Freedom! Freedom!

I love the teachers and the curriculum at Kaden’s day care. I didn’t think I cared so much about curriculum for babies and toddlers, but apparently I do, and I now believe that it is incredibly important – even at that young age. Kaden has learned so much from being in daycare – infinitely more than I would’ve taught him if he had been home with me all this time. (and, by the way, I’m pretty sure I would suck at being a stay-at-home-mom)

The other day we were driving home after I picked him up from daycare. Our drive is about an hour long (on a good day) and so we get to have lots of conversation – which usually involves him saying “Mommy… mommy… mommy… mommy… mommy…” and or demanding milk or a snack or saying “Mommy… mommy… mommy…” All the time. And even when I acknowledge him, he still says “Mommy… mommy… mommy…” I’m not even exaggerating a little bit. Trust me.

On this particular day, as we’re passing by a car wash that has a bell as their logo – he says “something-I-couldn’t-understand BELL, Mommy!” I replied, “yes, that’s a bell, Kaden.” He said, “No Mommy, it’s the ‘something-I couldn’t-understand’ BELL!” I said, “Oh, the Liberty Bell?” And he replied, “yes.” Wow – he’s learning about the Liberty Bell! Isn’t that fantastic!?

The next morning as I’m dropping him off at daycare, I ask the teachers if they were learning about the Liberty Bell. They told me they were actually going over Black History Month icons. They were teaching the kids about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the “Freedom Bell.” The teacher continued to say that that they bring out an actual bell and ring it saying “Freedom! Freedom!” and all the kids are shouting “Freedom!” along with them.

Well, that might be the best thing I’ve ever heard. I love that so much.

So – that afternoon as we’re driving home, Kaden sees the car wash with the bell logo again and says “something-I-still-can’t-understand BELL, Mommy!” And I say, “Is that the ‘Freedom Bell,’ Kaden?” He says, “Yes!” I tell him that he’s so smart.

Then I start yelling “Freedom! Freedom!” while raising my fist in the air.

(I don’t know why I feel it’s necessary to raise my fist in the air as I say “Freedom!” but it seems appropriate in my mind and it also feels good. Try it.)

Then we happened to drive by a Taco Bell on our way home… yes, you guessed it. Kaden and I were BOTH waving our fist in the air yelling “Freedom! Freedom!”

Either I’m encouraging his education…or he’s learning just how silly his Mom can be. I’m good either way.


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Oh 2013, you were quite a year.

A year ago, if you had told me that at the end of 2013 I would be remarried, not working in the hotel industry, AND that I would have a new baby, I would have told you that you were crazy! As it turns out, I am the crazy one for not believing you. Hopefully our friendship survived the name-calling.

I never imagined that I would have another baby 12 years after my daughter was born…turns out that she has been acting like a middle child this whole time. It all makes sense now.

Having a baby at my “advanced maternal” age was not easy. Each doctor visit meant additional tests because I was considered high-risk, which caused more worry and stress – two things that you shouldn’t have a lot of during your pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes for the third time, but this time around nothing kept it in check except insulin injections. And giving yourself shots three times a day sucks. But it is amazing what women do for a little unborn baby.

Everything seemed to hurt worse than I remember it hurting. The exams, the IV, the epidural…I think I jumped out of my skin (and freaked out my husband) for every procedure. The kids and my sister were with me while I labored. We looked like a gang as we walked the halls together (then they told us we could only go two at a time).

Apparently my midwife liked to take things slow. She and I did not have the same sense of urgency. Thirty-two hours of labor later, at 5:17am, little Kaden was born.

He didn’t cry right away when he came out. I remember him making kind of a grunting sound that sounded like our cat. I didn’t want to look at any of the nurses & see any worry on their faces. I just knew he would be okay. From what my sister says, they didn’t look quite as convinced. He was brought to the exam table where he squeaked some more and opened his eyes. He also lifted up his head. (We expect him to master calculus any day now.)

There was some other drama about his bilirubin count and not being able to leave the hospital with me and me totally breaking down over it…but it all eventually worked out and I am blaming postpartum hormones on all of that. We were definitely in the hospital longer than I ever want to be in the hospital without them giving me a paycheck…but once we were home, that didn’t matter so much anymore.

The name Kaden? The K is for my Mom, Kathy. Her only grandbaby that she didn’t get to hold. Kaden’s middle name is Miguel, after his great-grandfather on his father’s side. And after we chose the name, we found out that the name Kaden means “fighter” which is totally appropriate considering all it took to get him here.


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Lots of changes coming up this year. Lots. This may be the changiest (just made that word up) year ever.

The first change? A new job.

Not just a new job. A new industry. After twenty years working in the hotel business, I am saying buh-buy to the 7/24/365 craziness that is hospitality. I still can’t believe that I won’t be dealing with bartenders, housekeepers, and restaurant servers anymore. No more meal tickets and nametags and safety shoes. Will I miss the drama of the diverse workforce that makes up the population of a large hotel? Probably.

Well, maybe after a little while.

Right now, I’m looking forward to a corporate office… an office that’s not located in the basement, next to a dumpster, near the loading dock, or surrounded on all sides by restrooms so that the soundtrack to each of my days is constant flushing. I’m looking forward to having an office that doesn’t smell like cigarette smoke from being so close to the smoking area or like the sewer because the grease traps are being cleaned. I’m especially looking forward to having an office with a window.

(Oh joy! Oh bliss! A window!)

I have a million insane stories that I could tell for days… everyone who works in HR in hotels always talks about writing a book. I think when you have people from all over the world who work in a building with liquor, money, and beds, you have lots of ways for them to get in trouble. I wish I could say that none of it surprises me anymore, but I’d be lying. I’m constantly surprised by the ingenuity of stupidity.

I know that the new place will have it’s own set of problems and, I’m sure, drama…however, I don’t know if any of it can compare to what I’ve witnessed and been involved with over the past twenty years. Though, if I hadn’t been through all of that, maybe I wouldn’t have been qualified for this new position. I have definitely learned a great deal through all the nonsense. For that, and for some amazing friends and loved ones, I am especially grateful.

So, that’s change number one… more to come.

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Tired of being so tired.


Madeline Kahn sang a song in Blazing Saddles called “I’m tired of being so tired” and that’s exactly how I feel these days. I am tired all the time. Like, even if I get a full eight hours of sleep, I need a nap. A two-hour nap. That’s not normal, right?

The other day I felt somewhat awake. I got home from work, cooked dinner, and even took the dog for a walk. I had also consumed a big-ass cup of coffee at 4:00pm. And after the walk I totally crashed. That was it for me; I was done.

A couple of months ago I started taking vitamins & eating healthier… drinking water, eating fruit. Still tired. So I made an appointment with my endocrinologist. What, YOU don’t have an endocrinologist? I do because I have a thyroid thing and I’m wondering if that is the reason for my perpetual state of sleepiness.

So I went to see the doctor. Who, by the way, reminds me of this guy from The Carol Burnett Show:


Supposedly, my doctor is one of the best in town… however, he walks like the old man that Tim Conway portrayed & sometimes asks me the same question two or three times in a row.

I told him that I have been feeling really tired all the time no matter how much sleep I get. He asked, “Do you wake up tired?” I said yes. He asked what I had been doing all summer and I said not too much. He asked if I went on vacation and I said yes, I went to Puerto Rico. I was really too tired for even having small talk. Then he asked me if I was on any medication and I said “of course I am.” Then he asked, “So, do you wake up tired?”

He had me drink some water while he felt my throat. Then he sent me to the lady who takes blood. She told me that I also needed to pee in a cup. “Do you think you can do that now,” she said. Well, sure. Because trying to aim my pee into a dixie cup is what I’ve been waiting to do all day!

After that she took seven vials of blood. SEVEN VIALS people! I stood up and almost passed out. I asked her if seven vials of blood were really necessary and she said that the doctor wanted to do A LOT of tests.

My immediate thought was, “I wonder how many of those are not going to be covered by my insurance.” Sad, but true. I have sucky insurance, folks.

Now I wait two weeks or so for test results.

Oh – and while I was looking online for the picture of Madeline Kahn, there was a question on a medical website by someone asking why they were so tired. The person asking said that they had had their thyroid checked and it was all fine so what else could it be. The answer was that it could be depression.

Ha! As if. That’s what the medication is for. Duh.

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Excessive, much?

I returned from vacation and realized that I took 1,097 photos in the seven days I was away. That was on one camera.

That doesn’t count the 30+ photos I took on my phone (the ones I chose to have developed) OR the 19 photos I took using my polaroid instax.

Plus… each kid had their own camera and was taking their own photos of the vacation. And then I just remembered the waterproof disposable camera we used for some underwater photos. I haven’t gotten those developed yet. Wait…how do I do that again? Get film developed?

So, is it more excessive that I took over 1,100 photos in seven days or that I took these photos on three different devices?

I haven’t counted how many photos the kids took, but if it’s under 1,000 I may question whether or not they are truly related to me.


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The Worst Beach Ever


Carolina Beach, Puerto Rico

I do believe I have found paradise. My “tour guide” said this was the worst beach ever – too crowded, too noisy. I loved it…maybe because of that There was music playing the entire time thanks to fellow beach-goers. And the most excellent people watching.

The kids had a blast! Skylar stayed in the water the entire time & Mack played in the sand and swam in the ocean.

How can that possibly be “the worst beach ever”?

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We move to Georgia and look what happens… my children have joined fight between north and south.

So they may be about 152 years late and on the wrong side. But what’s important here is they want to be a part of something and it’s an extra-curricular activity.

Okay… so have you ever seen such HAMMY children? I didn’t even have to beg them to do this. I didn’t put the hats on them or say, “Why don’t you hold the wooden pretend weapons and look like you’re in the Civil War for Mom?”

Instead, they begged me to take their picture looking all “civil war serious.” I was even told that I needed to put the picture in black and white or sepia so it would look more “legitimate.”

I like eggs with my ham.

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