Tuesday, February 28, 2017

To buy or continue renting, that is the question

This house is falling apart, much like my life at the moment. I know, I know, a tad over dramatic for a Tuesday afternoon, but hey, I'm a drama queen, so just be grateful that you're not my husband. Right now we're stuck in a teeny tiny rental house (that we're paying way too much for), and everything seems to be going wrong with it all at once. That's typically how life seems to go though isn't it? When one thing goes wrong, there's usually another disaster lurking right around the corner.  I swear I'm just waiting for my husband's vasectomy to fail next...kidding! That is the ONE thing that cannot break down and you better believe we'd be taking a road trip to Portland with all four kids in tow, and marching into his Urologist's office for a full refund (we paid for his procedure out of pocket and it wasn't cheap)!!  And, once again, I'm totally getting off track! I'm supposed to be talking about houses, not my husband's private parts. Moving on....Luckily we don't own the house, so we aren't responsible for the repairs, but it hasn't been easy having repairmen in and out of the house for several weeks, especially when they always seem to come over during Seanie's nap time and I'm left to entertain a fussy, exhausted infant and a barking Vizsla, who suddenly thinks she's Cujo whenever someone new enters the house.

Our dog who acts tough but couldn't harm a flea...literally
she's completely useless at catching anything
After three unsuccessful attempts to fix the hot water/wimpy water pressure issues (they even ripped up our master bathroom at one point and left it in total disarray for a week while still not being able to fix the problem), they finally replaced the hot water heater.  I do admit that it's been nice to not have to stand at the kitchen sink for thirty minutes waiting for the water to heat from cold to lukewarm. However, it's not just the water pressure that drives me bonkers. The dishwasher sucks, the carpet in the bedrooms is matted and gross, the bedrooms have plain white walls but we're not allowed to paint them, the oven handle keeps falling off, the floors are chipping in certain areas, and the toilet in the kids' bathroom overflows all the time. My husband is convinced it's because the kids use an arsenal of toilet paper, but I've used their bathroom before (out of sheer desperation of course, nobody ever uses the same toilet as their children on purpose), and it overflowed for me too.  It's gotten to the point where I know exactly how many seconds I have to get to the toilet to plunge it before I'm running to the hall closet to grab an armload of towels to throw down on the poopy water filled ground.

 After being long term, serial renters, my husband and I have decided the time has finally come to buy our very first home. You'd think I'd be super excited about this process, but when you live in a very desirable tourist town, it's not nearly as exciting as you think.  To get the monthly payment where we want it, we have to lower our expectations quite a bit and unfortunately there aren't a ton of choices to begin with in this small town where housing options are extremely limited. It's even more depressing when you look at what you can get in other states for the same price (think mansion compared to tool shed).  Before we totally commit to buy though and sign on the dotted line, we still have a lot of really big, life changing decisions to make and since I suck at making decisions this could explain why my dreams have been nothing but natural disasters, violence, chaos and turmoil. For example, last night I was swept away by a roaring tsunami. Considering we live in Central Oregon, I have a much better chance of getting shot and killed by a deer hunter, but what can I say? Dreams are weird.

The main reason we haven't taken the plunge and purchased a home before is mostly because we have major commitment issues, at least when it comes to settling down in one place for the rest of our lives. My husband is an Air Force brat and gets stir crazy living in one place for very long.  In fact we've been in our current town for nearly eight months, and he's already thinking about where we should move to next. Needless to say we go back and forth about whether or not to continue renting, even though rentals are ridiculously expensive and hard to come by in this town, or settle down and buy something.  The amount of money we're throwing away in rent every year is pretty depressing. Plus, the rental we're in right now, just isn't going to work long term. Sure, we could stay here another year, but that's pushing it before we have to get a bigger place.  My husband and I are currently sharing a bedroom with Seanie Mac, our daughter has her own room and then Mahlon and Peanut share the third bedroom. The bedrooms are ridiculously dinky here, so half of the boys' belongings are currently in storage until we move to a bigger house.  Seanie Mac is nearing his first birthday and really needs his own room as soon as possible. He doesn't sleep all that great yet, and he's already accumulating quite a bit of baby crap, which is mostly stored in our living room for now. My husband isn't a fan of his living room looking like a BabiesRUs showroom.

And might I just add in here that after living in such a small space, I really don't get why tiny houses are so popular?  I'd personally rather remain being married, but maybe that's just me. My sister in law and her husband are permanent RV'ers and my husband and I joke all the time that we'd probably kill each other after just one week of being stuck in a RV or tiny house together, especially with our children. Okay, so it's not really a joke, because he would straight up get a frying pan to the back of the head the first time he spent an hour and a half stinking up our one and only bathroom, or left 900,000 half empty cans of LaCroix scattered all over the only counter top in the entire house which happens to be the size of pizza box and also doubles as an ironing board, your office desk and kitchen table. No thank you!

We've pretty much come to the conclusion that it just makes sense to buy at this stage of our lives, especially because the tourist town we live in will always be a highly desirable place to live. We can always sell later, or rent out our house should we decide to move elsewhere. So wish us luck that we don't become those annoying ding dongs on HGTV's House Hunters who complain about silly little mundane things like interior paint colors, ugly light fixtures or my personal fave, "lack of entertaining space" because seriously, who the hell entertains anymore? Well, okay, probably lots of you do, but we have no friends so there's one thing we can cross off of our wish list.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I took my four kids to the museum alone and lived to tell about it

Monday was a school holiday (President's Day) and my kids were bugging me bright and early to "take them somewhere fun".  Of course they typically choose crazy stuff that's not really possible for me to do on my own with three kids and an infant, like some type of skating, the local water park (the younger kids don't swim that great yet and I'll be damned if I'm going to squeeze my glazed donut filled hiney into a swimsuit in February), glacier luging, etc, you get the idea. I'm not a big fan of venturing out with all four kids alone, so I don't do it very often. It's tiring, stressful, and anxiety provoking (just the mere thought of it makes me bust out in the flop sweats with puffy hives).

For Christmas this year my dad bought our family a year long membership to the High Desert Museum, at my request since the thought of more toys coming into this tiny, overcrowded, cluttered rental house briefly turned me into the robot that goes haywire on RoboCop. Unfortunately Bend doesn't have a children's museum, or OMSI like we had in Portland, but the HDM is still packed full of fun, and the perfect place to spend an afternoon.  Plus, I was feeling a little guilty that I had only used our family membership once since Christmas, since we've been buried under 10,000 feet of snow and haven't ventured out much these past couple of months. So I told the kids we were going to the museum, and that was final.

It took me about two hours to get all four kids ready to go. Not even joking. Two freaking hours. By the time I got everyone locked and loaded into the car, I was already completely wiped out and dying for a nap. I was spoiled with having older, independent children before Seanie Mac was born. I thought my infant/toddler days were long gone and all I really had to worry about before we left the house was that the kids had brushed their teeth, were all wearing pants, and went to the bathroom so we didn't have to pull over to pee a million times along the way.

Now that Seanie Mac is here we had to wait for his morning nap to end (because taking a cranky, non rested baby on an outing on purpose is like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, you know it isn't going to end well), feed him, clean him up, change his diaper, then change his diaper again because he took a dump as soon as I put a fresh diaper on him, etc. It seriously never ends with this kid. This is the same baby who almost always dumps the dog's water dish all over himself just seconds before we're ready to leave (or toilet water...he doesn't discriminate; he loves both).

I was really nervous that the kids were going to conspire against me and all hell was going to break loose and I'd have to use my one phone call from jail to call my husband at work to come bail me out, but to my surprise, the kids were all super duper well behaved, and no, I promise, I didn't drug them before we left.

We walked around the museum, checked out the exhibits (even though they really hadn't changed much since the last time we visited), the kids played in the kiddie area, and we even walked through the gift shop without anyone throwing a tantrum or breaking something, although my oldest started to get a little squirrely over an overpriced stuffed horse, but I held strong because if I bought her the horse, I'd have to say yes to the stuffed rodents that my boys were holding up and waving just inches from my face. Besides, I'm pretty sure we already have some rodents living behind our kitchen stove.

A shot of all four of them looking at the camera and I didn't even have to bribe them
Seanie was irritated that the stroller suddenly stopped moving 
A pathetic attempt at a selfie...we really could've used a selfie stick! 
Peanut loved this volunteer dude...he talked his ear off 
How I eat during PMS week
Seanie the rock climber. 
What do you mean your ten month old can't rock climb yet?
Kidding, he's still on the ground
I'm really happy I decided to take them out of the house and let them burn off some steam instead of yelling at them from the couch to be quiet while they ignore me and act like wild dingos at a rave.  Plus this gave me some confidence to know that not only could I do it, but that maybe I should be doing this kind of stuff more often. Of course you know what this means!! The next time I take them to the museum alone, I'll turn my back for one second and Peanut and Mahlon will end up falling into the snake pit. But at least I can always look back and say, "Remember that one time, when I took them to the museum and it was a total success?"  Yeah, I'll always have that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why I regret homeschooling my boys

This morning after the school bus drove away with my boys, my husband headed off to work, and I finally got my fussy ten month old son down for his morning nap. I grabbed my much needed cup of coffee, plopped my oversized rump onto my big comfy couch and started aimlessly flipping through the TV channels. There wasn't a whole lot to choose from, but I eventually settled on Dr. Phil. I used to be a huge Dr. Phil fan. I watched his talk show religiously every single afternoon, no matter what the episode was about. I'm not sure when or why I stopped watching it, but if I had to guess it's probably because I spend way too much time on my iPhone/social media and therefore I just don't watch a lot of TV anymore.  Not to mention I have 10,000 kids so typically the only shows that play in our house are Lab Rats or Paw Patrol.

Today's Dr. Phil show was a re-run (pretty sure all of the morning shows are older episodes as they show multiple episodes back to back), but the topic was "Parents who unschool" or something like that, and it totally caught my eye and I found myself getting sucked into the whole homeschool discussion/debate. It evoked a lot of strong feelings and emotions in me, because as some of you may remember, I used to homeschool two of my boys, Mahlon and Peanut.  I get asked a lot of questions about why I chose to homeschool them, especially because my older three kids were never homeschooled and attended public school from the start.

I don't know that I ever really had a bright, blaring reason for homeschooling. I didn't have anything against the public school system, and in fact my mother was an incredibly talented, dedicated elementary school teacher (who would be rolling over in her grave if she knew I homeschooled her grandkids) but rather it was more of a apprehension or fear of putting my boys in public school that drove me to it. I went back and forth over what to do, right up until the day Mahlon was due to start Kindergarten, but for some reason, I just couldn't bring myself to enroll him in our local public school.  I was afraid, really truly afraid. To understand, I guess you'd have to know that Mahlon had a bit of a rough start in life. He was born with moderate hypotonia (low muscle tone) and a pronated stance. He was a late talker as well, and it quickly became impossible to deny that he wasn't developing on par with his peers. So, he spent the majority of his toddler years in multiple, intensive therapies through our local Early Intervention center. He went to physical, occupational and speech therapy four out of five days a week for over two years. I will admit that I became very protective over Mahlon. Over protective you could say. It doesn't help that he's always been a momma's boy, and he definitely knows how to work his mom with a quick bat of those big brown eyes, blond hair and angelic face. I had many momma bear moments when he was little, as he would occasionally get teased or taunted by other kids on the playground because he wore big bulky leg braces due to his physical disabilities.  He also struggled to do a lot of things that other kids could do with ease, because he lacked the strength and muscle control and that hurt my heart (still does).

The thought of sending my darling, precious, fragile little Mahlon to public school where he would be away from me for more than six hours a day and could possibly get picked on by other kids or get hurt on the playground and I wouldn't be there to protect him, was more than I could bear (think full blown panic attack into a brown paper bag), so I just sort of stumbled into homeschool, even though it wasn't exactly a passion of mine. Sure, I made it work, but I didn't really enjoy it. I joined a few online homeschool groups, researched various curriculum options and tried to convince myself that not only was I doing the right thing, I was doing a better thing. I told myself he was getting more one on one attention, and receiving a better education than those poor neglected public school kids. And in some ways, he probably was. Mahlon took off with reading and by the time he finished the first grade, he was reading at a third to fourth grade level.  He loved to learn and actually looked forward to his lessons, sometimes even begging me to do more.  He had the perfect attitude/temperament for homeschooling, but something still didn't feel quite right.

Before I knew it, Peanut had approached Kindergarten age and because Peanut and Mahlon are best friends and joined at the hip, it was just sort of a no brainer to homeschool him as well.  However, unlike Mahlon, Peanut was a challenge to teach. He is stubborn and head strong and if he doesn't want to do something, it's a struggle to get him to cooperate (there were many days I threatened to toss the TV and the iPad out the window if he didn't buckle down and get his work done). He was also a big distraction for Mahlon and the two of them would team up against me, and it became very difficult to get through our daily assignments.  There were days I felt confident that I was giving them an education similar to their public schooled peers, and then days where I felt like a huge, colossal failure, and worried that they could possibly even be falling behind. Still I soldiered on, partly out of fear, and partly because I felt like I had made a commitment to homeschooling them and felt like I owed it to the boys to continue.

 One of the big arguments/topics of debate regarding homeschool is socialization. You cannot homeschool without hearing this term at some point (it was definitely discussed on the Dr. Phil episode I watched today). I used to get very defensive whenever anyone would ask me if I worried about socialization.  I scoffed at the mere notion, especially because my two boys are extremely friendly and social and seemed to make friends wherever we went. They were the boys who had new friends within minutes of arriving at a playground, and other kids seemed to naturally gravitate towards my boys. However, those friendships never lasted longer than the playground and we would say goodbye and go back home, and the guilt would set in.  Unlike their older sister, my boys weren't getting invited to birthday parties and had nobody to invite to their own parties. Each birthday was spent with just a few family members and I told myself that was enough because by this point, Mahlon was in taekwondo a few days a week and Peanut was in soccer, so how much socialization did these boys really need?  I told myself that what I was doing was enough, but deep in my soul I knew that it wasn't. Their older sister would come home with art projects, birthday invitations, field trip forms and more, and my heart started to ache for my boys.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I think homeschooling is a fantastic, viable option for many families, and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm throwing my fellow homeschoolers under the big yellow bus. I know many families who successfully homeschool and their kids are happy, bright, well adjusted, and just all around thriving in life, so I know it can be a very positive experience as well. It just wasn't for me because I wasn't a good homeschool mom. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was a sucky one. Sure, I hammered through their daily lessons, and my boys were definitely learning. Mahlon was an advanced, vivacious reader and Peanut a budding mathematical genius. But it just wasn't possible for me to provide them with those social experiences because I'm a bit socially dysfunctional myself.  Unlike my boys, I'm actually a shy, reclusive homebody and I found it super difficult (terrifying even) to jump in and get involved in the various homeschool activities. I did sign the boys up for some Mad Science Workshops over the years and they LOVED them, but those only happened once every few months, and that just fed my guilt monster even more because it was obvious that my boys needed more than what I was providing at home. 

Various Mad Science Workshops over the years
Mahlon loved to participate and was always the first to raise his hand 
Peanut with his crazy homeschool hair
Mahlon just loved these workshops so much! 
Their last and final year of homeschooling, 
this was taken outside of the workshop building
Plus, as I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm not very artistic, crafty, Pinteresty or whatever you want to call it.  I don't know how to make a butterfly habitat out of a toilet paper roll, nor do I even want to try. I hate that kind of stuff. HATE IT! But my boys love art and they craved more hands on activities. The few artsy fartsy projects we did do, they were beaming from ear to ear and so excited to show my husband when he walked in the door from work. "Daddy LOOK what we made today" as they jumped up and down, proudly displaying their homemade project, with big smiles plastered on their faces. I don't have a lot of positive homeschool memories, but those are the moments I remember and cherish fondly. 

I started confessing my feelings and concerns to my husband and he being the supportive husband that he is, said he would support me no matter what I decided to do. He did agree that the boys needed more social interaction with other kids. Mahlon hung his head once and said, "Daddy, I don't have any friends to invite to my party" and it broke his heart (and mine) into millions of pieces. After many serious conversations we agreed that once we moved out of Portland and into a better school district, the boys would be going to public school. As luck would have it we moved last July to a smaller town, with a highly rated public school system and we prepared the boys that they would be going to "regular school" come September.  The boys had a few reservations but for the most part they were really excited, and that just confirmed that I was making the right decision. I was nearly in tears during back to school shopping, which they were typically excluded from.  The boys ran up and down the school supply aisles, tossing items from their list into the shopping cart with pure joy and glee. Watching them pick out back packs, lunch boxes, and new shoes, was one of the happiest days of my life. They were so excited....and just happy.

The days leading up to their first day of school was nerve wracking, I'm not going to lie, but I didn't allow myself to show any fear in front of the boys. I reassured them that everything was going to be okay, and you know what? It was!!! Not only was it okay, it was even better than we ever could've imagined.  The boys love their new school, their teachers, classrooms, classmates, they honestly love everything about being in a traditional school setting. They actually look forward to getting up and going to school. They are up bright and early every single morning, and they get dressed without complaining, and they count down the minutes until the school bus arrives (they love riding the school bus).  I've raised two teenagers and have one in junior high, so I'm well aware that this could change in the future and to enjoy it while it lasts.

The boys were so proud of their backpacks
 The boys checking out their new school a week before school started (they insisted on wearing their backpacks)
First week of school...they were so excited! 
The boys eagerly heading to the bus stop on a sunny September morning
Yesterday was their very first Valentine's Day in public school. They could not stop talking about their class parties. They came home with their decorated bags full of Valentine cards from their classmates, and guarded them if they were some kind of prized, breakable, valuable possession.  One of the many experiences they would've missed out on, if they were still at home with me. 

I realize that not everyone has these amazing, positive, rainbows and unicorns experience with public school, and we are very fortunate to live in an area with a highly rated, solid public school system. I'm also well aware that we may hit some hurdles in the future (bullies, peer pressure, teachers or curriculum we don't like or agree with, etc), but we will face those hurdles head on, should they occur.  Seanie Mac is only ten months old, but I've already decided that he will also start public school in Kindergarten. I will not allow fear to make decisions for me anymore. That's not to say that all homeschooled families choose to out of fear, but it was definitely the deciding factor in my case. I regret not pushing through that fear and placing the boys in public school from the start. I regret that the boys both missed out on Kindergarten and Mahlon missed those first few fun years of public school where free play and art projects are plentiful. 

Homeschooling is becoming a popular option these days and many families with young children are wondering if maybe it's right for them.  My advice to parents considering homeschooling is to seriously think long and hard, deep inside of your heart and soul to decide if you really have what it takes to be successful at it. Be totally and completely honest with yourself. Do you have the motivation, patience and enthusiasm to teach your child day in and day out, even when you're tired, sick, frustrated?  Are you willing to get out of your house and get your child involved in co-ops, play dates, field trips? Are you willing to spend many hours of your personal downtime after the kids go to bed planning and organizing lesson plans, art projects, different curriculum options?  Will you still want to homeschool as your kids get older, and the subjects aren't so fun or easy anymore?  And the biggest question, are you doing this for your child or for you?

For me, the answer to these questions were pretty easy to answer once I got real with myself, and realized that I just didn't have it in me to keep going, so I didn't. If you're like me, and you're already homeschooling and it's not working out as planned, please don't feel guilty for choosing not to continue. I had some guilt at first, and worried that I was quitting, or abandoning my boys by sending them off to school, but in reality I did the best thing for them and I have no regrets (other than wishing I had done it sooner). This parenting gig is overwhelmingly hard, full of difficult decisions and choices we must make along the way. Sometimes you just have to follow what your gut or heart is telling you to do, as there are no easy answers, unless of course it's to the obvious like, "Hey mom, can I have this Fun Dip for dinner?"

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine Schmalentines

I apologize for not posting every day like I promised. I haven't been in a very good place lately. I don't know if it's winter depression, or maybe some leftover, residual post partum depression or what, but I've been down and out and just blah about everything. The motivation has been sucked out of me like a vacuum and all I really want to do is pull the covers over my head and sleep (which can't and wont happen because I have a hyperactive ten month old who is now taking steps on his own).

So, it wasn't really any big surprise that I would be blah about this year's Valentines Day as well.  Not that I was ever really all that excited over it. I'll admit, I'm not very romantic. In fact I'm pretty dude-like in many aspects. If you absolutely must have an example, I just finished clipping my toenails on the couch and then I stuffed my face with nachos (after going on a taco binge earlier today). The sexiness is just radiating out of me today so ladies hide yo men!

Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy for those of you who have cheesy, romantic, flower filled, gushy Hallmark card holidays. Everyone should feel loved and appreciated, and just because I'm having a woe is me, poopy flavored lollipop of a year, doesn't mean that everyone should suffer (although I hope you all choke on your chocolates....KIDDING.....I choked on a Mexican pizza many years ago at Los Dos Amigos and it was pretty damn terrifying). 

My husband isn't much better. If it were up to him holidays wouldn't even exist at all.  Yes, it's true, he was super duper romantic on our first Valentine's Day, but let's just say that over the years it's just sort of become another day for us on the calendar.  Last night we had to run to Safeway so while we were out we grabbed a box of chocolates that were on clearance and then upgraded our coffee purchases to include travel mugs (they were offering them for half off).

Happy Valentine's Day honey, here's some discounted chocolates and a plastic coffee cup
I may sound bitter, but I swear, I'm really not at all. I'm terrible with flowers. TERRIBLE! I'm like the Black Dahlia of the gardening world where all living plants come to die a slow, torturous death (luckily I'm better with children, right?) And I don't wear jewelry, other than my wedding ring and my plain silver hoop earrings that I bought at Target for five bucks many (many) years ago. Romantic trips are out too because, well, do I even need to say it? We have four young kids still living at home.  

There is one teeny tiny little thing that I wish my husband would do that doesn't even cost any money, and I've hinted at it so many times that I've honestly just given up at this point. And that's okay. I know there are several things on his list that I've neglected, despite him nagging at me, so we're even, and that my friends is marriage. It's a compromise, and there are lots of good days and bad days, and many in between, just okay days. He shows his love in many other ways, as he's an amazing father and provider (hello, the poor man works his tail off so his wife can stay home with their 10,000 kids) and he does lots of little things for me that I probably take for granted and don't even recognize half the time. For example, sometimes he'll pick up little items for me on his lunch break, like a new pair of shoes, a pair of pj's, a dessert he knows I like, etc. He grabs our favorite vegan chicken strips at Trader Joes which we consume late at night after the kids are in bed, sometimes even with wine! Bonus! 

I don't need a dozen roses or a fancy box of chocolates to know that he loves me and is committed to our family. In fact, tonight we're actually celebrating V-Day as a family, which we've also done in previous years, and those are always my favorite Valentine memories to be perfectly honest. The kids will only be with us for so many years and once they're gone we'll have many years of intimate dinners and weekend getaways.  So for now it's quick trips to Safeway for discounted chocolates and plastic coffee cups. But hey, for dinner we're having cheese fondue (I make the best cheese fondue by the way), along with some chocolate fondue for dessert.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful, amazing, love filled Valentine's Day.  And if you're not having a wonderful, magical V-Day, let me leave you with this little fun filled image.....once I finish posting this, I will be heading back to my bathroom to continue scraping the stuck on, sticky icky Amoxicillin which spilled out all over my drawer, ruining what little make up I owned (it's a sign that I should never wear make up), with a butter knife. 

You're welcome.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Latest

I know I know...I disappeared again without a trace. I'm seriously struggling big time to maintain this blog and deal with the most hyper active baby I've ever had the pleasure of raising.  This one doesn't sleep y'all and he never ever EVER stops moving. Seriously, you guys have no idea how crazy my little man is, but I'll post more on Seanie Mac later because I could seriously fill up an entire post on the nutty, asinine things this boy is already doing and he's not even a year old. What can I say? He's gifted.....

Toy bins are made for climbing apparently
These two equal TROUBLE!!!
In other news I've decided that I'm going to start posting on my blog every single day (at least on the weekdays) to get myself actively writing again. I hope I don't run out of exciting things to post about, but then again I'm getting old so worst case scenario I can always talk about my changing moles, joint pain, and newest batch of grey hairs, right?

I'm so very sorry for not posting an update on the whole Mahlon/RSVP thing. I made a thank you slideshow with several pics and the video ended up being eight minutes long.  Rather than bore people to tears with the longest, slowest slideshow ever created (I seriously suck at figuring out how to use iMovie), I think I'll just post the pics on my blog instead. I will work on writing my post this weekend and have it up and running on Monday, and I'll try really hard to include a short video of Mahlon, either on the blog, Facebook, or both.  Mahlon is still begging us for his own YouTube channel and I know he's a charming, funny little boy and many people are interested in his life, but my husband and I haven't totally made up our minds yet. Part of me wants to shield him from the online world as some people can be unbelievably cruel while hiding behind a computer screen.  If we do allow him to start doing a weekly YouTube show, you guys will be the first to know.

Speaking of Mahlon, he is doing pretty great in case you're worried/wondering. He received an award at school (Growth Mindset) and he is so proud of himself, as are we. Academically he's doing amazing as well. As a former home school mom, I was so worried and anxious that he would be behind since he was thrown into public school as a third grader, but he's actually ahead of grade level.  He recently tested and got his upper green belt in Taekwondo not too long ago and life is pretty much back to normal for him, for all of us really. 

Upper green belt testing
Mahlon and I still get recognized from time to time since we live in a small town and that's kind of weird (and scary since it forces me to be on my best behavior at all times), but I'm actually relieved that the hype has died down. Going viral was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Occasionally I get asked how I went viral and I'm dead serious when I say, "Sorry, I have no idea" because that's the truth. I really, truly don't know how I did it. I simply wrote from the heart and my thoughts and feelings just poured out into my post, and it got shared......A LOT.

Despite what some jerky asshat in NY wrote about me, I never intended to go viral and to be quite honest, I didn't embrace the attention as many others probably would have.  What most don't know is that I turned down several offers to be on TV, which could've potentially turned into something else for our family (a reality show for example).  Yes, I write a blog and I share a lot of personal stories about our lives, but I'm also a very private person and I suffer from social anxiety, and it's very difficult to overcome and deal with at times. When my blog post first went viral I had many moments of sheer panic and terror over having to read comments about me from judgmental strangers, having to answer my phone for interviews, respond to emails, etc.  I'm not good at that kind of thing and it's also why I've been lying low these last few months and just trying to get back to normal.  No, it's not how most bloggers would've handled it, and most probably would've loved the sudden attention and ran with it, but for me, I had so much anxiety, that I couldn't even pick up my Macbook for several weeks.

There are a couple of things I've been contemplating about lately and one of them is writing a book about my life (but I thought about doing that long before my RSVP post went viral so stuff it Gershie).  Our entire family has been through some crazy stuff over the years, some of it is juicier than a cheesy Lifetime movie. I suppose I could write about it here, but I save this blog for more important, tantalizing topics like my dysfunctional bladder, my arachnophobic husband, and my dog who thinks our hardwood floors make a fabulous toilet.  I don't know if anyone would read my book, but I would still love to write one even if my family and a few friends end up being the only willing readers.  Another thing I've been working on is directly related to the RSVP post, but it's more of a pay it forward/mission type of project. Will update when or if we can get something going. I do have someone willing to help me so that's a good start. Now if I could force my ADD brain to focus on something for more than a week, I'd be golden.

Anyways, I could ramble on and on but we have company coming over tonight and my toilets look especially gas station worthy at the moment, so I need to go clean them before our company goes running out of our house screaming.

Have a great weekend and I'll be back on Monday!!