Author Archives: Jaime

home is where your story begins

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Over the past 4 years, Summer and I made a home out of a fun little 2 bedroom apartment in an ok neighborhood. When we first moved in after the divorce, she was 2, me 36, and my plan was minimal – navigate through our new life in survival mode. To figure it all out on my own and to love my baby girl as deeply as my heart would let me without it exploding. To dig my feet deep into the ground and make a home for us that was safe and comfy and peaceful. To learn how to be a single parent which came surprisingly easy to me, free to live life on my own terms and create memories with my baby without someone in the shadows telling me I was doing it wrong. The past 4 years started with a ‘live life right now’ mentality but as we got grounded, a ‘make a plan for the future’ little bug started whispering to me softly.

So I did.

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moving day

I worked harder at my job than I have ever worked and it was recognized. I was given more responsibilities, I grew in my career which led to promotions and raises and new projects I was trusted with, even though I had at least 1 moment a day where I thought, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.” Over the last 4 years, despite expensive legal battles over no child support and vet bills for a sick aging dog and annual rent and insurance and cable bill increases, I wore secondhand clothes and bought my underwear in bulk at the grocery store and ate more ramen noodles than I care to admit, all so my baby could have new clothes and eat nourishing meals while I built a nest egg. And 2 months ago my dream came true when I bought a beautiful townhouse surrounded by country in an amazing school district, with safe streets and playgrounds that dot every other block in our charming little neighborhood.

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It’s beautiful here. At night I sit out on the balcony with my head propped back on my shoulders in absolute awe at the hundreds of stars above me. The sky is different here – in the mornings I watch the sun throw vivid colors across the treetops through clouds that look like cotton balls. In the evenings, the sunsets are so brilliant and vast spanning across the views from my living room, dining room and kitchen windows.

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I have windows, so many windows. For the last 4 years I lived with just 2 windows and a patio door and only ever had the opportunity to see west from inside. Here I have a window every few feet in every room on every wall. My last house shared in my past life had floor to ceiling windows in the living room for sunset and the blue room faced the sunrise, but the blinds were always closed at the first hint of dusk and the bedroom windows had black out shades drawn tight most hours of the day. Yet here, I am free to let the skies pour in through the windows at all hours, I can watch the leaves rustle outside my living room windows and feel the breeze sweep through the open bedroom windows as I sleep. It’s gloriously freeing.

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breakfast at our beach, 2 minutes from home

The storms up here are incredible, stronger than anywhere I remember living before. I watch them roll in from miles away and love to hear the sideways rain pounding against my patio door begging to get in. In my past life I was always brought down to the basement to hide from the rain but here I welcome the beauty of cloud walls charging towards the house, everything turning quiet moments before the sky releases its fury. And then the storms pass leaving brilliant rose red sunsets behind; I’ve seen more rainbows in the 2 short months I’ve lived here than I have seen throughout my whole life.

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The house needs absolutely no work, which grants me lots of time to find fun projects I can do casually to satisfy my artistic urges. I’ve painted walls. I’ve given my nightstands a new finish. I’ve learned how to hang light fixtures. I’ve built an inset wall with my dad who taught me how to use a wall saw, a nail gun, how to drywall and how to hang a 60 pound tv on a bracket 3 feet over my head using a stepstool on top of an end table on top of a kitchen table. No easy feat.

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closing day

 

Summer started school last week, both of us rightfully nervous before that first day for the unknown. But almost a week in now, she and I are both happy and the anxiety has disappeared. She’s taking the bus and it’s been memory evoking watching her little backpack-adorned body climb up the steps and plop down into a seat behind the driver. The doggies and I walk her to the bus stop every morning and pick her up every afternoon, and the smile that greets me as she jumps off that last bus step is heavenly – pure bliss for my heart. I’ve made friends with the mom of the other girl at the bus stop, we’ve exchanged numbers and chat every morning for a bit after the bus pulls away. I can tell she’s going to be that one mom who leans on me and I on her, the lifeline we all desire when moving to new unchartered territory.

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There are things I miss about the apartment – one of my best friends upstairs, the maintenance crew who became like family, the ability to call the office anytime something was wrong, the pool (although when we shed tears the day I left, the manager invited me back indefinitely which Summer and I took advantage of plenty of times this summer). Though while we left behind a pivotal chapter in our lives the day we said our goodbyes, since we’ve been in the new house we’ve experienced so much happiness and I have so many stories to tell now that we’re settled in.

After 2 short months it feels like home now. And it is good.

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Filed under divorce, home, life, Love, Parenting

getting ready for school

Summer: “I like puddles but rats don’t.”

Me: “Rats don’t like puddles?”

S: “No. And mommy you just said RET.”

Me: “No, I said rat.”

S: “Mommy I promise. You said ret.”

Me: “And I promise you, I didn’t say ret, I said rat.”

S: “No, you actually did.”

Me: “Maybe it sounded like ret but I swear, I really truly said rat. Why would I say ret?”

S: “You said it.”

Me: “No. I didn’t”

S: “YES YOU DID I HEARD YOU!”

Me: …

yes dear

Me: “What do you want to wear today?”

S: “A dress.”

<stands in front of closet for 273 minutes, picks out dress>

S: “Can you help me change?”

Me: “Sure.”

She lays on the ground and pretends she’s a baby.

I help take off her pj shirt and accidentally pull her hair with the neck hole

she cries hard

I grab a tissue

wipe tears

untangle shirt from hair

take off pants

undies

socks

take a big toe to the eye

why is it always the eye??

then a heel to the shin

that’s gonna bruise

wrestle flailing limbs to put:

undies

socks

leggings

and a dress

on this…

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wipe beads of sweat from armpits because she’s finally dressed.

Finally.

start walking away to make coffee

Summer: “I changed my mind, I want to wear a skirt.”

oh dear god

Summer, brush your teeth please…

Summer, brush your teeth…

Brush your teeth…

Brush your teeth.

Why are you just standing there with your toothbrush not doing anything?

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Brush your teeth…

Summer, brush your teeth…

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Summer, brush your teeth…

Please brush your teeth…

Brush your teeth…

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Brush your teeth…

Summer: “Remember that one time you said ret?”

BRUSH. YOUR. TEETH…

<brushes teeth, hallelujah!>

Summer, please put your shoes on…

Put your shoes on…

Dear lord put your shoes on…

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Me: “Would you like mini muffins or cheerios?”

Summer:

Me: “Mini muffins or cheerios?”

Summer:

Me: “Summer, I’m talking to you.”

Summer:

Me: “I know you can hear me.”

Summer:

Me: “Ok, you’re having cheerios.”

Summer: “NO I WANT MINI MUFFINS. You should have known that, mommy.”

Now if I could only find my sanity, I know I put it here somewhere… Oh yeah! There it is.

dance

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things and stuff

I made a pact with someone the other day that I would magically create a few extra hours in the universe to write a post and publish it by today because I really do love writing here. And although life gets in the way sometimes, actually having someone hold me accountable worked. So here goes, it’s story-catch up time.

When I was little I used to get strep throat pretty frequently, but not enough to have anyone with an MD behind their name offer to rip my tonsils out of me like they had for my sister. Sidenote – the doctor let my sister keep her tonsils.

In a jar.

She brought them to school.

For “science”.

She became the most popular girl in school.

um no

Love you, Jules.

Anywho, about 3 weeks ago I woke up swallowing razor blades with full body chills and a gland the size of a planet coming out of my neck. Strep. The doctor confirmed it, gave me a z-pack and sent me on my way. And 2 days after I had finished the antibiotics I was still in as much pain as I was on day 1 so I went back. The doc was stumped and honestly considered testing me for…wait for it…the fucking mumps. Dr. Google was about to get a whole lotta questions about that one until my doc reconsidered because the odds were so slim. So she gave me a second script for a stronger antibiotic for 10 days. By day 7 I could almost swallow normal but my tonsil still looked cringeworthy. By day 10 I didn’t have to make Summer’s winky face every time I swallowed anymore…

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…but my damn tonsil looked like swiss cheese. Fast forward to today – I looked at my throat and MY. TONSIL. IS. GONE. Like gone gone. I think it fought so hard to ward off and kill the strep that it fought till the death and then died itself the next day. Dr. Google tells me it happens. So thanks doctors who wouldn’t take my tonsils out as a kid, they’re apparently doing the job for you.

I’ve started the house hunting process, and for anyone here who was with me back in 2010 you know that house hunting with me can be quite the adventure <cough>crazy lady<cough>. I’ve seen a few places that were ok but with my list of must haves, I haven’t found my dream home yet and my amazing real estate agent won’t let me settle which I love. I did find a gorgeous town home a few weeks back but it went under contract the day before I was going to see it and I’ve been summoning my magic voodoo powers to make their financing fall through ever since. I know dream home 2.0 is definitely out there somewhere, I just don’t think it’s on the market yet because the current owners are super busy getting it picture perfect pretty for me. I can be patient.

Summer lost her first tooth recently and I had a feeling it was coming out the weekend that it did, mainly because she kept doing this thing with her tooth below that she knew freaked me the fuck out and made me do that ‘flail your hands up and down while dancing like you have the pee shivers’ move. I’m weird about teeth – I get the heebie jeebies at the thought of anything cotton rubbing against them – gauze, paper towels, ew. And don’t get me started on teeth rubbing together, or making that awful squeak that happens when chewing certain gum, and I can’t even look at this picture as I insert it here.

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Blerg. But now that her dangling mouth nugget is finally in the tooth fairy’s hands, my baby looks like a cute little punkin. She likes to stick things in the gap pretending she has an edible cheetos or french fry tooth which I can stomach WAY better than that picture. 5 years old is punny.

 

What else… what else… OkCupid is what else. I joined a few years ago and had a HORRIBLE first online date where the guy downed 2 bottles of wine to my half of a glass. He proceeded to tell me he was pleasantly surprised I wasn’t overweight. He told me he wanted to buy me a house with his student loans because can you believe it his law school just gives him $30,000 a year to do whatever he wants with (he is clearly in for a rude awakening when he finds out how student loans actually work). He told me that he wanted to make me pregnant. Then he drunkenly slid off his chair under the table and somehow walked himself to the bathroom. He was gone for 20 minutes while I texted my friend, taking guesses at what he was doing which was by far the most fun part of the night. I could go on about the ridiculousness of that evening but let’s just say he set the bar low, my friends. And I actually stayed on OkCupid because honestly, it could ONLY get better from there. Over the last few years I’ve disabled my account, reenabled, disabled, rinse and repeat, and I’ve met a handful of people on there, but none that worked out obviously. And with OkCupid helping me discover the perfect life motto that I now keep securely in my back pocket – “high standards, low expectations” – I’m back on. Reenabled and getting lots of messages from boys who could be my children and guys who never show their teeth but have a fondness for taking selfies in their cars. It’s uh, entertaining 🙂

More to catch up on, but it’s time to get my lovey from school. May your weekend be full of doing stuff you can tell good stories about later.

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fun in photos

Face swap with my brother-in-law… proof that if I was born a guy I would have lived a long lonely life with 18 cats and a drinking problem…

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Summer in the car: Mommy, can I take my boots off?

Me: Sure.

Summer: Mommy, can I take my socks off?

Me: no, leave those on.

Summer: ok…

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Once upon a time 2 months ago, you could go outside without a coat, earmuffs, hat, gloves, scarf, boots, 3 pairs of socks, long underwear and snow pants and your nips wouldn’t instantly cut holes in your shirt and break off. Man, I miss those days…

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My nieces and I are on sale on eBay, better hurry there are only 6 of us left…

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Summer spends Christmas day with her dad so I spend the afternoon with my friend upstairs. This year I had champagne. I never have champagne. I realized that champagne makes me all warm and fuzzy because when I came back downstairs slightly buzzed and I looked at the reindeer on my fridge, I got all sappy, teared up and thought “holy bejebus, my child is a fucking artistic genius”…

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Everyday is a fairy tale with a dress like this…

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This past summer my dad and I took a sushi making class. And if a nationwide shortage of crabs is announced soon, we, erm, had nothing to do with it…

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Ah to be young and bendy. If I tried this my pelvis would fall off…

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Saleswoman at the mattress store: Do you like this one? Let me see if I can get you a lower price. Oh and we just got in a beautiful sleigh bed that would go great with it! Do you want me to…

Me: Oh no, that’s ok, we’re not actually buying a mattress today, just seeing if this one can fold us completely in half…

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Check out the woman behind us (if I attempted that I’d end up kissing the ice, with my phone and knee caps shattering into a million pieces)…

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These baby blues shine brighter than the sparkliest sapphires…

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Summer on the way out of the library: “Wait, mommy can you take a picture?”

Me: “Haha, sure.”

Summer: “Can you send that to me?”

Teenager in a 5 year old body I tells ya…

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Blowing giant soap bubbles off my hand – it’s the only party trick I know but it’s always a hit with…well, everyone. No one doesn’t like bubbles…

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Happy Wednesday, now go have some fun 🙂

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Filed under Kids, life, Love, Parenting

buh bye 2016

This year had its ups and downs complete with some really great highs and some really shitty lows, but that’s normal I suppose. What better way to say adios to 2016 than a little video recap of the year?

This is one of Summer’s favorite songs and I always make it a point to turn down the volume or sing LAAAAAAAAAA! at the top of my lungs at the one bad word. Though I apparently haven’t been loud enough because one day listening to it in the car she said to me, “mommy it’s ok, I know what they say and I promise I’ll never say the bad word, ‘ash horns.'” Such a good girl 🙂

To view directly on YouTube, click here.

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Filed under home, Kids, life, Love

invasion of the orbeez

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Summer got to celebrate Christmas 5 times this year which of course included 5 times the family, friends, and gifts at our home, my parents’ house, Scott’s place, his mom’s house and his brother’s house. I KNOW. Deprived.

We had a blast at my parents’ on Christmas Eve until 8:30pm when my baby hit the inconsolable point of no return – my cue for us to head home. When we left, my plan was to keep her awake for the 15 minute car ride home because after 8pm all the good parking spots in my lot are taken. And I knew if she fell asleep in the car I’d end up carrying the dead weight of a 38 pound child plus a purse, a backpack, leftovers, gifts, and my sanity across a football field. So we climbed in the car. I convinced her to sing Christmas songs with me to keep her awake. I put the car in reverse. “Oh the weather outside is fright”… bam. Sleeping.

14 minutes later we arrived home, and with the strength of 1000 gorillas I got everyone and everything inside by piling 2 king sized pillows, 2 purses, peppermint bark, 1000 legos, 50,000 shopkins and a 5-year-old on my back like a scrap metal truck and unlocking the door with my toes while sweat dripped from my pits.

Santa was good to my baby this year. He had stuffed everything she asked him for into her stocking and placed it under the tree while she slept. And when she woke up Christmas morning and ripped the paper off her gifts with fervor, little hearts in her eyes sparkled when she laid them upon her first ever bag of orbeez. If you are unfamiliar with orbeez, take a gander at YouTube for Kids and you’ll see the 239,738,438 videos Summer has adoringly watched of kids playing with them.

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The 8oz bag was the size of my hand. Just add water and they’ll bloom into little jelly balls from Heaven. I suggested we use maybe half the bag to save some for a later date but she insisted we put them all in. Her present, her Christmas, her choice. At first I thought the pasta pot would be big enough, but then decided we should maybe use a punch bowl just in case. The package said something about blah blah 1 tsp equals blah 1 quart when hydrated blah blah. A quart… a quart is like one of those little cartons of milk you get in grade school with lunch right? Or is it a half gallon… meh, punch bowl would be safe.

For all of 8 minutes.

The beads started expanding more than I thought they would and threatened to spill over the top of the punch bowl so I grabbed the pasta pot and transferred a bunch in. Then I had to grab a big glass bowl and do the same. Then a few oversized cups. My pots and pans. Some cereal bowls. The crock pot.

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I took another look at the bag and it said something about 20,000 marble sized jelly beads. TWENTY THOUSAND MARBLES people. I had missed that part but…but…you know, orbeez!

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They’re actually kind of fun to play with but now that Summer has been at her dad’s for 2 days I’ve been staring at 20,000 gel balls that have taken over my dining room and I don’t know what the fuck to do with them. I thought putting a bunch in the colander would dry them out and maybe make them shrink back down to beads but 2 days later and…

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That would have been too easy. This morning however, I discovered that Summer had put 1 orbee in a container by itself and it has since shrunk back down to a bead! So now I’m off to go place 20,000 jelly balls in 20,000 separate spaces.

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Talk to you all next Christmas.

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princess

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Back in 2004, I made the incredibly intelligent post-college grad decision to use my gift of persuasion and push my high school sweetheart into marriage. I then of course had to follow up my adulting by checking things off my list of grandiose holly-homemaker life goals – husband, check! house, check! a dog named Princess, check! Ah the optimistic dreams of my early 20’s, my life was so complete! Only…

The husband… I, um, about that, <cringey face> the husband turned out to be a decision I maybe might have should have maybe thought through a little longer. We barely lasted a year and in the best Forrest Gumpiest voice I can muster, that’s all I have to say about that.

The house… the house was a tiny ranch that had this really high-tech central air system that actually cleaned my carpets for me by leaking pools of water under the furnace room wall into the guest bedroom. The plumbing did this really cool thing where it would generously show me the poo water in my pipes by bubbling it up through the drain in the bathtub if I flushed the toilet, ran a sink and had the washing machine going at the same time. And the neighbors were ah-mazing creatures who would eat lunch in their driveways on tv trays in their underwear while hosting garage sales. I’m not even kidding a little. The day I was bought out of the house the neighbors heard a faint “sayonaraaaaaaaa!!!!!” as I peeled down the street for the last time with $12k in my hand.

And then there’s the dog…

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She’s the absolute best thing to come from my poor decision making skills from a decade and a half ago.

This little being has been with me through 7 moves, a number of career changes, countless relationships and becoming a momma. If this dog could talk she could tell you novels of my greatest love stories and my worst loves lost, of what it feels like to comfort me when I sob and the elation felt while sharing with me the moments of pure joy, though I know my deepest secrets are safe with her. For the last almost 15 years, she has been the most loyal protector I could have ever wanted by my side. And in the last year or so, her age has started to show. Most people who meet her would never guess she’s almost 15, but having had her in my life since I was 24, I see it. Her eyes are foggy and when she jumps on the couch or the bed she misses the first attempt, sometimes by a good foot. She doesn’t hear much anymore though I can startle her out of sleep with a loud sneeze. She would rather starve than eat dog food. At night she gets into such a deep sleep and frequently wakes up in a puddle of pee. Not mine, I promise. And when she breathes while laying down, it sounds like she’s wheezing. My old puppy, she is slowing down.

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And until she tells me it’s time, that she’s done, that she is in pain or that her life is not hers anymore, with a hole in my heart I will help her with that. “But it’s not my time yet!” she tells me with her big brown eyes and wagging tail. And so we make it work.

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So she won’t have to struggle, I scoop her little warm body up and place her on the couch when she needs me. I cook her dinner every night complete with ground beef, chicken or turkey mixed with scrambled eggs, cheese and rice. I’ve learned the hard way that tuna doesn’t sit well with her and if I try to sneak in peas she will strategically pick them off her plate and place them on the floor in a pattern that spells out “no thank you”. We sleep with a waterproof shower curtain atop the comforter because no amount of pee dribbles will ever deny her a warm spot in the bed. She is in the early stages of kidney disease that we are stopping in its tracks with a daily supplement along with a dose of Pepcid to ease tummy upset. And the wheezing is from an enlarged liver pressing on her diaphragm when she lays down, though she’s gotten pretty good at finding comfortable sleeping positions that momentarily make my heart stop.

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My girl is old in body but still a puppy at heart. And after 15 years of her selflessly giving me the greatest love, loyalty and protection such a little being could give, I won’t ever hesitate to return the favor of making sure she’s happy and safe. Today that means occasionally hand feeding her when she wants help, giving her extra understanding and I love you’s when her body, eye sight or hearing momentarily fails her, and lightly touching her back to let her know when I’m standing right next to her while she’s desperately searching for me around the corner. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and roll with it.

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My Princess, I couldn’t have asked for a better doggie. She is mine and I am hers.

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