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05 October 2016 @ 11:44 pm
Yes, I realize Owen's birthday was in April. Yes, I realize it's October 5th. Yes, I realize I should be sleeping. BUT I literally just thought about it before I was about to go to bed, and now I feel terrible and can't sleep until I update about poor Owen's birthday that was MONTHS AGO!


Okay, so Owen turned 3 this year. It was a busy day, but a fun one. We started his birthday festivities by going to the pool with family and friends. Luckily, we lived in Laredo where you can go swimming in April. It was fun.

Uncle Joshua, Lauren, and Hyrum goofing off

I think Evan was excited.

The birthday boy being super cute.

Aunt Anna and cutie Samuel

Brooklyn dipping her toes in the water with Daddy.

Our friends Liam and Sarah being adorable.

Brooklyn showing how much she loves big sister Lauren.

After the pool, we went back to the house for cake, ice cream, and presents! Owen was really into Marshall from Paw Patrol, so I did my best to make it look like Marshall. He was really excited about it. He brought Hyrum to the counter and told him it was his best birthday cake. :D

Here's the big 3-year-old with his Marshall cake!

I mainly picked this picture because Lauren cracks me up.

Blowing out the candles!

Nom, Nom, Nom!

Our esteemed guests. (Side note: I miss these people.)

Owen playing with some of his cool new toys. And Hyrum's face kills me.

He got some pretty cool presents. Lots of Paw Patrol stuff. Lego Duplo blocks. More Paw Patrol stuff. He. Loved. It.

After his birthday party, we headed off to another party. A bigger birthday party. A birthday party in which we let Owen believe it was his birthday party.

He thought it was pretty cool that he had pony rides at his birthday party.

We're just that awesome of parents. :)

I feel really terrible that I forgot to do this until now because Owen is such a special little guy. Yes, he can be a handful at times, but I also feel like his rambunctiousness makes me love him even more. He's the kind of kid that always gives me a good story to tell later. He makes me laugh every day. He can also be very sweet. One of my favorite memories with him was the day Andrew left to start his new job in Shreveport. When he drove off, I came back in the house and felt the entire weight of raising four children alone, trying to sell our house, and not knowing when we'd be together again fall on my shoulders, and I broke down in tears. I sat on the couch and cried. Owen saw me crying. I could tell by his face that he was worried about me and felt uncomfortable because he didn't know what to do. I looked at him and held my arms open. He crawled into my lap and held me until I stopped crying. My wild and slightly violent at times little boy sat with me and comforted me. It was so very sweet.

I love my little Owen with all my heart. He has helped me grow as a person. He's humbled me in many ways, and I think I'm better because he's in my life. He went to his grandparents' house for a week, and the kids complained that our home felt empty. He has a special place in our home and in all our hearts.

I love my little O-we-o.
Current Mood: thankfulthankful
16 September 2016 @ 10:47 am
Back when we moved to Alabama in 2007, I had somewhat high expectations for our time there. I was moving back to where I grew up, so I'd be near family and old friends. I had been having a rough time adjusting to our move to Baton Rouge, so I was ready to get back to some familiarity. When we returned, however, I found myself becoming depressed. I was back home, but many of my friends had left or were too busy. I didn't see my family as much as I expected, and also just being back brought back a lot of memories about my mom which made me miss her.

I didn't realize how down I was until one day I was driving into town with my sister Amy who was visiting for whatever reason. She asked me, "What's wrong with you?" I was surprised by her question because I thought I was acting fine. She then told me that I wasn't smiling and laughing like I normally was, and she could tell I was unhappy. I told her that I didn't like living there and explained why. Amy set me straight. She told me that when she moved to Missouri, she hated it. She complained about it all the time and was miserable. I remember her calling it "Misery." Then, she told me that she heard her kids complaining about it. They were repeating the things she had said, and they were also miserable. She realized then that her attitude reflected onto her kids, and she needed to change it. She also told me I needed to change my attitude. (She said it in a loving way, I promise.) Unless I want my kids to be miserable, I need to love where I live. A few weeks later, she mailed me a print of a flower, and it said, "Bloom Where You're Planted." I put it in a frame, and I've had it on display ever since.

I did work on changing my attitude. It wasn't a miraculous overnight change, but it happened, and by the time we moved from there, I was sad to leave. Then, we moved to Laredo. The thing about Laredo is that it's so different from any other place in the U.S. (I'm not kidding when I say it's practically Mexico) that moving there is quite the culture shock. I noticed pretty quickly that there were people who absolutely hated it there. Whenever groups would get together, it would turn into a Laredo bashing session. I'm the kind of person that if someone tells me I should hate something, I'm pretty much determined to do the opposite. So with Amy's "Bloom Where You're Planted" advice, I set out to make the best out of life in Laredo.

I tried to stay away from the complainers which probably made me seem anti-social. I tried to find the positive. Whenever my children would repeat a complaint they may have heard from someone else, I would counter it with something positive because I didn't want them to hate it there. I wanted them to be happy. I worked to keep my complaints to myself and not say them in front of my children. There were days when I hated living there, but there were lots and lots of good days. By the time we left there, it was hard for me to leave. There's so much and so many that I love.

Now we're here in Bossier City and back to working on the positive again. My son Evan is having a hard time. He misses his old life in Laredo. He's had some hard days. It makes me feel terrible. I've been pretty down on myself for being the cause of his misery. But then as I thought about it, I decided to count this as a win. I worked so hard to help him see the good things in Laredo, that he now calls it his home. He misses it. He loved it. Whereas many are happy to see Laredo in their rear-view mirror, Evan noticed all the good things, and he misses them.

I'm counting this as a success.

And with that success, I feel that we can have that same success here in Bossier. Maybe by the time we leave here, he'll feel the same as he did about Laredo. And, hopefully, I can "bloom," too.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
13 September 2016 @ 07:44 pm
I filled out an application today to to work as a Personalized Search Engine Evaluator for a company called Leapforce. We'll see if I hear anything back. It seems that anytime I apply for jobs like that, I never get chosen. I had to submit a resume, so I found an old one I had attached in an email way back in 2008. I forgot I had even applied to the job I used it for. Obviously, they never called back. If I don't hear back from them, it won't be the end of the world, but it would be nice to be able to make a little extra money for our family from home. I guess we'll see.

I learned about it from PennyHoarder.com. They had a list of jobs that you could legitimately make money from home with.

We still haven't sold our house, and I don't think STM is going to foot our rent bill for too much longer, so I'm trying to think of options. There's only so much we can cut out of our budget. It seems the main option is for me to find some income. Here's hoping. It probably wouldn't be a ton of money, but it would help.

Owen is in Arkansas right now at Grandma and Papa's house. I miss having him around. This is the first time he's gone away from me for a long time. It's weird. It's easier when they're older. He's still so little. I try not to think about it too much, or I start to worry. I know they'll take good care of my boy. I'm just a mom that worries.

I had a teacher conference with Evan's teacher today, and I'm having one with Lauren's teacher on Thursday. It's weird b/c I never did this before at their old school. These teachers encourage it. It's kinda cool. I'm glad they care about my kids.

Brooklyn has been walking around a bit! She only takes a few steps, and she's very wobbly, but she's doing it! She's so cute. I love that little face. She scrunches her face up when she smiles really big, and it's so adorable. She's my sweet little angel baby.

Andrew took me to see Colin and Brad from Whose Line Is it Anyway on Saturday. He gave me the tickets for my birthday, and then SURPRISE! I found out that Sarah and Eric were coming, too, so it was even more fun! We had such a good time, and I laughed so hard. I don't think I've ever laughed that much and for so long in my life. It was great. I wish we could go again.

Weeellll, I need to get kids in bed. Hasta la pasta, muchachos.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Little Einsteins music in my head
07 September 2016 @ 03:05 pm
Andrew wrecked his car on Friday. Poor guy was on his way to play sports with some guys from work and rear-ended a lady on the way. I felt bad for him because he was so excited to go. He's been taking the van to work this week, and his parents are going to let us borrow a car until we can get a new one. We just heard back from state farm today, and they're going to give us nearly double what he paid for the car to begin with. (It was an inexpensive car.) So that's a blessing! I'm hoping we can find another inexpensive car and use the rest to fix the van. It's been leaking power steering fluid, AND the sliding door is messed up.

Today a really nice lady from church offered to give me and the two littles a ride to go swimming. It was really sweet. I've met some really kind people here. I like her a lot. I hope we can become friends. I'm terrible at making friends. I feel like I'm okay sometimes, and then other times I just clam up and don't know what to say. I'm especially terrible in groups. Oh, well.

I can hear a child screaming next door. I wonder if they can hear our crazy family, too. I heard our neighbors yelling at each other a few days ago. It was awkward because I was outside playing with the kids, and the man came out and saw me. I don't know if he realized I heard, but it was still awkward for me.

I'm meeting with Evan and Lauren's teachers next week. Evan's on Tuesday and Lauren's on Thursday. I asked for the meeting with Evan's teacher b/c he is having such a rough time. Lauren's teacher sent out a sign-up to all the parents and is encouraging us to meet. I never really talked to the teachers at their last school. It's so different than their last school. This school wants parents to be there. I could only go to Muller on days that they allowed parents to come. It's a nice change.

I've gotten into some bad health habits since we moved. I haven't been good at exercising, and I eat sweets a lot. I'm eating ice cream right now. I eat way too much food all the time. I eat b/c I'm bored. Or because it tastes good. It's terrible. I was doing so good before the move. I've gained back some weight that I lost. I keep telling myself that I'm not going to eat cookies or whatever, but then I do it anyway. I also keep telling myself that I'm going to get up when Andrew does and exercise, but I haven't. Lame-o. I better get my crap together.

*shoves more ice cream in her mouth*

I started reading a book called Freeing Your Child From Negative Thinking to help me understand Evan. I've realized that I also have some negative thinking tendencies. I understand the book, but I'm having a hard time implementing it and using the ideas to help Evan. I don't think it's the book's fault. I'm just terrible at explaining things with my mouth. I could probably type something up and have it sound perfect, but if I try to explain things outloud, it's like, "Eh, uh, bleh, um, what are we talking about?" Anyway, I want to help Evan work through those thoughts, so he can see the good in the world. I've tried a few things with success. We'll see how it goes.

This parenting stuff is tough.

Well, I better go. I have about 30 more minutes of freedom before the kids get home from school. Owen and Brooklyn are in their rooms napping. Well, they're in their rooms, anyway. Hasta la pasta!
Current Mood: blahblah
26 August 2016 @ 11:09 pm
Andrew went to help with the disaster relief in Baton Rouge this weekend. I'm watching his brother's kids. They're sweet and no trouble at all. Really helpful, actually.

I got on gmail and found a label I had made called "Awesome Andrew." It had emails that Andrew and I wrote back and forth when we were engaged. We were adorable. I'm sure if other people read it, they would gag. Haha But it made me smile. I think it's good to read things like that every once in awhile to remember how you felt then. I still love Andrew with all my heart, but it's easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and forget the warm and fuzzies.

We were just a couple of kids back then. Now here we are in our 30s and with 4 kids. Crazy, crazy. Life amazes me on a regular basis. I know how life goes, but as it happens to me, I continue to be amazed by it.

I'm excited because I found a nice dresser next to the dumpster at our apartment complex. It's in great condition except for scratches on the top. There's a lot of scratches, but it could easily be sanded down. I'm happy I found it b/c Owen's dresser is falling apart, and we really needed a new one. Money's pretty tight, so it was low on the priority list. What a blessing! It's little things like that that remind me that Heavenly Father's looking out for me.

My back hurts from sitting in this computer chair so long. How did I do this all the time when I was younger? I'm getting old.

I should go to bed, but that means I'll be giving up my free time and when I wake up, it's back to parenting again.

I remember when I was in college, and I would stay up late talking to people on AIM or Yahoo! Messenger. I would have like 8 different chat windows open. It's weird how life changes. Now, people just post a status, and then you comment on it. Not a whole lot of person-to-person interaction. Or maybe I'm just old, and there are new ways to communicate that I don't know about. That's probably what it is.

I do miss those days, though.

Sometimes I just get nostalgic for the way things were.

I liked who I was in college. I was fun. I don't know if I'm fun anymore. Responsibilities, man. They weigh on me heavy.

Well, okay, I'm gonna go b/c my back hurts. Lame. Bye.
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Current Mood: pensivepensive
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
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
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
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
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