Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Complete 180

If you had asked me a month ago if I was happy, the answer would have been no. A month ago, I had no hope, nothing really to look forward to, no drive. Yea sure I have always been super involved with my kids and the American Legion Auxiliary, but when it came to anything "me" related, I had nothing.

  I seriously cannot believe that was me. My life has done a real 180 in two short weeks, and it feels AH MAY ZING. Like I have said before, it's like a huge weight has been lifted off of me, and I am free to be me. I am free to act like goofy, silly, crazy, little me. I can choose to have spicy food for dinner, or to just make cereal if I dont feel like cooking. The kiddos are happy, and are actually happier now then I have seen them in while. Sure it sucks that the 3 of them are currently sharing a room, but hey, it's only temporary!

While where I am right now, may only be a pit stop on the road of life, it certainly is a great one, and I will soak it up for all it's worth. I will stay up too late, drink too much, laugh till I cry, cry till I laugh, and probably get a sunburn or two (or 5). I will spend much needed time with some amazing ladies who helped me see my self worth, and will even introduce you all to a new character into my story: LB. While I do not have a shiny crystal ball to foresee the future, I do intend on him being here for quite a while. (insert cheesy smile here)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mandi and the Cop VS. The Spider

It is well known in the Masshole house, that Mandi and spiders do not get along. Like one should not even put them in the same sentence, let alone the same room! Now that I no longer have my trusty spidey squisher (aka The Ex) I have come to terms with the fact that those little fuckers and I are in an all out war. As of Friday afternoon the score was Mandi- 3 Spiders- 0.... That was until I was on my way to go visit some family members...

I was driving down a semi busy street, right past a well known speed trap, when all of a sudden the biggestnastiestmotherfucking  spider started to crawl eye level on my windshield. Praying it was on the outside, I flicked my wipers on. Panic instantly hit me when I realized it was on the INSIDE! I have conveniently just cleared out my SUV so I had not a thing to attempt to kill it will. So instead of swerving like a maniac and panicking behind the wheel, I hauled ass into the parking lot of a local sports store, and immediately jumped out of my vehicle. I was freaking out like there was no tomorrow. 

 All of a sudden this large man dressed in black approached me and in a deep monotone voice said "Ma'am are you okay?". 
Quickly realizing that he was a police officer, and I better get my shit straight before I end up in the local looney bin, I managed to breathe out "There's a giant... spider.... in... my .... car....".
Sensing that I am completely scared shitless of spiders he says, again in his deep monotone voice "Would you like me to get that for you Ma'am?"
I screamed out "YES!" before he can even finish his sentence. 
He then reaches into my car and sees the poor unsuspecting spider getting closer to the driver side edge of the windshield, pulls out a hanky and squishes the little fucker. 
"Would that be all Ma'am?" He says, voice not wavering once.
"Yes, thank you so much." I manage to squeak out calmly.
 I get back into my SUV and drive away. My two little people had slept silently the whole time in the back seat, never wiser.

I was (still am!) mortified to say the least. And I know for a fact I was/will be the laughing stock of the B----------- Police Dept for quite some time.

Final score- Mandi-3 Cop-1 Spiders- still ZERO!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

When one chapter ends...

                                 Another begins...

But how does one know when that chapter is over? There is no closing line in reality. Or is there? Will this chapter of my life be over once I dot my I's and cross my T's when I sign on that dotted line? Or has it begun already? Is this hard part; the paperwork, the custody, the dividing up items, splitting pictures... Is this a whole separate chapter, or just the final end of the worst chapter in my history?

I have a better idea. Instead of starting a new chapter when this is all said and done, it will become a two parter. Part 1- the Heartache and how I overcame.  Part 2- After the weight has been lifted, and what my life has become because of it. I vow to never lose sight of me again. A good friend of mine has a tattoo to remind her of her own battles that she overcame "To thine ownself be true". That sounds like an amazing idea.  Not sure what it will say exactly, but to have that constant reminder of how strong I really am, and if I can overcome this, I can take on the world... okay maybe not the world, but at least whatever curve balls life decides to throw my way! And hey, I played softball in high school for a reason right?

Friday, March 23, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

Has something ever happened in the blink of an eye that changed your life forever? I would seriously have a hard time counting mine on my fingers AND toes. Scary huh? Through the trials and tribulations of my young life, I have seen more tragedy and lost more special people then I care to admit.  But that hasn't hardened my outlook on life, in fact it makes me cherish each and every day. 

Two of the most important people in my life, died suddenly. One when I was a baby (read here) and another when I was the ripe young age of 14 (more to come on that). Both of these lives ended abruptly but yet taught me a very important life lesson: Live for today. Yes dream of the future and do what you can to make it better, but do not forget the here and now.  You honestly never know what tomorrow will bring, or if it will bring anything at all. So live it up, do it when you get the chance, don't save it for a rainy day, because what if that rainy day doesn't come? 

So much to share, so little time!

What a whirlwind month March has been for this momma. So many life changes happening, and for the first time in I don't know how long, I am happy about it. Not only happy about the changes, but just happy in general. I know in the past I have posted about the PTSD that surrounds my house. Well I am sorry to say, we succumbed to all the negativity, and The (soon to be) Ex and I have decided to separate divorce. Yup, that dreaded D word. We tried everything, every medicine, counseling, group therapy out there, and it all comes down to the simple fact: we were not made for each other. Sure we both have our good times and bad, but the bottom line is, we simply need to close this chapter in our lives and move on. Some days are harder then others.  Do I sit and cry myself to sleep at night? Actually I don't. Surprised? Nope, not I! Relieved is the word I would use. I literally feel like this huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. The burden of constant worry, and walking on eggshells is gone. I can now focus on myself and my children and provide us with a life that makes us all happy. We have officially been moved out for almost 2 weeks now, and I must admit, sleeping on my Bob-O-Pedic feels AMAZING on my back. Oh how I missed thee!! 

Was this decision easy to come to? Nope, not at all. In fact it took many many wonderful friends and family members pounding it in my head, to realize how bad of a situation I was living in, and even worse, letting my children see everyday.  After a quick chat with Peanuts teacher, she has informed me that she is adjusting extremely well to the move, and is doing better in school then ever before- yippie! So that just reaffirms that everything I am doing is for the better. Thing is, once I made the decision to be done, I never looked back, I didn't have that voice anymore telling me to go back. That voice is the burden I have been carrying for far too many years.

In other news.... I LANDED MY DREAM JOB! ! ! Like I cannot even tell you how thrilled I am!!!! I will explain more in detail in another post, but for now I will explain that I will be working full time helping Military families! For those of you who know me, you will surely understand how much this means to me. It literally is a dream come true.

 Everything is slowly falling into place piece by piece. I never thought I could feel like this, and have so much to look forward to, but I sure as hell do!  I seriously cannot wait to continue to share it with you guys!

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's time.... A MiteTees Giveaway! ! !

I would like to share with you all, my hidden gem of baby apparel-  MiteTees!! 

Baby J in his 'Announcement' MiteTee.
MiteTees is a small company that makes adorable personalized items for babies, children, and expecting mamas, the owner Cindy, is a wonderful person completely devoted to her work. I just LOVE hearing about the new products she comes up with! She has created numerous shirts for special occasions such as birthdays (my fav!) holidays, and even 'Made In the USA'. The onesies/shirts are unique and personalized, and made of the highest quality. The fabric wears extremely well, and washes even better! My girls were given shirts when Baby J was born, and that is 10 months of washing, and they look brand new.  

A sample of the prize!
I am going to give one of my readers a MiteTee in celebration of the upcoming holiday that is so near and dear to my heart- St. Patrick's Day! I mean what other day can you celebrate by drinking green beer and stuffing your face full of corned beef and cabbage?

It will be winners choice- long sleeve or short, and it ranges in size from 0/3 months all the way up to 5T. It will be customized with your child's name in pink or blue letters.

Contest Ends March 8. Winner will be announced March 9, and prize shipped out in time for St Patrick's Day =) 

Please feel free to share away!!

Bryton Pick Review

I don't know about you, but there are a few things that tend to concern me in public. One of the biggest is "Is there something in my teeth?". I mean really, when asking for financial donation or help from a local business for my volunteer work, having a chunk of broccoli in between my teeth, does NOT give a great first impression. 

I recently discovered Bryton Pick, a handy dandy tool, everyone should carry in their purse or wallet. Gross? No way, it comes in a handy little case about the size a credit card.

The Bryton Pick is designed to clean between your teeth after every meal. It’s made of germ resistant, thin and flexible stainless steel, so it can be reused for up to a month. (Frugal anyone?)  It has rounded, blunt edges so there is a reduced risk of injuring your gums or teeth, and is safe for people with braces and invisalign. 

This is a perfect tool, especially for those on the go, and I even used it on my fussy toddler who LOATHES flossing. 

You can find Bryton Picks in some stores (not local to me) but they can be easily purchased online at Amazon or on BrytonPick.com. Feel free to go give them a 'Like' on Facebook too!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Cards I'm Dealt: The Beginning (1988)

The year was 1988, I was 7 months old. Memorial day weekend was on the horizon, the chilly New England Spring was giving way to warm summer nights. It started off as any normal day would. My mother and father each getting ready for their respective jobs, feeding me breakfast, the normal weekday routine.  I always wonder if they had known what was coming, if they would have kissed longer, hugged me a little tighter, or maybe even decided to stay home. 

It was a quick car ride to my grandparents house, where I would stay during the day while they were at work. I have fond memories of that house growing up with nanny and papa. Good byes were shared, and off to work they went. 

Ten minutes later, my life changed for good. Ten minutes later, my father was dead. Circumstances still unknown to this day, their car went off the road and down a small hill, right into a tree. The vehicle they were driving belonged to my fathers work. It was a handicapped accessible van. My father had been telling the maintenance people the seat belt was broken for months. They never fixed it. It is because of this, his chest went right into the steering wheel and he was killed almost instantly. What if it were fixed? Would he still be alive today? That question will haunt me forever.

Why didn't we sue them you ask? Between the shock and grief our family was suffering, and the fact the remains of the vehicle were torched while in their lot the night after, destroying whatever evidence may have been there... It never happened. Why did someone feel the need to torch ONLY that vehicle in the lot? Who knows... But I have think of it all the time. Wishing I could have done something.

And that is where the downhill spiral of my life began. But remember, these are the cards I am dealt, and no matter how crappy the hand, I will play them, anxiously waiting for the next round.

Love always,
One of the only photos of my dad and I, that I can find.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Masshole Moment #2

As you may have read in my Germ post- I used the word bubbler. What is a bubbler you might ask?

  • Per Wikipedia:  "Bubbler" is still used as a generic term in several regional dialects of the United States, originating in eastern Wisconsin and remaining well-known throughout the state. The term is widely used in NSW Australia. Oregon is also known to be quite familiar with the term, specifically in the Portland region where in the late 1800s Simon Benson installed 20 fountains, which are now known in the Portland area as "Benson Bubblers". It is also commonly used in New England, especially in the state of Rhode Island and in the cities of Worcester, MA and Lowell, MA. 

See that bold print? Yes readers- I fall into that category. And sadly it wasn't until recently when my good friend Heather at My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream informed me that it is not "normal" to call it a bubbler- in fact she had no clue what I was talking about!
  • Per Wikipedia continued: Despite its widespread usage in the aforementioned areas, the term "water fountain" is much more commonly used than "bubbler" throughout the remainder of North America.
Well it seems Wiki agrees with her.. I guess that's what makes me  Masshole!

Love Always, 

Icky, Yucky Germs

I will full heartedly admit I am not the neatest, most organized person in the world. In fact, I HATE cleaning. I would much rather spend time playing IN the mud with my kids, then scrubbing the kitchen floor.  They are only little once, right?

With that said, when  one of my kids comes home with a sniffle, cough, or sore throat, I go into super germ killing mode. With 3 kids and a total of 5 people in the house, it almost ALWAYS spreads around. Currently we are in the midst of a horrible cough/sinus thing. Slightly worried Baby J is developing pneumonia, but pedi wants to wait until tomorrow to listen again... I wish I had a stethoscope I could use at home (and actually know what I am listening for) because all these trips to the pedi are annoying and COSTLY!

I hate seeing my kids in pain or discomfort. So when they are sick I will do everything in my power to make them feel better, AND prevent the others from catching it. I can frequently been seen spraying the hell out of doorknobs, and faucets with Lysol, and my kitchen always smells like bleach.  Like I said before, I hate cleaning, but when I do clean, the smell of bleach is the only way I know it's clean. For hubby, that smell is Pine-Sol, and while I somewhat like the smell, I hate using that stuff. I feel like its sticky and gross... anyway... back to my point.

I have taken some steps this school year to reduce the amount of sickness that comes home. The biggest and best advice I can give: Send your kid to school with a reusable water bottle (ours is an ICarly Thermos and we love it). The bubbler is soooo disgusting. So many little mouths on it, and germs, and hands, and germs... Ugh I shudder to even think about it. It's not just me feeling this way- in fact in my freshmen year of high school, we took slices of bread and wiped them on different part of the school (bubbler, toilet seat, lunch table, doorknobs, etc) and the slice that grew the most mold was the bubbler!  I will say I have noticed a very large decrease in the number of colds and strep throat this year!

 I also have given Peanut a antibac spray stick, for her to use before snack and lunch. While this is NOT take the place of hand washing, and she knows this, sometimes in class they are so crunched for time, they do not have time for a trip to the bathroom. Cue- antibac spray!

I know that germs are inevitable, and I am not the kind of person to freak out over Swine Flu, or Mad Cow Disease, but if I can take a few steps a day, to prevent my little ones from needless suffering, you better bet your boots I will! Do you have any tricks or tips for germ prevention?

Love always, 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My First Giveaway!

Well, it's kind of my first giveaway.  My friend Heather, at My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream, just reached her goal of 1,000 fans on Facebook.  To celebrate, she is hosting a 1K giveaway!  Valentine's Day is coming up, so she's giving away a gift basket full of items from Edenfantasys!  She isn't telling what is in the gift basket, but mentioned that it will be at least four things, and more if there are a lot of entries in the giveaway.

Also, she posted this, which is worth mentioning:

"For each and every one of you:  From now until Valentine's Day, you can use code TUE during checkout to get 15% off everything you order from Edenfantasys, including toys for men, toys for womenlingerie, and their new beauty and body products!  And if you save your order number, you can get 25 entries into the giveaway! (But you don't have to place an order to enter.)"

So hurry up and get your entries in before January 30th at Midnight CST!  Just follow along with the rafflecopter widget below, and get up to 41 entries into the contest!

And check out Tessa Taboo and My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream for more entries!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Those Four Letters That Now Shape My Life

P T S D. For those who have never had experience with it, then honestly, you will NEVER understand, unless of course you have it, or are living/caring/loving someone with it. It consumes your whole world. Anything you do or say can be a trigger and you don't even know it. Even in your dreams you are not safe. The nightmares can consume you. Just going to the grocery store can be a hassle in itself.  When someone in your family has it, you all are affected. Try as you might to pretend its not there, it really is the giant elephant in the room. Family outings can be completely cut short, because of something people can seem as so petty. But to that person with PTSD, it can feel like their world is crashing down on top of them. Better to get them home and in a controlled environment, then risk a total downward spiral.

It's an amazing thing the brain. But for someone with a brain injury or disorder, it makes their life a living hell. There is no simple cure, no one medicine that can make all the symptoms go away. Even after shoving a handful of meds down your throat three times a day, the symptoms of PTSD still rear their ugly head whenever they feel like it.  They don't care whose birthday party it is, or what event you might be attending. The come barreling through your body like some electric shock. 

To the caregiver (like myself) you feel helpless. They scream and yell profanity's at you, and most of the time you have no idea why.  It may have started off with something as small as a sock out of place... yes really that simple. And it is because of the constant walking on eggshells, and uncertainty of what to do and when, that secondary PTSD came into being. When you're living with a veteran who has it, you become his caretaker.  You slip into a role, without even noticing it, that has you constantly watching for people or circumstances that might become a trigger. You're trying to make sure everything stays in line, make sure that nothing aggravates or upsets him, that everything is perfect.  Despite it all your world can come to a screeching halt an upwards of four times day.  

Your spouse is not emotionally "there" for you.  When you're upset or happy, angry or sad, you have to deal with your emotions on your own.  You begin to feel ignored and unloved and start protecting yourself by treating others, especially your spouse, the same way.

You're also probably handling all household chores, childcare, financial management, etc.  You get no help (or very little) from your spouse.  You're the cook, chauffeur, secretary, accountant, yard guy, child care provider, laundry service, etc., etc., etc.  Everything in your family feels like it's up to you.  It is a 24x7 job that you can never win.  It's not humanly possible to do everything, or to prevent PTSD from creeping into your life almost every. single. day.

I wish to bring more awareness to PTSD and Secondary PTSD with the help of my followers. Unfortunately there is decent amount of (free) help available to veterans but not to the spouses, children, and caretakers of those veterans. Thankfully here in MA, we have The Home Base Program, and they are wonderful, but if you are not local to Boston (like me!) it is a bit of a hike. Slowly but surely it will get better... I hope.

Love always, Mandi

Friday, January 6, 2012

Masshole Moment #1

Peanut and I were working on her homework packet this evening. One part of the packet was to draw three things you would see on a trip to the beach, and label/color it. She drew pictures of an octopus, a sandcastle, and a shak. Yes, you read that right, a shak. To me, if read out loud, it makes perfect sense, but to the non-Masshole, it is probably a bit confusing. I mean who sees one of these when they go to the beach?

To the average Masshole, you know perfectly well she meant one of these:

My poor daughter and I had a bit of a quarrel about the correctly spelling of SHARK. You see, when in first grade, most kids spell words they don't know by sounding it out. And well, when you spell it that way, she is right.  But I had to correct her, AND bring out my handy pocket dictionary to prove my point. Just because we don't say our R's in this house, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

It Won't Be Like This For Long

Peanut in 2008, age 3
While waiting at the bus stop with Peanut this morning, the song "It Wont Be Like This For Long" by Darius Rucker came on the radio. As I sat there watching my beautiful 7 year year play with her friends, I cried. All the memories of when she first came home from the hospital came flooding to me. A tiny 4 pound little peanut. Smaller then most babydolls. We had a rough beginning with her, she was 6 weeks premature. But despite all the hospitalizations, and countless trips to the ER, here she is, a happy healthy 7 year old. Full of energy and spirit.

I still cannot get my mind around the fact she is 7.... 7 .... wow. When she was born people always said to enjoy it now, because they won't be little for long. I never knew how right they were. I cherish every moment with each of my three children. Baby J is only 8 months old, and I already feel he is growing up waaaaay too fast =( I wish we could put a pause button on them sometimes. Just not when teething.... and on that note- off I go to find the teething tabs!

Gotta Start Somewhere

It is currently 1:23am. What am I still doing up? Oh that's right, checking off one of New Year's Resolutions. I have been saying I am going to start a blog for some time now... and would ya looky here, I finally did! Well I am off to figure out how to make the most of this. Oh, and maybe get some sleep before Baby J wakes up!