Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pregnancy #4:

Oh, being pregnant. How I have missed you. I haven't grown a pumpkin patch on my face in years. And I wear it with pride having not even attempted to cover my face with the slightest bit of make-up in a month. Why should I? Every time I throw up, tears flood my eyelashes making a lovely black and gray swirl foundation that is a bit darker than my, now, albino complexion. Well, albino everywhere but the circles under my eyes. They retained their blue color quite nicely.

Pregnancy has forced me to SLOW down and appreciate my life. I am now grateful for all walks, no matter the distance- from bed to bathroom. From bathroom to bed. And the joy of relaxing in bed all day... (with my vomit bucket tucked firmly between my legs). It's blissful. I love sitting there watching my children frolic about the house, while I consider telling them to stop using cereal as a form of confetti to decorate the tile floors, but finding myself too tired to beat them so I close my eyes and sleep instead. I love listening to the arguing and screaming as they self regulate their emotions with almost no parental intervention. And sweet Boeing running around making gagging noises and yelling, "I'm too tired. I have to take a break. I can't breave."

I believe pregnancy has enhanced my existing children. Their inventive ideas never cease to amaze me. Just now Boeing came to me with a new invention. I had to tell him, "No thanks, buddy. I don't want to pick my boogers with your used sucker stick." But what a genius idea. And Bry took all of the wooden slats out of his twin sized bed and built a race car track two rooms long. I didn't even mind breaking my ankle, foot, and falling into the wall tripping over it trying to find the bathroom in the dark. Today I even discovered that the boys had planted a garden in their room using berries. (CANDY berries). SURE about a cuzillion sugar ants had taken OVER their garden, but they were "sowing the seed" like in the scripture story we just read.

I've realized that my kids are quite capable of doing everything for themselves. Bry can make his own peanut butter and nutella sandwich, Brookie can fold and put away laundry. Even Boe, being only two, is completely able. In fact, he doesn't even need my help (or permission) to feed himself cookies hidden on top of the fridge. (Apparently my pregnancy has enhanced all his senses in addition to his mischievousness). He is so considerate so as not to wake me, he closes my bedroom door, the kitchen door, scales a chair quietly climbing onto the counter, stacks a variety of cereal boxes or whatever he can find to stack, and locates all the treasures "put out of his reach." After he climbs another shelf and uses the scissors to open his snack, he does a little mending on anything he sees worth chopping, (AH Daddy's khaki church pants- snip snip), then he remembers his snack and decides to eat. As you probably know, food is not meant to be jailed in containers. Upon opening food, it should be immediately freed, no matter the ginormous amount. Boeing is a stickler for cookie rescues and promptly dumps all 40 cookies in a pile on the tile floor, usually amongst a similar pile of cereal. But Boeing, with his tender considerations, takes it a step farther. He takes two handfuls of cookies from the kitchen floor and carries them, making a crumbly trail, through the living room and into either the kids' room where Brookie and Bry are playing or upstairs where they are playing. He then generously shares his bounty. Brighton graciously accepts, no questions asked.

Brooklyn, forever the only adult in the house at SIX, taps her foot, "Boeing, did you ask Mommy for cookies?"

"Umm, but no... but because Mommy is asleep."

I am then awaken from my sleep, which is my cue to puke, and told of the horrors occurring during my nap. "Lovely! So lovely! I'll just sweep that up." I stand, sway, gag.

"No. I'll just tell Daddy when he gets home."

Starling has been the MOST blessed by this pregnancy. He's always been envious of my household duties. What a grand opportunity to step into my flip flops! Laundry, dishes, sweeping, discipline. He's a natural. He loves it. Does he wait until every dish in the house is dirty to wash them? Of course he does. He loves a challenge! And has he fed us every single meal since I got sick. YEAH he has. He is KING of ordering pizza and food delivery. He is on call 24 hours. Thank goodness half the taco stands stay open past midnight, because sometimes, I just need to eat at midnight. (And again at 3 or 4 a.m. And again at 6...). Every day he tells me how great it is to live with an invalid. (Okay, he's never said it out loud- but I KNOW he's thinking it. I can tell by that expression of love he flashes me when I wake him up and start with, "Starling- can you....". Its super endearing. I can tell that he's NEVER been happier).

And can I just say how thankful I am for my super-sonic smelling power? I don't know what I've done without it for the last two and half years. I can smell someone grilling from 6 blocks away. And that is extremely useful. My "overactive sniff" combined with my overzealous gag reflex: I am just a happy go lucky time bomb. I haven't exactly pinpointed the need for the increased smelling abilities as it pertains to evolution, but I will certainly never accidently eat something inedible. Laundry detergent? Gag. Dishwashing liquid? Gag. Any "smell good" products that I once appreciated: perfume, cologne, deodorant? Gag.

But today! I have to say today was BETTER. The best day I've had for WEEKS! I actually got OUT of my BED and did LAUNDRY. (Starling did have to intervene towards the middle of me hanging clothes because I got to weak- but PROGRESS)! I think I'm finally bouncing back from Dengue, which I VERY fortunately caught at the SAME time as pregnancy. (Better to catch all the deathly ill at once and get it out of the way). I figure I'm filling my quota so I can be healthy as an ox next year. Or at least I'll think I am in comparison to now.

We are heading back to the States at the end of November. My brother is getting married and our visas expire. Our year long stay in Cozumel is coming to an end. I know my parents have to be thrilled to have us come live with them. Who doesn't want Boeing Johnson living in your house helping you reorganize everything you own? But it'll ONLY be until our rental lease is up on our house. So ONLY a month or so.... ONLY.... I can already imagine the joy a family of five will bring to the neighborhood... We might need to invest in a child size kennel. We are excited to see all of our MSippians. I'm ready for a big pot of greens and corn bread with a side of fried chicken. And every other MS food I've been without for the last year. I usually gain 50 pounds with my pregnancies. Just a gander... but the way I've been inhaling foot long subs and half a dozen tacos... I'm going with same-ole', same' ole. And that's the healthy stuff. I'm just counting down the days until I pull up into Sonic to get my 7 inch tall bacon cheddar toaster loaded with meaty, cheesy, onion ring, and bbq goodness....
Well, its midnight. Time to eat again. SEE Ya'll soon!!   

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Depression: The Silent Killer

IN MEMORY of my amazing friend...

Depression. The silent killer. Depression is a cancer that slowly eats a person, left untreated. And sometimes, even the most aggressive treatments just aren't enough.

Depression is difficult to define, to explain in words, because depression isn't made up of words. It's made up of swirling emotions that are usually meddled with small bits of truths and bulks of disproportionate falsehoods.

All people have struggled with bouts of depression at some point in their lives, usually associated with a tragic loss or a stressful event. We have all felt sad, all felt overwhelmed, but usually time heals our wounds and we are able to bounce back to a normal routine, our emotions stabilizing.

In the past, depression was considered "the blues," and accepted that one would eventually "snap out of it." Now, after further explorations of the brain, depression is recognized as a medical condition.  Depression is a mental illness. It's not unlike diabetes or heart disease. Diabetes is an imbalance of insulin; depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain (with about a million contributing factors still being explored).

One cannot fathom the depths of depression until personally going through it. I certainly never did.

I observed my close relatives, their behavior often odd and confusing to me. The shifts in mood from warm to ice was an ever occurring phenomenon. As a young child, I often resented the adults in my life who seemed to love me one day and reject me the next. I was often harsh in my judgment of family members.  I wondered why they didn't just try to be happy. After all, happiness is a choice.
It wasn't until I turned nineteen that I began to understand my family. I began to experience shifts in my mood that were unrecognizable to me, as I had never struggled with disabling mood swings as a youth. Despite my exuberant optimism, which most people recognized as my most prevalent characteristic, those closest to me began to see a darker side.

Depression affects all people differently. This is my story.

The only description I can offer is "black hole." It didn't matter that I was an honor student in college, that I was President of the Business Club, that I had a serious boyfriend that I would later marry, that I had a job I loved, that I had amazing friends. Outwardly, my world seemed adequate enough. I felt blessed beyond belief. I laughed. I joked. I was happy. So happy. But like a rogue wave, I would be slammed into a state of utter despair. It was unpredictable. Sometimes trifling issues would proceed it, sometimes nothing at all. As an insanely prayerful person, I was convinced I could pray my way through the turmoil offsetting my world. I married. I finished my college degree (ironically changing my emphasis to psychology). I had three kids. I fostered over a dozen children. Through all of this, I battled a demon, not of flesh and blood, but of thoughts existing in my own head. No one outside of my home had a clue. How could they? I never went out when I was experiencing an "episode," a term my husband and I used to refer to my low points. I was often curled up in a ball wishing the earth would swallow me up, praying God would take me home where I didn't have to feel the desolation engulfing my own mind. Emotions that crashed over me included, but were not limited to, grief, despair, hopelessness, and guilt. The guilt encompassed more of me than anything. How could I be so ungrateful? How could I hate a life so filled with blessings? I was a miserable person. My family would be better off with someone who could uplift them, instead of drag them through the endless roller coaster that was my existence.

My husband was my constant buffer. He cared for the kids, no matter how many filled our home at the time. He was always loving and encouraging. He was my rock. After a day, sometimes two, it passed. And then I was happy again. Like it never even happened. I loved my family, I resumed my role as a bouncy trouncy mom and wife.

Along the way, I'd visited doctor after doctor, all of which deciding I was the most upbeat, happy person on earth and of course I was stressed out and overwhelmed. I constantly had between 5 and 6 kids under the age of 7 living in my house. Nothing was wrong with me. I just needed to take more time for myself. Take a happy pill.

I'd researched and implemented behavioral therapy methods, my first choice of dealing with communication and behavioral problems with my biological and foster children.  Despite my 100% anti-medicine mind, I finally gave up on controlling my mood. I finally realized there was no controlling a tornado. So I tried several different antidepressants. Some made me groggy out of my mind. I would ask my doctor, "Isn't there something else I can take? I'd like to load my dishwasher without pausing to take a nap."

I'd try something else. It would send me spiraling into raging mood swings worse than the ones I was already experiencing. Once I went ballistic and threw tomatoes at Starling's head. Why? Because I was making BLT's and he ate a piece of bacon that was not yet on a sandwich.

Finally, I talked to a psychiatrist, taking Starling with me. (This proved to be the turning point in someone believing that I was bonkers). When I jovially described my colorful episodes, I could never quite divulge the fullness of my lows. As it is sometimes with blissfully happy people, when we aren't sad, it's almost difficult to recreate a description of a low episode. We almost block it out, because we no longer associate with those ragged emotions. At least, not until they fester again. Even with the psychiatrist, I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of my actions and the insane beliefs I held during my ugly moments. Not because I found any of it funny. Trust me. I didn't. Humor and sarcasm is how many people cope with depression. It's our own little defense mechanism.  

It was only when Starling spoke, that the psychiatrist stopped grinning. It was terribly uncomfortable for me, to be vulnerable with my illogical thinking and embarrassing behaviors filleted on the psychiatrist's desk. He diagnosed me with bipolar. But, I thought, the "black hole" wasn't me and it wasn't anything I wanted to be associated with. I wasn't like the people we'd studied in my psychology classes. They took crazy to a whole new level.

The doctor said the spectrum for mental illness is huge and while I was low on the spectrum in severity, (I wasn't blowing money, drinking, abusing drugs, having sex with random people, etc), he thought I would benefit from a mood stabilizer- anti depressant combo. After eight looong years, I got on the right medication. Wow. What a difference. Now I can reserve my crazy for my children's behavior instead of plunging into moments of imaginary problems. I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

Many people don't find the right medication. Many people are misdiagnosed. Many medications have terrible side effects, some leading to suicide. Even with the right medication, depression is still a life-long battle.

When depression takes a life, as it did one of my dearly beloved friends, it breaks my heart. It also makes my mind churn. I don't ask "Why?" I know why. It's the black hole of depression. Though I have never blogged about my diagnosis, I haven't been silent about it, either. You may have noticed, if you've read my blog, I'm not a secretive person. I've learned that owning my weaknesses gives me power over them. It also empowers others.

When my friend left this world, she left a multitude of loved ones, people she loves, people who love her. People I haven't talked to in 10 years have reached out to me, and vice-versa. And I notice a trend. Nearly everyone I talked to said the same thing, "I know what depression is like. I struggle with it, too."  Most of them keep it a secret, scared of the little black box hidden in their sock drawer. It could happen to any of us. A predisposition to depression significantly increases the risk of suicide.
Depression singles out our insecurities, magnifying them. It convinces us that we are alone in our sorrows, the only one fighting a losing battle. Well. We aren't alone. There are millions of us. It's time to stop hiding in the shadows. It's time to own it and beat it. You are not alone. You are never alone. It helps to talk to others who walk in your shoes. My door is always open. Well. I live in Mexico. My fb messenger is always open. And those of you who live with a person suffering with depression, there is a special place in Heaven for you next to my husband.

I love you, Mary Ellen Ray. We made a great team winning those debate trophies. I don't know if anyone could make up "facts" like the two of us. (And leave our opponents' mouths agape). Thanks for the memories. I'll always smile when I think of you. You left this world too early. Your life has touched more people than you know. I only wish you could have seen the out pouring of love from your friends and family before you left this earth. Maybe you do see it. I hope so. I know your heart is no longer troubled. I have a testimony that families are forever, that our Savior has welcomed you into His loving arms. You'll always have a special place in my heart. 

Love one of your many friends,

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Stitches

Yesterday we went to eat at Margaretville with Starling's parents. They flew in for 10 days and Les, Starling's dad, went to USM with Jimmy Buffet, so we wanted to show him the place. (Okay. Truthfully, we were craving their nachos). The plastic surgeon's office (where Bry had to get stitches) is a few doors down. We needed to check in with the doc to make sure Bry's head was healing appropriately. After we ate, we started walking. There are signs on the sidewalk. Little advertisement signs beckoning people into stores to get jewelry, purses, and tattoos. Well. No. Not little signs. Massive, 'you can't miss me', signs.

Brighton ran SMACK into one. It was not a delicate greeting. It was a slam his face, fall flat on his butt, stare at the sign with little cartoon birdies flying over his head in a halo, smash. (Irony being we were going to see if he could get the stitches out of his face. Sucky thing- I didn't get it on video). While Bry and Starling were in the back of the doctor's office  talking to a nurse, I had the joyous responsibility of keeping Boeing occupied in the adorable cereal box sized waiting area. We played with the "jelly fish" on the desk. (That's kind of what breast implants look like, right)?

When we LEFT the office (with stitches still in), Bry ran into the SAME sign AGAIN. That's when I realized... he has some of his mama in him.

But why did he need stitches in the first place? Well... some kids are just born more accident prone than others. Some kids just have crappy parents. Apparently... Bry got dealt both hands, bless his heart.

Brookie and Bry got new boogie boards for their birthdays. (Boeing calls them skateboards. The other two kids call them surf boards. Both names implicate STANDING on the board = correct usage ). That's problem number one.

I told the kids (Brooke and Bry) to give water to our pup and kitty. Boeing insisted on helping. That's problem number two.

Boeing's enormous cup of water never made it to the water bowl. It dumped out all over the tile in the living room. The tile is slick like glass. That's a combo problem number 3.

Me. Problem number 4.

Starling. Problem number 5.

"Boeing! Seriously? The floor JUST got mopped! Water is everywhere." I almost slid down and busted my butt, which, like all normal people, gave me a great idea.

"Hey! Bring your boogie boards! This is going to be AWESOME!"

I demonstrated how to run and JUMP on the boogie board. I zoomed all the way through the living room and out the door. "It's exactly like a slipping slide." (Except not. You might die).

"COOL, MOM! We wanna try!!!"

Usually there is one responsible parent in a relationship. This would have been the time when that parent, the "bad cop" or parent with "common sense" or "rational/sane" parent would have intervened and shut down the party. BUT, it was just Starling.

"That's all you got? You have to get more momentum than that!"   

The kids increased speed, slid farther.

"Weak sauce!" He taunted.

After 15 minutes or so, once we had solidified the proper form and speed for complete and total disaster, we left our kids to enjoy their new game.

About 15 or 20 more minutes passed and in runs Brookie, "Bry is bleeding. Seriously. He is! He really is bleeding. Seriously. For real." I heard no screaming and crying and bleeding is a common occurrence in our house, so I wasn't too alarmed. (Although, he could have been unconscious somewhere. But Brooklyn would have told me. Four to five times).

After I finally said, "OKAY, Brooklyn. I heard you. Bry is bleeding," Bry walked into my room. He didn't look too worried or too hurt. He just had blood draining down his face like red syrup. He, of course, wiped it like he would wipe sweat, and then touched me. And my computer desk. And anything else that could hold a bloody hand print.

"Mo-om. I'm bleeding," he half whined, obviously out of annoyance that he had to stop riding his boogie board because blood was getting in his eye.

Really? I never would have guessed.

"Stop touching it."

"But its bleeding."

"Yeah. Brookie get a wet rag. Bry! Seriously. Stop touching your face!"

"But Mo-om, it is still bleeding."

"If you touch your face again you are going to time-out," I snapped. (Along with being an AMAZINGLY sound minded parent, I am also extremely sympathetic).

"Fi-ine. Yeeees Maaa'aaam," he moaned, slouching his shoulders impatiently.

I took a good look. My stomach went somewhere. Else. Gone. Evacuated. I started getting light-headed. (To add to my other motherly qualities, I'm also 100% incapable of looking at blood. Yes, Starling hit the jackpot on wives).

"Starling, I think you might need to handle this. And by might, I mean, now."

Starling took one look and said, "Yep. That's going to need stitches."

"What's stitches?" Bry wanted to know.

"Well. I may be able to super glue it."

"What's stitches?"

"Let me call the vet."

"Bry, look at me- I need to take a picture. Hey, stand still, man," I chimed in, camera ready.

"What is stitches?"

"We are going to need to go into the light."

"DAAAADAAAY! What is stitches?"

I answered because Starling was in the zone. He can only focus on one thing at a time. He is shockingly talented at tuning out anything other than his own brain.

"What?! I don't want to have to go to a doctor!" Bry shouted in horror. It was the first time he actually looked upset about the whole ordeal.

"The vet said he'll do it for $300 pesos. So like $28 bucks or so."

"Wow! That's awesome."

Starling came back from the vet with Bry about ten minutes later.

"That was quick," I said surprised.  

"Yeah. The vet said he thought I was talking about a dog."

"Ah. That sucks."

"He recommended a plastic surgeon on the frontage road. I mean, it is his face. We don't want him having too big a scar. But I'm going to do some research. I may can glue it myself."

Bry and Brookie went off to play while Starling hit Google and YouTube.

"Bry! Come here, bud."

He looked at Bry's wound. "I think it's too deep and wide to glue. See?" He opened it up with his thumbs, "It goes all the way to his skull."

"Starling. Seriously? You are really showing me this? What is wrong with you?" I melted into a green pile against the wall, my eyes threatening to roll into the back of my head.

"It says super glue kills the skin sometimes."

"Why are you still talking?"

"We want this flap to-"

"STARLING! Just do what you are going to do and don't tell me about it!"

 "We're going to a people doctor, bud."

"Thank goodness. Just go. Oh- and take some pictures," I moaned barely hanging onto consciousness.

About that time the Cable Guy arrived.

"bla-o, bla-o. somethingo, bla-o." (That's what I hear when Starling talks really fast Spanish to someone. And he never translates for me. Ever).

The man nodded at Starling and set to work doing something to our internet that, quite frankly, was working just fine.

"Can I go play now?"

"Oh." He remembered his son. "No, I need to go ahead and take you to the doctor. You can finish up with the Cable Guy, Wendi."

"Sure thing, babe." (I may have rolled my eyes a little because my Spanish is like the babbling of a 6 month old).

The cable guy finished fixing whatever wasn't broken. I don't know WHY Starling is always FIXING things. Something about adding something to something.

The guy explained to me exactly what he did. In Spanish. I blinked away my blank stare and nodded enthusiastically when he paused, assuming it was supposed to be my turn to talk. "Muchas Gracias, Amigo! Es muy bueno." He looked at me confused and left.

Bry returned with some nice stitch work and a sucker in each hand.

"Good, I'm glad your back! Do you want to go swim with Dillon?"


So we walked over to my friend's house and the kids played in the water while I stuffed my face with the kids' snacks.  

Then I had to cook something for our Wednesday potluck church meeting. I "made" chips, guacamole, and a bunch of sweet bread from Mega (the glorified Wal Mart).

All in all, it was a super great day. I was reminded how much home-schooling rocks and my kids now know how to ride a boogie board. And that is the moral of the story. Sometimes fun costs $60 in stitches.  

Monday, May 25, 2015


I suddenly have time to blog. My kids are glued to the television with their father watching a documentary. On crackers. I’m being serious. I am an apparent misfit in my family when it comes to exaggerated enthusiasm about how things are made. Especially crackers. I care how they taste. And if there is something to put on them.

I’m so glad Starling enjoys learning. I do, too… just not about anything boring. Or confusing. Or useless. Or useful but I’m never going to do it, use it, or make it.

It started with Bry asking me how waves are made. I don’t know. Something about the moon? Wind? But, when you are a home school parent, you can’t just pawn off your kids’ questions on their teacher and let them teach your kids the crap you don’t care about. Because I’m it. Here I am.

So I started researching. I am SO glad we live in the internet age where I can go to YouTube and type in “How are waves made?” And boom… all kinds of teachers pop up to teach ME, (and if I go through enough of them, usually one will start to make sense), and then I let them teach my kids or, if I magically understand, I teach them myself.

As is always the case with my children, one thing led to another and we began watching documentaries on tidal waves, tsunamis… and of course earth quakes since they cause disastrous waves. And historical documentaries that only throw in science facts as it relates to the thing I’m watching, in this case the Japan Tsunami of 2011, completely spike my interest. I was as glued to the t.v. as the rest of my family.

(That’s how education is supposed to happen. A question is answered and it leads to more questions. Eventually even the most UNINTERESTED person- in My fam ALWAYS me- finds a strand of curiosity that pulls her into a learning environment without even knowing its happening).

Of course... I just WATCHED the documentary. Starling was on his phone the entire documentary reading about the tsunami WHILE watching about it, WHILE looking up answers to all of his questions and spitting out facts that the video failed to mention. Bry asked why fire was on top of the water. (I wanted to know that, too, but not enough to spend time researching it when Starling the "I'll wreck the car trying to fact check something on my phone that my wife just said" was in the room). 

The difference between Starling and me is this: I typically answer or find the answer to specific questions for my kids and then I’m done. NOT the case with Starling. At all. If the kids give Starling even the smallest inkling of some interest in any subject whatsoever, he is GAME on. He not only tells them what they want to know, he blows their MIND with info. They’ll spend days together learning about whatever random thing they dared question. (This is fantastic. The kids LOVE it. This is also the reason I don’t ask Starling questions. Because I usually don’t REALLY want to know. I like two word answers. "The car exploded? How?" Just tell me the gas tank got busted in a crash. DO NOT take me on a ten day hike through the great research of Starling's brain and explain to me about vapors and engines and what parts were altered in the crash. I'm already lost, my brain has already left this conversation, and all I want to know at this point is what's for dinner). 

But, unlike me, the kids eat up information. Take electricity. Brooklyn asked me how electricity works. I researched it for all of about 2 seconds and realized I couldn’t even FORCE myself to care, or fit it into a nice package of two sentences, so I forwarded that question to Starling

The kid drew power poles (in her spare time for FUN) for a solid week.

Starling took the kids to the airplane show here in Cozumel. 

Me? “This sounds like a fantastic Daddy and kids bonding opportunity. I’m going to stay home and work on my novel. Have fun with that!” 

Starling’s enthusiasm was so great that Brighton is now convinced he wants to be a pilot when he grows up, and he needs a co-pilot. Brooklyn has eagerly agreed to join him as such. Starling and Brighton watch all things air plane. I won’t even pretend that I’m interested in airplanes, because I’m not. (I might feign interested in the making of a cookie because I want to eat it. But there's really no benefit to pretending to like engines). However, since my children are obsessed with planes, I find myself spending a massive amount of time drawing and cutting out airplanes.

 (I’m pretty sure my kids would have done just fine in the days of paper dolls. They play with my card board cutouts ALL the time. If only Boeing and the dog weren't in competition for destroying everything I own).

And then of course, there are the questions that kids ask that have no truthful answer. LIKE Brooklyn. She lost her first two teeth. She was so excited that the “tooth mouse” (which someone told her comes in Mexico instead of the tooth fairy) was coming that she became a trumpet of questions. She was sounding them off faster than I could comprehend them. (Not that it isn't normal. I can go wash dishes and do a load of laundry before Brooklyn finishes her 20 questions on a daily basis. I don't even have to answer. I don't even have to be in the room. No idea WHERE she gets that from..). 

Before I knew it, I was convincing her that the tooth mouse is a nice mouse that works for the tooth fairy. No he won’t crawl over her face. No he won’t get tangled in her hair or bite her in her sleep. No our cat isn't going to eat him. So she left him a note and cheese. Under her pillow. (And no. I didn’t play the ‘Santa eating the cookie.’ A stray animal got to eat that cheese because I flung it over my gate while wearing a flared upper lip and fighting a jumping gag reflex).    

Today I found myself lying to my OTHER kid. “Brighton! You better brush those teeth or the tooth fairy isn’t going to buy them! They’ll be too gross for her to use.”

Brooklyn said, “You mean the tooth fairy uses our teeth? For what?”

I was in such a rush to get out of the door for church (ironic I know), I just didn’t think that one through.

“Of course she uses them. She gives them to people who don’t have teeth. The people that got their teeth eaten up by cavity monsters.” 

I was so grateful today that Brooklyn couldn’t speak Spanish. She was eyeing all the elderly people in church with missing teeth. And trust me, if she could have said something, she would have said something.

And then there is Boeing. Dear sweet darling Boeing. He never asks questions. Why should he? He is two years old and knows all of the answers. So he just tells us all we need to know. “It’s mango. It’s good.” “It’s me-i-cine. It’s yuck.” “I not want to wear khakis to church. I’m gonna wear my swim soup. It’s okay, mom. It’s fine.”

Today the kids ran into the kitchen and asked if they could have a drink. “Sure. What do you want?”
Brooklyn said, “hmmm…. I’ll have pickle juice, please.”

(Such a little me. I keep a jar of green olives in the fridge door just so I can pop one or two after I eat anything sweet. Ice cream? Yum! Better chase that with a green salt block).  

I filled her cup with pickle juice. (Which counts as healthy right? I mean- it has remnants of vinegar-ized cucumber- WHICH is a veggie).  In barged Boe. “I WAN some of your JUICE, Bwookie!” She was going to tell him what it was, but I hushed her. “Let him have some. Starling, do watch this, dear.”

He took a nice looong swig. Then his face turned into a pile of squishy wrinkles, and I stepped out of the line of fire, with the thought he might projectile vomit. “Dat juice turned gwoss!!”

(THAT is how I deal with my life. The little victories). 

Just when I think all of my teaching and time-outs, and butt popping have gone unnoticed by Boeing, he’ll surprise me with a burst of knowledge. While we were in the MIDDLE of scripture study, Boeing slyly shimmied his way towards Starling’s guitar propped on its stand. When he saw Brighton glance his way, he announced fervently, “Bwy! You touch dis guitar, it’s a no no! And Bwy will need a pankin on his butt!”  

I can count the number of times I have spanked Brooklyn or Brighton on one hand. A time out and a talk? They listen to reason, they feel remorse, we move on with our lives. Boeing is a DIFFERENT story. I am having to COMPLETELY relearn parenting. Nothing that works for my other two works for him. I think age is the only thing that is going to “fix” him. He doesn’t flat out tell me no. He tries to “reason” with ME. (And most the time he has sound logic behind his argument, which only further irritates me, because all I want is a ‘yes ma’am’ and quick departure).  

I say, “BOEING JOHNSON, sit at that table to eat your cereal.”

“Mom, I’ll sit by you and eat my cereal. I’ll be so careful. I won’t make a mess.”


“Oh! It’s okay, mom. I’ll say pweeze nicely.”

What? He spends a LOT of time in time out. And even THEN he’ll come to me and say, “Mom! Time for me to get out cuz I’m all done cwying! Wook! I’m not cwying anymore!”

If my face were to freeze in the expression found most often on my face, I would be frozen with one eyebrow raised in complete perplexity, one eye frozen in a twitch, and crazy would be a frozen vapor seeping out of my ears. And my gaze would be directed at the last location Boeing stood.

He gave the dog gum. That worked out nicely. Then he had a picnic in my bedroom with crackers that Starling told him he could not have. He put an entire SLEEVE of ritz crackers on my floor. (Freshly swept and mopped). Starling spanked him and said, “Pick EVERY cracker Up, NOW.” He did as he was told. He picked every single cracker up off the floor and put them ALL on my bed.
Yeah. My pillow has scream marks.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I don't know why I've been stressed. (Besides the whole- we moved to Cozumel in December and sunk our first boat EVER to own in April).

Some people eat when they get stressed. Some people exercise. I usually bang on my keyboard, write a couple of songs that relate to absolutely NOTHING even remotely resembling my thought process, have a girls night, and blog out anything I forgot to vent. THEN I move on with my life.

This little Mexico think put me in quite the dilemma. My keyboard is in Mississippi. And I can't write songs without my keyboard. Okay. I can. But I like to bang on my keyboard for good measure prior to writing a song. But, like the good little girl scout I am, I improvised.

I turned into the craft version of Martha Stewart.  I went PINTEREST crazy and started as many projects as my brain could conjure without stopping until the boat was safely on land and my husband came home before midnight.  

I gave Starling fair warning that I was going to paint an ocean mural in the kids room, I was going to write a novel, and write my series of kid books. I told him I was going to make sea glass decor to go over the whole house. I was going to paint ALL the ugly yellow in our house white. I was going to label every object in our house with its Spanish name and our entire family was only going to speak in Spanish. I was going to paint a sunset mural in OUR bedroom and get rid of the beautiful ORANGE and YELLOW walls (which is a shame because it matches the pinkish gray tile SO 
well...). I'm sure I'm leaving out some of my projects, but you get the point. Like he always does, he smiled and nodded, assuming I'd move onto something more simple like eating ice cream. 

As if Starling's life wasn't stressful enough (figuring out how to move a boat over 50 foot long off of a BEACH), the kids eagerly surprised him with "Mommy's coloring on the wall!" It was past midnight. Yes, we were all up.

He tried not to choke on his, um... excitement, when he walked into the kids' room and saw pencil drawings ALL over their wall. (Oddly enough... pencil doesn't erase off of a concrete wall..).. Don't worry. I had drawn out a lovely- round about IDEA- of what I hoped to accomplish on PAPER before I started. It took me all of about 10 minutes on paper. Perhaps it was a bit VAGUE. It was going to be magnificent. I even researched how to do it! (Since I've painted all of about 4 times in my life. All during some moment of duress). I figured if my husband can watch a youtube video and remodel a house, watch another one and fix an engine, learn masonry, learn how to fiberglass... I could learn to paint a dang mural.

The video was very informative. It said to start with the background. Well here's the thing. After a little while of drawing I couldn't really tell what was what. And I tried to wash off the mess ups, but the pencil didn't even SMUDGE. So I tried to rub it off with my flip flop. (That seemed like sound logic at the time, since shoes can remove scuff marks off of floors). Nothing happened to the wall. My flip flop, however, looked like it had encountered a swarm of piranhas. (When I think about it... the video never even said to use a pencil to draw the picture first).

So the youtube video went out the window and Wing it Wendi took the stage. (I'm beginning to see a pattern here. I think this is why I can't cook. Patience isn't really a characteristic God saw fit to give me). I just started outlining crap in black paint. A dolphin here, an octopus there, a turtle up yonder... The kids yelled out things for me to paint, and I tried to include them. (Until Bry asked for an ANGLER fish. I looked that up and I'll have you know -bc if you do know you are weird-in a smart/good way of course-it is that possessed fish thing that lured Nemo's dad and Dori to the bottom of the ocean with its tail hanging out its forehead). To paint a shark or THAT monstrous demon fish, would be succumbing to the fact that my children will NEVER sleep in their room. (Not that I hold some massive amount of hope that they will, since they can't even sleep alone in the bed BESIDE my bed).  -(Another story for ANOTHER day). Brighton screams, "It's too scary! Turn it off!" when the T-Rex fights the mom at the beginning of Land Before Time. And Boeing doesn't want to get into the ocean if the little boat with a shark painted on it is anywhere in sight.

The mural was supposed to be realistic. But, really? How realistic is a mural where all the fish have to be smiling? (Which was, not surprisingly, a MUST).

"Don't worry, Starling! I know what I'm doing! It'll be fine..." I pride myself on NOT lying. That claim...reaching into the very depths of my justification pool... was warranted due to the fact I know how to hold a paintbrush and make paint appear on a wall. When I looked at my mural the first day, it looked like a coloring page. An incomplete black and white coloring page.

So I started painting in my sea creatures. My dilapidated excuse for a turtle made little improvement, and my octopus turned into a purple grape.

Oh yeah. I was supposed to buy like 40 different paint brushes? I bought one. And I had a few plastic ones that the kids use during art to paint their legs instead of paper. The concrete wall crew cut my paint brush after two seconds, and those little plastic kid brushes were like trying to drive a car without power steering. (And I can't drive a car WITH power steering, so you can imagine how that went down).

I could have waited until morning, sure. I could have done a little more research, bought some different paint brushes. But do I wait to do anything? NO. Why would I wait and do something RIGHT when I could go ahead and screw everything up immediately? (Serious flashbacks going on of every hair cut I've given myself, because no one could see me until 'later in the week.' Or my sudden urge to have bangs. Oh gosh. And the perm I got at the Wal Mart salon because they were the only ones that could do it THAT NIGHT. And it HAD to be then, because I decided THAT afternoon I wanted curly hair).

Well. I lost interest in painting a WALL with a paintbrush thinner than my pinky. SO. I improvised AGAIN.

My authentic painting, turn cartoon characters, turn coloring sheet, has now turned into FINGER PAINTING!

And my novel? Started. And my kid books? Started. And my sea glass? I have a whole ice cream bucket full.

But my stress level has resumed a relatively normal state (which is still higher than most, reflecting the daily experiences with my two year old) so today we did school and walked to the beach.

I'm hoping that all the "little stressors" in my life keep me motivated long enough to AT LEAST finish the stupid "mural." (And don't worry. I'll post pics so you can relish in the fact that you keep your crazy hidden better than mine).

I have mild motivation. During this whole boat thing our van's timing chain broke, our washing machine caught the 50/50 ( it only works 50% of the times), and today my kitchen sink stopped draining completely.

The van is in the shop so Starling has been driving the jeep and scooter. (I can drive neither). I have been walking everywhere, which I like. I have found out how to get all over town. It's AMAZING how much Cozumel makes sense when you can go backwards down one- way streets. (Plus I haven't wrecked once).  

LAUNDRY, on the other hand? You see all of my pics on fb? My kids don't wear clothes. So, please explain to me HOW my dirty clothes pile can practically touch the ceiling. I didn't want to cause a scene with the neighbors, so I didn't beat my washing machine into metal bits with the machete Starling bought to cut up our coconuts. I just heaved ALL of my laundry UP the stairs INTO the bathroom and WASHED THEM BY HAND IN MY BATHTUB. Oh that's right. It turned out great. Boeing heard water and belly flopped into my laundry suds. We got to bond over laundry. And after he stood up and PEED on my clean laundry, we got to bond AGAIN.

After washing and rinsing, my clothes spelled phenomenal. (Maybe I overestimated the amount of fabric softener). But were they clean? Who knows. I hung them out to dry. (That's right! Little Mrs. Domestic). I don't wring the clothes out enough to put them in my dryer. I do a "load" a day. Sometimes I wash too many clothes and have to get creative with places to hang them. Then I look like the freak that dresses up her plants in t-shirts and underwear. Of course, I'm already the freak that thought my windows were tinted on the OUTSIDE, not just the INSIDE. My poor neighbors. Why do glass doors even exist? You can't hang curtains over a DOOR. (Although I might try. It'd be a lot easier than trying to remember to wear clothes everyday). Our bedroom door is also glass. Seriously. I wonder if I should PAINT the glass. I'll ask Starling. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I've decided that children are very useful in regards to household chores. Especially boys. SURE they may decide to clean your BRAN NEW laptop with a rag and SPRAY bottle rendering it a waterlogged piece of useless metal or dump your full bottle of shampoo down the shower drain trying to make a bubble bath, but think... If I didn't have boys....

1. Would I REALLY mop my kitchen every day? Of course not. My boys, what with their inability to hold a sippy cup upright for more than two seconds after it being handed to them, always give me the motivation I need (rather it be because I slip DOWN in an unknown puddle of yogurt or my foot keeps walking when my flip flop can't because it has become glued to a pile of sticky), to mop often.

2. Would I bathe my dog often enough? I really can't count on myself to remember to bathe my dog. I'd probably go on for DAYS waiting until she got DIRTY before I lathered her up. But thanks to my two year old, I know when to give my dog a bathe. When she gets peed on.

3. Laundry? I can't imagine my poor wash machine without children. It would probably sit there for hours on end, maybe even an entire day, lonely, collecting dust... But thanks to my boys, who love to share the majority of their meals with their LAP, I get to wash three sets of clothes PER kid DAILY.  

4. Bathrooms? Could I possibly remember to clean 3 bathrooms every week if I didn't walk into them and gag a little? I'm guessing I'd let a bathroom go an extra week if my two year old hadn't tried to paint the entire toilet and surrounding walls with his urine stream. And lucky for me, he has to pee in a different spot EVERY time he needs to take a leak. It's quite a talent, actually. It starts with, "I need go pee! I need go pee!!" To which I dumbly reply, "K! Go to your bathroom and use your stool." The dance starts. "No, no. Need to go to dat bafroom..." Halfway there, toilet in sight... MIND CHANGE. "No, no... need to go to de odder bafroom..." There is a ME trotting behind him having mild strokes. "Huwwy, mom! Huwwy!" Because I'm just sitting on the couch NOT flinging my arms wildly trying to capture the indecisive two year old? I finally CATCH the wild banchi and barely get his drawers ripped off before he shoots. He takes great care to grab his fire hose and put out ALL kinds of imaginary fires, none of which are in the toilet bowl. Despite the fact that cleaning bathrooms WASN'T on my "Chore List," it gets bumped to the top replacing things like "Take a Shower."

5. How Often would I sweep my tile floors? I'd probably be that dumpy person that figured I could get away with a lazy ONCE a week sweep. Can you imagine? Despite the rule to sit at the table to eat ANYTHING, my boys take it upon themselves to help me be a better sweeper. They drop fruit loop trails from one side of the house to the other, even taking the time to go upstairs and shoot them out of their cup like a water sprinkler. But, they don't stop there. I am raising over achievers. Each cereal must be GROUND into the tile and/or moistened by water or another equally soluble substance, to insure a final product resembling cement. It makes sweeping MUCH more interesting. I enjoy NOTHING more than using a metal scraper prior to a broom. And for kicks, and to keep me on my toes, my boys time test me by doing this minutes before guests arrive.

6. Bed Sheets? My sheets would DEFINITELY not be washed two to five times a week if Boeing didn't use my bed as a "house" for his sand toys. AND liquidate his assets while he sleeps. He is kind enough to only pee on MY bed since it is only a month old and is the ONLY bed without a plastic protector. But don't worry. The other 3 beds in the house get equal attention. Their sheets get ripped off to become capes, ropes, and mounds for a slightly less jarring jumps. All of which gets left on the floor and stomped by grocery store feet, sand, and grit.

7. Managing Time Wisely? I KNOW for a fact I would be a daily reader if I didn't have children. I would always have a book in my hand getting lost in words longer than three letters. I'd probably forget all of my colors, numbers, and certainly my name "MOM."  Luckily, my kids give me momentary pop quizzes usually while I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing anyway- bathing, peeing, brushing my teeth... "MOM??" I'm given less than two seconds to respond or the frequency increases and a resounding, "MOM MOM MOM!!!" erupts at which point a verbal response is useless and a physical appearance and sometimes a good shake, is required to make the alarm stop. Sometimes I am actually needed, but usually it's just a drill. "Hey mom! I was just wondering where you were."

8. Overeating? I can't even imagine sitting down and eating a full meal undisturbed. My kids make certain that I can't gain a calorie from a single bite, without burning a few, running errands for them. They are so kind as to wait for me to be completely seated with fork mid air before asking for refills, ketchup, or napkins. And they always take turns asking so I don't cheat and get them all a drink at the same time. And, of course, me sitting down to eat is cue for the boys to take a poo. Nothing says, "Delicious!" Like returning to a bowl of chocolate pudding after wiping a 3 year olds butt.

9. Patience? Seriously? That is a dumb one. What on earth would I do with patience if I didn't have kids?

10. Personal Grooming? I would be a flippin' mirror hog if I didn't have kids to keep me humble. I would be waking up at reasonable hours plucking out my uni-brow, SHOWERING, BLOW drying my hair instead of reserving electricity and letting it air dry, unbrushed and unconditioned, because all the conditioner has been used to make the tub into a slip n slide. I'd probably want to show off my legs and armpits because I would have taken the time to shave them. My phone would be blown up with selfies instead of side-sies and other unflattering angles that can only be taken if you are less than three feet tall and aiming at a mom that is still in pjs with no make-up. My perfume would smell pleasant, instead of like cleaning supplies- or worse- the big nasty I'm cleaning.

11. Outtings? I would not be the social butterfly I am without children. My "dates" would only consist of five or six women. With kids, any outing becomes a "play date" and there are guaranteed to be no less than 15 people. It's wonderful. The kids ensure there are no awkward silences by never letting me talk. When the day comes to an end, the kids throw tantrums, resulting in another calendared play date, sometimes within the same week.

I could go on ALL day about the benefits of children, but I am currently being "motivated" to cook French toast. I am craving anything but that, since I've made French Toast every morning for the last 7 days, but since my angels can eat the same exact thing every day of their lives, I get to experience little or no food deviation. It's wonderful. It takes out all the guess work of wondering if I might actually enjoy eating something that day. I already know. I won't.


Saturday, February 7, 2015


We are settling into our house! Did I mention how wonderful it is to be OUT of a hotel? (And out of a 10 foot radius of my children). It took us a bit of time to find exactly what I wanted as far as furniture, but finally that feat has been overcome. And the greatest part of getting our furniture was our journey HOME with the furniture. We paid $12 for a guy to move our fridge from the house we had it put in that we were going to rent, to the house we are actually renting. (I know. Insane labor costs, huh)?

THEN we traveled store to store trying to find couches I, I mean WE, liked. We found a set. We held our breath as we looked at the price. $650. Starling grumbled and I rejoiced. (We just sold our 8 year old Ashley's furniture that went through three dogs and.... how many kids have I had living at my house? (No really... I haven't ever sat down and counted all of my foster babies...) for $650 before we left. Out with the old. In with the new!

Something interesting to note: every single thing in Coppel, the store we bought most of our house furnishings, had two prices on ALL its items. A pay now price, and a finance for $12 months price. And I mean everything. Even the $7 pillows. This turned out to be a wonderful thing.

We found a repo table and chairs (normally $500) for $200. We went to Sam's and found a repo t.v. We bought a repo hot water heater twice the size as the one currently hooked up at our house. We bought a repo washer and dryer. And I rode home on EVERY one of them.

Oh yes. Free delivery if we had waited 3 days. FREE DELIVERY. But no. Impatient STARLING (okay you know that's definitely the impatient one in our marriage... hence us driving to MERIDA for a puppy that someone had to have...) insisted we bring the stuff home that DAY. In our van. It's interesting not owning 6 trailers. As much as I complained about all of Starling's EXCESS of "work vehicles" (since he was technically a REALTOR), I sure took them for granted.  The van could only hold ONE thing at a time. We precariously stuffed one item in the back of the van which I had to SIT on so it didn't fall completely out. (Tie it up? WHY would we do that? We have a ME). All went well. Except riding home on our king size bed. We had to put it on the roof. (JUST kidding... we DID tie it on our roof. I just held the rope. It's the only thing I didn't ride on).

I really wanted a stack washer and dryer. They were so cool! Full size, but half the space. SNAPPER CRAPPERS riding that bad boy. Starling went over a speed bump, and I almost took a ski trip into the road riding my new appliance. I yelled, "SLAM on brakes!" Starling complied and it shot us right back into a safer unstable condition.

Of course, when we got it HOME, the washer did not WORK. So, I got to fear for my life AGAIN. We traded it in for an upscale model (since that's all they had) and I got to slip and slide for a third time. We discovered, upon hook up, that the washer and dryer cannot be used at the same time. Starling had the gall to suggest we get a side by side. I quickly snapped, "Or live with it!" Even I have a limit on extreme sports. If anyone ever asks me if I've ridden a bull, I'll say, "No, but I rode a washer/dryer combo in front of a giant bus with its bumper practically touching my FACE. And I rode it for a LOT longer than 7 seconds."

I had my house. I had a place to sit, to eat, to cook (which we've yet to use our stove... but that microwave is getting some serious mileage), and to do my laundry. All I lacked was a little puppy to stroke therapeutically while my children destroyed the upstairs.

I went on a rabid hunt. If Quintanaroo has dog breeders, they stay WELL hidden. (With good reason. The white people here are NUTS. Dog breeding is right up there with trafficking children). So when I finally found a fluffy dog that would stay small, despite the fact it was in the Yucatan, I had to have it. Right then.

Unfortunately, in my efforts to help a bestie, (yes Michelle. I just referred to you as a "bestie." You've earned that title in the amount of food you've fed me), move, I kind of got my bumper stuck on a moving truck. AND it sort of fell off. But the sweet guy popped it back on for me. His TANK of a truck was completely unscratched, and only my van's left eye dangled from its socket. Starling suffered a mild stroke and small conniption. But he didn't turn purple. He only passively aggressively held it over my head. For the rest of my LIFE.

He did try to say he wasn't taking me to Merida to get the puppy, but he liked having something over my head more than he liked sleeping on the side of the road somewhere.

We woke up at 3:30 a.m. (Yes. Despite the teasing and the mocking and the wretched face book posts of my follies, he obviously loves me. A LOT. Or fears me. Maybe a little of both). We loaded our children in the car and headed to the car ferry. THAT, in and of itself is always an adventure. $36 just to GO to the mainland. One way. WITH our van's handy dandy local sticker. (A little bonus for buying a vehicle from a local).

The ride isn't bad. (WITH the exception of the swishing ocean churning my stomach into a rubbery glob of "don't throw up.. don't throw up"). We just sit upstairs in a air conditioned room watching a movie until the boat reaches land.

The drive was gorgeous. I am officially obsessed with tropical vegetation. It's gloriously therapeutic. Ropes were strung across the road for the monkeys to pass from one jungle to the other. Vivid colors of greens, reds, and yellows lined our path. Workers manicured the median with machetes. Beautiful.
The directions given by the puppy owner were, nicely put, HORRENDOUS. But, before Starling flipped an entire script, we found the right Oxxo, and met the chic on her scooter. I fell in love immediately, squishing the little ball of fur up to my face, watching her curly little tail wag in anticipation of having the most spoiled rotten life on earth.

At that point exhaustion hit us like a freight train. We checked into a GORGEOUS $26 hotel. (And THAT is why I will never go into the hotel business).

I carried Liahla in my beach purse. She was fantastic. I did have an interesting moment that night when I took her to go potty outside. I stuffed her in my shirt since I didn't know if pets were allowed or not. A man was in the pool and tried to hold a conversation with me. He probably thought I had the strangest looking body ever. 'Is she pregnant, over loaded with love handles, or are her boobs falling down to her waist...?'

It was an awkward moment.

The kids watched planes fly overhead in complete awe, as if each plane was a rare meteor. Dropping gold. (It's the same with the gas truck that goes around town singing Zeta, Zeta, Zeta Gas. It's a catchy tune, but good grief! If the truck passes the house and you are in between Boeing and the window, you WILL get trampled). The kids used palm leaves as boats to carry their flowers they collected under the trees. Then they collected oranges to race in the water.

The next day we went on our way. There are police crossing/station things (like intimidating deer stands) every so often on the highways. Since the police are pretty awesome here, my heart doesn't turn into a trapped rabbit and I don't get the shakes. It makes me feel safe. If someone commits a crime, they better be equipped for off road travel, because they aren't going anywhere on the street. For the first time, EVER, a cop told us to pull over. The officer was real nice and told us seat belts are required in the Yucatan. Starling went with the cop to his station. My kids were terrified, buckled up, and Brooklyn asked in a trembling voice, "Will they give Daddy food?"

I looked at her, "What?"

"In jail..."

I rolled my eyes. "He doesn't have to go to jail. And yes. They feed prisoners."

The officer said the standard procedure is to take his plate and get it back when he pays his fine at the place you pay fines. Starling said, "Can I just pay it now? How about a hundred pesos ($6)?" The officer said, "It's up to you... the ticket is only eighty pesos ($4)." Starling paid the two extra dollars.

We went to Zoo Animaya. It was awesome. I carried Liahla in my beach purse, of course, and we rode in the truck/trailer/train thing IN the zoo pens. WAY cooler than observing them from behind a fence. They had zebras and giraffes and those animals that the lion's eat on Lion King. They had little monkey islands and flamingos, amongst other animals. The hotel and zoo were worth the drive to ME, even if we didn't go all that way to get a puppy. 

Thinking on the subject, Starling said, "We should go ahead and get the little boy pup. We could save some girl like you, obsessed with fluffy purse dogs, a trip to Merida. And help with travel costs." So we met the girl again and bought the boy pup. Adorable little Maltis-Bichons.

Two pups were a little more difficult to manage since I didn't have collars and leashes. (I'm picky about those things, too, and the selection was limited). It was an event to take them potty every time we stopped.

We WANTED to stay longer in Merida, BUT, since the house we are renting is also for sale, we had to be back for a showing the next day at 11:30 in the morning. We drove the "scenic route" home. (That means we got VERY lost and I relished in the sights while Starling's head made gurgling noises). 

We missed the ferry ride back to the island. (Kind of the down fall to living on an island... you can't be late or you can't go home). The next ferry didn't leave until 4 a.m. When we went to buy our ferry ticket, the ticket booth worker said, "This ferry is only for gas trucks and other dangerous things. You, sir, can go across in your van, but you can't take your family."

We are law abiding citizens. We really are. But we really had to get home and I wasn't waiting until 8 the next morning. We did what anyone else would do in that situation. (Or maybe what no logical person would do). We loaded all of our luggage into the front seats and smuggled ourselves in the back, and onto the boat. It was a little wild smuggling three kids and two dogs in the back of a van, knowing that if any of them decided to be uncooperative we would be compromised and thrown in jail. But it was a chance I was willing to take.

I explained to my children that we were playing a sneaky game where we all had to hide and we couldn't talk or sit up or MOVE. Surprisingly they quickly obliged, covered up, and fell asleep. We waited in the gates for several hours before the 4 a.m. ferry arrived. (No way were we paying for a hotel in Playa, where hotels are expensive, to leave at 3 a.m.).

Luckily by 3 a.m. when the cars lined up for the 4 a.m. ferry, our van windows were completely fogged. I hunkered further down when a tap finally sounded on Starling's window. Starling paid for the ferry and moments later our van began to move. When the pups woke up and wanted to play, I wasn't worried. The roar of the boat engine covered up all noise, thoughts, and sanity. Despite the fact that it sounded like we had entered the inside of a tornado, the children didn't wake up. I breathed a sigh of relief as the doors closed and the people dispersed inside the upstairs cabin. It was a little more uncomfortable, riding the boat in the van instead of in front of a movie screen, but less stressful since Boeing was sleeping instead of trying to climb out a port hole.

Then I had to pee. There is only one bathroom on the ship. And to use it would require me to give up my position. There was no grass to hobble to. No secret passages. I thought hard. Then I had a stroke of genius.  I emptied a zip lock bag of pretzels into a Wal-Mart bag, peed in the zip lock, and zipped it up. I'm pretty sure I should patent a pee product of similar nature. It worked like a charm.

I dozed off. I didn't wake up until we drove onto land.

We got home and crashed. (Into our bed, not into another car). I did NOT want to wake up and clean my house for the stupid showing. I drug myself out of bed and looked around. Half of our stuff was still packed and strewed. I kind of swished it around. Then I turned on the water.

Oh. No water. FAN-fricken-TASTIC. How do you CLEAN with no WATER? We couldn't even FLUSH the toilets. Awesome.

Starling got on the phone. We used our drinking water to wipe up the messiest spots, namely, the foot prints in our kitchen.

Because I don't know if we are allowed to have pets or not and I don't want to stir up drama, I threw my kids and pups into the stroller and walked down to the park. WHERE my kids got FILTHY.
Meanwhile Starling made some calls and discovered the city turned off our water because they thought the bill wasn't paid, when it actuality WAS paid, and they had made a minute mistake which they said they would fix. Well. They didn't. We called AGAIN. FINALLY at 6:00 p.m. our water returned. I stuck all three of my children into the bath tub where the water turned a lovely shade of DIRT. We then spent an evening at our friends' house.

Today Starling posted our boy puppy on the Cozumel 4 You page for only $200. (Okay? Same dog in the States costs between $400-$800. Not making a killing here). I don't know if he would have gotten more back lash from tree hugging, close minded, bigots if he'd announced he was euthanizing an orphanage. It was INSANE. Seven people PRIVATE messaged him immediately that they were interested in buying the puppy. The public messages were enraged citizens (oh wait. NOT citizens. Know it all white people with nothing better to do than play dictator of all things that do not concern them).

 I tried not to be a smarty pants, but failed. Miserably. To BUY a dog from a breeder!? I might as well burn down the animal shelter. How DARE I buy a dog when hundreds of dogs on the island need a home. Never mind that I volunteer there weekly. It was pretty comical, actually. But we sold the puppy within an hour and then Starling removed the post entirely. (He was afraid I might say something (more) to instigate further outrage). Drama in paradise.

But on a happy note, because I always like to end on a happy, Starling and I made friends with another evil couple that like purse dogs.       


Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I don’t even know where to start. Hmmm…. I guess I’ll start by saying we did NOT move into the house we were SUPPOSED to move into.

Can I just take a moment to remind everyone that I am a pretty decent person that has not murdered a SINGLE person? Yes. Remember that.

I don’t like bad mouthing people, but (which is obviously the precursor for me dogging the heck out of someone), let’s just say the individual (NO NAMES- cough cough) that we were dealing with regarding said HOUSE turned out to be an adorable, sweet little compulsive LIAR.

We were told that the “man” would definitely be out by the 17th and to make ourselves comfortable until then. And we were given free rent in the hotel she owns, free laundry, free cleaning, etc.

All the while THIS was going on, Starling was hitting walls all the way around attempting to get into the Tourism business doing snorkeling and diving.

Now, I told everyone that we moved to Cozumel because we wanted to, we fasted and prayed and felt like we were supposed to, and I wanted to learn Spanish. One thing about me; once I ask a question and get an answer, I’m pretty much good to go. I don’t question God too often. However, the closer we got to moving, the more daunting the move seemed. We literally had NOTHING in savings and we had ZERO clue what we would do when we got there. In my prayers one night, I said, “We are going no matter what, but how ARE we going to live when we get there?” I got a VERY distinct prompting that a man would find us and tell us exactly what we would do. The next morning, I cheerfully told Starling and all my friends what would happen and I never worried about it again. (Its okay if my friends NOW admit that they thought I was loony. Starling would NEVER say so, but he totally did).  

The same week a guy asked Starling if he would sell his apartment complex. Starling and his business partner sold it, made a nice chunk of change, and we suddenly had savings.

I’ve never had a “false” prompting, so when we climbed off the ship, I kind of (and by kind of I mean COMPLETELY) expected some random dude to be waiting on the dock. “Hi, I’m John. Welcome to the island. If you’ll come right this way I will tell you what you’ll be doing to make money on the island.”

Well, there was no John. There was no MAN at all. We’d been in Cozumel for 3 weeks and hadn’t met “the man,” and Starling wanted to do the impossible; take tourists scuba diving and snorkeling. Apparently one needs a work visa, business license, AND a LOT of money. Let’s just say… that dream was looking a little BLEAK.   

When the house fell through, we took the opportunity to go to the mainland and check it out. We even bounced around the idea of just moving to the mainland. We figured it would take a solid 6 months for Starling to get all of his licensing taken care of and he could buy and sale cars, atvs, etc. on the mainland like he did in Hattiesburg.

When we first got to the mainland it was like returning to civilization after a primitive camping trip. Stores and more stores! And highways! And no ferry’s to get to another city! It was fantastic.

“We are SO moving here!” I said the first day.

“An Auto Zone! A Home Depot! We are moving here,” said Starling the first day.  

We went to Cancun, Tulum, Playa, etc. Everything was beautiful and so close together. We looked at some houses with a Realtor.

“This feels exactly like the States,” I said the second day.

“Yeah, not much like an island,” Starling said the second day.

“I’m ready to go back to Cozumel,” I said the 3rd day.

“Yeah. Me, too,” Starling said the 3rd day.

Starling and I were sitting in a Burger King, both of us on our lap tops while the kids played in the play place (that YES exists in Mexico unlike the po-dunk broken video games that we are used to). THAT is when it happened. We got an instant messaged from… The Man.

(I’ve already told him this story- and his head is big ENOUGH- so I’ll give you the short version).

Basically, Mike told us NOT to move to the mainland, to come and talk to him in Cozumel. He didn’t say what about, but his wife and I had already become “FB friends,” (people are marrying people they meet on FB so don’t judge me for finding my friends on there), and wanted to get our kids together anyway.

Well. We went to their house for dinner several days later. They met us. They fed us. (Or stuffed us like turkeys. I couldn’t move for two days). And Mike (or Miiikeeee, as our Spanish friends call him) offered Starling a partnership. And we’ve been dating ever since.

Brooklyn loves their daughter, Brighton finally has a GUY friend (who is 8 and amazing- and a BOY... key thing there. Starling can only tolerate seeing his son in high heels for so long). And Boeing loves their oldest son who has a high tolerance for pain. (As playing with Boeing is going to be painful, usually resulting in bruising and/or blood).

We barely even had time to worry about living in a hotel, because we had basically moved in with Michelle and Mike.
The 15th rolled around. “Are we still good on moving in on the 17th?”

“Oh yes. Absolutely.”

17th came along. “Can I go ahead and move in my stuff?” I ask in hybrid/broken Spanglish.

I was told, “Bla Bla… bla bla…” (I have NO idea what I was told). The INDIVIDUAL talks faster than the warning at the end of a drug commercial. “Do not take if you are pregnant or nursing, have children, or have thought about having children, have had a hysterectomy, have hair, are bald, have trouble sleeping, are in a coma, are a female, are a man...”

After we played a fun game of, “Un momento… Let me type in what I want to say to you on my computer translater, and you talk SLOW enough for me to type in what you are saying…” I nearly broke my very important disclaimer. (About being decent and not being a murderer).

The woman said that the people living there (remember there was only ONE man. Well. Then she claimed there was two. At some point she decided THREE people were splitting rent and somehow her friend/enemy the prostitute was “working” there) decided they didn’t want to leave so she was just going to keep renting to them.

‘WHAT? I have done my dishes in a bathroom sink for a MONTH waiting on a house that I only love for the YARD (which in hindsight IS a little dumb) because of promises that we would DEFiNITELY be in the house TODAY, which I have been counting down the days like a five year old counts down to Christmas, and you decide TODAY to be HONEST with me?? WHY didn’t you tell me this- oh… A MONTH AGO when we had TWO other HOUSES picked out!?’

But, I couldn’t say that in Spanish. Plus, the landlord scares the heck out of me, so all I did was
stare at her. Like she was an alien.

Oh, but it gets better. She THEN said, “But it’s fine. I can just rent you this whole back area like we’ve been doing,” (because, remember, she’s now made it nice. She hung a clothes rod so I could hang up ten shirts), “for even cheaper than the house.”  I held my tongue so hard, I nearly bit it off.

“And if you want to move walls around, we’ll do it. Its nice here. You like it. Its no problem for me.”

And that’s when I began to wonder if that was her plan ALL along. She thought we would go for it. She kept going. She’d rent us the entire facility and we could do what ever we wanted to with the whole compound. Change the hotel into a house, rent out the hotels on the other side, etc. And then we could buy it if we wanted. (Like she was grooming Starling to do all along).

Oh it was a deal we couldn’t resist. IF…. we were complete and total idiots that couldn’t figure out she’d LIED to us. REPEATEDLY!!
I had so much steam coming out my head, it made a cloud.

I was livid. When she left, merrily thinking she’d solved everything, I reared back my arm to slam my fist into the wall, until I remembered it was concrete and it would hurt. So I settled for throwing a pillow at the wall.

I slung my laptop onto the bed and started looking up rentals. AGAIN. Luckily I knew every site of listings since I’d gone through the trecherous process a MONTH earlier. I found several. NONE with an amazing tropical paradise YARD. I smacked my pillow again, for good measure.

When Starling walked in, he immediately regretted coming ‘home.’ I let him HAVE it (since I didn’t let HER have it). For ONCE in our 8 years of marriage, he didn’t tell me I was over reacting, or that I needed to see the opposing party’s point of view. He made a WISE decision (that you would THINK he’d have figured out a long time ago). He validated me. He was PISSED. (Which was totally fantastic and made me fall in love with him all over again).

I was perfectly fine once I got it out of my system. The venting, I mean. And the raging anger passed quicker than normal because I didn’t have to DEFEND my anger or further dwell on making a CASE for my anger. (Starling, I hope you learned a valuable lesson. Even if you aren’t ready to murder the pizza guy for adding jalepenos to your children’s pepporoni pizza- If I AM, just PRETEND you are, too. And for the LOVE  of peace and sanity, do not EVER tell me “It’s not that big of a deal.” UNLESS you want me to turn the wrath from the pizza man to YOU, which pretty much happens EVERY time I get mad. Which is RARE (as ants in MS)).

Skipping ahead a few days. Starling was THRILLED that the house he wanted all along was still available for the lovely price of $550 a month. (It’s not furnished; that’s why- but comparing it to MS prices like I do EVERYTHING, noone rents furnished houses. And the house is 2500 square feet. And REALLY cute).

So after dealing with a fantastic realestate agency (TOTAL and complete sarcasm), we got keys to the house and started moving our crap over. We were delayed several days from moving in because the house had to be “cleaned.” I don’t know on WHAT planet sweeping a house is considered CLEANING it, but definitely not on MINE.

The inside of the cabinets? NOT cleaned. The walls? NOT wiped down. There were spider webs in the corners of the rooms. The ONLY thing cleaned was the floors. So naturally the very first thing my boys did was bring in the beach bag and dump it in the MIDDLE of the walkway connected the living room to two of the bedrooms and kitchen. Apparently, they’d filled the bag with sand to “bring home.” (No. Really. Bry said so). I walked around the literal SAND BED and waited for Starling to see it, so he could freak out. I didn’t have the energy.

So YAY! We had a house. I then got to start the search for furniture. AGAIN- NO used furniture. ANYWHERE. I finally found some beautiful brown leather couches. (I was done with tan microfiber and 3 kids). I got an EARFUL by all of the locals warning me NOT to get leather or vinyl or anything of that nature. ‘The humidity will destroy it!’, ‘you will stick to it constantly in this heat!,’ ‘I had some and it was completely ruined in 2 years.’

I usually DON’T care what people say, BUT I remember getting that tan microfiber after EVERYONE warned me not to. (At the time I had my 2 peek-a-poos and kids on the way). I just HAD to have it. It looked the best in my house, after all. (For about- the first hour until we used it. Then I had to clean it DAILY. And get real. Once I had birthed three kids and started foster caring- no WAY was I taking off the easy to clean microfiber DAILY and throwing it in the washing machine). Then I wished I had listened to the general consensus and gotten leather.

So when I finally tried to make a logical choice and get leather, everyone told me to get dark brown microfiber. I’m SO confused. MS is as humid as Cozumel, but we run our AC constantly. Noone does that here. The houses are made to just open windows, turn on fans, and the air is circulated enough to avoid humongous power bills. (But we DO have air in this house and we WILL be using it. But not constantly like in the States).

Dark brown leather would LOOK the best in this house…

I have no idea. I wanted to go to Cancun and buy all of our stuff for way cheaper, but Starling stared at me like my head was starting to float.

Today is the first day that I have been LEFT in the house for an extended period of time. Starling went Snorkeling (his job is SOOO hard) and I stayed with the kids (being a stay at home mom is SOOO easy). Hmmm… I wonder exactly how many hours its going to take me to completely resent this arrangement…

I CLEANED. I’m not even a tenth of the way done. I tried to organize the giant pile of everything we own. Gotta say- kind of HARD with NO furniture. I don’t know if its cheaper to buy furniture from a store here, or just pay someone to build it. Starling is DYING to have his tools here so he can do everything himself. (I, for one am a little GLAD he can’t start fifteen projects at our house. Not that I didn’t LOVE four wheeler yard ornaments).

Its just insane to buy EVERYTHING. We are starting over like newly weds. Without the wedding shower. And with 3 kids. I want to go grab just a FEW things from my storage units. The basics. Silverware, pots and pans, my DRY ERASE markers, the flat screens… And what I would GIVE to have my bedroom suite here. (Apparently not enough to ship it). And my TONY’s. I didn’t know there were places on the earth that didn’t sell Tony’s. Its the singular seasoning that allows anything I cook to be mildly edible. My family will perish if I cook without Tony’s. (Hmm… another good reason to hire a cook).

Starling should be back by four so we can go buy some must haves I discovered today. A mop (bc Boeing decided it would be especially exciting to frolick through the house with his sippy cup which is in actuality NOT leak proof), ant spray (bc I want to prevent a psychotic breakdown), washer and dryer (the laundry “pile” has now turned into a laundry “mountain”), and whatever screws he needs to bang into the wall to mount the fans Mike gave us.

We need to get ALL of that done before six at which time we are going to our friends’ FAREWELL to SPAIN for 3 months (and it better ONLY be 3 months or I’ll never forgive them). Bailing on a summer in Mexico. Who doesn’t like to swim in their own sweat? Weirdos. I could get away to MS for the summer, but… oh wait. It’s not any different. Californians and their spoiled to perfect year round tempature selves….

Basically it’ll be a normal Mexican day. Manana, manana. (Which means it’ll happen in the next week or two).