Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Money, Money, Money

Its a love/hate relationship. I love to have money, I love to spend money, I hate doing the budget and balancing the checking account to our Quicken records. Now I don't hate the math, I don't hate the time it takes, I hate how incredible inept and stupid I feel as I do it and see how badly I have blown it yet again this month.

With hubby being on a deploying boat we sat down and talked it through. We decided that I should take over out finances and budgeting since he would be gone alot. 6 months ago he carefully explained it all. When the money comes in, what bills are due when, what needs to go into savings, the whole 9 yards. We spent hours going over the budget spread sheet deciphering the columns and doing the math. It was a painfully agonizing experience, and humbling as well.

I am a fairly intelligent person, I can manage a household of 5, 3 different school schedules, a dog. I can plan cross country moves that go so smoothly no one knows how much work they really take. I am capable of, on short notice, planning and directing large group activities for small children and grown ups alike. I can keep a house clean, laundry done, and homework finished on schedule. So why can't I do the budget?

Why has it every single month, for the past 6 months, been a complete and utter failure? Why does it hurt me every time I fail at it? I actually want to cry and it doesn't matter what else I have accomplished and done well that month because this one thing was a complete fail. I feel beat down and fairly worthless because I cannot be the helpmate my husband needs on this one stupid thing.

I feel as I am a disappointment to him, and to us, when I fail at this. It matters so much to him to keep our checking account balanced and to build our savings and I have let him down each and every time. The worst part is, I don't know why I can't seem to do this. And it breaks my heart cause I so desperately want to do this well.

If you don't laugh, you'll cry. And for once, I can't seem to laugh

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Parenting game

So our house is finally settling down. The kids have ended the "Who's in charge" game and I have won....for the moment.

I had inspiration strike today as I was texting with a friend, I realized one of the advantages our kids have. Are you ready for it? Sit down cause you might need to let this sink in for a moment.

Our kids KNOW this is a game. Not only do they know, but they spend their days trying to figure out how to bend the rules, adjust the time clock and pick a fight with the Refs.

We are told very early on in our childrens lives that they simply do not understand us. Doctors, teachers, grandparents, even other mothers spend their days trying to convince us (and perhaps themselves) that our children simply do not know what we are asking of them. When they stare at you as you give them directions and then they ask you "what?", they are simply confused. When they look you in the eye as you direct them to stop jumping on the bed and then do it "just one more time", they simply did not process your request. When they carefully pick a fight between two other children and then sneak off so as not to get caught, they didn't understand they were hurting someone elses feelings.

I am not buying it. I happen to know my childrens IQ's and know they are so much smarter than that. I have seen the look in their eyes and can almost hear the wheels turning in their brains as they develop a plan of attack for the next round of the 'Parenting Game'.

Now my question to you is this....If you decided to look at this the way our children do, if you decided that this really is like a game, would that change how you parent?

Now don't get me wrong, parenting is HARD. It is hands down the most difficult, emotionally draining, physically exhausting, spiritually crying out job I have ever had. But if I decided to take every mean and hurtful thing my children say or do to me with a grain of salt because I understand the rules to this game, would those words cut as deep and would I react as strongly to something we both know she did not mean? Could you shake off those tantrums and screaming fits a little easier if you viewed its as a challenging of the rules instead of a personal commentary on you as a parent?

Now the brilliant part of this analogy, at least to me, is the one part the children are hoping you forgot. Are you still sitting down? YOU make the rules, YOU control the clock, and YOU, yes YOU are the supreme Ref in this game and have final call in all game disputes.

So tomorrow when I wake up, I will grab my jersey and whistle and go play. I will remember not only am I the Ref, I am the mom, I love my children, and that ultimately it is my house and my rules.

If you don't laugh, you'll cry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

parenting or negotiating with decide

Ummm, we seem to have a situation on our hands. The children have rebelled and and its gotten ugly here in this place.

Now I know they have been through a lot this month. I truly understand that hubby and I have turned their worlds upside down, inside out, and sideways and they have done a marvelous job with handling all of that. I applude their confidence, their ease with change, their ability to trust. I praise their understanding of hubbys job and what it requires from us as a family, I really truly do.

On the other hand, ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!
We have been bombarded with every bad attitude, snotty voice, wild hurricane, and distructive thought they have ever had in the past 48 hours. J has decided that he can do NOTHING on his own, A's voice has raised 59 octives so its at a pitch even the dog has trouble understanding as she whines, but my favorite tonight was K.

Oh boy howdy, that child! Tonight after dinner K got to take a bubble bath in our giant tub, put on her new Cars 2 pjs, and came downstairs to pack up her backpack (new) with her (new) school supplies. After we carefully did that she went in the kitchen and saw that we (I) had opened a bag of candy that she wanted. "Can I have this" she asks. "No K, its almost bedtime" her father answers. "I was asking mom" (snotty voice where you can hear the 'duh') is K's reply. "K, you may not have that candy" dad answers again and she actually rolls her eyes at him.
My first thought is, well maybe I dont want to admit to that one. What mom then does is send her to bed. Done, complete, game over, you lose.

As I am sitting at the table thinking of what I am going to say to her when I go upstairs to have our come to Jesus talk I am truly baffled by this first showing of open defience by K. She has mouthed off to ME before, talked back to ME, even risked her very life by telling ME 'duh' before but this with daddy is new.

Now you may be thinking that since K was disrespectful to daddy then he should be the one having a conversation with her, not mom, but I don't agree.

I believe that our daughters learn how to be respectful of their future husbands by watching their parents relationship. She will learn much more about me as a wife simply by watching me then any thing I tell her as a teen and young adult.

I am also a firm believer that Hubby is MINE. He is my best friend, my home, my safe spot in a world of chaos and I will not allow my children to be disrespectful to someone I cherish beyond all else. So when K is rude and mean and ugly to my best friend and I do nothing to challenge that, what is she learning? K will learn that friends don't stand up for each other. She will learn that husbands and wives don't defend each other. She will learn that she can divide us by simply using her words. K needs to understand that he is MY husband and because I love him, I will not allow anyone, including and especially her, to talk to him that way.

Now when I went up to speak with her we talked about the 'why' behind her being in bed early and this is what it comes down to. When K told her daddy that she was only asking me, she was telling him he didn't matter. When K rolled her eyes at him she was telling him that she did not love him enough to be respectful. Now those are some really harsh realities for my 7 year old but they are also some very important lessons that she needs to understand. They are lessons that will affect all her future relationships, both friendships and dating, and I am hoping to help her get them right now when the consequences are so small. Daddy went up to talk with her too and K has made this right. I am hoping that next time she will stop and think about what her words and actions mean before they hurt someone who might not be so quick to forgive.

If you don't laugh, you'll cry.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The meaning of words

I grew up knowing that my words matter. Not only did they matter but the meaning behind my words mattered a great deal. My father is an english major who enjoyed nothing more than debating what a word, sentence, or phrase meant both literally and metaphorically. I learned quickly what all those bad words truly meant, (had to copy dictionary lines), I knew that to say I hated meant I wished someone or something dead. I knew that 'may I' and 'can I' were very different phrases with very different definitions and would grant me very different answers.
One of my favorite things about my english major father though is that never did he simply tell us the meaning of a word. It always started with asking us what we thought it meant. Then why did we think that? Could we defend our opinion? I loved the debate because I remember those words still. One year in sunday school he asked a class full of young adults and teenagers what the definition of love was. It took us 5 weeks to come to an agreement and I still remember it to this day a good 15 years later. "love, an unconditional commitment to another persons well being". The other two words I can still tell you without pause are Grace and Mercy.
"Grace, getting something you don't deserve" "Mercy, not getting what you do deserve"
I have decided that everything involved in this move has been an act of Grace, of receiving things I do not deserve. The house on base, the school I wanted the kids in, the car ride that went so smoothly, the visit with inlaws where everyone was instant companions, the safety as we traveled across snowy and icy roads. My parents caring for our children as the hubby and I celebrate our 1o year anniversary and keeping the kids 2 more weeks while we unpack and set up a new home.
I have done nothing that allows me to think I deserve these gifts. I have whined, complained, had sleepless night of doubt and yet I have still been blessed, have still been given Grace. I am so very thankful for a God who is so full of Grace and Mercy and loves me so very much and gives me such incredible if only I would remember this next time we move

If you don't laugh, you'll cry

Friday, December 16, 2011

Adventures in moving...Part 2

Graduation for the Husband
Load up and hit the road
drive 9 hours
Check engine light came on
share a hotel room with 3 kids
Husband, in his sleep, pulls my pillow out from under my head and throws it across the room
i kicked him :)

wake up
hotel breakfast
fire car shipment company for contract breech, meaning they are morons who should not be trusted
hired a new company, using my cell phone, husbands iphone, and my laptop.
Only took me 2 hours
drove 9 hours
dinner, baths, Advent
reward for me and husband, a seperate hotel room :)

if you dont laugh you'll cry

Monday, December 12, 2011

adventures in moving...Part 1

Packers came
Household goods loaded on a truck
Moved into a hotel
Cleaned out house

Took kids to children's museum
K broke her arm at said museum
Trip to the ER to get x-rays and a sling
Spent the day icing it and giving meds for swelling and pain

Christmas concert at church Sat night and Sunday morning
Singing cost me my voice for a few days, totally worth it :)
Husband took A to Boston for an eye appt.
I took K to orthopedics to see if we would do a cast or just a sling and immobilize it
Dinner, baths, Advent each night.

So far its been interesting and we haven't even gotten in the car yet....
if you don't laugh, you cry

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A home to call my own....

So its been awhile since I wrote on here and for that I am sorry. To make up for it I will make a confession....I am a whiner.
I know you are all gasping in shock at this, I understand your disbelief, but I, Julianne, am a whiner. I whine about my childrens attitudes, I whine about my messy house, I whine about the weather, etc etc on into infinity.
Now I have another confession to make and this one is harder, I don't like change that I can't control. For those who didn't know my family and I have moved to Connecticut for 6 months, yes that's right, 6 months. It was a HUGE change for us and took something like 2 months just to get settled in and find some friends and feel normal again. Now is is almost time for us to pack up and move again. Another change, another city, another school, all of which I have very little control over and I have not handled it with much grace.
I would love to brag that I love moving, I love the change but its not true. The funny part is, I don't have trouble making friends, I don't have trouble finding a church family, I don't struggle with fitting in most places. My kids adjust pretty quickly, they love going to new schools and making friends. My husband likes his job and the responsibilities that come with it. I like having a automatic support group being in the FRG (family readiness group) so why is this so hard?
Why can I not simply smile and nicely follow where my husband leads and the navy sends? Why do I whine and complain? Why can I not remember that each and every time we have moved God has provider far and beyond my needs?
Here is another example of how much I am given. We are moving to Bangor and one of the only real downfalls to being there is the waiting list for base housing. When we got orders there we were told it could be up to a year wait till they would have a house available to us and that meant we would be moving into an apartment for as long as that took. Now there is nothing wrong with living in an apartment, the part that i whined about was that we wouldn't really settle in there. We wouldn't know how long we had there or when we were moving again, more change I cannot control. It has weighed heavy on my mind and heart and my poor husband heard more than his fair share from his crazy wife about how much I hated this, how hard it would be on me, why I hated it.
It is so very unsettling not knowing where you will be living when you move. You have said goodbye to everyone you know, everything familiar and are now going to a place where even a home of your own is not a certainty.
Tonight though hubby got a call from Bangor. They have a house for us if we would like to accept it. This NEVER happens in Bangor. They often won't even speak to you till you are at the base and we will not arrive till Jan. God again has given me exactly what I needed and more. He has given us a home is a good neighborhood with a good school for the kids, its close to work for Luke and has a 2 car garage for him to play in.
So while I go and once again apologize to my hubby and cuddle while we watch Mystery Science Theater (look it up, you will thank me) you can laugh with me. I will laugh because once again I have been a dork and not trusted that the God who loves me will provide all my needs and the same God has proven to me He will even as I whine.

If you don't laugh, you'll cry.