Thursday, August 23, 2012

Job wanted

Recently I playfully asked Mr. LBF a very honest and truthful question. Not to my surprise he responded very honest and maybe a little too truthful. I asked "so if there was one thing that only you do for our household, that you wish we could share, what would it be?". He looked up at me and said "bringing in more income".... Ouch.... it stung.... then he asked "what was yours"?
"Lactating....I was gonna say lactating......".
Talk about taking the wind from my sails. I immediately started naming off all the reasons I do not have a job that brings in income and we nodded in agreement like we always do when the subject comes up. The biggest reason being of course money. We have looked into my working outside the home and as many family's have figured out I would basically only be making enough to cover our childcare and the phone bill. Plus the cost of our kids coming home to an empty house is way too high for me. When we got married and had "insta family" we knew that I would be taking on the role of SAHM. By the way I had no idea what that meant till I saw it used by someone else on FB and had to go to the urban dictionary to look it up. It stands for Stay At Home Mom, and Sh!t A$$ Mother F*cker. In this context we will be using the first definition.

I will also note at this point, that I know without a doubt that Mr. LbF does not for a second take my "job" for granted. He also lets me know that I am more than welcome to come up with my million dollar idea that we can sell in infomercials anytime. He will be more than happy to step aside as breadwinner.

With all that said the question of what to do with my days when Shemp enters the school age is still a mystery. From the time I was fourteen I have always worked. The number of jobs I have had is a running joke in my family. I helped run an after school program when I met Mr. LbF. At that point in time I had already sold shoes, cleaned houses and toilets, been a checker, model, fed hens and walked dogs. I delivered pizzas in the snow, and sprayed out bowling shoes in the summer. I was a telemarketer for a minute and a half and played Nanny for a month. All the while waitressing at whatever restaurant would have me. We had Larry and I decided to sell Pampered Chef, that was fun but then we had Curly. So I got a job at the PX and counted movies. Then we had Moe, and there really was no time to do anything but keep her from getting into stuff.
It is always about the time I am due to give birth that I find myself sifting through the want ads. By far the thing I enjoyed the most was being a waitress. I like people and food. My pipe dream has always been to have a bakery cafe with my best friend Kimberly. She is an amazing cook and baker. When ever I really hit one out-of-the-park with a meal, my family tells me I need to put it on our menu!

But back to my dilemma. What to do what to do? Waayy back in high school they had us fill out one of those career assessments that matched your answers with those of professionals. I remember my top two that I matched with were pro-baseball player and Rabbi. It was then I stopped filling out college applications.  I was on the road to be an innovator. - - - I just had to spell check the hell out of that......

Let's access, I am really good at making a mean pot of soup and cute babies. Womb for rent?
It is always easier to decide what you don't want to do. So I here's my list:  I don't want to demonstrate, discover, diagnose, or dance.

I just watched a guy run a backhoe in my front yard, and all I could think of was" I could totally do that"....
And thanks to God's promise that I have divine purpose I just might!

P. S
The backhoe operator said no......

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the road again

On our recent vacation road trip Mr. LbF looked over at me from the passenger seat past the pile of drive thru trash on his lap and said "Ok, I get it, your right, we need to get an RV"!!! This was after we had stopped for breakfast at 2 different places only to get on the road and discover neither of us had bought breakfast for Curly(poor middle child). We had everyone who got a meal pass Theirs to her first so she got a bite of each. Although no one was so hungry after Moe puked the breakfast she was fortunate enough to get right back into the wax paper on her lap. We pulled off the road once again to nurse Shemp, turning a 5 hour trip into a 8 hour trip.

Next step was RV shopping! This was so fun for us. The girls loved exploring every inch of the clubhouses on wheels! We must have been a sight to see walking up to the guy in the Hawaiian shirt (the guy wearing flowers are always the salesman by the way). I would strap on the backpack with Shemp in it and grab Moe's hand, Larry and Curly at my heels. One after another in 3 states we searched for just the right rig! By the time we found it the girls were experts on slide outs, grey water holding tanks, and gas vs diesel.

The evening before our maiden voyage each girl laid out what they had "packed them selves".  Moe had concluded the necessities were her Micky Mouse bowling set and 8 pairs of socks. Nothing else. Curly had fared better but had forgotten underpants and when I pointed this out she tried to convince me she would just wear her bathing suit all weekend.

Pull out day came! It only took 2 hours and 157 trips back and forth from the house to the RV to get her "outfitted" for travel. At 3:30 pm we set out with a honk and smiles all around!
Fifteen minutes down the road we stopped for gas. Then we got right back on the road going the wrong direction. Thirty more minutes pasted before we stopped at a RV accessories store for sewer pipe and the little ramp it fits on that goes from the RV to the hole in the ground. I may have also picked up a blue camping kettle just to make me smile. Walking out of the store I overheard Mr. LbF commenting on how much money Mommy likes to spend. "Oh yes honey I woke up this morning and all I could think about was running out first thing and spending our hard earned money on an accordion pipe for our family's poop to slide through". He did not say much more while I nursed and we once again got "on the road again".

Around 6:30 pm we got a call from our friends that were expecting us. They informed us we had about 3 hours left in a trip that takes them 3 hours in their car....

During that time random things that we could not get working before, started to work just fine. This was just further evidence we have a lot to learn about our electrical system. I played hostess to our children to the point of resentment. And had 37 mini panic attacks. During one of these attacks I tried to lay down on the queen bed in the back of the RV. I was jostled around like a rag doll and became waaaay too aware of my back fat as it was the only thing I could not keep still as I held on for dear life. I gave my life to Jesus every time a semi passed us and I felt the sway of our home on wheels. I got encouraging text messages from my friend Erika. She said "this was your idea and your gonna have to figure it out, that sucks for you".

At 11:18 pm we drove right past our destination. 100 point turn on a country road and we pulled into the driveway of our very tired and understanding friends the Powells. That night we learned the importance of parking on level ground. I woke up 7 times to find myself clinging to Mr. LbF as not to roll off the bed onto the floor.
Night 2 was much more comfortable.
We pulled out headed for home after a fun filled 2 days of food and friends, determined to make better time. It was my turn to drive and except for the white knuckles and neck sweat, I did great! Mr. LbF learned right away after nearly losing his hand that touching me while driving was not the best plan. Reflecting back it may not have been the best weekend to go cold turkey off my anti anxiety meds....

About an hour from home we made a pit stop at a roadside antique store (oh darn, right). They informed us only after we had unloaded everybody that the bathroom was out of order and that the closest was "only 3 miles down the road". They said "only" like you can explain that to a 3 year old. We had no choice but to break in the throne in the castle. Moe had the honor and christened the pot. Next was snack time and we turned on the t.v because we could!
The final stretch home called for naps all around. I had one minor mishap with a bird in flight.. but no one else saw it.
We were so eager to be home I backed right into our drive way following Mr. LbF's cryptic hand gestures and backed right into the rain gutter crushing it on impact.

Dinner was delivered by our loving neighbors the Franklin's. They found us sitting at the roof edge  on top of the RV taking turns hammering out the rain gutter. Mr. LbF pointed out the sunset and placed his arm around my neck. He whispered our favorite phrase to say to each other "I would not do this with anybody else".

Friday, May 11, 2012

Warrior Faith

My heart pounded with every step as I advanced up the hill to the starting line of the Warrior Dash. My biggest fears played like a reel in my mind. Would I be able to finish? Would I be the biggest thing on the 5k course? While attempting to hoist myself over an obstacle would a stranger take pity on me and in an attempt to help from below would their hand slip and wind up in my butt? Would I embarrass myself and my loving husband? I put on clean underpants that morning just in case paramedics had to cut off my spandex.
The longest part of the race was the 3/4 mile to the first obstacle. I jogged this whole way and at the first water check point splashed a paper cupful right in my face. My thinking was that if I was unable to actually do any of the obstacles at least at the finish line I could have mascara running down my face so that it looked like I had done something!

Obstacle 1. This was a trench dug out covered in boards. My dear friend Erika who is afraid of tunnels and claustrophobic came to mind as I went in head first. She and I have been in the "trenches" of deployment together and many other of my battle buddies came to mind. It was then that all the reasons I had signed up for this race came flooding back. This day was not just about me it was dedicated to the people in my life that I want to be a Warrior for!

Obstacle 2 and 3 involved rope, smelly water and dead fish. I kept thinking, my kids would love to see me doing this! Me the Mom who can't stand anything that makes a big mess, belly down in the muddy water with dead fish floating by my face!

Obstacle 4 was the army crawl under barbwire. I thought for sure my hind end would end up looking like I got attacked by a cheese grater so I kept low and focused on how being so low to the ground is how my son sees the world everyday.

Obstacle 5 was named vertical limit, it was a wood wall with hand and foot holds to climb. I did not even give myself time to think I just grabbed onto that wall and scaled it like a spider monkey.

Obstacle 6 was horizontal cargo nets. I took the path less traveled and straddled the wood in the center were the nets were tied together. On my belly I moved along like an over sized inch worm. The guy standing at the side monitoring the site actually said "well I have not seen that approach today". I looked back at him and laughed then I laughed again as I saw the wave of competitors making their way across the nets. It looked like a sea of muscle all tan and gleaming in the sunlight. Now a miracle had happened and I was some how in the lead or the 10 am heat of racers had caught up with me. Either way I am positive I had the better view of these men looking back then they did a minute ago looking forward.

Obstacle 7 was barricade breakdown, the description reads "hurdle over the barricades and crawl under the barbwire". The barricades were walls made out of 2x4s and particle board. I knew right away there was not going to be any hurdling going on. So I hoisted my right leg up onto the wall and gave it a good shove. That gave me the momentum I needed to get the rest of me moving in the same direction. I call it the fat chick slinky. I ended up flat on the ground but it worked out since that is where I needed to be to crawl under the barbwire! There were waaaaayyy to many of these. By the last one I got three steps and realized my left labia was caught on the top of the wall, I had to turn around and go back for it!

Obstacle 8 I teeter up and down a narrow path. It was playful and I thought of all the ups and downs we face as a military family. We form strong bonds in short periods of time because we have to. I was not alone in this race I had the support of army family that God has put in my life right when he knew I needed them. So even in the down times there is a friendly face on the way up at the end of the narrow path.

Obstacle 9 was the first one I got to and doubted my ability to finish. It was a massive slope with just a rope to grab and pull yourself up. As I climbed I pictured my guarding angel with her back to mine pushing as I pulled!

In between the obstacles I walked and took in what I was accomplishing. It was a beautiful day. As fellow racers flew past me I would holler out encouraging things like "way to go" or "keep up the pace" and once in a while just to pass the time I would say things like "it's ok, don't wait up, I'll  finish at some point this year" or "hope you don't slip and fall on your skinny ass".

Obstacle 10 was piles of old tires and smelled like hot rubber. I sang "the wheels on the bus go round and round" through that one. I also yelled "high knees" to a few strangers who did not deserve it. That felt good.

Obstacle 11 my worst fears flashed through my brain. It was the Great Warrior Wall. A two story high vertical barricade. With just a rope and a 2 inch ledge to hang onto. I took a deep breath and the first hoist to the heavens! At the top I could see the whole course including the finish line! I let out my loudest Warrior Mama cry and threw my arms into the air!

Obstacle 12 were more cargo nets but this time straight up!

Obstacle 13 I got a running start and with all I my might I jumped as high as I could and flew through fire! This feat was for my husband who was standing on the sideline as my friend, my support, and my biggest fan! He has my back and always lights my fire!

Obstacle 14 was right before the finish line and was just a giant pit of mud. That was all that stood between me and victory. I practically dove in. Crawling out the other side I could hear the cheers from my fellow competitors urging me on.

One wet and tired step after the other I crossed the finish line and fell like a heap into the arms of my friend Kim. Tears soon mixed with the mud and sweat streaming down my face. Mr. LbF wrapped his arms around my neck and kissed my quivering lips. I handed him my participation medal that reads "I survived the Warrior Dash 2012". He placed it over my dripping pony tails and around my neck. I was flying high as a kite and felt more like myself then I have in a very long time. It was about setting aside what I do day in and out and shining a light on who I really am. I am more then what I see in the mirror. I may have had dirt in places I did not know dirt could get into but I felt amazing!

Before we headed home to show off my bruises to our girls I got the prized turkey leg and a beer. Victory does taste pretty sweet!

My Warrior Mama warm up!
Before the madness

Top of the world!

Come on baby light my fire!

This is what being friends with Kim got me!

My biggest fan, Mr. LbF

Warrior Women

My Pit crew

Warrior Army Family

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How many African Goats do we need?

To breed or not to breed, that is the question. Starting our family was the easy part it seems. Knowing when we are done has proven to be much more complicated. Larry, our first born, was the blessing we never knew we always wanted and arrived right in time, after the "I dos". Curly is what we military folks call a "deployment baby". You find out your man is going to deploy and the only thing that makes sense at the time is to make a baby! This does not make sense by the way...
As much as it pains me to say this, she number 3, being my biggest challenge yet, I asked for Moe! Mr. LbF had to be talked into number 3. I was sweating like an addict with baby fever and he fed the beast. Baby 4 was not my idea.... I was D_O_N_E!!! But if you know anything about us as a couple you know we are total suckers for each other and it took very little convincing to get me on board.
Mr. LbF swears he knew we would have a boy. I am still in shock, totally in love but still in shock.

Now the million dollar question. To have anymore? At this point Mr. LbF claims to feel complete as a family. I as well feel that we have reached our max on what we can afford for one and what I can handle for two.  Now for the emotional part. Since the day Shemp was born my heart has been so full of joy that it has been telling my brain to do it again!! My brain however knows better and is putting up the good fight. I have been just waiting for the day that the two would come to an agreement. That day came last week. Of course not without incident.

Last week on Tuesday, Moe came home and told me "Mom I need a Goat costume for a play at school on Thursday." The panicked look on my face must have worried her because then she said, "It's ok Mama you can just go to the costume store and get me a Goat costume there". This of course did not help as there is no such thing as a Goat costume store. On Wednesday I wandered Kmart thinking Goat thoughts and left the store with a black sweat suit and a white clearance scarf. Scissors, needle and thread later, voila Goat!

Thursday night came and the family piled into the swagger wagon to take joy in Moe shaking her yarn Goat tail along with 80 other small children disguised as farm creatures. On the way to the play Larry says to me "Mom I need to bring a dish to school that is from my ancestor's country of origin".  Earlier that week we had tried to explain to Larry that she has many countries of origin being that she is very special and has parents that come from many different back grounds. After that conversation I had moved on with my week. Larry however had made the decision that because she was mostly African American that her country of origin must be from Africa and therefore her ancestors came from Senagal Africa. She informed us of this right after telling me she needed a dish from that country to take to school the very next morning. Being the supportive wife that I am I turned to my husband and asked "So what do your people like to eat?" He responded by pulling out the ipad to look it up. Interesting fact about Senagal Africa, the biggest export is peanuts. Based on that right after the play we loaded back in the van and headed to the grocery store. As we parked, a light bulb when off in my head and I realized we could not send peanuts to school with her as the school is a "Peanut Free Zone". Mr. LbF said we were already there and we would find something. We get into the store and it takes 2 seconds for the bakery to totally distract every member if my family. I reel them back to reality with the first bathroom break. Then we wander the aisles searching for African inspiration. At this point it is pushing 8 pm and all we have to show for it is a lemon supreme pie (not from Senagal). Time for bathroom break number two. We divide and conquer. I take Moe to do a number 2 and Mr. LbF and the others head to produce. The bathroom break is gonna take a minute, so why not nurse Shemp? So now I am sitting on a toilet nursing one, waiting to wipe the butt of another while my hubby wanders the store looking for African food with the other two, one of which is dressed like a Goat. Because I had time to think, I decide that the only reasonable thing to send is dried fruit. All countries eat fruit. After hand washing we meet up in produce and I load the basket with raisins, dried mangos and a bag of tropical fruit. The plan is to combine all the fruit and call it Senagal Trail mix!
We get to the check out and Mr. LbF leans in to my ear and says "we are out of protection".
As the checker is complimenting my Goat on her wonderful sheep costume she rings up 1 lemon pie, 6 bags of fruit, ice pops, and Trojans.
It was in that moment that my heart and mind met in the middle. Things could not possibly get more strange. I could not feel anymore blessed, which is the polite answer to the question at the top: Not to breed!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Muscle weighs more then fat...

I have been working out.. I don't mean like the way I used to, as in putting on cute matching shorts and socks and strutting my toned ass in front of who ever had the privilege to watch. I mean working out as in wearing holey lounge pants and over sized t-shirts with places I have visited on them. While sweating like a whore in church. For 6 weeks as often as I could, I have dragged my fluffy self onto the treadmill and thrust my body in an awkward forward motion till the room got blurry and my boobs got tired of hitting my chin.
Today is my birthday I had this great picture of everything I would have to show for the last 6 weeks. But the scale does not lie and my fantasy was just that, a fantasy. In conversation regarding the lack of progress, loved ones have said things that are seemingly comforting. I will now tell you my true feelings on each comment.
One loving person said "well your building muscle and muscle weighs more then fat". This is crap that skinny bitches made up to tell the rest of us while they secretly laugh.
 Another one was "you have more stamina then you did when you started". I stood in the mirror naked and did not see stamina staring back at me.
Then I was told that I had made a life change and that it takes time to see the results. When you walk away from a group of people nobody says "look at that life change on the back of her".
I was also told that it takes 4 weeks to make something habit. I have been working out for 6 and there is nothing habit about it.  I have to pep talk my self all the way from tying my laces to reminding myself not to just jump off the treadmill without stretching a little first. Spaghetti legs are hard enough if your talking about fettuccine but my gams are more like extra wide egg noodles. Great! Now I'm hungry...
I also got the advice I am famous for handing out "you just had a baby, it takes nine months to put it on and nine months to take it off". I can't lie, I was this exact weight when I got pregnant a year ago today. Baby weight is not the problem, at least not from this baby. I put on weight with the first 3 and am still holding tight to that. So if it took me 8 years to put that on, will it take 8 years to take it off?.. Put me out of my misery now! I told Mr. LbF if I had know after 6 weeks I would be the exact same weight I would have spent that time sitting on my very comfortable couch. Not shaking back-fat violently over and over.
So the worst part about this is that there is no way I can stop and just give up now. When I was all fired up about this fitness thing 6 long weeks ago I did the unthinkable. I signed up for a race and paid a registration fee and everything. I am as committed as I get! The race is called the Warrior Dash. It is a 5k obstacle course that involves such feats as army crawling under barbwire, trudging through 3 feet of mud and climbing over walls and old cars. At the finish line you get to jump over a pit of fire! Then when you are done you get a roasted turkey leg and a beer. I can't tell you the number of things this gal can be talked into with the promise of poultry and a cold one!

But let's get down to the real reason I would volunteer for such a tasking? And here it is......I am scared out of my mind of doing nothing. I am long over due for a quick kick in the plus size pants. The Warrior Dash is that boot! It is not just the fear of embarrassing myself that will keep me going but..... Ok I got is totally the fear of embarrassing myself...
I needed to find something that would inspire me to get moving. My neighbor told me about the Warrior Dash and after seeing what it was all about online I was hooked!

Part of it goes even deeper for me... it is the word Warrior. I'm totally drawn to it and aspire to be just that, a Warrior. I want to be a Warrior for my children! To be the someone they think of when they hear the word! I want to be a Warrior for Christ! I want Him to put me where he can use me. I want people who don't know me to look at me and ask how it is that I seem to have it all, just so I can share my testimony of being a Warrior for Christ. I want to be a Warrior for my amazing girlfriends who love me through thick and thin and help me to laugh through the tears. I want to be a Warrior for my husband who loves on the thick while making me feel light as air. I want to be a Warrior for any Mama who has just given birth and finds her self in a dark place. Asking for help can be the hardest thing some of us will ever do. I want to be a Warrior for myself so that when I do look in the mirror all I see that needs to be done is a few touch-ups on my war paint!