Saturday, December 29, 2012

Angry, Update

Wow, it has been 3 months since I sat down to write. Obviously a lot has been going on to keep me busy but it is more than the moving, vacation, holiday stuff. I have been 

It is not a welcome feeling. I can't even pinpoint what I am so mad about. I have slowly come to realize that after years and years of depression, that it is evolving. I am no longer the weepy, pathetic depressive. I am an angry, frustrated, depressive that still wants to sleep. It is a lot to handle. The littlest thing can make me so mad that I want to scream. I can be having a good time and BAM! This is not something you want to have to deal with ever, especially with toddlers in the house. Don't worry, I have had it under control for the most part. I just have less patience than normal which equals a little more yelling.


Let's backtrack...

I got the keys to our new place and moved over most of the furniture on September 24th. It took over a week to get the old place completely emptied and I wouldn't have been able to get it done without some great friends. 






As October started, I was busy trying to set up the new place and finish Halloween costumes. We went on a Disneyland vacation with my ex-husband/twins' dad the week of October 22nd. We had a great time, and the boys loved it. As always the cast members at Disneyland made our time magical and we only had a few problems with Sam's sensory issues.



November seemed to be full of appointments with the Dr, OT, PT and Speech. I am thankful for Sam's care though so I can't complain. I helped plan and execute our second Mom2Mom sale and took notes on what to change for the Spring sale. I was horribly sick for Thanksgiving so it was a blessing when my friend drove the Twins down to PHX so they could spend the weekend with their grandparents. I wasn't alone for the holidays though because my oldest son, his girlfriend and their dog made my house a pit stop for 2 weeks.

December has been chaotic ! My regular babysitter has been MIA since her mom had a stroke. She has been stretched so thin with 2 jobs, sick family members, holidays, and finances. I have tried to be understanding, but I don't think I handled it very gracefully. I guess it shows how much I rely on her help which is a compliment to her and a warning to me. I need to make some changes (which I will get to in a new post). Christmas prep started with a BANG ! and the house was transformed. The Twins really seemed to get it this year. They talked about Santa, presents and the Baby Jesus. They loved their new toys, especially their Leap Frog Leap Pad (2)s. I am so glad I put those on layaway.



(Clicking this link will generate revenue in my account. Just making sure I am being honest. I would have blogged about these toys anyway. They keep the boys happy.)

It is now the last few days of the year. I need to remove the Christmas decor and put my house together. Instead I sit around using my new Kindle Fire and wondering when the Twins will learn to do laundry. Instead of reflecting on the past year or making a bunch of resolutions, I am planning. I am pretty good at it, ask anyone. I love having stuff scheduled and I have my google calendar synced to my smartphone and my tablet. I am planning parties, MNOs and birthday celebrations. I am making changes in diet and exercise and setting up accountability partners. I am planning a good start to 2013 one day at a time. 




On a side note, I apologize if I have been rough around the edges. If it has been uncomfortable for you, can you even imagine how it feels for me ? I don't like the crazy cycle of emotions in my head or the running thoughts but I am doing my best. 




Happy New Year, love Court

Leapfrog Leappad1 Explorer Learning Tablet Bonus Pack (Google Affiliate Ad)


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unglued but Blessed

I would love to write a post telling you all about the new book I am reading, Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst. However, I haven't had a chance to start reading it. I was waiting until the first day of the OBS (online bible study for those of you not in the cool club) to crack it open, smell the nerdy-girl new book smell and read away.

Instead the last week has consisted of packing boxes, lining up some help to move them, unpacking at the new house, and now heading back to finish up and clean the old place. I have been UNGLUED for over a week now ! I have snapped at my kids, rolled my eyes at many people, nodded in conversations without really listening and wanted to just crawl into bed for a nap. 

However, last night on the conference call, I realized that I shouldn't complain about anything related to this situation. I was blessed that my housing voucher came through just weeks before I had to be out of my then current location. I was blessed to find a rental home in the same neighborhood with more space and a low rent. I was blessed that paperwork was completed so quickly. I was blessed that my utilities were turned on right away. I will continue to be blessed with our new home.

So, I won't beat myself up for not starting the book. I believe the first chapter is titled "Imperfect Progress", so I am right on track :) Baby Steps is what will make this rental a home. Baby Steps is what will allow me to facilitate a small group study with friends. 


Taken from Melisa Taylor, I'm Not a Freak-out Woman

Use this as a facebook status:

“I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.” LysaTerKeurst,Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies,Week 1 #Unglued  http://bit.ly/2tOhFl


or this as a tweet: 

“I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.”~ @LysaTerKeurst @MTBibleStudies Week 1 http://bit.ly/2tOhFl

... and since no post is complete without pictures...



my new kitchen


playing outside


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Boogie Wipes, AGAIN

Last night as I stuffed more bags with samples and coupons, I realized how cool it is that I have been chosen to be a brand ambassador. Right now, I am a Saline Ambassador. It doesn't even feel like work :)


http://salineclean.com/


SALINE AMBASSADORS are confident and committed women/moms (possibly men/dads) who love sharing and discussing exciting new products or topics with others. 

I am super outgoing, friendly and loud. (Let's be honest here.) It is very easy for me to talk to strangers and offer them a sample. I love having parties when I can fit them into my schedule too. (It is a great excuse to eat cupcakes.) 

Today I got to bring sample packs of Boogie Wipes to MOPS. Each pack had a Kandoo Travel Size Flushable Wipes with a coupon; samples of both scents of Boogie Wipes that have tear off coupons, a coloring page a couple of crayons. Check out Save the Sleeve for more fun stuff for your kids.





At the meeting today, I even brought along a prize pack. For my local readers, if you received a sample pack from me this quarter (July, August, Septemeber 2012) and you completed the survey you can win a prize pack of your very own. Please contact me on facebook by September 25 to be entered in the drawing.



For my local readers, if you received a sample pack from me this quarter (July, August, Septemeber 2012) and you completed the survey you can win a prize pack of your very own.

AND here are some of the happy moms that received sample packs from me today. If you would like to learn more about Boogie Wipes - just leave a comment.




Rachelle

Vaughn
Brittany

Edited to Add : I just found out they opened up recruitment to be a Saline Ambassador. If you are interested and are local and we have either spoken about Boogie Wipes or you received a packet with my name on it - please contact me for more info. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Therapy Services: Speech, PT, OT and ME

Well, I have been trying to get a post out for the last couple days... I have started writing a couple times and either scrapped it or saved it as a draft. I am still having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I guess I will start with how I am feeling. Tonight I am sad, discouraged and joyful. An odd combination - huh ? 

Sad: I had to give Jay a swat on the butt when he crawled out of bed for the 4th time tonight about ten after midnight. I know that I have a short temper at times with my boys being a single mom. I wish I could snap my fingers and have more patience. (Hell, I wish I could snap my way to 2 potty trained toddlers and a car to drive.) I know that praying for patience won't get me anything but more way to test the little patience I have - so I quit doing that a while ago. I know that the boys are only 2 and a half. I just wish bedtime wasn't such a torture session. 


Aren't they adorable when they are sleeping ?

Which leads me to... 

Discouraged: Routines are something that the boys need. I love to be super organized and plan things out but the daily routine is always a little lax. I have great months where we eat at the same time, and have a great bath, story, bed routine; but then there are days when we sleep until 7pm. Last year I had a schedule up on the wall and we stuck to it pretty well. This year I have a schedule drawn out in a spreadsheet but I can barely stick to it. I know that part of the problem was that Summer just took over. But that is really just an excuse. Yes, there was a lot of construction, and the monsoons and humidity made me even less motivated. But there was something more. Something I still can't quite place my finger on. I know I have been a little more down or depressed but no where near a horrible depression like I have had in the past. I just seem to lack focus lately. 

We have had a lot more scheduled this summer and that hasn't helped. (I say that as I can see my full calendar out of the corner of my eye. Oh, and that is the dry erase calendar to my right. There is also my google calendar on another tab in my browser which is synced to my phone, and then the paper version on the fridge. Then there is the excel spreadsheet of my daily finances (child support in, bills out) and a large year planner in my binder.) Wow - a whole paragraph to explain how anal retentive I can be about calendars. 

 Back on track - We have had to drop a couple of activities on our schedule that just couldn't conform to our needs. We skipped a bunch of other stuff that I had penciled in too. I kept meaning to get downtown for the kids' activities and we didn't make it once. We could have gone bowling 6 times a week for free and we went once all summer. There were play dates and free music classes that were all deleted off the calendar as well. The main thing I made sure to keep as a priority were therapy appointments. 

Joyful: The boys were approved for speech therapy at our local hospital. During visits with the SLP, she felt that Sam needed an evaluation with the Pediatric Physical Therapist. (Jay ended up only going a few times and hasn't had a problem catching up to his age level.) He was then approved for visits with her. She felt that an evaluation with the Occupational Therapist would be a good idea and approval for visits with her should come in this week. Sam still has his moments with grunting and refusing to use words but he is getting much better. All of this stems from his constant ear infections that he had August 2010 to November 2011. The boys had a third surgery at Thanksgiving 2011 and have done great since then. YEA !!! However, getting to these appointments have become a pain in the butt. (Which leads back to...) 

 Discouraged: I wish we had a little more freedom with getting around town and fitting stuff into our schedule. I know I am repeating a sob story I have uttered before, but I wish I could drive and had a decent car to get us around. (For those of you that don't know, I had my license suspended when a ticket hit the one year mark of non-payment.) The fines have gone up and I haven't been able to spare the money to pay it. I know I could send a few dollars here and a few dollars there but it would take 3 years or more to pay it off (probably more). Since everything else is a bigger priority (rent, utilities, diapers) it hasn't gotten even close to the top of the HAS TO BE PAID list. 

Sad, Discouraged, Joyful: Feeling this way has been helped with my own therapy appointments. I have been seeing a new counselor once a week for the last month or so. The company that oversees my depression and anxiety has had a lot of changes in the lat year. There have been countless employees that have come and gone and the caseloads have been juggled around more than bowling pins in a circus act. I was sad when my counselor in FLG left the company. Then I was discouraged while I bounced between 3 different counselors that just didn't fit or click. I have finally found some joy with being comfortable with my current counselor since I didn't think we would click at all when we first met. Writing on my blog and in a journal has really helped. It also didn't hurt that the counselor validated all the things I have done to keep my head above water the last few years. There was no judgement or rolling of the eyes. When I leave there each week I feel like somebody is sincerely proud of me for what I have accomplished in the last week. (Even if it was only cleaning the kitchen or finishing a craft project.) 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Islands of Stuff

I wanted to thank those of you that have had me and the boys in your thoughts and prayers the last few days. I was really overwhelmed with migraines and toddler antics. It will probably take a couple weeks but I have a goal of Labor Day (ish) to have a schedule in place for us with ME time to de-stress. I saw my counselor and he agreed that having small goals is a good idea. He said it was like having islands to hop to with things that I could look forward to. I really liked that analogy so I made you a picture : 


Yes, I am a dork and I am proud of it. Things have been pretty overwhelming for me this summer. My neighborhood has had a ton of construction which has kept the streets a mess and rerouted the bus stops. It has kept us from being self sufficient because the closest bus stop is just under a mile from home. (We will be getting new sidewalks but the work seems to be taking too long.) So the first thing is a weekend to myself while the boys visit their grandparents in PHX. I have plans of seeing a movie and going out to eat at a place that doesn't serve pizza. Our work in progress will be a new schedule (spreadsheet is being worked on) for our days. Meal times and bedtimes need to be more consistent as well as time for me. Which brings me to the next ISLAND - MOPS and a MNO. My MOPS group starts back up the first Thursday in September. I absolutely love MOPS. If you haven't heard of it before, it stands for Mothers of Pre Schoolers. Any mom that is pregnant and/or has kids up to Kindergarten is encouraged to join. Check out their website : http://www.mops.org/  or facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/MOPS.Int    They even have a way to search for a group in your area.  And just to note - I am not receiving anything by linking to their pages - I just really love the organization. That Friday night I have a MNO (Mom's Night Out) planned with some of my friends. There is a lot going on in downtown Flagstaff that weekend so I thought it would be a good opportunity for us moms to get out of the house. The following week there is a bible study starting at two different churches. I need to find out what each is doing so I can decide which one to attend.

During the rest of September and October I am going to have so much fun working on Halloween costumes for all of us. I am making costumes for me and the Twins' dad and making parts of the costumes for the twins. If you follow me on Pinterest then you already have an idea of what those costumes will be :)  I am also hoping to make Christmas presents for friends and family again this year. I have tons of ideas and I have already started on some stuff. 

The last ISLAND that I am looking forward to is a TRIP TO DISNEYLAND !!! I am so excited that I will get to take the Twins to meet Mickey Mouse. I used to go all the time with my oldest son and I can't wait to share the magic that is Disney with my toddlers. They love Disney channel, movies and music so I am hoping they will Disneyland as much as I do. We are actually taking the trip with their dad, my ex-husband, which I think will be a great memory for the boys. I have a spreadsheet set up for that as well :) We are getting to do character meals every day thanks to a friend that gave us dining vouchers for free, plus their dad paid for tickets to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Even adults can wear costumes to the event and it includes free parking and trick or treating in the park. Plus there are special fireworks and a parade that only party goers can see !!! This brings out the Disney Dork in me so expect lots and lots of pictures in November. I even have a Pinterest Board for that too.

Well, my dishwasher is calling my name and I think the trash needs to be taken down the stairs. So thanks for reading and following me through the last couple stressful weeks.

Yea ! You made it to the end of Mom's rambling...




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Perseid Meteor Shower - Aug 12, 12 at 1am

I have always loved astronomy. I took a class in college mainly because it was easier than chemistry but I really started to appreciate what I was learning. When I heard there was going to be a meteor shower tonight, I wanted to get a peek. The kids were both finally passed out so I escaped outside to watch the skies for a little bit. It was about 1 in the morning. I threw on some jeans to keep warm but didn't add another layer to my tank top - dummy - it is 56 degrees out there.

There was some distant flashes of lighting off to my left,
There were clouds blocking part of my view,
There were stars blanketing the sky above me,
The clouds started to clear and I could see the moon and the planet Jupiter.

I finally started seeing some of the meteors with their star trails (or tails?) and I got really excited.
I tried to take some pictures but I have a simple point and shoot digital camera - so they are not worth sharing. I did find some online though through google images.

This is one of my favorites that I found online.
By Logan Brumm Photography and Design
http://flic.kr/p/8rT9Ec

August 13th, 2010 Perseid Meteor Shower - Flagstaff, Arizona By Logan Brumm Photography and Design



My eyes have been playing tricks on me lately (I think it is the constant headaches and migraines) but when I thought I saw a dark shadow and a white stripe, I didn't want to take any chances. I stood still for a moment but it looked like it was going to come closer so I started walking as fast as I could in the opposite direction of my stairs. This meant I was going down a hill covered in grasses, rocks, and the bumpy "road" made by trucks going to the back of our building. I almost fell a few times. I know how much the stink bothers me and my headaches inside the house so I didn't want to have a new perfume given to me :)

I stood in the parking lot for a little bit but the light from the buildings was making it hard to see. The clouds were starting to move again and the pine trees were directly in my line of sight for the moon.

I guess I can take a peek later this morning or late tonight again.

I hope you got a chance to see how beautiful the sky was tonight.

ETA: Oops I forgot to give you one more link that had good info for me on where to look in the sky and what to watch for... http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

Well, my pictures weren't very good but I will leave you with this picture of "stars",


possibly "stars" of a future boy band ? They can sing like their mama so they have a chance !

ETA AGAIN - I just got this link in my twitter feed :


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Not Able to Pretend Today

Today was horrible and it isn't over yet. Once my boys are asleep and I can have some quiet - I will consider it done. Thursdays during the summer should be fun. My mom's group meets for play dates at a different location each week. Last night a friend texted that she would pick us up so we could go today. I packed some snacks and had my new Target clearance picnic blanket ready to go. We were headed to the Duck Pond. It is a huge pond with a sidewalk around it for walking/riding bikes. The kids feed the ducks and run around in the grass. However, my kids were throwing rocks into the water, getting their shoes wet, falling in the sludge (mud and duck poop), and refusing to eat or listen. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't do anything but yell at them. I couldn't handle chasing them all over and getting up to drag them back to the blanket.

My true self showed through today and I didn't like it.

I should have known better than to bring them today but I needed to get out of the house. My depression and anxiety have been ramping up and I thought, I hoped that getting out would help. Instead I felt like more of a failure and I acted that way in front of 8 of my mom friends. What an embarrassment !

I know that I am feeling worse about things with the twins' 2 yr old-ness because of my failures with my oldest son. He is 17 and wants nothing to do with me anymore. We started to have problems when I was pregnant with the twins and it grew and grew until he moved out of the house. When I left my husband and moved to Northern AZ, he was staying with a family from church. Then he was with his aunt/cousin. When school ended this year he bounced around with some friends and then moved in with his girlfriend. Then his girlfriend moved to Cali and he went with her. Talk about winning the award for Mother of the Year. I can't even keep my kid in the same state ! While all this was happening, he contacted his father. His father hasn't been in the picture since 1998. We did see him once at Christmas time in 2008 but it was only a ploy for me to drop the child support order. Now he wants to go live with his dad in Chicago. After debating it for a week, I signed a notarized statement allowing his dad to take custody. There is nothing I can do to change how he feels about me or what has happened in the last couple years. I can't force a 6 foot tall 17 year old boy to move up here and listen to me. So I did what he wanted and signed the paper. I feel like I failed him. I did fail him. I just hope this is what he truly wants and it works out for him. All I want is for him to finish high school, not become a parent at 18, and join the military or go to college.

It is going to take some time for me to get over this. Until then I could use some prayers and support. I need to stop looking at everything in such a negative way. I need to stop pretending that everything is okay. I need to let my true self show without feeling guilty. I need a break. I have a friend coming to see me this weekend and I have already set up a babysitter for Saturday afternoon and evening. Then later this month the boys will spend the weekend with their grandparents. Once September comes, my mom's group will start meetings and I hope to join a bible study. In October, the Twins are getting a trip to Disneyland with me and their dad.  I love Disney and I already have a countdown going - 73 days to go !

Thanks for listening reading.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Boogie Wipes - Have you heard of them ?

I hadn't heard of Boogie Wipes before the twins were born but we started using them when they were babies. I love these wipes. They are saline and so much better than tissues or baby wipes for little noses. I even use them :) They smell great too. I am now a Saline Ambassador and I have been given the task of telling friends, moms, acquaintances and even strangers about Boogie Wipes. You can even like them on Facebook. If you live by me and want a sample, send me a text or find me out and about in Flagstaff. If you aren't too far away, I can try and get some out in the mail to you. There is one small catch though... Once you get the cool samples, freebies and coupons; I need you to complete a quick survey so the company can get some feedback. I don't want to post the link here but I will include it in your sample pack. There is a prize pack awarded to one lucky family that completes the survey - so make sure to fill it out right away. For my blog followers, you might get some of these cool products soon. For my local friends, there will be a prize offered at one of our MOPS meeting or play dates. Stay tuned... 

These are the goodies I got in my big green box.
I will be putting together a prize pack soon so keep watching the blog.



And I almost forgot... there is a twitter party on August 9th.Check out this blog post for more information : http://theiqmom.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/boogiewipes_mompact/

You can follow me on Twitter as well : C_Ludwig


#Mompact Twitter Party

WHEN:  August 9 at 9pm ET.
HOSTS: @Mompact and @BoogieMom
Assistant Moderators@TheIQMom@SunandSipCups@HorridHousewife
TweetGrid (to help you “watch” the action): http://bit.ly/MompactPartyGrid
PRIZES:  10 lucky moms who participate in the Twitter party will receive prize packages from BoogieWipes and Kandoo.  Simply RSVP before the party here .  If you’ve never tried BoogieWipes, you can also request a sample by completing the RSVP form prior to August 2nd.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Aggravations solved for $50

I have them, plenty of them. This isn't about the neighbor's alarm clock that goes off at ten to midnight or the neighbor's music that makes my pictures shake. It is about transportation and finances. I lost my license a while back because of an unpaid ticket. I got pulled over right before the twins were born and the court date was during my hospital stay. I got hit with the maximum fines and I never had the money so my license was suspended. We have been doing okay with walking, taking the bus or having friends drive us places. However, when my knees are really hurting, I can't walk very far let alone push a double stroller. Yesterday I really didn't want to stay at home. I could not sleep Saturday night so at 6am, I gave up trying and got a shower. I got the boys up and dressed so we could head out. Then I realized that the three closest bus stops to our house were shut down due to construction. One of the reasons I love my neighborhood is that the bus does a loop that gets me almost anywhere I need to go. I knew I would be doing a lot of walking when we got to our destination so walking a mile to catch the bus was not something I wanted to do. I ended up spending $20 on a taxi ride yesterday. It wasn't a big deal at first and I was glad to be out of the house. But then later that night it really aggravated me ! A little while back I was trying to figure out ways to earn the money needed to reinstate my license and get a car. I know that the monthly cost of car insurance and gas would be a lot of money but it would make me/us more self sufficient. I broke down the cost and figured out that it would take me 36 months of putting $50 aside to pay off the debt. I can't wait that long so I tried to figure out what would be worth $50 to some of the people I know. I can babysit, do crafts, make sugar scrubs, plan parties, bake cupcakes.... If I could get 36 people to pay me $50 each - I could pay this off. Then I could pay it back with some service over the next two months. Or I could break it down a little more and do something for $25. Maybe this is crazy but I have got to put it out there... being at home with my boys is what I wanted but when we can't get out of the house - it gets exhausting. I don't like to be dependent on friends to go to the grocery store or appointments. Plus it contributes to my depression and anxiety. The more I have to rely on others, the more I feel like a burden. The more they try to convince me otherwise, the more I feel like they are lying which makes me want to hide in my house. Not being able to run to the store for diapers or milk is really getting to me. I wish I had an easier way to come up with this money...


AND so this post isn't super depressing : This is the three of us at the Farmer's Market yesterday. We won free fudge from Frazier May Fudge Co for knowing the secret word :)


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frazier-May-Fudge-Co/271987663041



Thursday, May 17, 2012

MOPS (not to clean the floor)

Today was the last MOPS meeting of the 2011-2012 year. It was a lot of fun but also bittersweet. My friend, Kaci, rewrote the lyrics to some songs to fit into a skit about THE MOPS MOMS and I got to perform two songs. I had an afro wig and a dress for "I Will Survive" and I made some Buzz Lightyear wings for "You've Got a Friend in MOPS (me)". There was a lot of silly dancing too. Somebody took a video but I don't know when it will be posted. (On a side note, Donna Summer passed away this morning and I am sure her version of the song was much better than mine.)

MOPS will be meeting for play dates over the summer so I will still get to see the other moms but not everybody can make those and it just isn't the same. Plus a couple people are moving to Cali and I am going to miss them. Kaci has been a great friend. When I first heard about this MOPS group, I got a call from Kaci since she was to co-coordinator that year. There was a meeting that week and she offered to come pick us up (me and two toddlers needing car seats) in her minivan. She has driven me to 90% of the meetings each first and third Thursday since then. Esther was at my table this year and she said the nicest thing to me at our Feb 2nd meeting. We had to write out a compliment to the mom next to us on a note card. This was the day before my 35th birthday and I was a little down. I still have that notecard taped up on my desk so I can read it every few days.

I am glad to be part of such a great group of women. I hope to be a part of this group until the boys leave for Kindergarten. They have "lifted my spirits high" and been there to give love and make my life better.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Update on welfare...

So the boys had their hearing test on Thursday afternoon (4-12). As I was waiting at the hospital for the sitter I tried calling again. I still couldn't get though on the automated phone interview phone lines. I gave up and called the worker that had treated me poorly. She admitted that there had been some phone issues but she never bothered to call/email me about it. She told me I would just have to go in. She asked how my job searching and "approved activity" was going. I told her the truth that I hadn't found many jobs to apply for but that I was online a lot during the week. I mentioned that I was at the hospital and she asked why so I explained that the boys had hearing tests scheduled due to all the ear problems. Her reply : "So you aren't job searching right now ?" Um no, I am waiting for the boys to be dropped off to take them in the hospital. "Well, if you aren't doing approved activity right now then they can't be with the sitter !!". That was almost the final straw that made me want to tell DES to take there huge whopping $164 and tell them to shove it ! After the hearing test (Jason passed but Sam has borderline to mild hearing loss) I was again so angry and frustrated. I know that a couple days of daycare didn't cause this but it also wasn't going to help. I needed to be at home with my boys, making preschool, speech therapy and DR visits a priority - not jumping through hoops for DES.

That night, I talked to my ex-husband for a while. He said he saw the post and he understood the BS behind all they wanted me to do. He said he wanted the boys home with me and we came to an agreement. I should have the money I need to live on from him and some possible side jobs down the line. It made me feel a lot better and stress was starting to lift...

On Friday morning, the boys got to go to Open Gym at Flagstaff Gymnastics Center for free. They loved it and I even jumped into the foam pit once :)



After leaving, my friend drove us to the DES office. It took more than an hour to be seen and there were only 5 other people waiting to be seen. Just as I was starting to throw a fit with the supervisor, workers came back from lunch and my name was called. I told her I no longer wanted to get the welfare cash assistance. She closed that part of the case correctly but...She did the opposite of almost everything else I said and tried to lower my SNAP (food stamps) amount because she couldn't use a calculator correctly. I pointed out the error from doing the math in my head and had her fix it. I was finally approved for SNAP thru October and then insurance for a year for the 3 of us. It was a huge hassle to get this done and it took up so much time.

I understand they are trying to make things easier but nobody works together to better their service. People get so frustrated they walk out of the office. If you bring your kids, the workers get frustrated with you, if you have all the paperwork they might need they consider you a smart ass, not a prepared, organized client.

I am glad I don't have to rely on that $164 each month but it also scares me. I am trying to have faith the size of a mustard seed for a problem the size of a mountain. I am just going to have to pray a lot and trust that we will have our needs met. I am even working on a spread sheet of my financials to get all the numbers down on paper.

Well, I finally got the boys asleep after a late nap and their 2nd burst of energy. We were watching GLEE S2 on DVD and they kept wanting to dance. I had to turn it off and force them to lay down in the toddler beds with all the lights off in the house. I have had such a headache for the last couple days so staring at this screen is not helping. As always thank you for reading my blog. Comment, share with friends, just don't be mean.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Other Side of Welfare

I am so angry and frustrated right now that I can't get my words together. I don't like being on welfare, but it is a necessary evil in my life. As a single mom to twin toddlers with some health issues, I don't have a lot of choices. Every time I have tried to work outside of the house since September 2010, the boys have gotten really sick. They had 3 surgeries between November 2010 and November 2011. Every few months I go through a huge hassle to keep the welfare benefits that we have. Without food stamps and insurance we wouldn't survive. The cash benefits I receive are a joke but they help to pay the rent. I said HELP pay the rent, it doesn't cover it in full. Normally the amount of money a family gets wold not cover the rent, especially in a town like Flagstaff, but I live in transitional housing for single moms/women that have dealt with domestic abuse. My rent is very low and the cash benefits I get are $20 short of the full rent. (I then have to cover the gas and electric bill plus regular expenses like diapers, transportation, etc.) I do what I can to make ends meet but if I got a part-time job to cover the extra expenses, they would cut off my cash and lower my food stamps. After 6 months I would lose daycare assistance. The daycare wouldn't be needed if welfare wasn't making me search for a job so they could cut me off. I am supposed to do 20 hours per week of "approved activity". They will not include DR appts, counseling, speech therapy or Head Start preschool as approved activity. I am somehow supposed to fit that in after I do 20 hours of job search or unpaid work experience.

About a week ago, I got a letter from welfare (dated 4/3/12) that they received my renewal application. It stated that I had to call in for a phone interview or go down to the office to keep my cash and food stamps. It said that I did not have to do anything to keep my insurance. It also said that the interview had to be completed on or before 4/12/2012. Since it takes 2 bus routes and close to an hour, I figured I would do the phone interview. (Not to mention that the workers hate having toddlers in the office and the double stroller won't fit through the aisles between cubicles.) I have called multiple times every day trying to get through to a person to do this interview. I sit on hold for 10 to 35 minutes while trying to keep the boys quiet enough to hear if a real voice comes on the line. They were with the sitter today and I called at least 5 times but never could get through. I even emailed a worker that deals with my "approved activity" asking if there were problems with the phones, but she never responded. Tonight I took out the trash and checked the mail after the boys fell asleep. In the mail was another letter from welfare dated 4/10/12 that said I was losing insurance and/or cash starting 4/30/12 without further notice. Their reason: I did not report to the office for my interview.

So on Tuesday, they decided to cut me off even though I had until 5pm on Thursday to get the phone interview completed. What the hell do they expect ? I also was given a veiled threat a couple weeks ago by a worker about having my application denied and her not wanting me to come crying to her when that happened so I should put the boys in daycare and start doing "approved activity".

I have been really down lately and I have been so overwhelmed. I have every day worries about finances and housing, I am worried about certain people in my life and the Twins are all boy and going through the terrible 2s. I don't have time to fight for welfare benefits. To top it all off, they hold the child support from the Twins' dad until month end paperwork is complete to make sure they didn't give me extra cash benefits that would allow them to keep it for themselves.

Here's the best part... I was so nervous about a job interview I had on Monday 4/2, which I didn't get, so I should be upset - right ? Nope, I found out that if I had been hired at $12-$14 an hour that I would lose all benefits plus be kicked off the housing list. Flagstaff rents for a 2bedroom are $800 to $1000. For subsidized housing I could pay $100 -$200 a month (I pay just under $200 now). Being hired full time would pay about $2000 before taxes. Rent would be almost half that amount plus daycare would be a minimum of $250 a week if not $300. If you are keeping up with the math that would leave me with close to nothing after taxes and I still wouldn't have enough to pay utilities or buy diapers.

And people wonder why I am so damn depressed... Do I want to be poor ? Of course not ! Does the system force you to stay at a poverty level ? Yes ! All I want is to raise my boys and see joy in every day. Why is that so hard ?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Control

It has taken me a long time to realize it but I have control issues. I think I started figuring things out a couple years ago but even today it became a little more clear. In a group of people I have to dominate the conversation, the attention, the situation. For those that can see through to the underlying causes, it is a personality quirk; for others it is just damn annoying. I don't know what purpose this blog post has except to give me a written reminder. I can't apologize for this trait, it has become part of me in my 35 years. When you feel certain parts of your life spiraling out of control you grasp for whatever shreds you can control. I think I am in a good place right now, both in my life and in my surroundings, that I have found others that can tolerate and possibly understand this about me. There is so much I worry about, so much that stresses me out, that being a control freak seems like a little problem. Or maybe I have deluded myself into believing that...


I won't bore you with details or ask for pity. Life is hard - for each of us. As I talked with a friends today, I could see that we all have things in our lives that could have shattered us. We deal with each situation, get passed it in one form or another, and we become stronger. Some days you can't be strong. Some days you have to give in to tears and hiding from the world, other days you can try to put on a brave smile and fake it.


I am happy to say that I don't hide that much anymore. I am not totally sure what has changed but maybe I am just finally becoming the person I was meant to be. Could I possibly be growing up ? 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dry Erase Menu Board

So I have made a few things in the last 6 months that I found on Pinterest. I love the site and when I am bored, I can look for an hour and not notice the time. So last night I decided to just do one of the projects I had been wanting to do. I blame Sherry and John from Young House Love and there self imposed challenge entitled “Dude, Get On That Already” challenge . This post specifically pushed me to be crafty last night : Horse Squared


I have always written out what we are going to eat during the week. I went so far as to print 20+ copies of a menu page I did in MS Word and hand write it each week. That got old fast so I started using a cheap dry erase weekly planner from the dollar store. It didn't hold up very well so I needed something better. I saw the idea on Pinterest and knew I had the perfect frame to use.


Here are the pictures from my craft session late last night. If you have any questions, just leave it in the comments.


this is what I started with - not too bad but didn't fit my house
so I tore the paper backing off on three sides...
and removed the print that was inside
it was a piece of paper on heavy card stock
I painted some black acrylic paint on with a small foam brush

I wiped the excess off with a tissue
this was the finished effect

I made a weekly menu layout in MS Word and printed it out on cardstock
I added a scrapbook element at the top for a spot for the date
and a small box at the bottom for a TO DO spot
the background is some scrapbook paper that I liked and cut to size
I even lined up the pattern :)

I did all this on the back of the print in case I ever wanted to use the flowers

I taped the paper backing back down and added some scraps on the part where it ripped

here is my finished menu board
the glass in the frame acts as a dry erase board
just use regular dry erase markers
I wouldn't let it sit on the glass too long or you might have to scrub it off
and then it might ruin the paper behind the glass

On the wall in the kitchen and in use :)
I like it - my microwave and crock pot are red
and it helps liven up the room w/o clashing



I hoped you like my project.  ~ Courtney

Monday, February 20, 2012

It has been almost a month since my last post

And there is a very good reason for that. I would love to say that it is because life has been great and we have been busy having fun; however, it is more because I have been trying to just get through every day without losing my marbles. Being a single mom is tough, anybody can tell you that. I am not a literary genius and I know that I have had more hits on my blog because of pinterest than anything else lately. (I love that I have been getting more hits though - don't take that the wrong way.) My being a single mom isn't something I really wanted though. I asked for it plenty of times when I fought with my now ex-husband, but now that I am on my own... I hate it. 


I love my children. The twins are amazing little people. Each of them is so different yet so alike. They are smart and cute and tons of trouble. I never imagined that I would be a mom to twins. It is just really hard. Really, really, really, really hard. Any of the facets of my life would be hard to deal with on its own. Put them all together and well, it is hell. I don't really know how I make it through a day sometimes. People always ask me "How do you do it ?" and I always say something dumb like "I don't know" or "I have to".


Today's sermon at church talked about the person that built his home on the rock compared to the person that built his house without a foundation. The story goes that a person that hears God's word but doesn't listen or obey has no foundation, and that when the flood waters (troubles) rise the house will collapse. But the person that listened and obeyed will stand firm since their home is built on a solid foundation. (Luke 6:46-49)


As I took notes, I wrote this : I am the person who builds a house w/o a foundation. When it floods, the house collapses. I am a person that hears but doesn't obey.


At the end of the service I was crying. The song that played was one that I loved to sing, but I couldn't sing. For the last few days I have been more honest with myself and with some friends. I am tired of faking it, pretending to be okay with the way my life has gone. But I kept thinking about it today during a meal out at a restaurant where I want to scream and run into the snowy weather just so I didn't have to deal with toddler tantrums. As I laid in my bed waiting for the boys to fall asleep at naptime. Even in my dreams the thoughts wound there way in. 


Maybe I was wrong. I re-read a note card I had in my purse from a friend; it says : Courtney is a committed mom who is open and honest about her struggles as well as her dependence on the Lord. I remembered that someone also told me that I was a blessing to other moms in our group because I shared my struggles. I have been trying so hard to be strong. I am tired. I am so tired. I am about to cry right now as I type this out. My body, heart and head just ache. As I cried at the end of service, I told my friend that I couldn't be strong for others anymore. She told me I didn't have to. I think I needed to hear that. I needed somebody to tell me it was okay. I don't feel like I am a blessing to others. Most of the time I feel like a burden or a hindrance. 


It is so hard to always need help. It is so hard to feel like things will never get better. It is so hard to be patient. It is so hard to be stuck in the house without a car over the winter with sick kids just hoping that someone will offer to take you to Wal-Mart so you can put on real clothes and talk to other people. (Total run-on sentence there - sorry.) It is so hard to ask again for help.


I don't really know what the point of this post is, I guess I just needed to write a few things down. Leave a comment if you like or just ignore my ramblings. Thanks for reading. Sometimes I think nobody cares and everybody hates me and I need to have worms for dinner. Then one or two people will remind me that I am not alone.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I have become THAT mom! 2nd Birthday - Part 2

I will admit, I am creative. I like doing crafts and baking occasionally. However I never thought I would go to so much trouble for a birthday party! Take a look at what I have been doing...


I turned the plates into ELMO (idea from Pinterest)

ELMO cupcakes - also from Pinterest 

ELMO coloring sheet that I added personalized details to -
each child will get one coloring sheet and some crayons to take home as the party favor

Signs for the tables and the food -
a basket for the party favors with blue & green yarn and pipe cleaners

I think I need to get some sleep - I can barely type I am so exhausted. It is almost 2:30 in the morning and we have to leave the house in 6 hours for a play date. Good Night :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My TWINS are 2 years old today! Party Part 1


I can't believe that it has been 2 years since I had the boys. The time has flown by and so much has changed. Today we started our day with cinnamon rolls. I made some of the icing blue and some green. They loved them!


After a nap and some lunch we had cake for a snack. 
Mommy sang Happy Birthday to them of course !



Last weekend they visited their dad. I went down on Saturday to see my grandparents and then the PHX family had a birthday meal on Sunday afternoon. We went to Peter Piper Pizza. I made banana bread for us to share and turned some of them into "cupcakes" with slices of banana to hold the candles. My Grandpa turned 78, my sister turned 30, the boys are 2 and then I will be 35 in Feb. It was fun to have the PHX family get together for a few hours. My nephew AJ and my oldest son, Christian came as well as my sister's boyfriend, Nick.






Mama and her 3 boys


Last week I did a trial run on the cupcakes I am making for the party. I think I did pretty well for never having done hand piping on cakes before. I took some pictures during the process just for my blog. This week I did all the baking and have it waiting for Friday when I have time to do all the decorating for the party. I am actually excited about it. I am also going to make chocolate dipped oreo cookies and some cake pops. Plus a 13X9 cake for the adults to share. Oh, I almost forgot, I ordered some iced cookies from Basha's too. Those need to be picked up before the party on Saturday. We are headed to Peter Piper Pizza again, but this time in Flagstaff, with all our friends up here. I think I have close to 30 RSVP'd already. Our friends Liz, Lily and Kaley will be staying the weekend with us. It should be a blast.


Simple Chocolate Cupcakes from a Box Mix


Buttercream Icing made from a secret family recipe


Added Red Gel Food Coloring 


Use a Star Icing Tip for the "fur"


Cut a marshmallow in half, add a jelly bean for the nose, part of a sandwich cookie for the mouth and gel icing for eyes.