Feel Good Dinner

This evening was a nice relaxing finish to a busy day. Our dentist called and could fit our middle one in today. So off we went and my daughter was amazing. She’s usually really anxious, but was fantastic through it all.

Then home again to switch off kids with my husband so he could run his errands and I could take our oldest to her appointment. Finally getting her help again. Just being heard does amazing things to a person’s temperament. We picked up a few things on our way home and their friend showed up shortly there after.

Thankfully I had a plan for dinner with zucchini and Summer squash that needed cooking and some big bags of potatoes that needed to be eaten. So I sliced the potatoes and got them in the oven for roasting, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and some paprika for a kick. Frozen chicken breasts into the pan with salt, garlic, tarragon, dried cilantro, and some chili powder. Then I sliced up the squash and put that in the oven too. Everything seemed to time out pretty well and I even threw some shredded cheddar onto the potatoes at the end.

The Three I’m Reading

I went to the bookstore when I should not be buying books, but I had been left in such a fog after The Sun is Not the Only Star that I had to find something epic to follow it. After wandering among the shelves and picking up this book and that one, only to put them back, I took an employee’s offer to help. He led me to another book by the same author and I usually need an author break. So I wandered with that book for a while, and then it hit me. I wanted more books by my new favorite author, Christina Henry. I read Alice a few years ago and absolutely loved it.

I went to her spot on the shelf, and of course they didn’t have the one I wanted, Red Queen, which comes after Alice. So, I went to the counter to order it and then asked if this employee had any suggestions. I see this guy at Barnes and Noble regularly, and he is always great at finding a good title or getting me or my kids headed in the right direction. So, after seeing the title I was ordering and saying I needed something epic to follow it with, he suggested Rabbits, which he hasn’t read. He said if you like Ready Player One, you would love this book, based on fellow employees’ statements. How many people even watched Ready Player One? I was excited.

The best label for this book I’ve seen is it’s a techno-thriller. The quote on the cover does a good job of giving a good impression of the book, too. I’m barely into it, but have to put it down regularly to make sure I still have a grasp on reality. Talk about going down a rabbit hole! I’m even more excited that my mom couldn’t resist buying herself a copy and she is reading it now too!

I’m currently bouncing between three books. It’s the mood I’m in right now. I’m just surprised that they’re all fantasy/fiction books, although, one is a teen read, another early adulthood, and the last is young adulthood (that’s what I’m calling the late 20’s through late 30’s years). The Girl in Red by Christina Henry (another wild ride especially since it came out in 2019-read it and you’ll know what I mean) and Life and Death by Stephanie Meyer (all the Twilight haters can keep it to themselves, the books were amazing. If I’ve read something more than once, then it must be amazing because I haven’t got time to reread bad books). I love revisiting the story in a new way and think Meyer has done that very well.

Anyone else reading something amazing that they want to share with the world? Fill me in! I’d love to hear all about it!

Fighting With the Lawnmower

Every lawnmower I hear is mocking me.

Ugh!!!! I’m so frustrated. It feels like every time I go to mow the lawn, something happens to the dang mower or me. One time I forgot how to do the choke and my husband’s explanation over the phone was no help. Another time I got smoke coming from the engine. It was just oil in the air filter, but I had to look it up. I mean, I knew it was something with the oil because the smoke was white, but it’s been over a decade since I’ve had to mow a lawn.

Another time, the cord snapped in half as I pulled to start it. One time, I was just too tired from mowing to pull the cord right. And today. Today, the fixed cord decided to pop out of the pull handle. The grass is too long, I’ve been too tired or it’s been too hot (over 90 degrees Fahrenheit plus humidity), and I really just want this damn lawn mowed.

Meal Planning Makes Cooking Possible

We still have a lot of setting up to do in the kitchen and some key furniture pieces to get to really have a functioning space. There just isn’t really anywhere to keep our dry foods and flatware and cups in the actual kitchen. We knew it was small, and I’m really enjoying a smaller space (easier cleanup), but my five extra shelves aren’t enough for everything and we really need a movable island for a work area.

Even with all that, I’ve been cooking again and trying to get back into meal planning. It has always helped keep food cost and waste down, but I have so much less stress trying to figure out what to make. I don’t designate meals to specific nights because who knows what the week will bring. I decide the night before or the morning of what I’ll make for dinner so I have enough time for any prep, or grabbing anything I forgot to get.

The picture is from the second night of the meal plan. I had to go to a different store to pick up the pulled BBQ chicken which I added BBQ sauce to. The avocado was perfect, and the kids were really excited for the melon salad. Especially the watermelon. We had turkey burgers and mashed sweet potatoes the other night. I managed to make chocolate chip strawberry waffles before leaving for work one morning. However, we couldn’t find the syrup. My daughters ate them anyway. Our oldest loves cooking scrambled eggs, so she will make that for them in the morning too.

Tonight, I’m planning on meatball kabobs with broccoli, peppers, and potatoes. I did buy frozen meatballs. I am going to be baking them all in the oven, and I’m not sure they’ll even make it onto the sticks, but kabobs we will be having.

Family Bonding and the Soothing Magic of Puzzles

I don’t really seem to have much to say these days. I’ve picked up more hours at work to try to make ends meet while my husband is still looking for work. That’s been keeping me busy and I’m actually enjoying it more than I thought I would. I love what I do, but it can be very draining, so I am really pleased that these extra appointments seem to be giving me more of a drive to get things done than ever before.

The girls have made a friend in the neighborhood. Well, my oldest has made a friend that is her age and her sisters play with him too. It’s a brand new thing to let the kids run over to his house and have him hanging out over here waiting to play with them. It’s caused some fights, but they’re figuring it out.

Our anxiety levels have been rather elevated lately. I am spending days battling it back or trying to ride it to motivation land. We finally caught up on everything, so that helps, but we still have address change stuff to do, including cars and licenses. We also both received jury duty summons. Honestly, I would love to do it. It would be an adventure, but I have to work and he has to be here for childcare so I can work. They always call on me when I’m the only income.

The biggest news is that we have begun completing this puzzle as a family. My stepdad made us puzzle boards and they have been going mostly unused. I spent three days putting it together with a little help. Now everyone is helping to color it. It is set up in our living room, which is ever closer to being all moved in looking and has been a great way to relax at the end of the day. I’m happy that we have reached the puzzle stage of family dynamics. We even have a set of markers just for the puzzle.

Each day we chip away at the list of to-do’s and each day we complete a little more of the puzzle. Once the puzzle is done, we’ll admire it and then take it all apart. Later, after a few more puzzles, we’ll pull it back out and have a whole new experience of putting it back together.

Presenting, Our Yard

It’s finally done. Well, mostly. As you can see we still have some grass piles to clean up and some edging to do. The garden beds definitely need weeding, but we’re getting there. We had about three weeks of slowly moving stuff in with no time to manage the yard. Then finding time between bouts of rain and heat-stroke weather while working and driving the kids an hour to school and back. The grass was way too tall by the time we got started.

We also have this dog pool that we will be filling in. We keep pulling dead mice out of it, but I do want to put in a pond with a fountain in a better location. Especially since it seems to be attracting a bit of wildlife. I keep saying how quiet it is out here, particularly at night, but really it’s the people noise that’s quiet. This way we can hear all the bullfrogs, crickets, birds, bats, and the natural noises of the night. It feels amazing.

We also seem to have gained a friend.

Book Review Time

I’m writing this from my phone because I’m letting our youngest play games while I rest a bit. It’s been busy. I mean to write a post and then stuff interrupts. Lately it’s been my mood getting in the way, but I’m coming out of the muck and getting things done.

This book was a spur purchase. $5 at the coffee counter at Barnes and Noble. I saw something about it a while back and was intrigued. After skimming the first page I bought it with my coffee and couldn’t put it down.

It was like I was a kid again. I cried, I laughed, in public, in my car waiting for the kids to come out of school. I even spent some time enjoying it while knitting at an actual coffee shop.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon has reignited my spirit. I highly recommend curling up with this one. Especially if you need some life inspiration.

More Stormy Weather

Still no real news on the job front, but more tough stuff has arrived. Our oldest just got suspended for the rest of the school year. There may be charges, but we’re hopeful they see the struggle she’s in and take her young age and clean record into account. I need to schedule her some therapy and start working with her a bit more on things. Nothing really happened. It was more the perceived threat of something happening.

I feel like a failure having not seen how much she was suffering. For not having seen the signs of just how bad it was for her at school. The bullying has never stopped. And if it’s not the bullying she’s receiving, it’s the other kids being bullied that bothers her. She has given up on help from teachers and staff at school, as they are dismissive, or do not believe her. One teacher even said that a kid overreacted to a situation and they don’t realize that an overreaction is a sign of something else going on that may need to be addressed?

I’m frustrated that we are still rushing for ‘normal’ when we are losing sight of our chance to move towards something better. We should be restructuring how schools operate and what their objectives are. We should be focusing on mental health and compassion. We should be explaining the why’s of education so students who struggle may stress less about tough assignments. We know so much more about how we learn and what is necessary for a healthy adult, but haven’t changed our system in at least 100 years.

I feel like a failure because I was too preoccupied with my own mental health and our basic survival needs through most of this to have the energy left to get my daughter the help she needs. That is changing. I will be making these calls and I will get all my kids the attention they need. And my husband will begin to learn all the the things I took over and didn’t think to involve him in. They need him in the loop as much as they need me.

I know I’m not going to get this all right. I know I’m not going to know what to do sometimes. I know I can’t be perfect, but this was a hard hit. This move, new schools, new start, I know this will be good for all of us. None of us have a history here. The valley we moved from held too much history. It boxed us in. It was stifling.

We have already begun to have more family time together. The girls love being out in the yard running around. We have a robin nest with three hatchlings to observe out back and a pigeon’s nest out front. We had a fire last night and burned the brooms we hung a long time ago at the old apartment. The tv is off a whole lot more and we are working together to make this place homey.

Some massive Tower moments here (tarot reference). Time to really give our kids the childhood we’ve been striving to give them.

Life is Always a Mixed Bag

The night of our move, as we were setting the kids rooms up, I got a call from my step-dad. I had already gotten the text that they had arrived home safely after having visited with us for a couple days, so I was waiting for the bad news. My uncle, whom I have only met twice and basically disowned my mother when she went to school to be a minister, had just passed away from Covid. All I could think of was my mom must be in a swirl and not even really know how to feel. I don’t know how to feel about it. Her plans to come back might be changing. I completely understand.

So I went about my day today. Got the kids up nice and early. Stopped on the long ride to school to get them breakfast and then went to our old apartment to clean and pack the remaining rabble. I had to head back home and then drove back out to the apartment. On the way I talked to my mom (hands free) and when I got there, my husband called. He no longer has a job. Fuck…shit…fuck.

Ok, so we’ll be fine. He’s checking on some possible short term work while he searches for a job that better fits his abilities. The job is not actually a great loss, but new house, new cars, long drives to get the kids to school, and new stuff for the house. I might pick up some more hours at work in the meantime. The job was not really worth the stress, we had just hoped he could hang on to it long enough to find another one first.

So, life is a mixed bag. I had thought we might enjoy a long streak of things being wonderful, but there always has to be some balance. I’m strangely calm about the whole thing. I have a gut feeling that we’ll be fine and that this will be better in the long run. We usually figure it out. I really hope my husband can find a job that makes him happy. A job like the one I found. There is almost nothing that can get me to leave.

Finding the Tweezers

I packed the tweezers two weeks ago. By some magic of genetics, I inherited the excessive hair gene. I have nothing against body hair in general, but the chin whiskers, overgrown eyebrows, and stray lip hairs are starting to bother me every time I touch my face.

Boxes are everywhere and finding things is a fun adventure of “what are we going to find that we weren’t looking for?” Yesterday was the big moving day and last night was our first night in the new house. It was blissfully quiet and we all slept very well, even if we all stayed up well past our bedtimes.

The old apartment still has a lot of the last bits left hanging around. Carpets that need vacuuming. Walls that need cleaned of crayon and marker drawings. Floors to be cleared of debris. The landlord also seems to enjoy reminding me of how much I can’t wait to no longer be a tenant, as he stops me on my way back to the new house to give me some crap about what he needs from us once we’re done moving out. I owe you nothing but a clean apartment, keys, and a forwarding address to mail the security deposit return to. And we better be getting our security back.

So as I drove back to our new home, I had a huge crying fest filled with laughter and letting go. Embracing the future ahead and cherishing the love of my husband and our kids. It’s cathartic and necessary every once in a while to help keep me level and grounded. I’ve got to let the feelings out in an ugly and private way. Although, there may have been a lot of people driving by wondering what the hell I was doing, crying and laughing and singing like I was.

I plan to finally put the tweezers where they belong tonight, but not until after I free my face of all the overgrowth sprouting up everywhere.