Open Letter to Haters of Mrs. Anthony Weiner

Picture courtesy of Fox News – click for article

Judgment, it is something we all do. It is something I am trying hard not to do. This week in the news is the updated Anthony Weiner scandal. I was talking to a friend just yesterday about the scandal. I said I would rather watch a bunch of news about a new, loved baby prince than more about the Weiner ridiculousness. My friend asked if his wife had left him yet. After confirming she stood by his side in yesterdays news conference, my friend said “How stupid to stay with a man who would do that.”

At one time, I would have parroted that statement. But, after the last year, where my marriage has hit some very rocky spots, I can no longer say this. It is now easier to understand why spouses stay with people who cheat, lie, steal and abuse the other spouse. Hope. The person who makes the transgression always apologizes and swears they will change. Things will get better. And, we hope it is so.

I am not advocating that anyone in an abusive relationship stay there, just that I understand at some level why people stay. I would urge anyone in a relationship facing these struggles to do more than just accept an apology and say “I will get better”. Without a clear plan of action, a change in trigger activity, and therapy, none of these things can actually be changed. If there is true progress, then staying can make sense. If there is no progress, or worse, no remorse for such destructive behavior, then I implore you to start protecting yourself and the children inside the marriage. Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough. Love is not enough to heal wounds, spiritual or physical.

Remember parents, the behavior you model will be the behavior your children will emulate in many cases. Mothers, treat your husbands the way you want your future daughter in laws to treat your baby boys. Act the way you want your future daughters act. Fathers, treat your wives the way you want your daughters husbands to be treated. Act the way you want your sons to act. As parents we teach our kids how to navigate relationships: the way they will see themselves, friendships and spouses. Expect that from yourself and expect it from your spouse.

I don’t know enough about the Anthony Weiner situation to know if he really has started his journey to change his ways and become a better man, a better role model for his son. It’s possible. But I can no longer say his wife is wrong to stay with him. Only she knows that. Only she knows the work that has gone into healing the relationship. I now take a minute to think about the relationship and the hard times my own relationship has endured this last year. Now, I only wish: The hope in her relationship is not misplaced and that they are both working on healing.

Date with myself – Review on a Movie Theater

Picture courtesy of AMCTheater.com

This weekend my husband was supposed to come home on Sunday. Since his drop off point was far south of our house, and church was in the middle – I thought ‘What can I do for 4 hours while waiting for him to show up?’ I could have gone back home and cleaned the kitchen or done laundry or any other number of things. But no, I decided to save on gas (that was my excuse anyway) and find something to occupy my time till he showed up. I went to the movies.

It has been a LONG time since I went to a full priced movie theater. You could tell because so many things were different than what I remember. The only time the TV is used at home is to play a video for the kids that we have picked up at the library or RedBox.

First, I had no idea what any movie was about. Usually, I walk up, look at the posters and based on time/poster – I decide what I am going to watch. This AMC Theater didn’t have ANY movie posters up in the ticket purchase area. What is THAT about? I lost precious minutes (15) googling movie titles that didn’t sound dumb.

When did ticket prices become $10 for a matinee??!! No wonder I really enjoy the $2 theater in Federal Way. I don’t need to see a movie during its first week out anyway. (Have I mentioned the last time I saw a movie in a full price theater was over 2 years ago?) Then, I had an assigned seat. I actually had to pick my seat out of a seating chart and the seat number was printed on my ticket.

Assigned seating at a movie theater?? Now, I was highly confused. Turns out, this is a post theater. The seats are like great big comfy squishy barcaloungers. I felt like a crazy person, in a dark theater trying to figure out how to extend the feet. I finally found the button on the arm rest that changed the posture and elevated the feet. Wow, what an experience! Just:

  1. Don’t put your hands on the seat cushion to adjust your seating because it is full of crumbs and a little sticky at the edges. (Blech)
  2. Don’t go when you are tired. I imagine many men might get in trouble falling asleep on a date when forced to watch a ‘chick flick’.

Other than that, this experience was pretty nice. A comfortable chair, like at home. My TV is obviously MUCH smaller (27inch) than the movie screen, but the popcorn I make at home is better than theater popcorn. So I’d say we are even. If you have an AMC theater near you, and you have the time and money you should try it. It wasn’t a bad way to spend waiting for my husband.

Halloween Candy for the Troops!

If anyone is looking for a summer project, this is a great way to keep busy, empty your candy stash and support the troops! All in all a great idea!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Happy Halloween PicWe are really excited about Halloween! Are you getting ready for another great year of collecting and donating sweet treats to the deployed troops and first responders?

If you represent a school, club, company, dentist or group that would like to host a candy collection drive, keep checking back here, and as we get closer to Halloween 2017 we will have a link for you to sign-up for more information.

Please read these important and helpful “Do’s and Don’ts”!

DO’s:

  • DO ship your candy NO LATER THAN November 15 to:
    Operation Gratitude
    21100 Lassen Street
    Chatsworth, CA 91311-4278
    Attn: Angel Cuevas/Receiving (262)674-7281
  • DO line your boxes with big bags to safely ship loose candy, or place the candy into zip-close bags. Say THANKS to our Troops
  • DO include donations of individually-packaged toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste — we need to keep smiles on the troops’ faces all shiny, bright and healthy!
  • DO fill out the Donation…

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10 Ways to Fight the Summertime Blues

Picture courtesy of Metro Parks – click for link to summer programs!

Otherwise known as “Mooom, I’m booored.” If your kids are at home and not safely ensconced at Grandmas as mine are, you have heard this expression at least once. You don’t need to be the next Martha Stewart to keep your kids entertained, there are several options around your town to help out.

Summertime Activities to Keep Away Boredom

  1. Do chores: Have the kids help you with your own summertime projects. You will both learn something. The kids will have fun painting/ nailing/ spackling / washing the car. You will have fun learning that paint does not come out of clean t-shirts or spraying them with the hose. Besides, its good to have them realize what it takes to keep everything running in tip top shape.
  2. Go outside: Go to your neighborhood park, spray park, city zoo or aquarium, nature walk or scavenger hunt. Play I-Spy with all things nature. Run the energy right out of them, so the next time they will think twice about whining.
  3. Lay down in the shade of a tree and watch clouds go by. Make up stories about the different shapes you see. Then reach over and start a tickle fight. Completely unexpected and full of fun if they can’t catch you.
  4. Find your nearest craft store(s). Michaels, Hobby Lobby and JoAnns all have great kid craft classes or kits and some of them can be pretty inexpensive if you watch for the coupons in the Sunday mailer.
  5. Check out the local Parks Department and Library. Locally, our Metro Parks department and Tacoma Library system have a wonderful assortment of summer camps, outings and day drop-in services. Some community centers have classes like cooking class, lego camp and more.
  6. Volunteer. A very good blogger friend of mine The Do Gooder Mama always has wonderful ideas about how to help around your community. Our family has just started volunteering through Catholic Community Services to help a lady do chores at her house.
  7. Do a 5K. In Seattle, rainy weather shouldn’t hold you inside, or else you might never breathe fresh air. The nice weather in the summer is a boon. There are dozens of 5K runs in your area. Have the kids join in and do a stroller walk if they are too young for the full 5K. (BTW: my 5year olds did a 5K walk last year, so it’s totally possible!)
  8. Take a small trip. You don’t have to fly to Mexico or Hawaii to have a great family vacation. Go camping (again exploring nature is AWESOME) or go to the beach for the day. Get started early and wait for them to CRASH on the way back. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, shovels, buckets and towels.
  9. Stay-cation: set up the tent in the backyard. Use your BBQ outside or your firepit and roast marshmallows, hot dogs all with the convenience of a running toilet. (My most important thing about camping really)
  10. Go see a play or movie. Many places have movies in the park throughout the summer. Around here it can be a little late because darkness doesn’t fall until after 9pm. But, this is such a great experience that once in a while, it is worth the crankiness and the nap the next day.

There you have it 10 awesome things to do to fight the summertime blues.

Guilt trip, the next best trip on a holiday weekend

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I swear I am not as crazy as my mother. This was the mantra that got me through high school. Then I have kids and realize, we are not oceans apart, but puddles, only puddles. Must be the history or shared genetics (whatever), but I usually understand where she is coming from. Which is a MAJOR upgrade from high school.

Fast forward XX (not to be disclosed) years since high school and my kids are spending the summer at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. The boys are in heaven. Dirt to dig, baby goats to hold and bunnies to pet. Not to mention, swimming in the old horse water tanks. Then, I bought tickets to visit and bring my kids home. I planned to spend a whole 10 days of sleeping in bliss, cooking I don’t have to do and playing time with the kiddos (mine, not the baby goats).

That is, until I got a phone call from my dad. He told me to shop my resume around their town to see if I wanted to move there. (I have no idea WHY he ever thought I would want to move to Nebraska because I don’t.) His reasoning, if I moved to their town in Nebraska, they could see the kids every day, and I could have more time with the kids. My response was to tell him that I didn’t need to move 1/2 way across the country to spend time with my children, I could move closer to my job or find another one closer to my current home. Either way, this would work as well.

Then he dropped the bomb… he said my kids need a parent. As if, by working outside the home, I lost the right to call myself a mother to my children. When they are sick, I stay home. When they have a field trip, I schedule a day off. When they have track meets, and school programs, I leave work early to attend. Yet, I am not a parent. I pack their lunches, follow up on homework on the weekend and teach them how to vacuum so their future spouse will LURVE me. Yet, according to my parents, this is not enough. It is not enough to provide food, clothing, shelter and love – but I must also provide shorter working hours and easy access to grandparents.

Nope, I have lived in this state longer than they have lived on that farm. They want access to the kids, come visit – or wait for me to save up /help me to pay for plane tickets for them to visit you. So, I changed my reservations.

Now, instead of spending 10 days having fun in Nebraska with my parents and my kids, I am spending 3. After I called this last week and one of the kids was napping till 7pm and didn’t go to bed till 10pm, I realized I would need that extra week of leave, at home, to de-grandmatize my kids. Otherwise I could never get their schedules re-aligned and their gastro-intestinal habits used to eating vegetables again. And possibly, burn my ears over the inevitable, “that’s not how grandma does it” or “I like grandmas food better”.