nerd Block Jr for Boys and Girls, I was excited to give it a try!  Of course, I opted for the Girls version, and it had some super cool stuff inside!  I have high hopes for this box, I hope it continues in it’s awesomeness!  Take a look!

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*Mega Blocks Moshi Monsters 73 Piece Katsuma estimated value $8.00

*Disney Pixar Brave Triplet Bear estimated value $10.00

*Funko My Little Pony Tin-Tastic Creative Activity Set estimate value $15.00

*My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Slap Band estimated value $5.00

*Mega Blocks Hello Kitty Series 2 Collectible Figure estimated value $3.00

Lot’s of awesome, right?!  Admittedly, more for my girls than me, but so much fun and what a value!  Nerd Block Jr, both for boys and girls is only $13.99 plus shipping!  You can see by the estimated values, taken from Amazon.com searches, that the products value far exceeds the monthly subscription price!  I am very happy with this month’s Nerd Block Jr for Girls and am definitely looking forward to more!

Wanna get your paws on your very own awesome Nerd Block Jr?  CLICK HERE! You can choose between a Boys block or a Girls block, each catered especially for kids between ages 6-11 (and their parents, if they so choose….).  Each box is filled with fun toys and collectibles from some pretty awesome brands like Disney, Nintendo, My Little Pony, Adventure Time, etc.  Win/Win!

March 2014 Nerd Block Review!

Hey, what do you know?!  I’m gonna post my March review in March!  Haha!  Hey, dance competition season is upon us, you gotta give me some slack!  ;)

Anyway, I just received two Nerd Block’s in the mail!!  I shared with you in my last review that we added a Nerd Block Jr Girl’s subscription to our monthly routine, partly because we have two girls, mostly because I gripe that Nerd Block doesn’t have enough girly stuffs!!!  Look for my separate review of our Nerd Block Jr Girls.  (A tiny hint, it’s kind of awesome.)

Now, for this month’s loot!

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*Nerd Block Exclusive Shirtpunch Darth Vader T-shirt estimated value $10.00

*Assassin’s Creed Edward Kenway Figure estimated value $17.00

*The Simpson’s 25th Anniversary Series One Collectible Mini Figure Greatest Guest Stars estimated value $5.00

*Star Trek Skele-Treks Painted Collectible Mini Figure estimated value $3.00

* The Legend of Zelda Mini Figure Collection estimated value $10.00

*Topps Wacky Packages Stickers Series 7 estimated value $2.00

A close up of the closed figures opened!

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The pictures turned out darker than I would have liked, I promise brighter pictures next month!

Definitely some cool stuff this month!  I know Abe will lurve the Dark Side shirt because, duh, Vader.  Also, getting Link in the mystery package is totally awesomesauce.  I have no clue who the Trek guy is.  I was kinda excited about it, because they definitely have a sugar skull look to them, but was hoping for a recognizable character.  Don’t hate on me, Trekkies!  I’m sure this guy is wicked awesome, just not sure who he is and we are more Star Wars in this casa.  The Simpsons Figure is none other than James Brown!  Glad we got him over Hugh Hefner, because yuck, but I would have preferred a regular Simpsons character, if you ask me.  You didn’t ask?  Well, it’s my blog and I’m telling ya anyway.  :)

Wanna get your paws on your very own awesome Nerd Block?  CLICK HERE!  They are only $19.99 each month plus shipping, and besides coming with a super groovy EXCLUSIVE t shirt each month, (that come in sizes from youth to plus sized adult!), you are also guaranteed 4-6 epic items for your nerdy little heart’s delight!

 

Citrus Lane February 2014 Review: Coming Soon! *hopefully

So, by now, I have usually shared my Citrus Lane monthly subscription box review with you all!  I am sad to say that my box never arrived for February.  :(  The tracking showed that it was delivered, and yet, there is no box to show for it.  Not entirely sure what happened, but I got a quick response from emailing the customer service team, and was told that I can expect a replacement box soon.  Hopefully, it will arrive in the next few days, along with my March box, and I can share both reviews with you!

Fingers crossed!