Saturday, April 9, 2011

Knock Three Times

Do y'all know this song?

It's one of my favorite songs of all time!! I used to play it over and over with Addison when she was a toddler. She knew all the words, and we would twirl and dance around our living room. It's one of my all time favorite memories of her toddler years. Her little chubby hands clapping (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP). Love that girl! Anyways, this is totally not where I was going with this post, but it's a great example of how my mind works.
    What I came here to write about are my neighbors. My new neighbors. The fourth set of neighbors I've had in four years. Until today, I would have told you I resent the fact that every year we get new neighbors.  You see the house next door is a rental home and it has been the case that every time someone new moves in they do not exactly match up with the rest of my neighborhood. Seriously, I should just name this blog "The House Next Door", because internet there are stories over that fence, lots and lots of blog worthy stories. What an ugly way to think, huh? The truth of the matter is, until today, I really believed in my heart of hearts that I was better than the people who took up residence in the house next door.

   In the past year I've been trying to change my heart and ultimately my outlook on life. I have done a lot of reflection this past year. (Stick with me, I'm going some where with this) When ugly or unkind thoughts enter my head, I really try and analyze where those feelings are coming from and how I could turn them around. It's a process, and I'm not perfect, but for the most part, I'm proud of the effort I've made and the affect it has had on my personal relationships and outlook on life. In a sense I've slowed down, listened and opened my heart more, and kept my mouth closed.  So back to my story.    In the past, the house next door has provided shelter for:

A single father and his 5 year old son, who would roam free until the wee hours of the night and would go knocking on every one's door asking for food (No I'm not kidding)

A mother with 6 kids, who would freak out if you, brought out a camera or video recorder, like lose their mind, freakout!! (Again, not kidding)

A strict and moody Asian mother who likes her Tupperware returned :)

And now the new neighbors.

It was inevitable that we would meet them, when my daughter saw the pink Barbie jeep parked out front. The one! just! like! hers! It started with talking across the fence.

Then that evolved into the mother and daughter coming over for a play date. Here's where my heart needs changing. This mom is different. Not different as in I'm better than her, just different. She showed up with a cigarette in her hand. Which resulted in me telling my husband " Addy's not allowed to go over there".  The next time the little girl came to play the mom told me she just took two shots of whisky. OK, so she's different than me. Is that a reason to not let her sweet and adorable daughter play with mine? Addy begged us to let her go over to the house next door and play, and this is where it gets tricky, I sent my husband to bring her over. Addy asked in front of the little girl. And the mom called and reassured me, and I don't know why, but I just had a feeling I should trust her.  I told my husband to note the cleanliness of the house, the animals, the men who lived there, etc. etc. etc.  I told myself I would let her play 15 minutes then go over there.  And that is what I did.  The house was cleaner than mine. The kids were playing dress up and laughing and having fun.  I did learn  that they have a friend who they are helping out, who was just released from prison on drug charges, and yes my heart cringed!!! (I've met him, he's a great guy! Really he is!) Who am I to judge these people's vices? I have my own vices!! (Hello postpartum depression!) I know that the safety of my child comes first, and I can assure you that she is safe when she goes over and plays.

    Now that I know it is a safe environment, I started questioning this relationship since it has multiplied into several play dates and invites to dinner. She's a stay at home mom, her husband is an engineer. I could best describe them as the partying type, Ala' Jimmy Buffet's parrot heads with a pinch of the Greatful Dead! So like I said, I've been burned in the past, and I didn't want to make the same mistakes, and I didn't want to deny my daughter another playmate. This little girl is the same age and will start kindergarten in the fall with my daughter. So taking this all into my heart, it reminded me of something from my past.     When I was young I attended camp YWCO, like the YMCA, just for women or girls. ( I'll blog about my camp experiences a little later) My memories from camp are some of my favorite memories. I learned so much from camp.I actually still remember all our old camp songs!! Camp was probably my favorite place in the Whole Wide World while growing up.  Camp YWCO was a two week sleepover camp. On Sundays we would have fellowship and some of the campers would preform little skits based on a bible story. The particular skit that I remember, went something like this:

Two sisters get a phone call from God. God tells the sisters that he is coming for a visit. Excitedly, they start cleaning up and fixing a feast fit for a King. Suddenly there is a knock at the door. It's a homeless man looking for something to eat. The sister who answers the door, tells the homeless man to basically get lost,that they had more important things to worry about, slamming the door in the homeless man's face. Minutes later the doorbell rings again,  this time it's a sick little girl who is asking for a place to rest and maybe some medicine. The sisters tell the little girl to get lost, that they were busy preparing for an important visitor.  Again, minutes later someone else knocks on the door and this time it's a church group asking for a donation for the poor. And again the sisters send them away, still frantically preparing for God's visit. A little later, the phone rings and it's God again. He ask the sisters why they didn't let him in? And they are shocked that they missed his visit. He tells the sisters "I came as the homeless man, the sick girl and the poor"and you turned me away……….

You get where I'm going with this? Maybe just maybe, my neighbors are a gift from God to open my heart, to accept them for their differences and learn from them. And maybe possibly they can learn from me too? It's a lesson from God to teach my daughter about differences and accepting those differences and loving thy neighbor in every sense of the word. So I'm embracing these lessons from the house next door.  What do you think internet? As long as my daughter is in a safe environment should I let her play next door?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Say No To Drugs!!!

 How do I even set this story up……..well I will say I was extremely tired after a weekend with the girls by myself. Addison woke up at 12:30 with a night terror, which was horrible!!(a story for another time), and when I got her settled down around 2:30 a.m. The Harpster woke up saying "Play mama, Play!" I scooped her up from her crib and (OMG, in the middle of writing this I just realized it was 5:00 p.m. and the girls and I just did the "daddy's almost home shuffle", which included, picking up the random goldfish on the couch which I may or may not have just popped in my mouth, pushing the couches back into place, putting the broom and dustpan away that Harper plays with all day long, (don't hate, she likes a tidy house like her daddy, and I'm all for it, soon I'm bringing out the vacuum for her to play with), and throwing some ground beef on the stove (for the I've been slaving over this out stove all day effect!), if he knew that I had time for blogging, my gig as a stay at home mom/student may be up J Anyways, back to my story, so I grabbed her and just did the thing I promised myself I would never do with Kelly baby 2.0, I brought her into bed with Kelly baby 1.0 and myself, (hubby was working nights) When she was in bed with us she did everything except sleep (I love that girl!) She jumped, she played patty cake, she rolled around, turned the TV on, pulled our hair until I finally said "Baby 2.0, you're going back to your own bed, I gotta get some sleep" I scooped her up and took her back to her crib and she covered herself up popped her baby bottom up in the air (I love that girl!) and drifted off to sleep. To which I asked myself why didn't I do that an hour ago??? By this time it was 4:30 a.m. Around 7 :30, I got a text message, normally I wouldn't look at it until after I woke up but my dad has been in town and I didn't want to miss a text from him ( I'm not sure if my dad even knows how to text, Daddy do you text?) So literally half asleep the following text conversation happened. Every time I read it I crack up, I think I may be funnier in my sleep than in real life. Just a couple of things to remember, my responses are in green and if you look at the date stamps this wasn't the first time  "Raynell" had contacted me.

I usually don't talk like that it's not very flattering or ladylike....I think I was just trying to scare this person  that or I was delirious with sleep deprivation.  Maybe a little of both??

At this point I was just texting the lyrics to songs that came to mind.

I was really curious as to what he wanted. Really I was!! I was not expecting that he would want that........
That last line just cracks me up!! Chucky Cheese!!

I'm not sure Raynell will be texting me anymore :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm not going to Hollywood!

    So my husband and I play games, silly games that I make up.  Well, actually I play the games, he goes along with them.  Our  My favorite game is American Idol.  The game play is simple, I sing a song, and he tells me if I've made it to Hollywood.  As of right now, I haven't made it to Hollywood ( punk!), even though my rendition of "Stand By Your Man" was pretty right on!!!
     Yesterday, I made up a new game "subliminal messages", because let's face it, how many times can one person's ego not be damaged because their not going to Hollywood for the 1,234th time???   I made up this game because I wanted to test the strength of our marriage and if we could really read each others minds.  I told him I would scream a word in my head and he would try to guess it or make a connection.  On the radio, "Smells Likes Teen Spirit" was playing.  I knew that Kurt Cobain's daughter's name was Frances Bean. So I screamed the word bean in my head.  I did this for one minute and then told him to say the first word that popped in his head.  And do you know what he said??  Blanket!!! It's a match!!! Ok, here's the connection.






= Blanket

Kurt Cobain: Singer, died, daughter name Frances Bean
Michael Jackson: Singer, died, son named Blanket

CONNECTION , right??? He thinks it's not (Punk) I proclaimed it a sign, and shouted  "we can read each other's minds!! Our love will last forever!!!"  He rolled his eyes.   

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So I'm Back.....

Hello Blogland,

It's been awhile,  (I wonder how many blog post begin like this in January??)  It's really a 2011 goal of mine to blog everyday!  I have to give props to my new friend Ashley over at Quasichick, for nominating my blog for a Stylish Blogger award!!!  What a great way to get me back in the groove of blogging.  Thanks Ash!  I have to tell you that Ashley is the sweetest, she has two beautiful little girls, is a teacher, a wife, and is committed to eating healthy, so basically she's a super mom!!.  She has great recipes and menu ideas, so check out her blog.  I will go ahead and confess that on our first play date at my house,  I served her and her two cutiepies, fast food pizza and soda with syrupy cherries (Oh my!), A little saving grace........ I did fix a fruit salad with fresh strawberries and blueberries :)

There are 4 duties to perform to accept this award:

1.  Make a post + Link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2.  Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers
4.  Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!

Seven Things You Need to Know About Me

1. I am completing my degree in Elementary Education, and fulfilling my    lifelong dream of becoming a Elementary teacher. I was a preschool teacher/ Director for TOO many years :)

2.  I have a freakishly eerie photographic memory. I can tell you what you were wearing when you got detention in 9th grade French Class.  ( AB: a white and brown and blue plaid skirt with a white shirt and a white cloth headband, with white treetorns.) or my 1st grade teacher or your first grade teacher.  My head is full of useless facts and your useless facts too( If I knew you)! 

3.  Surprisingly, I have a horrible short term memory and I can not remember anything from my mid 20's to what I had for breakfast yesterday.

4.  The Coal-Miner's daughter is my favorite movie of all time, and I once watched it back to back.  " You're mama just wrote a song Betty Sue, your mama's a da'gum song writer"
5.  I am the worst speller ever!!!

6.   I've never met a stranger,and will talk to anyone who will listen, much to my husband's dismay. I will tell them ANYTHING! I just can't help it. I'm an open book.
7.  I love to read, and the year before last I read 54 books in a year. Last year I read 12 : ( 2009: pregnant  2010: infant/walking baby )

Thank you so much Ashley for nominating me.  I'm really thankful to have met you and I love your blog! Thanks for the newfound inspiration and menu ideas!

My 10 nominations for the Stylish Blogger Award:

I feel bad because all the blogs I read are kind of famous in the blogging world and been around for years. Maybe I should start reading and discovering more, until then I'll list one, and then I'll add as I find them :)

1.  My friend, Liz at The Fisch Pond










Thursday, September 23, 2010

Circle of Friends

I had a misunderstanding with a friend.  A misunderstanding that wasn't really a misunderstanding but a big messy fight.  A fight that resulted in lines drawn and us giving back each other's Tupperware (No, she wasn't my neighbor) and other items we've borrowed from one another. We broke up.  It feels sort of like the time when you broke up with your first high school boyfriend, you know that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that you can actually feel in your heart, you remember that feeling?  Yeah, that is what this feels like.   

Because this friend was part of a circle of friends, and because her accusations were pretty brutal, I am no longer part of the circle. It makes me really sad.  I lost some really good friends.  And I know what you are thinking, that if they were really good friends that they would have atleast given me the benefit of the doubt, right?  Well, they didn't.  I fear if I pleaded my case now that I would just make things worse, and look like a crazy lady.   This misunderstanding  fight happened several months ago, and I really thought I had moved on, accepted something I tried, but ultimately couldn't change. 

Just now I saw pictures on facebook  of the circle of friends and their daughters at a birthday party.   It was just a reminder.  A reminder of what went down.  A reminder of all the untruths that were spun.  A reminder that besides that circle of friends, I hadn't invested enough time in my other friendships.  A reminder that I am no longer part of the circle.  We are all in our 30's and this closely resembles something that would happen in middle school.  I know this.  But it still hurts. It's not so much the invitation or the lack of one, it's what it represents.  It's saying, " We took a vote and you're out".  And I really have to think that if five educated, talented, and motherly ladies think I shouldn't associate with them, then what is wrong with ME.  Self doubt is a bitch!  In my head over and over I've rehearsed what I would say to all of them.  To make them see the big picture and that which was said was ultimately misconstrued. I want to show them the PROOF!  What was said doesn't make a difference now, I guess.  In the end I know the truth, but I can't help but want them to know it too.   My heart is heavy with the loss of these friendships.  I'll get past it.  I'll make new friends.  I've learned something from this, and in the end I guess that is what is most important.  Still, breaking up is hard to do.

And I think this is the part where you tell me there are plenty of fish in the sea!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Piggy Bank and a few things!

      Sorry, I've been gone so long!  We've had a really busy week.  I'm right in the middle of finals.  (Did I tell you I'm back in school after ten years trying to finish my degree in Elementary Education, I didn't? I  should have, because it's a lot of work with two kids!!!)  and last night we bought a new car!  We down graded, but I am totally OK with that!!  I'm in a point in my life where material things are not as important to me as they once were.  I had a big SUV, with Navigational system and heated everything, and DVD system, you know all the bells and whistles.  With all the bells and whistles came an enormous car payment, a car payment that we once could afford before my husband's salary was literally cut in half.  Sometimes I feel like we are the only family having to make sacrifices.  I have friends and acquaintances buying new houses and cars, and they go out to eat with their families every night, and their kids are in 101 activities after school (gymnastics, soccer, ballet, gymboree).  I am never not happy for my friends and acquaintances that get to do these things, I just mostly wish that I could do them too!! I want to tell you also that my husband took the pay cut so that other co worker's jobs would not be eliminated.  We have lived this way for little over a year, actually it's funny and God works in mysterious ways, but we found out about the salary cut the day after we found out I was pregnant with baby H.  I think he wanted us to learn a lesson. ( Ill show you someday pictures of A.'s room before the bad economy, and then poor little H.'s room after the economy, lol, the thing is she'll never know the difference, and she has always had a warm, safe, clean place to sleep and really what more could a baby want? besides pottery barn fleece sheets? he he)
       For the most part I have learned I can live with out biweekly pedicures!! AND ( A big And) Target and sometimes Walmart ( OMG, I can't believe I'm admitting that) has some really cute clothes for kids.  My children could care less if they are wearing Lelli Kelly shoes or Kate Mack bathing suits.  It's me you loves those things!!!  My husband always jokes that I have a champagne taste on a beer budget, and that about sums it up completely.  I would love to hear about some other people going  through  a similar situation and the creative ways you saved money too.  ( Not that I am happy at all you are going through this situation, just know you are in good company, ha!)
    So here is one creative way that we are teaching our daughter about saving money.  She is only 4 but she totally gets it, and for that I am so proud of her, and us!!

Meet Miss. Piggy

She is my daughter's piggy bank.  A. gets money for doing simple tasks such as:

  • Unloading the dishwasher (putting the silverware away, good sorting activity)

  • Helping with the laundry, switching clothes over and putting away her own laundry and folding towels.

  • Picking up her toys

  • Entertaining her sister while I mop or sweep
  • Unloading the dishwasher

  • Using her manners

  • Having a kind heart and doing a good deed without prompting
I'm so proud of my baby BIG girl!!!


She is saving for an American Girl Doll .  And we have told her that we will match what ever she saves.  Yes, she is a little young for an American Girl doll, but when we visit Atlanta, she is always getting  invited to the Americal Girl Bistro and she always as to borrow a doll.  She wants this Kit doll with all her heart, and talks about it constantly. And who am I to tell her she is too young for something she is dreaming of?   We are thinking it will take her at least until her birthday in February to save for it and you better believe I will take her to Atlanta where we will have dinner and I'll take 101 pictures of her pulling out her piggy bank to buy her own doll!!!  I'm so looking forward to that moment!!

Every week we pull her money out of her piggy bank and count it.

So far she has $17.30!!!!!!

 When we were counting it this morning, we found some other gems too!  Chucky Cheese tokens and see that little tree coin?  Neither of us had seen it before.

I swear an angel is living amongst us!!!

I'll keep you posted on our Piggy Bank totals. Now go ahead and tell me your fun money saving ideas!!

**I am going to do family introductions next week when I have a fall break from school!!  I promise they are coming!  And you'll finally get to formally meet my cutie pies!!  All three of them!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dinner on A Wednesday Night (posted Saturday)

I know we are just getting to know each other, and I know I am new to blogging, but I've run out of things to talk about on day 4!  That has to be a record, huh?  Before I had a blog, I would say to myself, "WOW, if I had a blog, I'd blog about this or that"  Today I got nuthin!  Except.....................

What I cooked for dinner on Wednesday night, or maybe I should say what I threw together for dinner.  I love cooking, it's really a passion of mine.  I do not stereotype, I like healthy recipes, not so healthy, a la' Paula Deen recipes, cookies, cakes, whatever! I love trying new recipes and sharing them with friends.  Actually, a friend of mine just shared the best Butternut Squash Soup recipe with me, and I'm dying to make it, it was so yummy. 

Some nights I am just so tired, and I'm tempted just to run to McDonald's and pick up happy meals.  Sometimes you have to just take the easy way out.  I always feel so guilty after the fact though, don't you??? I've constantly battled my weight from the time I was a teenager.  It's the one thing that is most important to me not to pass down to my girls.  I always want them to have healthy choices and to make those choices on their own.  I can not always afford to buy all organic.  But dinner is 98% of the time full of fresh vegetables and protein.   I never do can stuff, OK once I did can green beans, and they were OK, but I was in a pinch.  But anyways, I should also mention I am far from perfect when it comes to food, so I am by no means preaching!  Tonight my husband works nights so we're having frozen pizza and corn, or what is better known as "Dinner School Cafeteria Style".

So back to Wednesday Night, I was so tired, my husband just worked 12 hours, and so I asked him to pick up a rotisserie chicken (lemon pepper) and I threw whatever veggies I had in a skillet and tossed them with a little extra virgin olive oil.  We all loved this meal.  I could have easily asked him to pick up happy meals, but I am so proud of myself I didn't.  Here are some pictures.  And if you don't already go the rotisserie chicken route, you should try it! 

So in my frig,  I had zucchini, tomatoes and red onion.   I diced them up and threw them in the skillet with a couple of table spoons of EVOO and a couple of table spoons of water and salt and a little lemon pepper.  I like my veggies still a little steamed/crunchy when they are served.

Notice I'm using my spoon holder!!! Yah!
Have you guys seen these?  They are so cute and I love using mine.  I bought it at Bed, Bath & Beyond for like $3.00, I think they have lemon holders and lime holders and banana ones.  It really keeps the onion fresh after you have cut it!

The Guest of Honor!

I cook the veggies for 8 minutes, just till tender, but still with lots of color and serve with slices of chicken.

So  there you have it,  My Guilt Free Wednesday Dinner!!

Stay tuned, I am going to do family interviews next week, complete with  our real names.  I really had  a lot of hits this past week and some really nice emails, welcoming me to the blogging world.