When It Rains…

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It is soggy in Hamburg.

The rain season is in full effect here in Germany. Normally, rain isn’t something I mind. I welcome it. It cleanses the earth, the grass gets greener, and the air is cooler. Sleep is easier and comfort food is abundant. The kids love to splash in the puddles and twirl their umbrellas. Maybe I do too, just a little.

This year I am on edge. The rain makes me nervous. It makes me sad. My chest gets tighter with every front that comes through. It’s harder to fall asleep during a downpour.

Walking to school in it the other day, the boys told me it had poured the night before while we were all sleeping. “Don’t worry mama, we had decided that we were safe 3 stories up. The flood wouldn’t reach us.” I wish I could say this is the only time this conversation has been had but it is not. They are hyper vigilant and flooding is often a subject in our chats. Even now, as we reside over 5000 miles away.

The timing of the rain season could not be any worse.

One year ago…

A year ago Harvey blew into town and hung out for days. We were prepared. We were well stocked in food, water, and beer.  The propane tank on the grill was filled and said grill dragged in to the garage. All stuff in the yard put away and plans to head north if it got bad were confirmed. I spent the day before the storm hit both prepping and getting the final stuff for the kids to start school the next week. I stopped at the temporary police and rescue checkpoint, dropping off bevies, snacks, and paper goods to help them do their job with some comfort.

Surrounding areas were devastated, Rockport especially. Kingwood saw a lot of rain and wind. Power outages rolled through. There was damage for sure but we were relatively untouched. We watched movies, played games. checked in with neighbors (we even got together for dinner one night). The kids got excited because the start of school was delayed by 2 whole days. We even jokingly had a beer count going. And we felt confidant in our decision to ride out the storm, we were nowhere near a risk zone. We were safe.

We even celebrated a birthday while riding out the storm!

Then the water came.

Overnight, a decision was made to release record amounts of water into our area.  An estimated 80,000 cubic feet per second. Not gradually. All at once. We woke to no internet or cell service. Our only source of news was the radio. And the news coming from the radio was not good. The calm that we fell asleep to the night before, the calm that we had made it through Harvey, was replaced by the noise of rescue.

We quickly went into survival mode. A call out for help was made and like everyone around us, we answered. Moose gathered clothing and food from the neighborhood while I used up all the extra food I had purchased in prep mode. With a packed van he took off to one of the shelters. We had little to no idea what was going on but we knew it was bad. I sat on the porch, listening to helicopters, sirens and boat engines. They were so much closer than they should have been.  We should have been safe. But we weren’t. The trucks loaded with people and canoes, bigger boats attached to the hitch, flying down our street were a sign that it was not okay. The area behind our house, like a lot of Kingwood, should have never been a problem, but it had gone so very wrong.

Moose took forever. He came home looking defeated and horrified. Water everywhere, so many people displaced and so many trying to get out. The town we knew and loved was completely under water.

We quickly had the kids pack their backpacks and we grabbed all of our important papers and double bagged them in ziplock bags (bags they stayed in until we got ready for this move). And we waited for news.

The boys idea of “pack the necessities”.

The aftermath

The water stopped 2 streets over. Kingwood was devastated. Some 5000 homes and 300 businesses. Our high school. the library, multiple grocery stores. People passed away. In Kingwood alone. We were only one piece of the puzzle. Some recovered, some are still working on it, and some never will.

I often wonder what happened to the donations I dropped off at the check point. Not that I care about the stuff, I just long for the innocence of the previous Friday. The checkpoint building went under like most other buildings in the area.

Maggie babysat the boys for the first time in the weeks after the flood. Moose and I left them with one phone for a few hours as at a time as we moved through the neighborhood behind us, checking to see what people needed as they returned to what was left of their lives.

Even now, when I close my eyes and allow myself to think.

I will never forget the sounds of rescue, the boats and helicopters.

I will never forget the smell. The waters that flowed through our town were highly contaminated. The odor lasted for a long time. The air quality got really bad, really fast. I highly suspect there will be respiratory issues for years.

I will never forget the look on the stranger’s face as I, a lady who just randomly walked in to her home, helped her shovel baby pictures in garbage bags and drag them to the curb with the rest of her belongings. Pushing water out of another stranger’s home into their backyard, a task that never ended. Helping push a fridge wedged into a door way so that we could reach another room and then seeing the damage left in said room. Taking turns tearing up one of our beloved teacher’s first floor as she looked on in a state of shock that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

I will never forget keeping an eye on every cut and scrape we had for infection.

I will never forget finding out over and over again that someone we knew had flooded and the relief of confirming that they were rescued and safe.

I will never forget how empty the grocery shelves were for months.

I will never forget that no matter where you turned, reminders of the flood were everywhere  for months (still really). Calls for donations and helping hands. Mountains of people’s lives, heaped on the curb. Trailers full of flooded vehicles. Empty store fronts and neighborhoods. A town usually decorated to the hilt at Christmas time still largely dark and unoccupied.

I will never forget choosing our storage unit not on company or prices but almost solely on the NEW flood maps.

Recovery comes in different forms.

Look for the helpers.

I will also never forget how everyone came together. I will always remember how proud I am to know people who took people in, did huge amounts of laundry for strangers trying to salvage something (before we knew how bad the water had been and all needed to be tossed). I will never forget being so proud to break bread with our friends, (Calvin, Erin and Joey, I am looking at y’all) as they took a brief break from pulling people from their flooded homes.

I will never forget those who jumped in to help rescue. Not just local good ole boys with a boat but the Cajun Navy who rushed to our area to rescue and the Cajun Army who then came in to help clean up.

I will never forget the volunteers that drove around feeding victims and helpers throughout the neighborhoods. Delivering food to hotels to make sure that families affected atleast had hot meals.

I will never forget being able to provide assistance to teachers and staff at our school affected, due only to the graciousness of others who donated money to my little cause. I am a little greedy and will admit it felt amazing to spend the 1st day of school (over a week delayed) not doing the normal lazy lunch tradition but checking off every item on the immediate needs list of one of our favorite staff members and sneaking it into her vehicle with my sweet friend.

Perspective of water lines.

Who are we, one year later?

Community trauma is real. PTSD is real. Survivors guilt is real. I know this because I feel it within myself. I see it not just in those who flooded but those who stood helplessly on the edge of the water. I hear it not only in the voices of those surrounding us but our children as well.

You know what else is real? Recovery. I know this first hand too. I have witnessed it in our town and in all of Houston.  Every reopening celebration with obligatory flood lines and in every sweet announcement that someone slept in their own home for the first time in a year. I know because I can leave the house when it rains now, almost without a second thought. I know because steps are being taken to hopefully keep this from ever happening again.

Kingwood is our home. No matter where we live, it will be our home. Our hearts will always belong there and we will always return. I believe in recovery as much as I believe in Kingwood.

But on this rainy day, one year later and 5000 miles away. I still get nervous when it rains.

We are…

 

 

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Saying Goodbye For Now

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The First Time Around

We like to say that Kingwood is a town so nice, we did it twice. My clan moved here once before, when we were a family of barely 4. Blondie was 3 and Dude was 3 months. I won’t sugar coat that first run here and say it was all rainbows and bunnies. But that was not the bubble’s fault. However, we found a stride here. Made friends here. Had Red and completed our family here. We moved to Florida two and a half years later and we were quite torn on leaving Texas .

Kingwood, Finding A Place To Call Home

Florida was great but when the opportunity arose to live where we wanted, it was an easy choice. And the right one. We found a neighborhood that feels like home. We made new friends quickly, along with the old. The kids grew up, the boys both started kindergarten at the same school. The school that became a second home for us. A school full of memories. A school where they flourished. This here is where lifetime memories are made.

Moose changed his path in Kingwood, leaving a company where he was stuck, overworked and never home. Literally, never home. Another company approached him a little less than a year ago and the rest is history. I personally made many strides here. Focusing on writing and discovering podcasting, 2 things that I never would have considered possible 5 years ago. While some friendships from before faded out, my core grew with new friends, forever friends, and I had become very content here in Texas. We all were very happy.

When Opportunity Knocks…

Which made this decision very complicated on many levels. I struggle to stir the pot when everything is going so well. However, we are not the type to let grass grow under our feet and the opportunity to live abroad is just too good to pass up. Our time here in Europe is once in a lifetime and we would have been fools to pass it up just because we were comfortable. I firmly believe, though I don’t know when, we will land back in Houston one day and that does make leaving easier. If only just a little.

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

Yes, I just quoted Boyz II Men.

Saying goodbye will wear a person out and I apologize to many that in those last few weeks, I seemed to pull away versus spending as much time as possible with those around me. I can only handle so much. I kept it together as I attended school events, received hugs at every turn as if they were the last, and counted down the days with the family.

Really, I was content until the last day and only fell apart in the last 30 minutes that my kids were Roadrunners, bursting into tears as I walked into the school to sign papers and withdrawal them. Jackie hugged every adult as he walked down the hallway and multiple teachers teared up as goodbyes were spoken. I had to suppress a sudden urge to scream, “Nevermind!” as I ripped up the paperwork. My kids were in the very best hands there, loved even, and it was hard to push pause on that bond.

Our last night  in “The Wood Hood” ended up being more work than play. Luckily, throughout the day, several dear friends helped us out. They were indispensable and we are very grateful. There were tears throughout the day and a pretty intense sob session when it was time to say good-bye (including a surprising amount of snot). It was an intense day and not just because of the daunting amount of work that needed to happen.

Until We Meet Again

We will be back Kingwood! Perhaps in a year. Maybe a wee bit longer. You may not be where we come from but you are the town we call home.

Auf Wiedersehen.

 

 

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Never Drink From Mommy’s Bierkrug: Expatations

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I am just going to rip the band aid right off.

We are moving. Again. This is a moving announcement.

We didn’t plan this. The family moved into the bigger house this spring, the assumption being that we would be in Texas for at least another 2 years. Moose and I talked about buying a second car. The kids joined swim team. I took a job outside of the blog and podcast and took on some long term volunteer opportunities. We love our little corner of the world and we’re grateful to be spending more time here.

The conversation that started it all.

Moose sat me down in June and said, “We need to talk.”

Me, “Oh god. Are you leaving me? You are leaving me. I swear I will get better about putting my dirty clothes in the hamper and I will quit sneaking mouthfuls of chocolate sprinkles, and I will try to be nicer to you in the mornings. No promises but I will try.”

“No, that’s not it. My boss said we need to talk.”

“Oh god, did you lose your job? I knew it was too good to be true. It’s okay. Taco Bell is hiring, I can work there at night. And you can work at Lowes. It will be fine.”

“No that’s not it. Wait, why am I not getting another job in my field in this scenario? No…please focus. He wants to know if you would be open to a move.”

“Oh, that’s it? Sure. When do I have to pack?”

“Do you want to know where?”

“Not really, but you know where I won’t move to. You would have nipped it in the bud immediately.”

“This is pretty big.”

“Okie dokie, just let me know when.”

This is a summary of the conversation. It had a little bit more meat on it but it was also like 2 in the afternoon in the summer so I had like 3 vodka lemonades in me.

Hurry up and wait.

Nothing in Moose’s field is immediate. They make the DMV look efficient. It’s a great field and he works for an awesome company but they are in no rush, ever. We spent the next couple of months talking about it, warming the kids up to it, getting little pieces of info from his bosses that things were still in motion. Then while we were vacationing in Alabama, we got a more concrete answer that yes, this is happening. No real details and it was still going to be awhile but confirmation that the budget was there and they wanted him. Things always happen in Gulf Shores for us. Last time we vacationed there, Moose got 2 different job offers by phone in a 30 minute time frame. We now consider it a lucky charm for us.

Another month passed with little word, again very normal. Then all the sudden, a phone call. They have a goal date of January 1st (HOLY CRAP) and a slight change in location. 3 months away. Mobility and HR had been contacted to start the process. It has since been a little over a month. The people that need to know have been notified. I have started making lists, decluttering, getting paperwork around, and shopping for what we will need.

What are you trying to say, Drink Mom?

So that is that. We are moving to Germany!!! Hamburg to be exact.

We will be there atleast a year, I don’t know what will happen after that. Maybe we will stay. Maybe we will move back to Texas. And maybe we will move on to somewhere new.  But for now, we are going to be expats! Expatations, get it? Word puns are so funny.

We are extremely excited and a little overwhelmed. There is so much to do! Do we pack it, store it, or sell it? Setting up moving arrangements. German lessons. Bucket lists being planned for our time there. I am not going to waste your time by denying some late night tipsy shopping for lederhosen for the boys. The kids and I have applied for passports (that is a whole other post). And all this while spending as much time as possible with our friends, wrapping up our responsibilities, and a crazy as usual fall schedule. Also, Moose has been on the road. The next few months are going to fly by. Meanwhile, this blog is going to get wicked busy, I hope you stick around while we take on this new adventure.

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Date Night, Paint Night!

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*This is a sponsored post. My experience and views are 100% my own.

Last Friday was one of those rare occasions. Moose was home. Quite often his time home is short, both on time and notice. We don’t tend to utilize it very well as a couple. But not last Friday. We got a babysitter, tucked our shirts in like fancy adults, and headed out!

This took a lot of work, he can’t be serious.

Our usual go to is dinner but we decided to try something new and out of our comfort zone. There is a place not far from us, called Pinot’s Palette. It is magical. You go in, they put a smock on you, and then you paint a masterpiece! It is literally that simple. Now you may think that you have no talent whatsoever when it comes to painting (one of us is more artistic than the other) but they have a way of teaching you that makes it super simple. Our teacher, Meghan, was really friendly and patient. She walked us through the process and then left us plenty of time to complete our work, walking around helping as 80’s music played in the background timing our work. It is all very laid back and so much fun!

A work in progress

 

And to top it all off with a cherry, the place is BYOB. That’s right, you can bring in your own drinks! They have a very nice area set up with glasses and wine openers, room for snacks or whatever else you might need. Moose and I were a little under the weather, allergy season is the worst, so we didn’t partake but when I go back, I will definitely be joining in on the refreshment front.

Our finished project!

Pinot’s Palette holds classes several times a week so you have loads of options, depending on what you want to paint. They also offer classes for younger kiddos, I know Blondie would have so much fun and I plan on bringing her back here for a girls day soon. And don’t forget their private party  and corporate event options as well!

Check out their website here, Pinot’s Palette for details and registration information.

While you are at it, click here to watch their new video Disconnect to Reconnect . It is a reminder we all need.

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The Day The Music Died

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**Author’s Note** I started this almost 2 months ago, on my dad’s birthday. It was too much, so I walked away from it. About a month ago, my co-host wrote a beautiful piece (Check it out here!). As we talked about how well done it was and how proud her step-dad  would have been of them all, I said, “I know how hard that was to write, I am sorry.” She said, “Yes, but we owe it to them and ourselves.” So true. And I knew then that I needed to finish this thought. It has still taken me several weeks to get back to it but here we are.

My dad and uncle, Roger is the big  guy. My cousin sent this to me, I    treasure it more than I think she will ever realize. My boys are  spitting images of these two.

 

11 years ago today, I called my dad to wish him a happy 65th birthday. “Time is an asshole, Copper Sue.” He was irritated. Well, that was a pretty normal state of mind for dad. But more so on that day. His life insurance policy payout decreased on his 65th birthday and he was pissed to still be alive. He really would have been pissed if he had known he wouldn’t make it to 66. 8 months later, I sat alone in a hospital room with him as he took his last labored breaths. That morning, I woke up in Ohio to the phone ringing. That afternoon, I walked into a hospital in New Mexico. My mom said, “Roger, Copper Sue is here.” He opened his eyes and looked at me, “Oh.” That was the last time he woke up. That evening, I sent mom home to grab her meds, rest, and grab a bite to eat. I held his hand. I listened to the noises around me. I apologized for being such a teenage bitch. I told him how I didn’t know what to do without him. I told him I wasn’t ready but if he was than it was okay. And then he died. He was gone.

Two months after his 65th birthday, he had a scare and we all rushed out to him and mom. He recovered, much to the doctors amazement and we all dispersed. He said good-bye to everyone individually before they left. My sisters and brother all got closure that day with dad. I was an idiot and told him that he was being ridiculous. I would see him in a few months. I refused to hear his goodbye. He called me stubborn. Hello pot, have you met kettle?

Moose and I had flown out for Mother’s Day, the May before he died. He pushed himself that weekend. I could tell he was struggling but still able to make memories with mom and us. At the airport, he stayed in the car as we unloaded. I went to say good-bye to him. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into his window. “Goodbye Copper Sue”, he said with tears in his eyes and he kissed me on the cheek. It was only one of three times in my life that I can remember my dad showing me affection. “I will see you in a few months dad, no need for good byes. We are going to hang out without mom and eat all the good foods.” I think it hit me on the plane. That would be the last time we would see each other and he knew it. He knew it and I refused to see it. The cancer was officially back not even a month later but he knew it that day.

Roger wasn’t a perfect man. He was a self-proclaimed asshole, in fact he often said all Rogers are assholes. It’s been my experience that he was correct. He had many demons in his younger years but he had become a different person as he got older. He was solid ground for me. Always. I won’t get into a lot of that here because I just won’t. But I always knew he was there, making sure I was okay. He would listen to me. He would stand up for me. Give me honest advice, usually over ice cream. He wasn’t always on my side but he never bet against me. And I miss him. I get angry that he isn’t here. I get angry that without him as the cement, our family foundation has broken beyond repair. I get angry that I never got to say, “You are going to be a grandpa.”. I get angry that my children don’t know him, that they have been robbed of a person that would have relished that grandparent role. They don’t know what that is like and it pisses me off beyond belief.

They ask about him often and it pains me to the core but I answer honestly. I tell them stories. I tell them when we encounter something that would have made him happy. We listen to his beloved music. We laugh whenever we see flamingos. We talk about how he died and how his life choices took him away way before he was done with this life. We talk about how much he would have loved them and vice versa. I tell them all the time how much they are like him. I remember him so that they can know him.

I forget what he sounded like but when I talk to my brother, I can almost hear his voice. I don’t have many pictures of him. But if I close my eyes, I can see him leaning over the counter with his hands balled up and resting on his knuckles, watching mom cook (he loved her cooking). I have forgotten his handwriting, I tried to keep it in my head for as long as possible but it just isn’t there anymore. But I can still smell him, freshly showered with a splash of Brut. I can still see his black hair, peppered with greys as he aged, slicked off to the side and a little swirly in the back where it had started to thin quite a bit. I can still see him run his hand through the top, brushing it off his face while he was thinking. I still hear his constant humming, sometimes so loudly I think he may be right behind me.

My dad died on August 24th, 2006. It was hot as hell but it rained that night, it stormed like crazy. I watched it alone from their patio at 3 am, like I had done so many times before with him. I don’t think I ever felt so empty in my life as I did that night. That space has filled up with life since, sure. There are pockets here and there though, I believe they will always exist. The loss will be forever. I will always be sad. I will always be angry. I will always remember.

Cause your presence still lingers here and it won’t leave me alone…..

 

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One Year Later and I Still Ask…. (part two)

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Part two.

So it has been a year.

What has changed?

Well, I don’t work outside the home anymore. I had taken the summer off and decided that as much as I loved the place I worked at and my job, I didn’t love how it was going for me. It was difficult leaving, I had awesome bosses and even more awesome co-workers. It is hard to leave a place when you know that what they are doing is such a good thing. But after I got off the phone with my boss, it was like a weight off my shoulders. I did the right thing.

Moose has barely been home. Seriously, it was a rough year for him and he rarely graces us with his presence. So it has been just me and my little gang. It’s always hard to tell how his schedule will work so maybe this year will be the same, maybe we see him more. Either way, we make do. We miss him when he is gone and cherish him when he is home.

He also finished his bachelor degree! It has been years, YEARS, in the making. But he is finally done. I don’t know if it will actually change anything at this point and now we have a shit ton of student loans to pay off but he did it. He did it the hard way and wanted to quit so many times (seriously, who goes to school with a schedule like his?), but he still finished. We are very excited and proud of him!

I also started a podcast with my friend Heather! We have a blast doing it and have created a little following. You can check us out here at Life Under The Laundry Pile if you so choose! I had absolutely no intentions of doing this but when she came to me, it took literally less than 5 seconds for me to say “Why not?”. I leave in a couple of weeks for Podfest, I am so pumped to network and listen to people talk about this little community we belong too. And I am really looking forward to not acting like an ass when I meet people who have been a huge influence to us.

This blog. I have not been super diligent about posts on my website. It is something I want to improve. I promise you that there are drafts in my collection that you will love, I just need to finish them. But my social media game is great, it is so much easier to write 15 word posts than 500 word essays. Who knew? I went to Orlando for Type A and that was amazing. I have made connections with some really awesome people. And I have lots of opportunity up ahead of me. There are going to be some changes soon. I really hope you stick around for it.

And finally, the kids. They are a year older and even more amazing. Red started preschool in the fall. It has been quite the adjustment, luckily his teachers have to be the most patient people I have ever met. But at least he is wearing pants more often. Dude is in 1st, it hasn’t been as easy as kindergarten. He does struggle a bit and that is okay. Because he is still awesome and smart and sweet and I have no doubt that he will end up doing great things. Blondie is on the cusp of a new chapter and this year has been evident of that. I am not entirely sure how I feel about preteens but I will admit I am still happy when she wants to snuggle and read with me. Here’s hoping sweet Blondie sticks around a little longer.

There you go. My year in a nutshell.

I don’t know what will happen in the next year. I can’t even begin to guess. but hoping it will be good. And I am really hoping you all will be around to read about it. Until then….

Thank you.

Mother’s Day Weekend

 

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One Year Later and I Still Ask… (part one)

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Is that chocolate or poop?

One year ago this week, I sat down and took the first steps to start this chapter of my life. I was working at the Clubhouse then, a job I truly loved. I had an odd day off, I don’t remember why but probably a sick kid. And I decided that now is the right time. It is the right time to do something for myself. Something that I had wanted to do for quite a while. So I started my own website and wrote a few words.

Here is the link, in case you want to catch up or reread it, Please Be Chocolate…. .

Originally, I was going to call the blog that, Please Be Chocolate. However, even though I did a bunch of research before I hit publish, there ended up being another blog by that name. So, I then became Never Drink From Mommy’s Cup.

So here we are, one year later. Oddly enough, something happened on the 24th that I thought was karma’s way of reminding me to look back on this year and note it. This, right here.

That morning, as I do every morning, I went on Facebook and looked at my On This Day feature. There was the beginning of my blog. All day, it weighed on me but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. And eventually it was pushed to the back burner as I dealt with daily life in our house, including a sick Blondie. As I was putting the kids to bed, I went to rub my eyes and saw this. What the hell? Is that poop or chocolate?

Have no fear, it is Nutella. I could smell it but still did the taste test mostly because the kids found it gross and funny. How and when it got there is still a mystery. I hadn’t touched Nutella since that morning and not only washed my hands a dozen times but also scrubbed sinks, did dishes twice and showered. Somewhere in the house is a glob of Nutella, probably in the boy’s room, that I inadvertently ran my hand across. I will find it one day, I am not super concerned. Maybe I should be but eh….

To be continiued.

 

 

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How Our Elf Finally Came To Be..

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I did something yesterday. Something I never thought I would do. I drove to our local toy store (shop small when possible people, it’s what all the cool kids are doing), walked straight to the display by the register, and grabbed one square white box with red writing. You all know the box. We all know the box. Anyone that has parented, grandparented, and taught children since 2005 knows the box. The guy at the register said, “That will be $33.47” and I cringed a little but still managed to run my card. It’s for the greater good, Copper. Said box was tossed in the back and off I went to run the rest of my errands.

If you haven’t guessed, I bought an Elf. He comes up every year but we have never done one. Truth be told, I think he is cute. And while I don’t care for the “Be good or the elf will tell on you” aspect, you should be good to be good, I think it is done in fun and has become a great tradition for many people. I love seeing all the posts about his adventures in different homes. Even more so, I love it when he gets into naughty PG-13 trouble.

We haven’t not done it because of the effort. In my book, if something is too much work then don’t do it. Who cares? Your kids will still have a wonderful holiday. My kids certainly have. This stuffed doll isn’t going to make or break that. So, why are you making yourself as miserable as you keep telling everyone you are? Honestly, we have never gotten around to doing it because of the money. Every year I have looked at those boxes and almost grabbed one but haven’t. I am a little tight in the wallet department and 30 bucks is a lot. Frankly, for a few years there, we didn’t always have a spare 30 bucks. When you make midlife u-turns, extra cash doesn’t always flow and often we had only a small amount to make our holidays what they were. To spend a portion of that on a doll seemed wrong. In hindsight, I probably should have just done it but oh well.

So what changed, you ask? The answer is a little sad. Inevitable but sad. The answer is Blondie. Blondie is 9 and she still believes. She is still my little girl. She talks about making her list for Santa and loves putting out decorations. She keeps talking about what we are going to bake and “Can we hand it out to our neighbors, mama?” She started requesting the holiday station in the car and has listened to the Christmas CD I brought back from the Home Free concert at least a dozen times in the last 3 days. I see her looking over every single ornament on the tree. She checks the little Santa countdown in the morning and can’t wait to do her Advent puzzle book. She still has that magic of Christmas in her that only a child can. But again…she is 9.

She listens to pop and country music for hours in her room, with the door shut. Her book choices are sliding into the young adult category. Her brothers have become less and less her best friends and more of a nuisance. Her clothes are no long frilly and don’t you dare suggest piggy tails or a ribbon for her hair.  She has crushes. No longer is everyone her BFF, her friend circle has grown tighter and smaller as her interests become more defined. She is still a wonderful girl but I catch glimpses of eyerolls and sighs of “OMG mother.”. She becomes mopey at the drop of a hat but doesn’t know why. I can smell the preteen on her. Literally sometimes, hormones smell.

I know this may be her last year of sprinkling reindeer food outside on Christmas Eve without knowingly winking at me. I know this may the last year she asks to see Santa. I know this may the last year that she is truly shocked to see that the cookie plate is empty, covered in crumbs. I know that her tradition of writing him a note, leaving it by the fireplace and getting a response is coming to an end. Maybe this won’t be her last year but I know it could be. And while I know she will still play along for the sake of her brothers, it will never be the same.

My friend Missy posted a picture a couple of weeks ago of her daughter and the 2nd elf they added to their family this year. Her point was more or less, “Who knows how long we will have this stage, I am embracing it as long as I can.” That struck a nerve with me. I can see the end of the tunnel with Maggie. I don’t know how close I am but I can see it and it breaks my heart a little. And I am determined to make it as magical as I can for her and her brothers. If this is her last year of believing then it will be a grand finale. We will watch all the Christmas movies 100 times, EVEN the dreaded Santa Buddies. Hot cocoa will be available at all times. We will eat buckeyes until our tummies hurt. We will have our friends over to decorate cookies. We will get our pictures taken with Santa and make lists and decorate the house in paper chains. We will drive around and look at lights until they all pass out. And we will welcome the Elf on the Shelf into our home, finally, after all the years of asking.

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Meet Doodles Ballooney

And if he manages to keep the magic going a little longer, he can stay as long as he wants.

 

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Fourth Grade Love Story: Chapter One

Published / by copperyuenger / Leave a Comment

**Names have been changed for the sake of the innocent, blah blah blah**

I can only assume that this will be the first of many stories of this nature. Some of them good. Some of them bad. And some of them ugly. I am often in denial of how close we are to the teenage years so moments like this always leave me a little palpitaty (is that a word, it’s a word now), kind of like when you have an almost accident while driving.  Here goes….

Yesterday in car line, Blondie’s Math/Science teacher was calling out names. It was, for the first time since April,  not as hot as the deepest depths of mega Hell so I had the windows down. As I pulled up she lowered the megaphone thingy and said to me, “I just love your daughter. She is such a sweet, amazing girl.” My chest swelled with pride, what parent doesn’t like hearing that? Especially this year when school and Blondie aren’t clicking. She is struggling a little. Classes are getting harder. Hormones are different. And she has little to no connection to her home room teacher. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with my daughter. And there is nothing wrong with her teacher. But they haven’t meshed well. This is the first time ever for her that she hasn’t made that connection and it is showing. She is less excited about school. Her grades in the subjects she has with her are slipping, okay she has B’s so I am not really worried, and she isn’t as creative at home. Anyone that knows my daughter knows that she is rarely without paper and pen. Not so much lately. I have struggled a lot while watching this, I don’t like seeing her light dimmed, but I truly believe in not interfering unless totally necessary. My kids need to learn to adjust to all situations. They are not always going to work with people who are their best friends, that is just reality. Suck it up my precious little snowflakes. But this teacher yesterday is one of her FAVORITE teachers in the whole school and I knew this would just be the sprinkles on the cupcake for her to hear what she said.

So I waited for my kiddos to get in the van and as we pulled away, I said, “Guess what? *Ms. Schmarlos* said you are an amazing little girl and she adores you!” I waited for the squeals and the “REALLY??”…..nothing. I looked over at her and she looks like she is going to burst, this is the most excited I have seen this kid in 2 months. Before I can say another thing, she blurts out “I told *Jimmy* that I liked him and he said he likes me too!!”

WHA!?!?!?!?!?!?!

“I’m sorry, what now?”

“At lunch we were playing Truth or Dare and *Susie* dared me to go up and tell him the truth, that I liked him. So I did and he said he liked me too.”

Now Blondie has been crushing on this boy for a while, in the way a 8 or 9-year-old would. She knows she likes him but not really. Boys are still gross. This development is huge in her world. I don’t even know what to do. We haven’t even had any sort of talk about boys. We just got around to ordering the American Girl book on hygiene for the love of pete. I may be a little behind here.

“Wait. Does he like you? Or does he like like you?”

“He like likes me.”

“Okay. So happened then?”

“We went over to the monkey bars and talked for the rest of recess.”

“What did you talk about?” This is where I hold my breath because if she says anything about boyfriend/girlfriend, I may die right there at that stop light.

“Star Wars and Lord of The Rings.”

“Okay. Good. You have been dying to tell me this all day, haven’t you?”

” Yes. I thought about even asking if I could call you, I was so excited.”

Okay guys. I think we are in the clear for a bit longer. For one thing, I was the first person she wanted to tell. She still wants to talk to me!! Second, they talked about flipping Star Wars and LOTR. The same stuff they have been talking about for the year and a half they have known each other. Not lovey dovey stuff. But debating the logistics of traveling across Middle Earth. And exhale… for now.

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Updating Our Home With Groupon

Published / by copperyuenger / 2 Comments on Updating Our Home With Groupon

UpdatingOur Home

 This is a sponsored post. All views are 100% my own.

Lately, I have been on a kick. A “Let’s redo everything in this house.” kick. Our kids are getting a little older and so is everything else in our house. Slowly but surely, all the baby and toddler stuff has been given away. The amount of toys have diminished. The chances of things being ruined with sharpies, scissors, or….well…the downsides of potty training have become very slim. There is space that needs to be repurposed. The kids’ rooms need to be updated and organized. I want furniture that hasn’t been marked and linens that haven’t seen the horrors of the last ten years. Don’t even get me started on the state of my towels or that the majority of my dishes are plastic and adorned with cartoon animals. It is time people.

We are not rolling in money. This is not an overnight project and I need to be thrifty. One of my first stops is always Groupon Goods. I am signed up with them and I get emails letting me know what new items they are offering. You can alway follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well! Once over their site, it is easy to use and there are always plenty of deals. I have found so much through them. Sheets, towels (Did you know that not all towels have bleach stains? I had forgotten that.), kitchen utensils, dishes, storage options for toys and clothes, and even decor. All from the comfort of my home office. Which we all know is my ideal shopping spot.

My house is starting to look less like a daycare/frat house and more like a place that mirrors myself. I am really happy about that. And with the money I am saving, I can afford to try new restaurants and splurge on pedis. Oh yes, they have Groupon deals on those too!

What kind of amazing deals have you found with Groupon? I would love to know so be sure to comment below!

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