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hanneyjo
21 August 2016 @ 10:30 pm
It's my 32nd birthday today. Here's a list of 32 things you may or may not know about me.

1. I have a cousin that was born the exact same day as me, and my family used to joke that we were switched at birth.
2. My mom always pronounced my middle name as "May-gan," and that's how I still think of it in my head, but I pronounce it "Meg-an" to avoid having to explain how to spell it. But in my mind I will always be Johanna May-gan.
3. Two of my toes are partially webbed, but I didn't realize it until toe socks came into fashion in the 90s. I was pretty bummed that I couldn't wear them.
4. On the subject of not realizing things, I didn't realize my hair was curly until I was in college b/c I had always just brushed it out.
5. I went to a school that was K-12. My graduating class had 89 people in it.
6. I really, really, really love King Cake.
7. My earliest memory is at my grandparent's house and being very afraid of my Papa Pettus.
8. I was only one class away from having a minor in Spanish, but I didn't do it because I didn't want people to think I could actually speak Spanish. I'm just good at taking tests.
9. I was 3rd in my high school graduating class.
10. I wrote a 10 page research paper on Monty Python and the Holy Grail and got an A.
11. I had two miscarriages between Lauren and Owen. I still think about them a lot.
12. I started talking to Andrew because I found his profile on Yahoo! messenger and thought he was hot.
13. I told him I had a crush on him via an email forward survey.
14. I only went on dates with 4 guys.
15. Andrew is my first kiss.
16. I named Evan after a little boy I taught in nursery who called me Sister Johanna.
17. My first celebrity crush was Dean Cain from Superman: The Adventures of Lois and Clark.
18. I used to have seizures when I was a kid.
19. I've never been able to come up with a good description of my eye color, but Evan helped me out by telling me they're the color of dead grass.
20. I became an aunt when I was 9-years-old.
21. I played the Alto Saxophone in high school and was even 1st chair and section leader for awhile.
22. I really, really miss being in show choir.
23. I love to dance and think it stinks that they don't do church dances for old, married people.
24. I don't even know how many times I've read the Harry Potter series, and I'm not ashamed.
25. My favorite meal is steak, potato, roll, and salad.
26. I always laugh really hard when we watch The Office or Impractical Jokers.
27. I've never lived outside of the South.
28. I've traveled to Canada, Argentina, & Brazil.
29. I really, really, really miss learning about Linguistics.
30. I've written half a novel. I'm going to finish it one day.
31. I love being a mom, but it kicks the ever-living crap out of me every day.
32. I'm sad that I've lost a lot of my southern accent over the years.

That was really hard. You better appreciate it, dang it. Or not. I don't care.

On to 32! Hey-O!
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
hanneyjo
18 August 2016 @ 04:17 pm
I read something recently I had written awhile back when we first moved to Laredo. It was back when the newspaper there had asked me to keep a blog for them. I used to write so much back then. I think I wrote more because I felt like people cared what I have to say. I don't feel that way so much anymore. Mostly I feel like, "Why would anyone care what I have to say?" these days.

And yet, I still write in here occasionally. Go figure.

I've been watching The X-Files for several months now. I'm determined to finish all the seasons, but it's slow-going b/c it's hard to hear with kids around. I'm watching the movie they made in 1998 right now. I had to stop b/c the kids got home from school.

It's been raining every day this week. It makes me miss Laredo weather. It was pouring outside, and I looked at the clock, and it was time for the kids to get off the bus. I grabbed Owen and Brooklyn and ran out the door, but I was too late. They had to run from the bus stop to our apartment in the rain. I felt terrible b/c every other parent had gone to pick up their kid. But I think they had fun running in the rain. They didn't really complain when they got home. I'm just going to tell myself that I was giving them a fun life experience. Right? Right.

It's pouring down rain again. I'm scared that it will flood here like it did in Baton Rouge. It's terrible what's happened down there. Many of our friends from there have been displaced. Homes have been destroyed. It makes me so sad. Our old church building was flooded. The neighborhood we lived in is flooded. Everything is. Those poor people. I hope we don't have that happen here. I've already been going over in my mind what I would do. We live next to a bayou. It's already getting pretty high.

Why did we move from laredo again? I really miss the weather there. I know it was hot, but at least it wasn't humid and rainy.

It's pretty here, though. It really is. I just stare in awe at the green and the trees. I missed it.

Evan told me yesterday that he'll never think this place is as good as Laredo b/c Laredo is his home. It made me sad. He seems to be having a rough time. Most of the time he's fine, but he says things sometimes that just make me sad. Lauren is doing great. Owen and Brooklyn are adjusting better now that the kids are in school. It's mostly just Evan I'm concerned about. I can't relate b/c I never moved as a kid.

Anyway, Sunday is my birthday, and I'll be 32 years old. In my head I've already been 32 to for awhile, and I have to remind myself that I'm only 31. Getting older is weird. I have a lot of gray hairs now. My skin is getting weird spots. I know I'm not super old yet, but it's still weird.

Right, well, I guess that's all for now.
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
hanneyjo
09 August 2016 @ 04:42 pm
My kids just got home from school, and they're playing Battleship. Evan keeps telling me over and over how Lauren is trying to cheat. I've tried telling my kids that they don't have to tell me everything the other kids do all the time. It hasn't worked. It drives me nuts. I told them sometimes it's okay to deal with things on your own without mom. They don't get it yet. Will they ever?

We're two days into school. Evan is in 4th grade, and Lauren is in 2nd. They're both pretty pleased with their teachers, and they seem to like the school fine. The biggest complaints I've heard is that the uniform policy is too strict. (I agree.) And they only have one option for lunch every day. Laredo did have this school beat on lunch. They got two options every day, AND it was free for everyone. I just went from paying nothing for school lunches to $80 a month. But I'm too lazy to fix lunch for them every day, so there we go. I'm very happy with this school so far, though. The teachers are very open with the parents. I always felt like I never knew what was going on in their old school. I can go to lunch with them if I want to which I couldn't before. It's a good school, and I'm happy about it.

I'm glad they started school b/c 4 kids in our apartment all day every day was a little much. It would be different if they had a yard to play in or something, but they don't. Evan and Lauren are okay playing outside with friends, but Owen can't go outside without me like he could if we had a fenced in back yard. It's really freakin' humid/hot here, too, so I don't want to sit out in it.

I can already tell a difference in Owen's behavior since the kids have started school. I've been trying really hard to figure out how to help him. His behavior's been pretty rough lately. I'm thinking that all the changes have been hard on him. I noticed yesterday after the kids left that he followed me around everywhere. I think that since we took away everything he knows, he's holding onto familiarity really hard which is me and Andrew. He wants our attention, and when they other kids are here he tries to get our attention by acting out. But when it's just me and and him and Brooklyn during the day, his behavior has been better. Calmer. So I'm hoping I can get my sweet Owen back. He's always going to be a little rambunctious, and that's okay. I wouldn't expect anything else from my guy. He makes me laugh.

Brooklyn is 10 months now! She can stand up for just a bit unassisted. She's such a cute and funny little lady. She loves to smile. She's just so happy. She's been a little ray of sunshine in all the trials I've had lately. She's finally getting back to a normal sleep schedule which is GREAT b/c the lack of sleep was killing me. Moving with babies is hard.

Speaking of "ray of sunshine," she just came over, and she stinks like poop, so I better go take care of that.
 
 
Current Mood: okayokay
 
 
hanneyjo
26 July 2016 @ 12:45 pm
I just made some banana bread, and it smells sooooo good.

I've been getting out and meeting people. Today a new friend/acquaintance from church offered to let Evan and Lauren play at her house with her kids. They were so excited. I'm glad that my kids are making friends so quickly. I felt bad because she already has 3 kids and is pregnant with another, and I didn't want to add to her burden, but she insisted. It was so kind.

I came back to the apartment, so Brooklyn could nap. I thought about napping myself (because the last few night have been absolutely terrible with her. This move has ruined my good sleeper.), but I decided to make some banana bread. My recipe makes two loaves, and I like to give the second one away. So I'm giving it to my new friend as thanks.

When we first moved to Laredo, my sister-in-law Dawn would call me pretty frequently on her drive to work. I was telling her about how hard it is for me to make friends. She told me that I can't just sit around and wait for people to be my friend. I need to be the one that makes the cookies or the bread and takes it to someone. So that's what I'm doing. It was good advice. I've found that the best way to make friends is to serve them.

I am so hungry. I need to eat lunch. I was just on the computer to put receipts into Every Dollar and thought I'd make a short update. I've been writing in my personal journal every night even if I don't feel like it. I try to write the positive things that happened that day, and it helps me feel better about my life here. I have a good life with a good family, and the people here have been so nice. It's good to focus on the positive.

Hasta la pasta!
 
 
Current Mood: hungryhungry
 
 
hanneyjo
21 July 2016 @ 09:33 pm
Writing the other day seemed to help because after I wrote in this and then in my personal journal, the next day I felt much better. I felt better today, as well. More like myself. Maybe I just needed to get a bunch of negative thoughts out of my head, so I could stop thinking about them.

It's also fun to type on a keyboard. I can type pretty fast, and even though I'm out of practice, it's still fun to see how fast my fingers can fly on the keyboard. I may not have a lot of amazing talents, but I still get amazed by little things my body can do. Like type fast. How does my brain know where all the buttons are? It's not like I'm thinking of each individual letter as I type. I just say the words in my head, and boom. My fingers go to the right spots. Pretty crazy if you think about it. I've never really thought about it. And now I've just written about it.

Andrew is on the phone with our brother-in-law talking about electrical things. He's the go-to guy in our families for electrical problems. That associate's degree has really been beneficial for them. haha

Andrew's a pretty handy guy. He can fix so many things. Sometimes I think about post-apocalyptic scenarios (b/c I read a lot of that type of thing), and I try to think of what I could offer in those type of situations, and I got nothing. I can cook, but on a stove and with pre-processed ingredients. I can't sew. I'm a terrible gardener. The only animal I've killed to eat was a lobster, and I didn't even eat it b/c by the time I had to get its guts out, I was too grossed out. I don't know how to fix most home things. I can't start a fire without matches. I'M USELESS!

I'll just be the entertainment or something. I'll write stupid stories. B/c that's useful, right?

Well, I'm going to go watch TV with Andrew. He just got off the phone, and he said he'll watch X-Files with me. yay!

(I chose my Chuck icon b/c I watched a live feed of Zachary Levi at Nerd HQ. I miss Chuck. Sometimes it just pops into my head, and I miss the characters. Maybe one day there will be a Chuck movie. Maybe.)
 
 
Current Mood: calmcalm
 
 
 
hanneyjo
19 July 2016 @ 04:30 pm
I've decided that I need to start writing again. We've moved to Shreveport, or Bossier City, rather, and I'm feeling it. And by "it," I mean all the stress and emotions that I was trying to hold back during the months that I was alone with the kids and didn't have time to feel because I was so busy is now hitting me. And I'm feeling down. So down.

So I figured I should try to do more things that bring me to life. Writing brings me to life. Writing makes me happy. It releases thoughts in my brain that otherwise swirl in there forever dragging me down. I haven't been doing it as much lately. I write in my journal occasionally, but it's different.

Anyway, for the most part our move has been fine. We had a few hiccups with the moving truck, but we got the majority of our stuff here, and we fit most of it in our apartment. The apartment is nice for an apartment. We're on the bottom level, and the neighbors above us aren't too loud. I can hear them walking, but that's about it. We're probably the loud neighbors, to be honest.

I haven't lived this close to other people since we were first married and had an apartment. It gives me slight anxiety b/c I don't want to bother anyone, and my kids are pretty loud. I am also loud b/c I yell at my kids. So I hope no one hates us.

I decided long before we moved that I would do my best to not become a hermit and hide out and not socialize. So I've been putting myself out there. I was added to a facebook group for the ladies in our church, and I'll post when we're going to go play somewhere and invite others to join us. This is not how I am naturally, so I'm not sure other people will understand how big this is for me. But I'm proud of me for it. I'm trying to make friends.

I just hate it.

I hate making new friends. It's exhausting, and I just want to hide, but I told myself I wouldn't hide, so blah. Plus, I have to go out for my kids. They need to play and make friends. Also, if I stay at the apartment all day with them, I start to feel crazy.

I read a book a while back called The Child Whisperer where she describes 4 types of people. Anyway, it really helped me understand my kids better, so then I found out that she has the same type of thing for adults, so I started to look into that. I thought at first that I was Type 2, the sensitive type, but then I read more about Type 1, the fun type, and I see a lot of myself in there. And then I thought about how I used to be, and I used to be a lot more fun, and now I just feel like I'm no fun. And then it made me sad that I'm not that anymore, and I don't know how to change it. I feel like I'm having this identity crisis about who I really am. Andrew told me I need to stop reading that book. haha

Ugh, it sounds dumb when I type it out.

I have a love/hate relationship with moving. I love trying out a new place and getting to know new people and leaving problems behind, but I also hate meeting new people (haha) and starting over in a new place when I already had a system down to a science in the old one.

Oh, well. STAY POSITIVE,JO! STAY POSITIVE!

So, yeah, I need to start writing more. Even if no one reads this, it feels good to type. I feel like I'm remembering the old me. The parts of me that I've lost along the way.

Blah. Bye.
 
 
Current Mood: blahblah
 
 
hanneyjo
24 June 2016 @ 09:30 pm
It's been awhile. Life has been so crazy lately. Next week we're moving into an apartment in Shreveport. We still haven't sold our house, but I'm sick of being apart from Andrew, and I want the kids to start school there. It's not the scenario I had hoped for our family, but I'm happy to have a plan. Not knowing is the worst. Evan and Lauren have been away for awhile now. We went to Shreveport a couple of weekends ago, and Andrew's parents came and took them back to Arkansas. I came back here to pack. It's been just me and the two littles. I hate that our family is all over the place right now, but it will all come to an end soon. Soon we will all be crammed into an apartment that is ALMOST 1300 sq ft. ALMOST! That's coming from a house that is about 2300 sq feet. Woohoo! It will be interesting for sure, but I'm sure we can make it work. We signed a 6 month lease and hopefully we'll sell our house before that time frame is up. Hopefully. I still have a peaceful feeling that everything's going to work out. Just trying to be patient and keep the faith.

I think being apart from Andrew has made me appreciate him a lot more. Not that I didn't appreciate him before, but I feel like I took a lot of things he did for granted. Being a single mom to 4 kids is hard. So hard. And that's with me not having to work. I can't imagine having to add a job into the mix. I'm not sure how women do it. I thought a lot about my Granny. When she was 34, I think, her husband died. She was left with 4 kids to raise. This was in a time when it still wasn't common for women to work. She told me that when she decided she needed to go to work that there were some women in the community who said things to or about her. But she did what she had to do. I thought about her a lot because her blood is in me, and if she can do that, then I can handle raising 4 kids, too. Her experience gave me strength.

A few weeks ago part of our fence fell down in a storm. I asked around for help but no one was able to come. I was angry. Angry at everything. Angry at everyone. I decided that I was sick of waiting around for someone to come help me, and I was just going to do it myself. So I got the kids out there, and we lifted up that section of fence, and we put it back up. Me and Evan and Lauren. I borrowed a drill from the neighbor across the street, but that was the only time I asked for help with it. And as I did it I thought about my Grandmother Pettus. She was a strong woman. She worked on a farm and raised 7 boys. When she was in her 80s, she was still out in the fields with the cows and on the tractor and baling hay. She was one of the strongest women I know. Her blood is in me, too, and I thought to myself that if she could do all those things, then surely I could fix this fence. And I did. Her example gave me strength.

I've thought a lot about those two amazing women these last few weeks. I called my Granny to tell her how much she's helped me without realizing it. I wish I could tell my Grandmother, as well.

I come from a heritage of strong women, and I am so proud to be a part of the family that I am. My mother and my sisters have been great examples to me, as well. There's been so many times that I've thought about them and thought, "Well, if they can do it, so can I!" They've helped me more than they'll ever know.
 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
hanneyjo
08 May 2016 @ 03:33 pm
There have been a couple of times since being a mother that I have found myself without a husband on mother's day due to work-related situations. The last time it happened, I wallowed in self-pity and didn't enjoy my day at all. This time I decided to take a different approach.

I've had this idea in my mind that Mother's Day is a day for me to get a break from being a mother. I'm supposed to be pampered and spoiled. I should get gifts and not have to do any chores. I definitely shouldn't have to deal with whiny children. And if these things didn't happen, I felt cheated and let down. It was my day, dang it! Act accordingly!

This year I knew I was going to be alone with the kids. I figured I could do one of two things:

1) I could be whiny and depressed about how I'm having to take care of the kids all on my own. Then, subsequently, be sad all day and probably rude to the kids because of it.

2) Forget the idea of being pampered by my children because they're small and don't fully understand. Accept that my husband would be here if he could, but he can't. Accept that I'm going to have to do my motherly duties no matter what and enjoy the small things with the kids.

My kids are not going to be little forever. I'm not saying this in a "enjoy your time with your kids because they're going to grow up before you know it" kind of way, although that is nice. I'm saying it in a "One day they'll grow up and pamper you because they'll understand and appreciate you more." Right now they're just kids, and they're just doing the best they can. I can't expect more than that. They wrote me notes. They gave me hugs and snuggles. Evan even gave me a penny he found on the ground and the fries that he had taken from my plate. :)

I guess my point is that I can enjoy mother's day without all the pampering. Would I like it? Heck yes, I would! But I also love just being a mom to these adorable kids and seeing how they learn and grow every day. It's true that they drive me crazy on a regular basis, and I do hide out in my closet sometimes with the light off (please don't tell them where I hide!), but overall serving them has brought me joy and made me a better person. It's also healed my heart because I used to hate mother's day so much. They've helped ease the pain.

Today I celebrate Mother's Day by being a mother. By making lunch. By calming tears. By listening to silly stories. By getting snuggles, even if they're rough snuggles. By waking up at night to put a pacifier in. By going a little crazy, but also being crazy in love with my kiddos.


The ones who call me "Mom."
 
 
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
 
 
hanneyjo
30 April 2016 @ 05:31 pm
I ventured out into the world today with all four kids in tow to get black ink to print off stuff for Evan's GT project. We got back and realized we were out of color ink, as well.



I really, really don't want to go out into the world with all 4 again. Please no.

I guess I have to anyway since I'm taking dinner to someone that just had a baby yesterday. I guess we'll stop by a store then.

Life, man...

I don't really have anything much to write. I just felt like writing something. Sometimes I just want to write something. I've felt weird all day long.

We had someone come look at our house this week. They came twice in one day which we took as a good sign and thought they'd for sure make an offer. Instead, we were told that they loved the house, but since there are so many houses for sale in our neighborhood right now, they were scared off. It's totally frustrating b/c I can't control that tons of other people are selling their houses, too. Oh, well. The possibility of an offer brought me hope. Now, I feel the daunting pressure of being a single parent while Andrew is in Shreveport. We've never been apart for more than two weeks. I have no doubt that I will be fine and that I will be able to care for the children and the house. I can just feel sad emotions trying to work their way to the surface, and I'm trying to keep them at bay. I have children to take care of. I can't let myself get down.

I've been reading a book called The Canterbury Papers. It's been more interesting that I anticipated. I just really wish that people would leave out sex scenes. I mean, I'm all for the leading up to make-out session, but there's no beautiful way to describe the mechanics of it. Just please stop, people. Let our imaginations do the work. I really don't need to know. But other than that, it's been an interesting read. My biggest problem is keeping everyone's relationships straight. Oh, royal families of France and England... you weave in and out way too much.

I guess I should go make that dinner, huh? Cheese, chicken, and noodles, here I come.
 
 
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
 
 
hanneyjo
I've recently discovered that I'm not as disgusting as I once thought, nor are my children. I mean, yes, they're children, so they're naturally disgusting. But we're not as disgusting as I thought we were. I finally decluttered my house entirely a few weeks ago, and while my house is not always in pristine shape, it is generally in decent shape. Decent enough shape that if someone stopped by, I wouldn't be embarrassed for them to see my entire house. This has rarely ever been the case. If anyone was coming, I needed a lot of notice to get the entire house in decent shape. Now, depending on the guest (ie: someone wanting to buy our house) I might need an hour, tops. If it was just a friend stopping by, much less.

It's been really nice.

I've realized that it wasn't that we were nasty people. It's that we had too much stuff for the amount of space that we had. When your house has too much stuff, it's just always going to look messy because there's no where to put all the stuff that you have. How could I expect my kids to keep their room clean when they didn't have anywhere to put that huge amount of stuff they had?

This has been a breakthrough moment for me.

Also, when there is a mess, it's not so overwhelming. It's just one mess. I can clean up one mess. Shoot, I can clean up several messes. Because it's not much to clean. My house feels less daunting when it comes to cleaning.

Granted, I'm still avoiding tasks such as cleaning toilets and showers and mopping floors. Decluttering isn't a miracle worker. I'm still a lazy bum at heart. But because the house is in a general state of cleanliness, I can be a lazy bum without a ton of guilt. I can read books without thinking about the huge pile of dishes to wash. I can watch the X-Files without thinking about the 8 loads of laundry I haven't folded. (Okay, there is some laundry I should've folded today while I watched. I forgot about it. But it's not a lot!)

I've had to change some habits. I pick up things on the floor instead of just passing them by a gazillion times. I straighten up drawers and cabinets sometimes instead of just throwing more crap in. I take time to go through the papers on the desk instead of just piling more on. I make my bed almost every day.

Will this continue? Will I do this for the rest of my life? Or will I stop once our house is no longer on the market? It's hard to say. I know me, and I can get pretty lazy sometimes. But I really hope I can keep this up. I didn't know I could have four kids and a clean house. I really didn't. It seemed impossible.

The book It's Here Somewhere actually changed my life. Weird, right?

I hope I can keep this up. Wish me luck!
 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished